Buddhist Belief – How Do You Love?

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
~~~ Buddha

I wonder how many of us believe we are basically controlled by the way we think? It’s interesting, but most people do have this impression. In so much of the reading and meditating I’ve been doing lately, I feel as though I’m learning how this is a misconception. I believe we are subject to our emotions and we think in ways which are based on our emotions. In some of the reading I’ve done relating to my Buddhist Belief, I see several references to teachings where Buddha outlined the Four Emotions of the Heart. There were also the Four Supreme Efforts for the Mind. These do tie together in may ways.

Buddhist Belief, meditation, nirvana, mindfulness, karma

Some of you may have read about the Four Supreme Efforts of the Mind. They are

1. Not to let an unwholesome thought arise which has not yet arisen
2. Not to let an unwholesome thought continue which has already arisen
3. To make a wholesome thought arise which has not yet arisen
4. To make a wholesome thought continue which has already arisen.

The Four Emotions of the Heart are:

1. Lovingkindness (Metta)
2. Compassion (Karuna)
3. Joy With Others (Mudita)
4. Equanimity (Upekkha)

In many of the religious teachings today, people are taught about heaven and hell. I know when I was young I was taught that heaven was up there somewhere in the sky and hell was down there somewhere below the ground. I know now that the ideas of heaven and hell are within all of us – and they are both something we can experience easily from time-to-time – often more of one than the other. :-)

These Four Emotions of the Heart enable us to live our lives with a wonderful quality. We can live with lovingkindness, compassion, joy with our fellow beings, and calmness, peace and composure.

Because of this wonderful quality of the heart called love, we are able to arouse love at will – even when there’s no apparent reason for it. It can just be there. For example, this past week, a friend, a person I didn’t know well at all, but a man with whom I had meditated in a small Buddhist Group here, had reached the final days of his life. As of this moment, as far as I know, he is still here, but could be leaving on his new journey at any time. We talked on the phone a few times over the past few weeks and we exchanged some thoughts via emails. I noticed a true love grow within me for this man. In our brief exchanges he has taught me many things about what living with end-of-life issues was all about. He shared his wisdom openly. Thank you, Bill.

When we look into the first of the Supreme Emotions, Lovingkindness, there is a tendency to equate this with what we think of as love as defined in our movies, books and TV programs. When we think of love, we see a couple of beautiful people attracted to each other in so many ways, physically, emotionally, intellectually and chemically. However, there seems to come into our lives at some point, a time where we realize we’ve been kidding ourselves. It just doesn’t work that way, does it? And, I’m one of those people who has spent a lifetime trying to figure this one out. At any rate, this movie/TV myth is what we think of as love in our day and age.

What we have learned from the teachings of Buddha, is this reality – Love is a quality of our hearts. Once we come to this realization – love is in all of us – we’d probably pay a lot more attention to it. Lately, I’ve been thinking about how much energy, time and money our developed societies have put into the development and training of the mind. Most people, from the time they are small children and until they grow old, are taught how to develop their minds. But where do we go to learn how to develop the love which is in our hearts? Since there aren’t any schools for this, at least as far as I know, we have to learn to do it on our own.

We can learn to develop our ability to truly love. Like anything else, it requires practice. If we want to strengthen our “love-skill”, it will take practice, just like perfecting any skill. This isn’t about “finding that certain someone”. It isn’t about doing all the vanity-type things to supposedly make ourselves “more lovable”. These ways of learning love will eventually only prove to be disappointing.

Looking at this from a Buddhist perspective, we can come to realize there isn’t anything to get. Once we latch on to the idea that love is about giving, not getting, we’re on our way. It’s not about wanting something for us – it’s about how to give to others. If we want to be loved, we’re truly just looking for a support system. If we want to give love, we’re looking at spiritual growth.

We also need to give love to ourselves. This is why we begin a Metta/Lovingkindness meditation by placing the focus on ourselves. That’s not egocentricity. If we don’t like ourselves because we have faults, or have made mistakes, we will transfer that dislike to others and judge them accordingly. We are not here to be judge and jury.

One of the beauties of a regular meditation practice is how it can help us to get over the illusion that we are separate beings. There is one creation and we are all a part of it. We don’t have to protect ourselves from loving. We seem to be afraid to love ourselves and others. We do this because we see the various faults we have in ourselves. We don’t tend to see ourselves as lovable. However, this is no reason not to love. Love is the warmth of the heart. Love is the connectedness we have with all things. All those beautiful people out there have many of the same faults as we have ourselves. All those people out there have unwholesome thoughts just like we do. Yet, they are no more unlovable than we are. Once we realize we can love ourselves, just as we are, there is a sense of peace. We don’t have to try to be something else. We can just be.

Love makes this possible. The real beauty here is when we learn to love ourselves with all our hangups, we can also learn to love others. We can let them “just be” as well, and we can love them just as they are.

Why not begin to practice this today? Remember this quote from Buddha:

“There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth — not going all the way, and not starting.”

Why not start today.

Here’s a great way to start ….

Metta ….“May I be well and happy. My I live in safety. May I be healthy and strong. May I live with ease. May all beings be well and happy. May all beings live in safety. May all beings be healthy and strong. May all beings live with ease.”

Namaste — Be in Peace.

Ron Rink


Ron’s Recommended Reading List

Just click the links that are sort of Grey in color to take you to where you can learn more about each book and how you can purchase a copy for your own library.

Anam Thubten — No Self – No Problem

No Self – No Problem
shows how to realize the ultimate meaning of life in each moment by dissolving all notions of ego-identity. It asks that spiritual seekers wake up to their true nature, which is already enlightened. Based on Buddhist wisdom traditions, this easy-to-read book discusses in simple, but profound and inspiring language, how we can live a life full of love, satisfaction, and happiness. No Self – No Problem

Sharon Salzberg — The Kindness Handbook

“It takes boldness, even audacity, to step out of our habitual patterns and experiment with a quality like kindness–to work with it and see just how it might shift and open up our lives. This book is an invitation to do just that. — From The Kindness Handbook

Eckhart Tolle’s amazing best seller, A New Earth

Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor’s wonderful book, My Stroke of Insight: Nirvana is just a breath away!

And this one by Sharon Salzberg and is entitled: A Heart as Wide as the World: Living with Mindfulness, Wisdom and Compassion“.

This is a new one for you by Pema Chodron entitled: When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times
Always remember this wonderful quote from Buddha ….

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”

~~~ Buddha

Shanti everyone, … (A sanscrit word meaning, “Let there be Peace. Peace, beautiful Peace. Peace within, Peace without. Peace in this world. Peace for all beings.”)

“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”

~~~ Buddha

Have a peaceful day!! —

Ron Rink

P.S. If you;d like to read my memoir/novel, you can access it here:

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2 Responses to “Buddhist Belief – How Do You Love?”

  1. Michelle Faubion Says:

    Your insight helped me process troubled thoughts today and improve my meditation and my relationship with myself.
    Thank you

  2. Ron Rink Says:

    @ Michelle — you are welcome! Thanks for the comment and I wish you peace.

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