Loving kindness and benevolence are the greatest needs that people have to live healthy and happily. Love finds expression in acts of kindness, and acts of kindness foster the growth of love. In recent years, the concept of “loving kindness” has become very popular among researchers and practitioners in cultural studies, psychology, and mental health. Its popularity came from the original Buddhist philosophy and culture.
The Buddhist Culture of Love
The Sanskrit word “maitrī” is usually translated into English as loving-kindness, benevolence, good will, and active interest in others.
In Buddhist cultural teaching, loving kindness is the mental state of unselfish and unconditional kindness to all beings and to each one.
The Buddhist philosophies, the ancient religions of Hinduism and Jainism, teach people to cultivate universal loving-kindness, benevolence, and compassion in their minds.
Kindly and Benevolently Love Another as Yourself
Loving kindness lets us stay connected. It has the power to eliminate barriers between us and others.
The core concept of Buddhist teaching—”anatta”—denies the existence of a separate self. As Zen Master Dogen (1976) put it:
“To forget the self is to be enlightened by all things. To be enlightened by all things is to remove the barriers between oneself and others.”Zen Master Dogen (1976).
This means that “self” does not exist within individual existence in the sense of a permanent autonomous being. As the Dalai Lama noted,
What we think of as our self, our personality and ego, are temporary creations, if not delusions.(Dalai Lama, 2007).
Loving Kindness Can Be Contagious
Why is being kind so important? Kindness is an expression of love and a way that love grows.
Keep in mind that loving kindness can be contagious. Practicing loving kindness every day in relationships with others can breed loving kindness in others. When people see or receive expressions and acts of love and kindness, they tend to repay or transfer such loving kindness to others. Daily and random acts of kindness can increase feelings of happiness, optimism, and confidence in those who love and those who are loved. They may also inspire others to replicate the kind and benevolent actions they have witnessed. Therefore, these expressions and acts of loving kindness can contribute to a more positive community. The kindness of love has the potential to make the world a better place.
11 Simple Ways to Be Loving, Kind, and Benevolent in Daily Life
There are several ways to practice loving kindness in everyday life. Among those are these simple ethical rules:
- Kindness puts others at the center.
- Pay attention to others.
- Be there to listen.
- Smile at others.
- Show them that you care for them.
- Offer a hand to help.
- Stay connected.
- Pay attention to what you give rather than what you receive.
- Compliment others rather than expect compliments.
- Expect good things to happen. Be a positive light.
Following these ways is so simple but so beneficial for others as well as for you. Loving kindness brings wellbeing for all.
Be kind, benevolent, and kindly loving and the world will be a better place to live for you and for them.