What Love Is and What Love Is Not

Romance Stories of True Love No 50 Harvey, 1958 SA

I picked out a book today from my personal collection called Buddhism In A New Light written by Shin Yatomi.  Lately, I pick up books and begin reading on whatever page I open to.  I might open the book up in the middle or even the end. My perspective is that whatever guidance I need for the day is revealed to me in that simple moment of action.  The section I traveled upon in this particular book is a chapter called “What Love Is Not.”  Here are some golden nuggets I gleaned from that section.

What Love Is…..

1.  Love is the ability of one to act for the happiness and freedom of another person.  However, to do this we must first develop our own character and build our inner strength.

2.  True love fosters ability and self-reliance.  It does not cultivate nor encourage dependency or submissiveness.  To do so would be controlling (i.e. not loving).

3.  True love is first developed from within and not sought from without.  As the saying goes, we cannot truly love another until we love, accept, and value ourselves first.

4.  In order to love more genuinely, we must first pay attention to our own character development and the development of our inner strength.  Love, especially when we are learning to love ourselves, requires confidence which is not to be confused with arrogance.  Basing our feelings of self-worth on that of another will only lead to misery and unhappiness.

5.  Freedom from our fundamental darkness is an essential ingredient, and this happens when we awaken to our innate sense of self-worth.  In a Buddhist world, this would mean awakening to your true nature, that of Buddhahood.

“We can lose ourselves in romantic attachment, but the truth is, the euphoria is unlikely to last for long.  Indeed, the likelihood of undergoing suffering and sadness only grows over time.  As long as we remain unable to redress our own weaknesses, we will be miserable no matter where or to whom we may take flight.  We can never become truly happy unless we ourselves undergo a personal transformation.”

Daisaku Ikeda

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