Buddhism and Love

Many people who explore Buddhism are shocked to discover that the teachings have little-to-nothing to say about romantic love. The Buddha himself, although married early in life, at a young age broke the covenant with his wife and son to live alone, seek enlightenment, and teach.

Today, Buddhists are not encouraged to seek romantic love. It’s not forbidden, but romantic love, marriage, and childrearing are recognized as worldly roadblocks on the spiritual path. Even Zen Master and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh speaks of love only in its universal applications. He has nothing to say about romance.

But we all want to connect to love. The great opportunity we have as humans is to give and receive love under all circumstances, to all sentient beings. ‘Lovingkindness’ as it’s expressed in Buddhism is called ‘Metta’. Metta is inclusive, not discriminatory, and unconditional. It extends to everyone, everywhere, all the time.

From a Buddhist perspective, love grows continually, and embraces everyone in the cosmos. It is expressed through kindness and compassion. In loving all, your suffering becomes my suffering: your happiness becomes my happiness. There is no frontier between the one who loves and the one who is loved.

Metta plants seeds in the midstream of others, who also want to connect with love. It eases others’ suffering. It is karma that generates more karma. It brings us closer to enlightenment.

Pray the Prayer of the Four Immeasurables every day:

May all sentient beings have happiness
and the cause of happiness;
may all sentient beings be free from suffering 
and the cause of suffering;
may all sentient beings never be separated from
the happiness that knows no suffering;
may all sentient beings live in equanimity,
free from attachment and aversion.

Today is Valentine’s Day. Do you want to be surrounded by love? Receive love by engendering it. Cultivate Metta in your life. Extend love to all, even those who want to be your enemies. Return anger with forgiveness, unhappiness with happiness, war with peace, lies with truth, cruelty with compassion, fear with courage, death with life.

This is real love, true love. This is the love of the Buddha.

Live in peace.

Popular Posts