This year the average American will spend $116 on Valentine's Day, which is a holiday in honor of love. In years past, I have boycotted Valentine's Day because of it's commercialism but this year I have decided to focus on the love aspect while discarding the consumerism that clouds this day dedicated to love. In honor of the true meaning of love, I would like to share several quotes from Buddhist thinkers on the subject. First, it is important to understand what true love is about.
Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh teaches that true love, is love that is given freely and unconditionally without expecting reward in return. Love that hinges upon the other person doing everything we like or want of them is not true love, but rather based on attachment, conditions and control.
But, one can not discuss love and Buddhism without mentioning the Metta Sutta or Sutra, which is claimed to have been spoken by Buddha, himself. I am not going to quote the full sutra here, but if you want to read it in its entirely, then click here:
Let none deceive another, Or despise any being in any state. Let none through anger or ill-will wish harm upon another. Even as a mother protects with her life, her child, her only child, so with a boundless heart should one cherish all living beings: radiating kindness over the entire world spreading upwards to the skies, and downwards to the depths; outwards and unbounded, freed from hatred and ill-will. Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down, free from drowsiness, one should sustain this recollection. This is said to be the sublime abiding. By not holding to fixed views, the pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision, being freed from all sense desires, is not born again into this world.Many people today look to His Holiness the Dalai Lama for inspiration and wisdom. So, I added a quote from him on the matter of love, it's importance and power:
If there is love, there is hope that one may have real families, real brotherhood, real equanimity, real peace. If the love within your mind is lost and you see other beings as enemies, then no matter how much knowledge or education or material comfort you have, only suffering and confusion will ensue" -His Holiness the Dalai Lama from 'The little book of Buddhism'It is my hope that you find love today and always. If you do not feel love from others then perhaps it's first important to focus upon loving yourself. It's hard to accept or believe true love when it presents itself to us if we don't accept that we deserve to be loved. And, I want all who read this to know that I deeply love you and care about you all; and hope that this day and many others will find you filled with that love as well.
You are not alone--imagine the world-wide sangha all coming together to acknowledge your worth and importance with a collective hug; feel the compassion and acceptance coursing from our hearts and veins into yours. But, don't forget to pass that love on to someone else!! May you we all soon be free from selfishness, hatred and self-loathing. These are all delusions that keep us from feeling the ever present love that is essential to a life without suffering in this universe.