Saturday, June 9, 2012


     "goodwill is often a more skillful attitude than overt expressions of love ... for three reasons. The first is that goodwill is an attitude you can express for everyone without fear of being hypocritical or unrealistic. If the people around you haven't been acting lovably, it's good to remind yourself that although you don't condone their behavior - you don't even have to like them - you still wish them well.
     The second reason is that goodwill is a more skillful feeling to have toward those who would react unskillfully to your love. There are probably people you've harmed in the past who would rather not have anything to do with you ever again, so the intimacy of love would actually be a source of pain for them, rather than joy. There are also people who, when they see that you want to express love, would be quick to take advantage of it. In these cases, a more distant sense of goodwill - that you promise yourself never to harm those people of those beings - would be better for everyone involved.
     The third reason is that goodwill acts as a check on your behavior toward those you love to keep it from becoming oppressive. It reminds you that people ultimately will become truly happy not as a result of your caring for them but as a result of their own skillful actions, and that the happiness of self-reliance is greater than any happiness coming from dependency. If you truly feel goodwill for yourself and others, you won't let your desire for intimacy render you insensitive to what would actually be the most skillful way to promote true happiness for all.
     In this way goodwill protects you from the unskillful excess of both your ill will and your love - and protects everyone around you as well."          Thanissaro Bhikkhu       
          "I want to be ... Loving" Shambhala Sun, July 2012

Photo: Kent Shiraishi

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