Dharma talk during the 21 days retreat in Plum Village on the topic of True Love...
Source URL: http://staging.vimeo.com/6325476
Video Author: Thich Nhat Hanh
There is true sangha because there is harmony, brotherhood, joy, peace. A true sangha is has the quality of mindfulness, concentration, insight, peace and harmony, brotherhood, sisterhood. True sangha, buddha is there, when I breath out I greet the buddha, I know you are there, because the true sangha is there.
Buddha is not something abstract, but embody by the practice of sangha, if the buddha is there then the dharma also there. Buddha dharma and sangha is not something far away, it is right here and now in our sangha.
The teaching on love in buddhis tradition is very clear, we all need love because love make us happy, if it doesn’t then it is not a love. Love has a lot of meaning, but we had abuse love.
When we say I love hamburger, that love doesn’t mean anything, that is mean I like to eat hamburger, we need to heal the word of love or else it will lose it meaning, from time to time we need to cure / heal, make it healthy again. Love is a wonderful thing.
In Buddhist teaching, love is able to bring happiness, to offer happiness, to relief suffering, to offer joy, and to transcend all kind of separation barriers.
Maitri (Loving Kindness, 慈 )
Maitri is the first element of love, maitri has connection to mitra (mitta, friend, 友), love is friendship, friendship should bring happiness, otherwise what is the use of having friendship. To be a friend that is means to offer happiness, if love doesn’t offer happiness, love make the other person cries all the times, that is not love! That is not maitri!
Maitri is translated as loving kindness, loving kindness should be able to offer happiness, so true love must have this element. You don’t just love another person, you have to love yourself, because the ‘self love’ is the foundation of love for another person, if you don’t know how to love yourself or offer yourself happiness how can you be able to love and offer other person happiness? You don’t know anything about happiness, how can you offer happiness? Live in such a way that bring you joy and happiness, then you will be able to offer other person joy and happiness, we learned that happiness is something to do with suffering, if you don’t know suffering you don’t know what is happiness, so understanding suffering is the very foundation of happiness.
Good practitioner know how to deal the suffering inside, recognize painful feeling, how to embrace it tenderly, how to transform to bring relief, not to fight them but to accept them, that is love! If you don’t know how to handle a painful emotion, strong feeling in you, how can you help other person to do that?
Karuna (Compassion, 悲)
Second element of love is Karuna, Karuna is compassion, capacity of removing, relieving, transforming suffering. When you love someone, you are motivated to do something to stop suffering. If you don’t know how to handle suffering in you, how you can help the other person to handle their suffering? A good practitioner always learn how to handle the suffering in him or her first.
Buddha’s teaching is very clear, whenever there is a strong emotion arising such as anger, fear, despair; you should be able to be there for it, to recognize it as existing, not to fight it, learn how to embrace it, accept, you use mindfulness and insight in order to understand its nature and get a relief, then you will liberated yourself from your pain and sorrow. This is what we had to learn as a practitioner.
Buddha doesn’t just said, “You have to love and transform”, he even show the way how to love and the step how to transform ourselves, concrete step of removing suffering. Devote time to deal and transform our strong emotion, if you know how to do that then you will know how to help others, so to love oneself is very crucial as to love other person.
Buddha in the Satthipathana Sutta (Sutra on Four Establishment of Mindfulness) teach us how to bring the feeling of joy and happiness to us, using mindfulness and concentration you can always bring the feeling of joy and happiness, no need to use money or go to the shopping center, if you know the art of releasing, the art of mindfulness, concentration, and insight, you can bring joy and happiness anytime.
Mudita (Joy, 喜)
The Third element of love is Joy, if love doesn’t bring joy, why you have to love? If love only brings tears, why should we love? It is very clear that true love should have joy, you have to provide you with joy, there is must be way to bring joy to yourself, if you know how to bring joy to yourself, you know how to bring joy to him or her and to the world, so simple!
Mudita is just joy, if your joy is healthy then it can benefit other people, if you are not joyful and fresh, and not smiling that will not benefit us, if you have joy even you have done nothing we will profit from you! Joy is just joy!
The Buddha teaches us how to generate joy, compassion, and loving kindness in us. The first recommendation of Buddha is to leave it behind (離), there are things that we can release or let go, that alone can bring joy and happiness, this is an art! The joy and happiness that are born from releasing or letting go (離生喜樂), The joy and happiness that are born from mindfulness (念生喜樂), The joy and happiness that are born from concentration (定生喜樂), The joy and happiness that are born frominsight (慧生喜樂).
There are things inside of us and there are things outside of us that we want to grasp, and if we have enough insight we can let them go, suddenly we have a lot of joy! The first tactic is to learn how to release and let g!
Practicing true love no need to suffer with him or her, we must distinguish between the capacity to love and the willingness to love, you might motivated by the willingness to love but the more you love the more you make him or her suffer. So the willingness to love is not the love yet!
To love means to have time to look deeply, to understand the suffering, difficulties, when understanding be there it will be true love! So the love here doesn’t mean the intention or the willingness, but the capacity!
Upeksha (Inclusiveness, 捨)
The Forth element of True Love is Upeksha, in true love there is no longer discrimination, happiness is no longer an individual matter, his suffering, happiness, joy is her’s too, no barrier, no frontier between the lover and loved one, the abolishment of self, lover and loved one are one!
When you loved yourself, the lover is you and the loved one also you. Inclusiveness (upeksha), in true love you don’t exclude anyone, if your love is true, that will not only benefit human but also vegetals, animal, and mineral. To love one person is an opportunity to love everyone and all species. If you love someone and you got cut off then it is not true love.
The Original Love
Love born from our original need and original love, like a baby need mother. Baby fall in love with the smell, sound, and shape of mother, that is the original love, that love born from your need.
When one said “I love you I need you” is a natural thing. Now you are looking for partner to married, that is the continuation of the original love, the believe of “without someone I can not live” this believe from baby until now, the child in you is looking for mummy and daddy, and you are now looking for a partner.
You can say “I’m oke because my partner is there”, but the baby inside of you says “I’m oke because mummy is there or daddy is there.”
East and West
Kissing is interesting to notice, in Asia they use nose more then mouth. Using the nose you can recognize the person so pleasant. For baby the smell of mother is the most wonderful because “I need her!”
When in Asia they use nose to enjoy the smell of the other person, that is the continuation of the original desires, the desires to have that person close to us, desires to hear the foot steps is coming closer, all day and night as an infant we only hope to hear that sound, and be able to smell that special smell.
There is a connection between fear and desire, they are in fact are one thing. The original fear is that “No one will be there to take care of me, I’m helpless, I need someone otherwise I will die”, that fear and desire continues to survive until today.
True love made of 4 elements, true love is like a lamp or sun which shining, sufficient by itself to offer light for everyone. Not saying that I only offer light to certain people, not exclude anyone.
Sex is not love, sex is an instinct of preservation, every living things want to continue into future, not only human but also animal and vegetal world, having the desire to self reproduces, it is very nature.
Love is another thing, love is not sex. Sex is the mean to reproduces and continue, that is natural for human, animal and vegetal world, we should not mixed them up. We are not against sex, but we should not mixed it with true love. True love doesn’t have to do with sex, you can perfectly love without sex.
Possible for us to cultivate this 4 elements of love with the practice of bringing joy, peace and relieving suffering, the practice of releasing, mindful, concentrated, and getting insight, can handle and transform suffering inside of us, can bring joy and peace, that is love, you don’t need other person as an object to practice love, you practice love on yourself, when you succeed then loving other people is something very natural like the sunshine make many people happy. You are like Buddha, you love everyone and every species.
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Last Updated (Sunday, 30 August 2009 09:54)