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!” Wha…