Love

Casual conversation between friends. Anything goes (almost).
User avatar
jkarlins
Posts: 561
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2016 10:58 am
Location: Amesbury, MA USA

Love

Post by jkarlins » Fri Sep 01, 2017 9:48 pm

This is something I've thought about.

Could you guys offer some ideas of what love is?

(From a Buddhist perspective, or from Buddhist perspectives.)

Jake

User avatar
Wayfarer
Global Moderator
Posts: 4076
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: Love

Post by Wayfarer » Fri Sep 01, 2017 10:20 pm

Mother of all loaded questions. Ask most people, and they'll say it's all you need, the best and only thing you need, the source of happiness, the one thing you can't be without. Hey, they're probably right, but knowing that doesn't always set you on the road to freedom. Plenty of times love goes wrong, it doesn't always bring happiness. Generally where it endures, is where it trumps self.

I suppose in the Buddhist lexicon, there are various terms that connote 'love'. One is kāma, connoting erotic love and sensual pleasure; that was renounced by the Buddha, as being part of the extreme of hedonism.

But there are other words which denote compassion and empathy, which are core Buddhist values. Karuṇā, compassion, is fundamental to the Buddhist path. Maitrī, loving-kindness, is another word for compassion. Mudita is the joy felt for the well-being of others. All of these have a connotation of 'love' but in a different sense to erotic love.

It is also worth mentioning some the ancient Greek words for types of love. There was eros, erotic love; philia, brotherly love or deep friendship; pragma, long-standing love of the kind familiar to long-married couples; and agápē, selfless compassion, which is nearest in meaning to the Buddhist maha-karuna or 'great compassion'.

I think the current English lexicon is very poor in making such distinctions; there are many kinds and dimensions of 'love', and one word doesn't do them all justice.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

User avatar
jkarlins
Posts: 561
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2016 10:58 am
Location: Amesbury, MA USA

Re: Love

Post by jkarlins » Fri Sep 01, 2017 11:36 pm

Thanks, and it is a loaded question. That's a thorough answer, and I appreciate the use of Western/Greek terms, I'm interested in this idea as a meeting point of Western and Buddhist ideas.

User avatar
Lucas Oliveira
Posts: 341
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2016 1:09 pm

Re: Love

Post by Lucas Oliveira » Sat Sep 02, 2017 1:23 am

Itivuttaka 22 - Metta Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... ml#iti-022

Itivuttaka 27 - Mettabhavana Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... ml#iti-027

Metta (Mettanisamsa) Sutta: Good Will
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Satti Sutta: The Spear
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


In the Kalama Sutta he speaks a little about the other Brahmaviharas

Kalama Sutta: To the Kalamas
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


How to Practice Loving Kindness Meditation (Metta)

https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=41&t=27032


:namaste:
I participate in this forum using Google Translator. https://translate.google.com.br/

http://www.acessoaoinsight.net/

odysseus
Posts: 1118
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:50 pm
Contact:

Re: Love

Post by odysseus » Sat Sep 02, 2017 1:42 am

What I learned about love, whether in context or not: Love is a feeling. Love is a positive feeling. Love is great, but love can only bring us "so much". Love does not come for free, we have to do something to get it. Love overcomes hate, always. Love is wishing others to be happy. There could be different kinds of love, but the love is the same. We have family love, romantic love, universal love and so on. There is no need to love friends, but be fond of friends. And some friends can turn into family and become loved.

Hm, some random thoughts about love. The Christians say that love is the greatest, but it is still limited in that it is not a universal ailment for all suffering - but a part of it.

:heart:

User avatar
justsit
Posts: 933
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2009 9:24 pm
Location: Delaware

Re: Love

Post by justsit » Sat Sep 02, 2017 2:14 am

Scott Peck's definition has always rung true to me: “Love is the will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth....Love is an act of will - namely, both an intention and an action. Will also implies choice. We do not have to love. We choose to love.”

Fits perhaps in the philia/agape realm. Not Buddhist per se, but close.

"Falling in love" is something completely different.

User avatar
jkarlins
Posts: 561
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2016 10:58 am
Location: Amesbury, MA USA

Re: Love

Post by jkarlins » Sat Sep 02, 2017 4:01 am

Lucas Oliveira wrote:Itivuttaka 22 - Metta Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... ml#iti-022

Itivuttaka 27 - Mettabhavana Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... ml#iti-027

Metta (Mettanisamsa) Sutta: Good Will
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Satti Sutta: The Spear
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


In the Kalama Sutta he speaks a little about the other Brahmaviharas

Kalama Sutta: To the Kalamas
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


How to Practice Loving Kindness Meditation (Metta)

https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=41&t=27032


:namaste:
Ok, so you see love as being good will and metta?

User avatar
jkarlins
Posts: 561
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2016 10:58 am
Location: Amesbury, MA USA

Re: Love

Post by jkarlins » Sat Sep 02, 2017 4:03 am

justsit wrote:Scott Peck's definition has always rung true to me: “Love is the will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth....Love is an act of will - namely, both an intention and an action. Will also implies choice. We do not have to love. We choose to love.”

Fits perhaps in the philia/agape realm. Not Buddhist per se, but close.

"Falling in love" is something completely different.
I both love and hate this definition. It's very complicated. I guess I like the emphasis on choice at the end.

:thanks:

User avatar
Lucas Oliveira
Posts: 341
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2016 1:09 pm

Re: Love

Post by Lucas Oliveira » Sat Sep 02, 2017 9:31 pm

jkarlins wrote:
How to Practice Loving Kindness Meditation (Metta)

https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=41&t=27032


:namaste:

Ok, so you see love as being good will and metta?
this is just a Buddhist vision in the Suttas

to be in love, to do good

I Want To Know What Love Is

phpBB [video]



:namaste:
I participate in this forum using Google Translator. https://translate.google.com.br/

http://www.acessoaoinsight.net/

User avatar
jkarlins
Posts: 561
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2016 10:58 am
Location: Amesbury, MA USA

Re: Love

Post by jkarlins » Sat Sep 02, 2017 10:04 pm

Thanks Lucas, yes that seems to be the sutric take on it. That being said, I like to think sutric explanations blend into wilder Mahayana and Vajrayana visions when they reach their fruition. Teachers like Ajahn Chah seemed to get this to some degree. Not in terms of doctrine, but in terms of energy, in terms of style. But maybe that's just wishful thinking or fantasy on my part.

phpBB [video]

User avatar
Dan74
Founding Member
Posts: 2485
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 3:59 pm
Location: Lyss, Switzerland

Re: Love

Post by Dan74 » Sat Sep 02, 2017 10:08 pm

My teacher said once that there isn't enough emphasis on love in Buddhism. Not a common thing to say, especially by a very traditionally trained Buddhist monastic, I guess. But I agree. Western Buddhism, even away from the internet, which is not representative (I hope) is far too cerebral. Even the non-scholastic types whom I often met in the Zen circles tend to be on the dry side. Deep warmth and kindness are rare.

I'm pretty hesitant to say much because I feel I am barely a toddler when it comes to love. But from the few glimpses that I've had, when our shite is out of the way and there's clarity and spaciousness, love simply fills up the heart and flows in all directions. In Buddhist technospeak, it's the skilful functioning of the original mind, or some such thing, but it's basically doing what needs doing without any obstacles.

Typically we are filled with a bunch of self-referential concerns. There's little space for love in a mind like this. Love is not about me, it's about just doing what needs to be done. Like reaching for the pillow at night (to borrow a Zen simile). It's unselfconscious, not an act of will (which is a decision to care and can be great). It's what happens when we get out of the way.

_/|\_

User avatar
jkarlins
Posts: 561
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2016 10:58 am
Location: Amesbury, MA USA

Re: Love

Post by jkarlins » Sat Sep 02, 2017 10:24 pm

Dan74 wrote:My teacher said once that there isn't enough emphasis on love in Buddhism. Not a common thing to say, especially by a very traditionally trained Buddhist monastic, I guess. But I agree. Western Buddhism, even away from the internet, which is not representative (I hope) is far too cerebral. Even the non-scholastic types whom I often met in the Zen circles tend to be on the dry side. Deep warmth and kindness are rare.

I'm pretty hesitant to say much because I feel I am barely a toddler when it comes to love. But from the few glimpses that I've had, when our shite is out of the way and there's clarity and spaciousness, love simply fills up the heart and flows in all directions. In Buddhist technospeak, it's the skilful functioning of the original mind, or some such thing, but it's basically doing what needs doing without any obstacles.

Typically we are filled with a bunch of self-referential concerns. There's little space for love in a mind like this. Love is not about me, it's about just doing what needs to be done. Like reaching for the pillow at night (to borrow a Zen simile). It's unselfconscious, not an act of will (which is a decision to care and can be great). It's what happens when we get out of the way.

_/|\_
Agreed, Dan. Some teachers talk about it as good, some avoid talking about it (or use other terms I think.)

The getting out of the way idea seems right to me, although this trips me up somehow. ??

I like what you said about being "barely a toddler"- ME TOO! And this is one big reason I like thinking about it, it's like the thing I've been avoiding working on forever, and I'm finally trying to get down to brass tacks. It's not easy but I'm learning, I think.

Jake

User avatar
Dan74
Founding Member
Posts: 2485
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 3:59 pm
Location: Lyss, Switzerland

Re: Love

Post by Dan74 » Sat Sep 02, 2017 10:54 pm

Practice is where the tyres hit the road, a Dharma friend used to say. So how do we cultivate love? Maybe this is where justsit's willing to care for yourself and others can come in handy. And that's got to be a great practice - to truly cherish all beings, be there for yourself and others.

But it seems to me that true effortless love is something that comes with realisation. Mind you, as we create cracks and fissures in the wall of delusion with practice, this kind of love seeps in more and more. I don't think it's really all or nothing sort of thing. So we've got to strive on many fronts - the effortful front and the effortless front, definitely.

_/|\_
Last edited by Dan74 on Sat Sep 02, 2017 11:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Wayfarer
Global Moderator
Posts: 4076
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: Love

Post by Wayfarer » Sat Sep 02, 2017 11:02 pm

Dan74 wrote:My teacher said once that there isn't enough emphasis on love in Buddhism.
That's something I've been meditating on too. In the Mahāyāna, 'universal compassion' (bodhicitta) is central. But where does it come from? What is its source? I'm sure it's not something that we can simply do, or generate; it has a source, like the sun being a source of warmth and light. On this forum, there's always a lot of discussion about emptiness and the interpretations of it, but what is the meaning of Śūnyatā if there is no bodhicitta?

Actually one of my formative experiences on the path came from seeing a talk by the famous Lama Yeshe in one of his last tours of Australia. Here is an excerpt from one of his recorded talks given around that time:
Lama Yeshe wrote:I think it is absolutely essential for us to have loving kindness towards others. There is no doubt about this. Loving kindness is the essence of bodhicitta, the attitude of the bodhisattva. It is the most comfortable path, the most comfortable meditation. There can be no philosophical, scientific or psychological disagreement with this. With bodhicitta, there's no East-West conflict. This path is the most comfortable, most perfect, one hundred percent uncomplicated one, free of any danger of leading people to extremes. Without bodhicitta, nothing works. And most of all, your meditation doesn't work, and realizations don't come.

Why is bodhicitta necessary for success in meditation? Because of selfish grasping. If you have a good meditation but don't have bodhicitta, you will grasp at any little experience of bliss: "Me, me; I want more, I want more." Then the good experience disappears completely. Grasping is the greatest distraction to experiencing single-pointed intensive awareness in meditation. And with it, we are always dedicated to our own happiness: "Me, me I'm miserable, I want to be happy. Therefore I'll meditate." It doesn't work that way. For some reason good meditation and its results—peacefulness, satisfaction and bliss—just don't come.
Bodhicitta the Perfection of Dharma
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

User avatar
Sherab
Posts: 1217
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 6:28 am

Re: Love

Post by Sherab » Sun Sep 03, 2017 12:19 am

One of the earliest things that I noticed when I first began to explore Buddhism through reading the suttas and sutras was the emphasis on an attitude of kindness, compassion and goodwill. Lust was also prominent and referred to a very specific meaning of 'love'.

The word love was hardly used. Perhaps, there was no real need as it (the English word 'love') covers too broadly a range of emotions and when used, could serve to confuse rather than to illuminate. If love is intended to mean affection, then why not just use affection? If kindness is meant, then just use 'kindness' and so on.

I came across Buddhists who tried to incorporate the word 'love' into the Dharma but I think this is just a hangover from their Christian background or from the strong marketing influences of Christianity. Or perhaps, they thought that by incorporating the word 'love', the Dharma be more appealing to Christians.

As far as I am concerned, there is no real need for the word 'love' in the Dharma since there are more precise words that can and should be used in its place.

User avatar
jkarlins
Posts: 561
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2016 10:58 am
Location: Amesbury, MA USA

Re: Love

Post by jkarlins » Sun Sep 03, 2017 12:22 am

Whoah, interesting take. I totally disagree, but I get what you're saying. And I like that perspective on it.

Jake

User avatar
Dan74
Founding Member
Posts: 2485
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 3:59 pm
Location: Lyss, Switzerland

Re: Love

Post by Dan74 » Sun Sep 03, 2017 9:16 am

Sherab wrote:One of the earliest things that I noticed when I first began to explore Buddhism through reading the suttas and sutras was the emphasis on an attitude of kindness, compassion and goodwill. Lust was also prominent and referred to a very specific meaning of 'love'.

The word love was hardly used. Perhaps, there was no real need as it (the English word 'love') covers too broadly a range of emotions and when used, could serve to confuse rather than to illuminate. If love is intended to mean affection, then why not just use affection? If kindness is meant, then just use 'kindness' and so on.

I came across Buddhists who tried to incorporate the word 'love' into the Dharma but I think this is just a hangover from their Christian background or from the strong marketing influences of Christianity. Or perhaps, they thought that by incorporating the word 'love', the Dharma be more appealing to Christians.

As far as I am concerned, there is no real need for the word 'love' in the Dharma since there are more precise words that can and should be used in its place.
I agree that the word "love" is very loaded in the West with personal love. American action films almost invariably show the lead character put his personal love over and above everything else and the narrative supports it, as a sort of a highest good. I guess it has taken place of the personal relationship with Jesus in the Christian consciousness. And it has little to do with Karuna, Mudita and Metta in the Buddhist parlance. But it's all we've got.

User avatar
jkarlins
Posts: 561
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2016 10:58 am
Location: Amesbury, MA USA

Re: Love

Post by jkarlins » Sun Sep 03, 2017 1:58 pm

Ok, and at this point, it could be useful to look more at Western uses of the term.

One way to talk about this is more casual and common sense, and another way is more technical. Or some combo of both (which we've been doing).

Dan, with your last comment you referred to romantic love in movies (as some kind of big goal or highest good) and love in Christianity.

That's really interesting- what are the roots of these views of love- romantic love as transcendent, and Christian love as transcendent?

Then, as people have been implying, there's a lot of crossover, so "love" tends to have some Christian overtones, some shadow of importance or holiness because of the use of the term in religion.

Jake

udawa
Posts: 133
Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:10 pm

Re: Love

Post by udawa » Sun Sep 03, 2017 2:35 pm

Maitri, translated as loving kindness, covers it for me.

Wishing for others to have happiness and the cause of happiness. Real happiness that is, i.e. dharma.
Edwards: You are a philosopher. Dr Johnson: I have tried too in my time to be a philosopher; but, I don't know how, cheerfulness was always breaking in.

Jeff H
Posts: 876
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:56 pm
Location: Vermont, USA

Re: Love

Post by Jeff H » Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:04 pm

I find it useful to “compare and contrast” Buddhist love with western, romantic love. The premise is that true love is all about the other whereas conventional love is attachment and it’s all about the self.

But a loving relationship in conventional life is a mixture of these two polarized notions. I love my wife to the extent that I genuinely care for her well-being without concern for myself. I’m attached to her to the extent that I need what she brings to me.

The Buddhist path is an effort to decrease and eventually eliminate the attachment while increasing the love, not just with regard to our inner circle of family and friends (though starting there) but by aiming toward including all beings.
In 8:129, Shantideva wrote:All the joy the world contains
Has come through wishing happiness for others.
All the misery the world contains
Has come through wanting pleasure for oneself.
As I learned the lam rim, the entire third scope (comprising 2/3 of all the lam rim steps) is precisely about how to cultivate selfless love, step by step. The first scope is about recognizing then reversing one’s negative habits and gaining favorable rebirth. The second scope is recognizing that even a favorable samsaric life is pointless suffering to be renounced. The third scope starts with cultivating an attitude of equanimity toward all beings and builds from there. The steps I learned for the third scope are these:

Cultivate Equanimity where we learn that all conscious beings are equally precious. Equanimity begins a progression through the 3 stages of love: Affectionate, Wishing, and Cherishing.

Recognize All Living Beings as My Mother, meaning I have affectionate love for each, as if I was experiencing each as my own mother.

Remember the Kindness of All Living Beings by realizing that every positive conventional thing depends upon all other beings (whether they intended it so or not).

Equalizing Self and Other is the notion that I can repay the kindnesses of my mothers and all beings by cherishing them all, just as I have always cherished myself.

Abandon Self-Cherishing because I notice that cherishing myself solidifies my delusions and causes suffering.

Cherish Others because I further notice that cherishing others reduces my delusions and causes happiness.

Exchange Self with Others means that for these reasons I change the imputation of ‘I whom I cherish’ to refer to all other beings instead of myself.

Have Great Compassion and through that exchange of ‘self’ I more fully appreciate the suffering of the cycle of rebirth and I am moved to the superior intention of acting to ease and then end it.

Take the Suffering of Others, or try to, because now I have the desire to act with compassion.

Wishing Love for Others, which is to say, as I attempt to relieve their suffering I wish all good things for them.

Giving Love to Others, now I imagine myself as a superior being capable of bestowing inner peace on all living beings.

But in reality, I can do very little as an ordinary being because I, too, am drowning in samsara and so I realize that to fulfill my loving desires I must attain enlightenment. This Generates the Bodhichitta intention.

In order to reach enlightenment I must take control of my mental processes and Attain Mental Stability.

And in conjunction with that, I must escape my delusions by Realizing Emptiness Directly.

(As a side note, I know it's sometimes better to have a simple, direct -- even memorable -- statement, but this teaching was very instrumental in turning me from Christianity where I learned "love your neighbor as yourself" and "love your enemy", but I never heard how.)
We who are like children shrink from pain but love its causes. - Shantideva

Post Reply

Return to “Lounge”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bakshi, friendly, narhwal90 and 68 guests