By Stephen Batchelor
On my own with Others is a uniquely modern consultant to figuring out the undying message of Buddhism, and particularly its relevance in genuine human family. It used to be encouraged through Shantideva’s advisor to the Bodhisattava’s lifestyle, the oral directions of dwelling Buddhist masters, Martin Heidegger’s vintage Being and Time, and the writings of the Christian theologians Paul Tillich and John MacQuarrie.
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Additional resources for Alone with Others: An Existential Approach to Buddhism (Grove Press Eastern Philosophy and Literature)
He said, “Look, Julia, I’d be thrilled if you’d let me do more for you. You don’t need to be perfect. ” Julia’s efforts to play an idealized role had exhausted her. Her reluctance to admit her own needs and limitations to Mark had kept him from supporting her, leading to frustration on both of their parts. The gap between how Julia presented herself and who she really was Overcoming Obstacles 21 blocked them from developing mutual understanding and deep intimacy as a couple. Julia’s relationship with Mark also illustrates another disadvantage of this approach that’s particularly important from a Buddhist perspective.
How did I ever put up with him before? ” Later, if we’ve made up and we’re again feeling affectionate, we may think, “Oh, I totally overreacted before. It was just a misunderstanding. He’s actually so sweet and kind. He’s great. ” Seeing with the Eyes of Compassion 43 Sometimes, when I’m working as a therapist with someone who’s in a bitter ﬁght with a spouse or lover, I ask him how he saw her when they were ﬁrst getting together. The earlier view seems so different from his current one that he almost wonders if he was crazy back then.
The implication is that among all the positive emotions that people can generate, compassion is the very best. If we want to be happy, compassion is the mental state that most effectively grants us our wish. So if one were to give a psychological answer to the question of what constitutes a good, happy, meaningful life, the response would be: a life spent cultivating compassion. As a state of mind or heart, compassion serves as a direct psychological cause for contentment, happiness, and joy. Many of the things we usually associate with a good life—contributing something to the world, being close with family members, having deep friendships, inner peace, and peace between people—actually result from living compassionately.
Alone with Others: An Existential Approach to Buddhism (Grove Press Eastern Philosophy and Literature) by Stephen Batchelor