By: Lodro Rinzler
So you've been dating someone and you think they're pretty great. You have a lot in common, you have strong physical chemistry, and all your friends think you're a great couple. But there's something nagging you, tugging at you right beneath the surface. You notice that you're more distracted than before you were dating, and not necessarily as kind or giving with other people. How do you know if your partner is good for your spiritual path--or good for you in general?
There is a beautiful Buddhist text dating back to the 14th century known as the 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva. Bodhi can be translated from Sanskrit as "open" or "awake" while sattva can be translated as "being," so it is an open-hearted being. A meditation master known as Ngulchu Thogme composed these verses so that we could live a full life with open hearts in order to be helpful to those around us. Many of these practices revolve around applying virtue to even the toughest of our everyday situations. For example:
When in reliance on someone, your defects wane
And your positive qualities grow like the waxing moon,
To cherish such a spiritual friend even more than your own body
Is the practice of a Bodhisattva.
At first, this verse might sound confusing. You might think, "Sure I've gained some relationship weight, but no need to call me a waxing moon!" What Ngulchu Thogme is saying here is that when you're in a relationship with someone (romantic or otherwise) they would ideally take on the role of a true spiritual friend. That doesn't always mean they sit around praising you and taking you to yoga classes. In fact, a spiritual friend might even cut your ego a bit here and there; it's not all sunshine and unicorns. But the overall idea here is that when you spend time with them, your positive qualities--like your kindness, compassion, and patience--grow. Even if they are testing those things and the growth comes from you rising to the occasion, that's considered a beautiful relationship.
On the flip side of the coin, Ngulchu Thogme is saying that your defects--those bad habits and tendencies we all have--would be less present when you're supported by a spiritual friend. Again, he's referring to any friendship, which might be a family member, a mentor, or even a work colleague. But in terms of our romantic relationships, we don't want our anger, self-doubt, and slanderous tendencies to be on full display as a result of us being influenced by this other person.
So how do you know if your partner is a true spiritual friend? Continue reading the original article on Sonima.com here.