Dalai Lama on limited love

A person bedazzles us. Whether chemistry or karma, we call it love.  We say we love our children, our spouses, our parents….

As stated by His Holiness, the embodiment of Tibet, “There are also two kinds of love and compassion. There is true compassion, also called love with reason, and there is the usual kind of love, which is very much involved with desire and attachment.  Love or compassion based upon attachment is limited and unstable. It is mainly projection.”Perhaps the person who attracted us loses interest in us. We may be relieved, hurt, or angry. True love, love with reason, does not waver. Even a mother’s love may fluctuate according to the child’s behaviour.

The love drama, explained by the Dalai Lama, is almost comical. He says, “For example, someone very beautiful appears and you want him or her to become yours.  That kind of love is based on illusion.  As soon as the situation changes slightly, this attitude changes also. Today you are in love, but tomorrow you may feel hostile. Isn’t that true?  With true compassion, you can see the other person’s suffering, and your love develops from that. With this kind of love, as long as the other person is suffering, you can face it. That is not a projection.”

In the 1950s when the world learned the plight of the Tibetans, the hundreds of thousands slaughtered, imprisoned, and forced to escape during Mao Zedong’s invasion, little effort was made to stop the massacres.Since, millions of compassionate hearts have joined the effort to free Tibet, pleading with the Chinese government to stop the continuing persecution and to give Tibetans back their country. This activism is love with reason. It is non-violent, altruistic in nature and helpful.

On the other hand, the Dalai Lama says, “Love based on attachment is not at all helpful.  It just brings us irritation. But love based on reason is something that we need.  With this kind of love whether you say, “my friend” or “my enemy,” there is no difference. Your enemy suffers, and your friend also suffers. Since both are suffering, it is the same.  This is the key: whether a person is your enemy or your friend, it doesn’t matter.”

Essentially, activists for a free Tibet discovered not only Tibetans but millions of Chinese are also exploited. This is a direct result of world businesses using cheap labor in China while home-based workers go without jobs.

“The Buddhist approach is, first of all, to reflect on our faults and then to reflect on the long-term, destructive consequences of them. In Buddhism, there is a lot of emphasis on meditating on the truth of suffering. This may be a bit depressing, but when we see our faults clearly, we also see the possibility of freeing ourselves from them. Seeing our faults has very much to do with our capacity for awakening.”

We can save ourselves by relying on ourselves. Instead of limited love, we can express love with reason.

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