Posted by David on November 19, 1998 at 12:08:27:
In Reply to: Re: love and buddha posted by Alex on November 18, 1998 at 16:19:54:
I should first tell you, I have a fiance who I will marry next summer, and as it stands, I believe the marriage will take place (I think she'd leave home before me!).
The ease of this situation (being "in love") lies in an understanding of and accordance with causes and conditions. When the Shakyamuni Buddha was alive, he had a headache for three days which could not be stopped. At the same time as this headache, a whole village was killed by a king's troops. The Buddha was asked if he could help these people, but he said that he could not help in this particular situation because it was fixed karma, just like his headache. At other times, the Buddha could have possibly devised some expedient to change the conditions or affect the causes and thus help someone in difficulty (mental or physical). Similarly, there are some aspects of our own fate that we can not currently change, while others we may have some ability to alter or control.
Some of the causes (habit energy) I have established in my mind (mental continuum) over the lifetimes, and this one for sure, are very strong. And for some of these I do not currently have the skill or understanding to let them go or to alter them. Thus, my practice towards these habits are to observe them with equanimity as best I can, and also do my best (where it won't harm others) not respond to these habits as they arise in my mind. One of habits these is my attachment to emotional gratification through my relationship with my fiance and also friends, family, and even myself! The fundamental unbeneficial habit is self-view, but it has very many branches!
Through observing love and its related things, I have learned more and more about the nature of these things, and there power has lessened to some extent, but it's a gradual process. It's also quite fascinating, and what you learn about one things usually opens your eyes to the nature many other things as well.
Maybe Master Hsuan Hua told his lay students to give up love because he wanted them to ask themselves "why give up love?" Of course, the vast majority of them did not give it up, but maybe they are now in the process of understanding it more thoroughly. Also, while Thich Naht Hanh says to love, he also encourages us to give rise to the process that transforms what is now self-centered emotional love into a non-self-centered (no-centered) loving-kindness.
But, he says, gradually.
Master Hsuan Hua also said that Patience is the backbone of Buddhist practice. Why? Because while we are "caught" in the habit of love, and reaping it's apparent benefits and pain, we must question it, investigate into it, and yet do so without judgement or attachment, while at the same time being fully responsible to the phenomenon - which means giving our best in the love that we give, and being joyful and responsible in doing so. As a matter of fact, my Master (Sheng-yen) has told some people who wanted to be monks or nuns, that it would be best if they did not at this time since they have responsibilities they need to take care of first. He has also told some lay practitioners that if they are going to marry, it is a good idea to have children if it arises naturally, since this is the "fate", or causes and conditions. He would not say the same thing to everyone in every case, but it is just an example of some (of course, he has accepted many monks and nuns also, some who were married with kids before leaving home!).
The heart of the matter is to always keep the mind calm and clear as best as one can, and use this mind to look into that which is taking place right now in your own mind, your own emotions, our own bodies, and that in the environment as well. Looking into how all these things arise and fall and what there effects are, both beneficial and unbeneficial. Also, we must look into things with the "heart" or "heart/mind".. not the emotional heart, but also not just the purely intellectual mind. This is very important, but sometimes hard to do!
Thus, we are involved in our phenomenon with responsibility and joy ("maintaining a... relationship"), yet at the same time sincerely looking into the phenomenon in accord with the Buddhadharma ("seeking enlightenment").
I hope this helps.
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