Urban Dharma Newsletter...
March 1, 2004
This Issue: Love in Buddhism
1. Loving Eyes (tib. Chenrezig)
2. Buddhism: Love ...Contributor: Sakoun Sok, NY
3. Love in Buddhism
4. Love as the basis of Spiritual Growth ...Ven.
Prof. Dhammavihari Thera
5. How would Buddha love? ...Lama Surya Das
6. Temple/Center/Website: California Vipassana
7. Book/CD/Movie: A Dictionary/Encyclopedia of Buddhism - 999
Pages - (4.7 MB) - Free Download
all means marry.
If you get a good wife or husband, you'll be happy.
If you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher.
- - Socrates
Loving Eyes (tib. Chenrezig)
Eyes is the white, four armed Buddha aspect, symbolizing
the united love and compassion of all Buddhas. His mantra OM
MANI PEME HUNG is used worldwide in most Buddhist traditions.
The six syllables purify the six realms of exsistence:
OM purifies pride - the god's realm,
* MA purifies jealousy - the realm of demi-gods,
* NI purifies desire / attachment - the human realm,
* PE purifies stupidity - the animal realm,
* ME transforms greed - the realm of hungry ghosts,
* HUNG transforms hate and anger - the hell realm.
Buddhism: Love ...Contributor: Sakoun Sok, NY
rich man said to the Buddha, "I see you are the Awakened
One and I would like to open my mind to you and ask your advice.
My life is full of work, and having made a great deal of money,
I am surrounded by cares. I employ many people who depend on
me to be successful. However, I enjoy my work and like working
hard. But having heard your followers talk of the bliss of a
hermit's life and seeing you as one who gave up a kingdom in
order to become a homeless wanderer and find the truth, I wonder
if I should do the same. I long to do what is right and to be
a blessing to my people. Should I give up everything to find
Buddha replied: "The bliss of a truth-seeking life is attainable
for anyone who follows the path of unselfishness. If you cling
to your wealth, it is better to throw it away than let it poison
your heart. But if you don't cling to it but use it wisely,
then you will be a blessing to people. It's not wealth and power
that enslave men but the clinging to wealth and power.
teaching does not require anyone to become homeless or resign
the world unless he wants to, but it does require everyone to
free himself from the illusion that he is a permanent self and
to act with integrity while giving up his craving for pleasure.
whatever people do, whether in the world or as a recluse, let
them put their whole heart into it. Let them be committed and
energetic, and if they have to struggle, let them do it without
envy or hatred. Let them live not a life of self but a life
of truth, and in that way bliss will enter their hearts."
Love in Buddhism
definition of love in Buddhism is: wanting others to be happy.
love is unconditional and it requires a lot of courage and acceptance
"near enemy" of love, or a quality which appears similar,
but is more an opposite is: conditional love (selfish love).
opposite is wanting others to be unhappy: anger, hatred.
result which one needs to avoid is: attachment.
definition means that 'love' in Buddhism refers to something
quite different from the ordinary term of love which is usually
about attachment, more or less successful relationships and
sex; all of which are rarely without self-interest. Instead,
in Buddhism it refers to de-tachment and the unselfish interest
in others' welfare.
offering three hundred bowls of food three times a day does
not match the spiritual merit gained in one moment of love.'
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'
Love as the basis of Spiritual Growth
...Ven. Prof. Dhammavihari Thera
us see how Buddhism presents and develops its concept of love
or respect and concern for all that lives. The Buddha preached
and maintained that all life in the universe is a product of
natural evolution, each little thing therein in the diverse
eco-systems possessing its own right to exist. This thinking
blossomed out in Buddhism's greatest contribution to mankind,
namely the concept of mettà [Skt. maitrã
] or universal loving kindness. One loves every other
thing in the universe in a direct relationship of one to another,
without a mediator or creator. We are, after all, in the world
we live in, a part of a complete network. Inspite of our differences,
we are integrated into a whole and each one of us loves to be
loved. Therefore harmony and healthy relationships of one to
another are considered a must which necessarily leads to a smooth
running order in the universe.
a very high note as it were, in his personal admonition to his
own son Rahula in the Mahàràhulovàda Sutta [
M.1.424 ], the Buddha tells that the cultivation and practice
of mettà or universal loving kindness, dispels the
unwholesome mental frame called enmity or hostility.
It eliminates the possibility of 'coming into conflict with'
those around us. This conflict and confrontation is referred
to as vyàpàda and is considered as leading
thereafter to violence or vihimsà. [Mettaü
hi te Ràhula bhàvanaü bhàvayato yo vyàpàdo
so pahãyissati. loc.cit.].
loving via the medium of mettà, one expects nothing
back as a return or reward. Love in mettà knows
of no bleeding hearts, with or without arrows piercing through
them. This concept of love also brings along with it the cognate
virtue of equality [or egalite]. In love, all
have to become equal, and where honest equality prevails love
must know no barriers, as known or unknown, friendly or otherwise.
Not even as I and another. The amount of love one is required
to give to others cannot in any way be less than what one wishes
and expects others to bestow upon oneself.
like ' He who loves himself harms not another ' [Tasmà
na hiüse paraü attakàmo as at S.1.75] or
' Taking oneself as the norm [i.e. that one likes to be loved
and treated with respect ] let one cause no harm or injury to
others ' [Attànaü upamaü katvà na haneyya
na ghàtaye as at Dhp. v. 129] clearly indicate
the Buddhist self-stand [attåpanàyika] judgement
in the practice of love towards others. This applies to all
grades of life [sabba-pàõa-bhåta-hita-anukampã],
literally all living things.To us, this practice of love does
not appear as an injunction that one must love oneself first,
and then and thereafter, extend love to others. The direction
given is that one must love others to the same extent that one
wishes to be loved by others. That is the meaning of attànaü
upamaü katvà = taking oneself as the model of
loving. It certainly does not mean giving priority to oneself.
Buddhist concept of love has the capacity to extend not only
from human to animal but also from animal to the world of plants
as well. There are schools of scientists in the world today
who maintain that the world of plants also yearn for love and
care. They claim that plants react very specifically to human
emotions like love and cruelty in their own way. Besides, the
plants as an integral part of our ecosystem have to be treated
with utmost respect and recognition. For in the guarantee of
their survival lies our own survival. There seems to be very
little doubt about that. We shall discuss elsewhere, from the
Buddhist point of view, about their being animate or inanimate,
sentient or insentient. At any rate, it appears to be the greatest
day in the life of a Buddhist saint when he sees no difference
between his own body of flesh and blood and the trees and the
grass that grow in the wild around him. So wishes Thera Tàlapuña
in verse No. 1101 of the Theragàthà.
will that ever be, when I can compare
All infinite components of which I am made,
Those within me, with those without
Like trees and grass and creepers that trail ?
them all equal , well and true !
will such vision , mine ever be ?
by the author]
nu kaññhe ca tiõe latà ca khandhe ime '
haü amite ca dhamme
Ajjhattikàn ' eva ca bàhiràni samaü
tuleyyaü tadidaü kadà me. Thag. v.1101
Buddhism, this practice of universal loving kindness or mettà
is called ' the Godly way of living ' or brahma-vihàra.
It knows no revenge. It is one of four gradually upgraded qualities
of love. Collectively they are also called 'sates of unbounded
or magnanimous living' : appamàna-vihàra or
appama??a. The other three are compassion or karuõà
, appreciative [not sympathetic] joy or mudità and
equanimity or upekkhà . We wish to stress here adequately
the word living [vihàra]. These aspects of love
cannot remain as mere thoughts in one's head or as mere wishes
on one's lips. They must necessarily get translated into a philosophy
of living. It must indeed be lived. If wishes were horses, then
beggars would be kings. By virtue of their being life-toners,
they are literally soul-elevating. They enrich our lives as
we live that way. Hence they are called Brahma-vihàra
, i.e. Godly or Heavenly Modes of Living.
the same time, universal loving kindness [or universal acceptance
of friendship with everything that lives] practiced in this
manner contributes to the much needed Buddhist virtue of ego-destruction
or ridding oneself of the menacing notion of I and mine [ahaükàra-
mamiükàra- mànànusaya ]. This absence
of ego is the basic character of the goal of Nirvana. The over-inflation
of the ego or self-hood is said to stand in the way of true
happiness in this life as well as in the way of final release
out of the painful round of births and deaths of saüsàra.
It warps and distorts good human relationships. It takes the
lubricants off our interpersonal relationships.
we know we love ourselves and we know love plays such a great
role in our lives, let us give this freely to others. Let none
in the world we live in suffer for want of love. And let none
suffer because we do not truly practice love towards all that
live, like ourselves. Let us not forget our callous disrespect
for the lives of others and the pain we thereby bring upon them.
How would Buddha love? ...Lama Surya Das
one's thoughts towards spirituality
of the same intensity as those towards love,
would become a Buddha
this very body, in this very life."
the Love Poems of the Sixth Dalai Lama
Day is one of my favorite American holidays. The fact that this
heart-centered if over-commercialized day falls around the same
time as Tibetan New Year reminds me to make new year's resolutions
relating to those I love and renew my commitment to cultivating
goodness of heart. These resolutions usually involve opening
my heart and mind; listening better; learning to forgive and
to love even those I don't like; and coming to accept and bless
the world, rather than fighting with it or trying to escape
from it. As Zen Master Dogen says: "To study the Buddha
Way is to be intimate with all things."
say we are here in this world to learn and to evolve in consciousness.
Certainly primary among life's lessons is how to love and to
love well, and to BE love, as well to give and receive it. I
believe love is central to happiness, growth and fulfillment.
would Buddha love? By seeing every single being, human and otherwise,
as fundamentally like himself, and thus able to treat them and
love them in the way he would be treated. We call this infinitely
benevolent, selfless love, Bodhicitta or the Awakened Heart,
the very spirit of enlightenment.
can find this taught beautifully in the "Loving-kindness
Sutra"; in Shantideva's classic "The Way of the Bodhisattva";
in Atisha's "Mind Training and Attitude Transformation";
and in Togmed's "Thirty Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas"...
As well as in the Old Testament.
relationship and every single encounter can be a vehicle for
meaningful spiritual connection, through the transformative
magic of Bodhicitta. Buddha taught that this Bodhicitta or spiritual
love has four active arms, known as the Four Boundless Heartitudes,
and four expressive faces known as the Four Forms of Compassion
in action. This is how we love, Buddha-style: impartial to all,
free from excessive attachment or false hope and expectation;
accepting, tolerant, and forgiving. Buddhist nonattachment doesn't
imply complacence or indifference, or not having committed relationships
or being passionately engaged with society, but rather has to
do with our effort to defy change and resist the fact of impermanence
and our mortality. By holding on to that which in any case is
forever slipping through our fingers, we just get rope burn.
love is based on recognizing our fundamental interconnectedness
and knowing that all beings are like ourselves in wanting and
needing happiness, safety, fulfillment, and not wanting suffering
and misery. The Dalai Lama says, "If you want to be wisely
selfish, care for others." All the happiness and virtue
in this world comes from selflessness and generosity, all the
sorrow from egotism, selfishness, and greed.
immaculate image of Buddhist love is the four-armed Avalokitsevara,
known as Chenrayzig in Tibet and Kuan Yin in China. Each of
his/her four arms represent one of the Four Boundless Attitudes,
and each one of her four radiant faces or aspects - peaceful,
magnetizing, powerful, and fierce-express one of the four styles
or modes of active compassion.
might, for example, think of Buddhist spirituality as peace-loving,
calm, virtuous and nonviolent; but in the case of a child or
a pet running into the street, the active sides of compassion's
calm heart spontaneously blaze forth, even as the loving center
remains unchanged. Thus, the selfless Bodhisattva could possibly
use force for the greater good, to protect, or to prevent harm
and so forth, and need not be passive in the face of danger
or when there is need for skillful, appropriate action.
first arm of Buddhist love is maitri or lovingkindness, a boundless
feeling of friendliness and wishing well for others. Maitri,
or metta in the Pali language, implies friendliness: befriending
and accepting yourself, your body and mind, and the world.
second is karuna, or compassion, empathy, being moved by feeling
what others feel. The third arm is upeksha, equanimity, recognizing
the equality of all that lives. This recognition leads to the
wisdom of detachment but not indifference or complacence, which
are its near enemies.
fourth arm is mudita, spiritual joy and satisfaction. This includes
rejoicing in the virtue and success of others, -- the antidote
to envy and jealousy.
essence of Buddhist relationship is to cultivate the cling-free
relationship, enriched with caring and equanimity. It is helpful
in intimate relationships to communicate honestly, stay present,
tell the truth of your experience using I-statements rather
than accusations and judgments, and honor the other enough to
show up with an open heart and mind and really listen.
becomes compassion when we bring it into the path, when we recognize
every moment in life as a possibility of awakening. Human love
and sexual consummation can be like the tip of the iceberg of
divine love, an ecstatic intimation of eternity, a portal to
infinite depths of the groundlessness and boundarylessness that
transports us beyond our limited, egoic selves. People often
ask me how to find their Soul Mate, or even if I believe in
such a concept. I think that rather than focusing on past lives
or on finding the perfect mate in this world, we would generally
do better to work on improving and developing ourselves. Make
yourself the "perfect" mate, without being too perfectionistic
about it, and you will be a good mate with almost anyone. When
your heart is pure, your life and the entire world is pure.
all feel the desire to possess and be possessed, to love and
be loved, to connect and be embraced and to belong. However,
I think that the most important thing in being together is the
tenderness of a good heart. If our relationships aren't nurturing
the growth and development of goodness of heart, openness, generosity,
authenticity and intimate connection, they are not serving us
or furthering a better world.
truly love people I have learned that I need to let them be,
and to love and accept and appreciate them as they are (free
of my projections and illusions) and not as how I would like
them to be. This is equally true for loving and accepting oneself.
Henepola Gunaratana writes, in his "Eight Mindful Steps
to Happiness: "Whatever attitudes we habitually use toward
ourselves, we will use on others, and whatever attitudes we
habitually use toward others, we will use on ourselves. The
situation is comparable to our serving food to ourselves and
to other people from the same bowl. Everyone ends up eating
the same thing--we must examine carefully what we are dishing
notice that children let go of anger and would rather be happy
than right, unlike so many of us adults. Like them, my dog reminds
me that love is a verb, not a noun. Staying present in this
very moment, through mindful awareness and paying attention
to what is-- rather than dwelling on the past or the future,
or on who I think I am and who I imagine others are-- helps
free me from excess baggage, anxiety and neurosis - and opens
me to love.
California Vipassana Center
Box 1167; North Fork, CA 93643
559.877.4386 Fax: 559.877.4387
California Vipassana Center, in North Fork, CA, is dedicated
to the practice of Vipassana meditation as taught by S. N. Goenka.
This technique gradually eradicates all inner suffering.
Center is in the Sierra foothills south of Yosemite. It lies
four hours from San Francisco and five from Los Angeles, with
bus, rail, and air connections an hour away in Fresno.
of oak, pine, cedar, and manzanita occupy the bulk of the 109-acre
site, and are complemented by a tranquil pond and a broad meadow.
newly constructed meditation hall allows expanded courses of
100 students or more; other recent additions include a teachers'
residence and accommodations for meditators working long-term
at the center. Plans are moving forward for a complex of individual
Interview with S. N. Goenka on the Technique of Vipassana Meditation
interview first appeared in the Winter 2000 issue of Tricycle:
N. Goenka has been teaching Vipassana meditation for thirty-one
years and is most widely known, perhaps, for his famous introductory
ten-day intensive courses, which are held free of charge in
centers all around the world, supported by student donations.
Born in Mandalay, Burma in 1924, he was trained by the renowned
Vipassana teacher Sayagyi U Ba Khin (1899-1971). After fourteen
years of training, he retired from his life as a successful
businessman to devote himself to teaching meditation. Today
he oversees an organization of more than eighty meditation centers
worldwide and has had remarkable success in bringing meditation
into prisons, first in India, and then in numerous other countries.
The organization estimates that as many as 10,000 prisoners,
as well as many members of the police and military, have attended
the ten-day courses.
N. Goenka came to New York this fall for the Millennium World
Peace Summit at the United Nations. He was interviewed there
by Helen Tworkov.
by Chris Dinerman
According to some people, Vipassana is a particular meditation
practice of the Theravada School; for others, it is a lineage
of its own. How do you use the term?
Goenka: This is a lineage, but it is a lineage that has
nothing to do with any sect. To me, Buddha never established
a sect. When I met my teacher, Sayagyi U Ba Khin, he simply
asked me a few questions. He asked me if, as a Hindu leader,
I had any objection towards sila, that is, morality. How can
there be any objection? But how can you practice sila unless
you have control of the mind? He said, I will teach you to practice
sila with controlled mind. I will teach you samadhi, concentration.
Any objection? What can be objected to in samadhi? Then he said,
that alone will not help—that will purify your mind at
the surface level. Deep inside there are complexes, there are
habit patterns, which are not broken by samadhi. I will teach
you prajna, wisdom, insight, which will take you to the depth
of the mind. I will teach you to go to the depth of the mind,
the source where the impurities start and they get multiplied
and they get stored so that you can clear them out. So when
my teacher told me: I will teach you only these three—sila,
samadhi and prajna—and nothing else, I was affected. I
said, let me try.
is sila generated by watching the mind?
I began to learn Vipassana meditation, I became convinced that
Buddha was a not a founder of religion, he was a super-scientist.
A spiritual super-scientist. When he teaches morality, the point
is, of course, there that we are human beings, living in human
society, and we should not do anything which would harm the
society. It's quite true. But then—and it's as a scientist
he's talking here—he says that when you harm anybody,
when you perform any unwholesome action, you are the first victim.
You first harm yourself and then you harm others. As soon as
a defilement arises in the mind, your nature is such that you
feel miserable. That is what vipassana teaches me.
if you can see that mental defilement is causing anxiety and
pain for yourself, that is the beginning of sila and of compassion?
you can change that to compassion, then another reality becomes
so clear. If instead of generating anger or hatred or passion
or fear or ego, I generate love, compassion, goodwill, then
nature starts rewarding me. I feel so peaceful, so much harmony
within me. It is such that when I defile my mind I get punishment
then and there, and when I purify my mind I get a reward then
happens during a 10-day Vipassana course?
whole process is one of total realization, the process of self-realization,
truth pertaining to oneself, by oneself, within oneself. It
is not an intellectual game. It is not an emotional or devotional
game: "Oh, Buddha said such and such . . . so wonderful
. . . I must accept." It is pure science. I must understand
what's happening within me, what's the truth within me. We start
with breath. It looks like a physical concept, the breath moving
in and moving out. It is true. But on the deeper level the breath
is strongly connected to mind, to mental impurities. While we're
meditating, and we're observing the breath, the mind starts
wandering—some memory of the past, some thoughts of the
future—immediately what we notice is that the breath has
lost its normality: it might be slightly hard, slightly fast.
And as soon as that impurity is gone away it is normal again.
That means the breath is strongly connected to the mind, and
not only mind but mental impurities. So we are here to experiment,
to explore what is happening within us. At a deeper level, one
finds that mind is affecting the body at the sensation level.
causes another big discovery . . . that you are not reacting
to an outside object. Say I hear a sound and I find that it
is some kind of praise for me; or I find someone abusing me,
I get angry. You are reacting to the words at the apparent level,
yes, true. You are reacting. But Buddha says you are actually
reacting to the sensations, body sensations. That when you feel
body sensation and you are ignorant, then you keep on defiling
your mind by craving or by aversion, by greed or by hatred or
anger. Because you don't know what's happening.
you hear praise or abuse, is the response filtered through the
psychological mind to the bodily sensations, or is it simultaneous?
is one after the other, but so quick that you can't separate
them. So quick! At some point automatically you can start realizing,
"Look what's happening! I have generated anger." And
the Vipassana meditator will immediately say, "Oh, a lot
of hate! There is a lot of hate in the body, palpitation is
increased . . . Oh, miserable. I feel miserable."
you are not working with the body sensations, then you are working
only at the intellectual level. You might say, "Anger is
not good," or "Lust is not good," or "Fear
is not—." All of this is intellectual, moral teachings
heard in childhood. Wonderful. They help. But when you practice,
you understand why they're not good. Not only do I harm others
by generating these defilements of anger or passion or fear
or evil, I harm myself also, simultaneously.
is observing the truth. With the breath I am observing the truth
at the surface level, at the crust level. This takes me to the
subtler, subtler, subtler levels. Within three days the mind
becomes so sharp, because you are observing the truth. It's
not imagination. Not philosophy or thinking. Truth, breath,
truth as breath, deep or shallow. The mind becomes so sharp
that in the area around the nostrils, you start feeling some
biochemical reaction that means some physical sensation. This
is always there throughout the body, but the mind was so gross
it was feeling only very gross sensations like pain or such.
But otherwise there are so many sensations which the mind is
not capable to feel.
A Dictionary/Encyclopedia of Buddhism - 999 Pages - (4.7
MB) - Free Download
Seeker's Glossary of Buddhism: A Dictionary/Encyclopedia of
Buddhism - Sutra Translation Committee of USA/Canada
is a revised and expanded edition of 'The Seeker's Glossary
of Buddhism.' The text is a compendium of excerpts and quotations
from some 350 works by monks, nuns, professors, scholars and
other laypersons from nine different countries, in their own
words or in translation.
to use the Glossary: This book can be used in threeways: to
find the definition of unfamiliar terms; to gain a broader understanding
of specific Buddhist concepts; and also as an introduction to
Buddhism. In the last instance, we suggest that readers begin
with the entry on Parables, then move on to Practice,Obstacles
to Cultivation and Ten Non-Seeking Practices. Other
entries of a more contemporary interest can be read with benefit
by all. These include: Birth Control, Organ Transplants,
Vegetarianism, Universe, Immortality.
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