Motivation, Inspiration and Life

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Relationships and Friendships- Superficial vs. Compassionate

The Dalai Lama often speaks of two kinds of relationships- One built on superficial qualities such as physical attraction, money, social status, or power and another built on compassion, affection, and respect. One problem with the first type of relationship (superficial) is that when any aspect that holds the relationship together falters (such as someone losing all of their money, someone showing the physical signs of aging and losing their ‘young beauty’, or someone losing their political status) the relationship itself weakens or disappears. In other words, once the commonality or attraction to the individual disappears so does the foundation of the relationship. One the other hand, if you form a relationship based on compassion and respect then even when their social status, appearance, or financial situation changes the main foundation of their connection has not, and the relationship can continue to be strong and grow.

“if people have compassion, naturally that’s something they can count on; even if they have economic problems and their fortune declines, they still have something to share with fellow human beings. World economies are always so tenuous and we are subject to so many losses in life, but compassionate attitude is something that we can always carry with us.”  – Dalai Lama, as cited by Howard C. Cutler, M.D. pg. 121


“if one is seeking to build a truly satisfying relationship, the best way of bringing this about is to get to know the deeper nature of the person and relate to her of him on that level, instead of merely on the basis of superficial characteristics.”   – Dalai Lama, as cited by Howard C. Cutler, M.D. pg. 102-103

“the Dalai Lama’s approach to building a strong relationship- basing our relationship on the qualities of affection, compassion, and mutual respect as human beings. Basing a relationship on those qualities enables us to achieve a deep and meaningful bond not only with our lover or spouse but also with friends, acquaintances, or strangers- virtually any human being. It opens up unlimited possibilities and opportunities for connection.”  – Dalai Lama, as cited by Howard C. Cutler, M.D. pg. 112


3 comments on “Relationships and Friendships- Superficial vs. Compassionate

  1. suzanloa
    May 20, 2012

    I like this a lot. You hit the nail on the head by exposing the difference between everyday relationships that fall by the way side at the slight sign of a storm, and connecting to people from within to their deeper good using compassion and respect. Thank you.

    • JenBoudreau
      May 20, 2012

      Thank you! You should read “The Art of Happiness” by Howard Cutler- It is a wonderful book that analyzes Eastern Religion and the views of the Dalai Lama through the eyes of a Western Psychologist. He has an entire section on relationships and friendships of all kinds!

  2. Shelly
    May 24, 2012

    Sounds like a book that will further my own studies on friendship, happiness, and compassion!


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This entry was posted on May 12, 2012 by in Words to Live by and tagged , , , , , , , .
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