“All beings have been your mother in a former life,” says one Buddhist teaching that encourages altruism toward others. This Mother’s Day, we practice learning to see all beings as our mother—or whoever cared for us when we were young—in order to shift toward a kinder way of being.

These five Tricycle stories each approach motherhood from a different, although always dharmic, perspective. We hope they nourish you on a day that can be both heartwarming and fraught.

Three Forgotten Stories About the Buddha’s Mother
These little-known stories about Maya, the Buddha’s mother, can help us untangle the misogynistic knots from Buddhism’s past.

When the World is Perfect
A Vajrayana practitioner struggles with self-sacrifice after the birth of her son Eli: “No one before has brought me so close to the limits of my ability to give.”

Old Relationships, New Possibilites
Is it possible to replace dependency and neurosis with compassionate respect in our closest relationships?

The Dismay of Motherhood
The Buddha showed us a path that leads beyond heartache. Our best wish for our children is that they find it, too.

The Uninvited Guest of This Universe
How former Tibetan monk Lobsang Phuntsok creates a loving environment for orphans and children from poor families in India.