The Divine Abodes in Trans Context: Loving-kindness

There are four qualities of mind and heart which are considered virtues in Buddhism, often called the "Divine Abodes." And cultivating these qualities is an important part of a meditation practice. In fact, these four qualities: loving-kindness (or beneficence), compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity, are qualities considered important in many spiritual traditions. For example, the Buddhist concept of loving-kindness is exactly like the "agape" love concept in Christianity, or "hesed" of Judaism.

So what do these four qualities mean in a trans and gender expansive context?

I'll start with loving-kindness. This is the concept of a quality of friendliness, amicability benevolence, affection, kindness, and good-will. And it has to start with ourselves. In the traditional loving-kindness meditation practice, we start with ourselves, and move outward from there. (I've posted before about a modified practice that I teach that focuses on self-love.)

Our society doesn't give many messages of loving-kindness toward trans and gender-expansive folks. In fact, most messages are, at best, a lukewarm kind of acceptance. We rarely encounter an enthusiastic, benevolent, affectionate response. Loving-kindness is a deeply felt wish for someone else's well-being. It's expansive, genuine and heartfelt.

So, given this, it's up to us to give this loving-kindess to ourselves as individuals, and each other as a trans and gender-expansive community.