Love

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In December, my friend Marcus wrote a piece about the lack of the use of the word “love” amongst practitioners. He wondered whether it was because most of us came to Buddhism from a Christian background, and wished to separate our new beliefs from the ones we left behind. Another point he brought up, that I would also like to share, is that teachings of Love certainly aren’t lacking in Buddhism.

Here are some of the quotes Marcus shared, and a few more I’ve found (not all “Buddhist”);


Even offering three hundred bowls of food three times a day does not match the spiritual merit gained in one moment of love.

– Nagarjuna

 

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

-1 Corinthians verse 1 to 13

Love each other…Throw away stubbornness and arrogance. Let go of greed and desire, dissolve attachments and clinging, and free yourself from jealousy and envy. With a compassionate smile, entrust all of these harmful states of mind to your foundation, and let them melt down and become one. This is the love and action of a Bodhisattva.

– Seon Master Daehaeng Sunim, ‘No River to Cross’, p.78

You know what love is?

It is all kindness, generosity.
Disharmony prevails when
You confuse lust with love, while
The distance between the two
Is endless.

-Rumi

We really have to understand the person we want to love. If our love is only a will to possess, it is not love. If we only think of ourselves, if we know only our own needs and ignore the needs of the other person, we cannot love.

The essence of love and compassion is understanding, the ability to recognize the physical, material, and psychological suffering of others, to put ourselves “inside the skin” of the other.  We “go inside” their body, feelings, and mental formations, and witness for ourselves their suffering.  Shallow observation as an outsider is not enough to see their suffering.  We must become one with the subject of our observation.  When we are in contact with another’s suffering, a feeling of compassion is born in us. Compassion means, literally, “to suffer with.”

-Thich Nhat Hanh

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