Love Encompasses All Human Beings

Love and affection are infinitely valuable. There are various levels of love and affection that we can aspire to. Some people describe how people love this way: Young people love with their words, middle-aged people love with their actions, and elder people love with their hearts. 

This means that as we age, our love matures. Spiritual development also deepens and expands our love.

Love starts at home. We love our spouse, our children, and our siblings. From here, we extend our love to our relatives and friends. Further, our love encompasses all human beings and then all beings. From a possessive kind of love, love matures into a giving kind of love, and finally into the enlightened love that bodhisattvas and Buddhas have for everyone. This kind of love is the great compassion that is described by the saying: “I will not seek pleasure just for myself. I long for all sentient beings to be free of suffering.”

Love is like water. On the one hand, it can nurture our lives; on the other hand, it can drown us. Thus, if we do not know how to love properly, love can bring us many problems and ruin our lives. If we are ordinary and selective about whom we love, instead of embracing all beings, the vast dimensions of love are hardly actualized. How do we love properly? Let me offer the following four guidelines:

  • Love wisely—We should use our wisdom to purify our love.
  • Love compassionately—We should use our compassion to manifest our love.
  • Love in accordance with the Dharma—We should use the Dharma to guide our love.
  • Love morally—We should use morals and ethics to direct our love.

Love is such an important subject of our lives. How do we love selflessly and offer our love to all? How do we transform a possessive love to a giving love, to a love for the Dharma? How do we purify our love from one of discrimination to one of great compassion? How do we love in the spirit of this common saying: “Cultivate our loving-kindness without conditions, and ground our compassion on oneness”? How do we manifest the true potential of affinity? These are very important questions for us to ponder! When we seek to go beyond ourselves and offer our love and affection in service to the community, then our lives and the lives of others will be more rewarding and more joyful!

From Living Affinity, written by Venerable Master Hsing Yun.

Image from Pixabay.

More Featured Articles

One of the biggest weaknesses in today’s society is that we have developed the habit of not saying we are sorry. Once we grow up and rise in status and knowledge, apologizing becomes harder and harder. But human beings are not perfect sages and we all make mistakes. Being able Read more
We all have our share of headaches and heartaches. Physically, we all have to face aging, sickness and death. Mentally, we have to deal with problems arising from greed, hatred and ignorance. The Chinese have a saying that aptly describes our predicament: “Heaven and hell sometimes end; the threads of Read more
Dharma is for people. There is one thing about the Dharma that I am completely sure of: the Dharma is for people. The Buddha’s teachings are not a cold philosophy designed merely to rearrange the concepts in our minds, they are a living act of compassion intended to show us Read more
Given that I have become a monk, I have placed demands upon myself. My sense of leaving the secular and focusing on the path must surpass others; my sense of self restraint and doing for others must be strengthened. I must learn to endure disadvantage, and I must let others Read more
It seemed that I had to do every­thing for Buddhism. For Buddhism, I have to only set the tone and not be­come the master, hand over my physi­cal body to the temple and give my life to the Dharma protectors, heav­enly beings and nagas, and making the aspiration to head Read more
The Buddha often explained emptiness and impermanence by getting people to think about how phenomena arise, change, and decline. Read more
We should not look at life just as the limited span of one person’s life; we should look at the larger life of the universe. While a person’s life may only span a limited number of years, its value is everlasting. Read more
It is only through loving-kindness and compassion that we can find room in our hearts to forgive others. It is only through our willingness to let go of resentment that we can find a way to magnanimity.  Read more
In the practice of meditation, once you have developed meditative concentration it does not matter if you are walking, standing, sitting, lying down, carrying firewood, or bringing water—every single action can suddenly lead to enlightenment and seeing intrinsic nature. For true Chan practitioners meditation is whatever they see in their Read more
All my life, many have thought of me as rich, but the truth is, staying poor has always been my motto. I grew up in a poverty-stricken family, yet I never saw myself as poor, because I always felt rich in heart. Till my old age, many have thought of Read more
In the Sutra of Forty-Two Sections, the Buddha asked his disciples, "How long is one's life?" One of the monks replied, "A few years." The next one answered, "A few days!" Another one said, "Less than one day!" Another responded, "Between meals!" Finally, the Buddha said, "Life lasts for the Read more
"To bear disgrace and insult" is the most important virtue a person can possibly cultivate, because the ability to forbear is enormously powerful, since a moment of anger can destroy an entire lifetime of merits. By restraining our emotions, we have a better chance of avoiding confrontation and gaining control Read more