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    THE BUDDHIST’S GUIDE TO DATING

    Date:

    By Joanna Psaros

    I need help.
    Specifically, in regard to dating. 

    Taking my friends’ advice would be a case of the blind leading the blind, and I have a serious aversion to self-help books. So, I decided to re-read my beginner’s collection of Buddhist literature to see what guidance it could offer in the way of dating. Here’s what I found:

    1. Delusions are the cause of all suffering, or, Don’t be so judgmental 

    We all have our dating turn-ons and turn-offs for a reason, and we shouldn’t settle for less, right? Wrong! Basically, we have to understand that our thoughts and feelings aren’t actually aligned with reality, and to live as if they are will inevitably leave us unhappy. 

    So if, for example, we dismiss a potential partner because they’re wearing an ugly hat, that’s acting on a delusion. Because what is beauty, and what is ugliness anyway? It’s not that we can’t like the things we like or have any opinions. But we should at least be aware of the role that our delusions play and take our preferences with a pinch of salt. That might mean acknowledging that the hat thing is one of your irrational hang-ups, and not a reflection on the character of the person wearing it. Unless it’s a fedora, in which case run. 

    1. Demonstrate compassion to all living beings, or, Don’t play games

    When did we collectively decide to be such jerks to the people we’re interested in? Negging, ghosting, and treating people as though they’re but an option on an endless conveyor belt of babes might be second nature in the world of modern dating, but Buddhism is more concerned with being nice to people than point scoring and powerplays. 

    In fact, the concept of universal compassion is one of the central tenets of Buddhism. Without achieving this it’s impossible to reach enlightenment – no matter how hard you try at yoga and meditation. 

    This means whether or not you’re into a person, just don’t be a dick. Give them a chance, reply to their texts, don’t lead them on, and be upfront if it’s not working out. Now get out there and kill them with kindness. It’s a total power move. 

    1. Free yourself from desirous attachment, or, Who needs a man anyway? 

    What really is love? Is the monogamy-centric romantic ideal of ‘the one’ really the object of our souls’ yearning? Or is it an empty social construct that distracts us from the true goal of universal loving kindness and ultimately leads to more suffering? Venerable Geshne and his cohorts would be inclined toward the latter. 

    At the end of the day, there’s a reason why the most serious practitioners of Buddhism are often celibate. It has nothing to do with sex, within or outside marriage, as being seen as sinful. But it is recognised that marriage, or sexual/romantic relationships make it extremely difficult for even an experienced practitioner not to become attached. This doesn’t mean that Buddhist Monks and Nuns are trying to stop themselves from loving anyone- they’re actually trying to make space in their hearts to love everyone indiscriminately. 

    So, take from that what you will — from going full Buddhist nun, to adjusting your expectations of what romantic love should look like. 

    Yes, I’m essentially taking dating advice from a guy who married his cousin at the age of 16. But for a two-and-a-half-thousand-year-old religion, Buddhism has some pretty refreshing takes on modern love. 

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