Thursday, February 11, 2016
Thay Thich Nhat Hanh on true love versus romantic love
The Buddha is a teacher of love, true love. Love for mother earth should be true love. And if it is true love, it can bring a lot of happiness to you and to mother earth. And romantic love, if it is true love, it can also bring a lot of happiness. But if it is not true love, it will make you suffer, and make the other suffer as well.
And in the teaching of the Buddha, true love needs four elements. First of all, maitri, loving kindness, that is the capacity to offer happiness. If you cannot offer happiness, that’s not true love. In romantic love, if you are not able to help the other person [be] happy, that’s not true love. So you should train yourself in order to be able to offer happiness to you and to him or to her. Without that, both will suffer.
The second element of true love is compassion. Compassion is the kind of energy that can help remove suffering. It can help transform the suffering in you and in the other person. If you cannot transform and take care of the suffering in you and in [the] other person, that is not true love. That is why karuna, the second element of true love, should be cultivated by you and by the other person.
Romantic and not romantic, that’s not important. The important [thing] is it is true love or not true love. Right?
And the third element of true love is joy. If by loving you make the other person cry all the time, and you cry all the time, that’s not true love, romantic or not romantic.
True love is inclusiveness; that you do not exclude. His suffering is your suffering, his happiness is your happiness. There’s no individual suffering and happiness any more. In true love, there is the element of inclusiveness, non-discrimination, there’s no separation, there’s no frontier, between you and the other person. In that spirit, you cannot say “That’s your problem.” No. Your problem is my problem. My suffering is your suffering. So this is true love, the forth element of true love.
And if romantic love has these four elements, it can bring a lot of happiness also. And the Buddha never said negative things about true love.
And romantic love, if you are successful, you will cultivate a lot of loving kindness and compassion, and very soon, your love will be all-embracing. The other person is no longer the only object of your love, because your love continue[s] to grow and your love will embrace all of us. And happiness become[s] limitless. And that is the love of the Buddha. That is the meaning of the forth element of true love, inclusiveness. If it is true love, then it will continue to grow, and include more and more and more, not only humans, but also animals, vegetables, and minerals, and that is great love, maha-karuna, maha-maitri. And that is the love of the Buddha.