Posted by David on November 14, 1998 at 06:42:52:
In Reply to: love and buddha posted by david rose on November 09, 1998 at 21:59:40:
I don't remember the source now, but there is a story about a person who heard Shakyamuni Buddha say something to extent that "love is suffering." This person, not knowing the context of what was said went about telling people that the Buddha taught people not to love. The people were very disturbed by this and went to ask the Buddha about it. The Buddha told them, in essence, that to love is not wrong or necessarily a problem, but that we should see clearly the nature of love, it's causes, and its effects. My experience has been that as this process proceeds, one's "love" changes. The unbeneficial aspects gradually fall away and beneficial aspects gradually increase.
What the Buddha warned about with concern to love is attachment. Some people call non-attached love "compassion", but this is just semantics.
Most teachers probably do not use the term love as something to do in Buddhism, because most of us associate the word love with a very self-centered attached emotion. Indeed, this is how most of use practice love. And yes, self-centered attachment causes suffering. Thich Naht Hanh says to love, yet Master Hsuan Hua says to give up love immediately. These can both easily be misunderstood by someone who does not take the time study and investigate thoroughly the Buddha's teachings. Both of these Masters are right if you know how they teach and principle they are truly saying.
Joy toward and concern for the well being of another or others is obviously beneficial and is very important. Is this love? If so, the Buddha encourages this to be done with a clear, present, and non-attached mind. Attachment is a cause of suffering, and love as most of us do it, is a strong source of attachment (as well as a result of our attachments). Thus, what is typically called love, usually causes suffering in ourselves and others. So what do we give up then?
Attachment, for one. But we must see clearly why in order to really do this. Thus the importance of meditation and investigation, and a stark honesty within oneself.
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