I have spent the last two years studying Buddhism and working with a Buddhist Monk. Not to be Buddhist but how to be the best version of what I already am. These basic Buddhist teachings have given me a foundation and principals to live by in my professional, personal and dating life. This is my interpretation, that if the Buddha gave dating advice, this would be it.
1. “Do not look for a sanctuary in anyone except your self.” — Buddha
We have been fed countless stories in movies, television and music about the type of love that swoops in and saves the boy or girl, leading to a life of happily ever after. Not only is this kind of love not realistic, it’s nearly impossible to have a healthy relationship while leaning on our partner for our happiness and mental health. I am a big believer in “like attracts like” so be the person you want your partner to be. It is possible to meet the right person at the wrong time, so take you time making sure you are ready to bring your best self for a healthy relationship.
2. “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” — Buddha
This is one that I, like I would suspect, nearly everyone struggles with. It is too easy to hold on to insecurities, pain and trauma of our past that influences our current relationships as well as it is easy to try to look ahead to what we expect our relationships to be like. Instead, we need to focus on the moment we are in as it’s the only moment that matters. Spend your time dating, getting to know someone, enjoying their company, learning something new. Dating isn’t a destination, it’s a journey. So enjoy that journey and all the bumps, twists and turns that comes with it. No relationship fails if you can learn and come out of it as a better person. “It’s better to travel well than to arrive” — Buddha
3. “All conditioned things are impermanent” - Buddha
Impermanence is one of the most important teachings. We tend to cling onto ideas, situations, people and outcomes and when they inevitably change or go away we suffer. The Buddha says, “What we don’t cling to we cannot lose”. So what does this mean in our dating life? We cling to a particular outcome of a relationship, or an idea of who someone should be or to the way we once felt. The problem is that all things change and nothing is permanent. Our waistlines change, our hairline changes, our hormones, our feelings, our wants and needs all change. The most successful relationships are the ones that can ride the waves of change and learn to adapt.
4. “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” - Buddha
I know that I tend to hold onto animosity and anger that causes the relationship to suffer. It can be hard to let go after a fight but carrying this with you will only hurt ourself. It doesn’t matter who was right or wrong in the past but how we move forward together now. Let go of the wrongs of the past and move forward each day with a clean slate.
5. “Where self is, truth is not. Where truth is, self is not. Self is the fleeting error of samsara; it is individual separateness and that egotism which begets envy and hatred.” — Buddha
This is the hardest to explain. As we talk about being our best versions of ourselves we learn that the more we examine and understand ourself the more we forget ourselves. This doesn’t mean we don’t exist, it just means that we stop viewing the world and our relationships from the place of self. When we achieve this in our own life then we can be fully entwined in healthy, flexible and loving relationships.