Radical Kindness

It seems appropriate to begin the third week of my quest for goodness with two quotes from The Dalai Lama:

My true religion is Kindness.

From a speech by The Dalai Lama on world peace:

The development of a kind heart (a feeling of closeness for all human beings) does not involve the religiosity we normally associate with conventional religious practice. It is not only for people who believe in religion, but is for everyone regardless of race, religion, or political affiliation. It is for anyone who considers himself or herself, above all, a member of the human family and who sees things from this larger and longer perspective.

Now my thoughts: Could it be that the path to goodness is something as simple as a radical willingness to be kind?

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3 Responses to Radical Kindness

  1. Ah, if only it were so simple! I think we quickly get into the difficulty of what is “kind”? “Kind” to who, according to whose standards/wants/beliefs/needs?

    If one helps a chick to break free of its eggshell, saving it the effort, it will never grow properly. Ditto a butterfly emerging from a crysalis. Our intent is kind, but we deprive another being of the essential struggle that is necessary for it to live to its full potential.

    “Kindness” drives the dogmatic religious folks who would take children away from lgbt parents so that the child can be reared in a “normal” home. It drives those who beat a child into submission to teach it “character”, and those who fail to guide it at all. “Kindness” drives the vegans who think we should let sheep die natural deaths (generally gruesome) rather than slaughter them humanely for food…AND it drives my desire to slaughter them for food rather than let them die gruesome natural deaths. The gentleman opens the door for the feminist out of kindness….

    We have been raised on the Golden Rule–do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Often this is what we think of as “kindness”. But much harm can be done assuming that others’ needs and wishes are the same as ours.

    Kindness is, I agree, essential to your quest. It must be the kind of kindness that begins from taking time to truly learn to know another being, and understand the world from their perspective, and take action within that framework–not to try to lessen their suffering, but to be with them there.

    “Compassion” = “feeling alongside”. But is it enough to feel, and not act? Perhaps acting thoughtfully from a place of compassion, after first discerning whether action is required/helpful?

    Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (Robert Pirsig) draws a lovely association between the words “kin” and “kind”. Real kindness, perhaps, is based on an understanding of essential kinship between the giver and receiver of kindness.

  2. Pingback: Day 14 – The Log | In Search of Goodness

  3. Pingback: Round 5 | Following too Closely

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