Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Love and Loving Kindness

    Love and Loving Kindness
     By KKhemananda

             Suffering is the dis-ease of living that nobody can deny.  Although sometimes, some periods when life seems to satisfy our demand, we feel happy but it is never permanent.  It changes, somehow from the great success, which gave much joy and happiness, slipping into great suffering when things change.  Moreover, happiness without self-awareness causes one to suffer.  When happiness fades away, all that is left is the desert of lonesome memory.  It is sad to think of the bygone days, which never return. 
            Love is, surely, wholesome, and hatred is ugly.  But if we did wrong with love, we may yearn for it till our last breath.  Hatred too may destroy your heart as love does.
            Everyone loves to love and to be the beloved, and everyone really needs love.  But why does love create fear, jealousy, anger, and finally despair?
            When one loves, one always hopes to see the love-seed grows to perfection as the big banyan tree grows bigger from its seed.  But what is wrong with our heart when love changes to hatred.  Why does love open a severe wound at our heart instead of remedy?
            In Thai terminology, there are no words calling lovers as ‘honey’ or ‘sweet heart’.  They have a literary meaning for that as ‘Yajai’.  ‘Ya’ means medicine, and ‘jai’ means heart.  So yajai means the remedy at heart.  The Thai Buddhists view things on the basis of suffering which is one of the 4 Noble Truths taught by the Buddha.  Love of the lovers, husband and wife, is the best remedy for the inner wound, and lonesomeness. Psychologically, while one is in sorrow or great difficulty, one needs remedy from his or her consort.  Buddhistically, one needs a ‘spiritual friend,’ a true friend, in order to be aware of what arises in one’s mind.  So to say, beside the person as our consort, the awareness is our best friend.  Awareness is the forerunner of understanding lonesomeness, sorrow, despair, and fear etc.  To understand this through seeing their very nature, of how it comes and goes, is the dawn of love.  Since love takes root in the soil of understanding oneself as the other.  And love always responses and cares for that.
            Ignorance itself is the great obstacle of love.  It grows into egoistic feeling and self-centeredness. Finally, it closes the door of one’s heart to prevent the other to share and breathe the open space of intimacy.  One may turn to be a dry-heart person, lack of inner space that sensitivity is stagnant and absent. 
            To love is to accept the others as if oneself, care not whether she/he is dark, white or brown skin, beyond nationality, class or caste.  To hate is to attach to separatism and grasps hallucination as real.  Hence, looking down and looking up high confuse oneself with comparison.  And always miss the noble and pure look into the essence of the heart of the other as if oneself. 
            Ultimately, all sentient beings share the same heart, as all plants share their roots, on the same planet Earth.
            Physically, all sentient beings share their foods from the same source – Nature.  The body of every sentient being is the component of natural elements. They are earth, water, heat, and wind.  It is wrong when one says, “This is my wind, my earth” and so on.  Or “This is an American fire” or “This is Chinese heat.”  Besides, the mind or consciousness is beyond grasping.  It is generalized and universal as the four elements.  Mind is a kind of knowing element.  No one can possess it as land or house. To say “This is my mind and I am a woman, so my mind is female” is a grave error.  Mind is beyond sexes. In general, we suppose to say so to succeed our affair in communication. 
            Life is universal and the so-called individuals share in that nature.  As the essence of life is the pure awareness or Bodhi, so to say, essentially we are one, sharing the same source of food from the mother Earth, sharing the same seed of Bodhi and are growing to be the Bodhi tree, in order to fulfill the forest of oneness.  We are ongoing the way of insight and mercy.  These two sides of one golden coin are our treasures that we have and use every while and everywhere we roam.
            If you ask me “how to use this coin?” My answer is “You must meditate in order to open the door of your heart.  Since insight and mercy are originated at heart.  Whenever one feels at heart, one feels whole.  The whole is united at heart that feels.  So to say, feeling of the whole is love.  Love is universal – as life is.
            But why war, hatred, revenge, and carnage?  How do we understand this fact and how do we take responsibility on that?
            I have no answer in mind, as you are, feeling sad and pity on those who are confused with thoughts and ideas.  This violence is always caused by the intellectuals who are confused.  It never arises in the simple mind.  It always caused by the value system and theoretical attachment.  It never arises from the innocent one who possesses no power.
            Is love power?  In fact, love needs power for care taking.  Beside pure awareness, patience is the power in need for love.  And only patience can prove what love means.  Thus, love is the maintenance of the feeling at heart, and love gradually mutates from weakness, childish, and emotional to inner strength, grown-up, and courage, till able to accept departing from the beloved and be free from all tragedies.  Patience is the loving power and it is always accompanied by humbleness.
            Love of the one who knows is to love without attachment, without being possessive or dominant.  These we know very well and we really need such love, but almost always we do not know how to detach and be freed properly.  Detachment for us means no love.  Thus, it creates a distance and dead space between others and us. 
            We really need a de-centralized meditation to penetrate through space.  A kind of meditation that makes us feel intimate with our self-nature, and gain insight into the undifferentiation, the fountainhead of universal love of the one who knows.
            We, average people, are also the seed of that knowing nature.  So we may love those who are nearby us, devoted to the whole with the same universal essence.
            For the Buddha, after he attained great enlightenment, he tended to not teach the world of that unspeakable Dharma.  He thought that the people are merely attached to egoism and grasping it permanently, and also they love to lead their lives in darkness.  It would be hard and waste his time to teach.  The scripture mentions that when he thought so, the Mara (demon) sent his most beautiful daughters to entice him and to try to married him. One of the most beautiful daughters is namely Arati.  It means the lack of love or love-less-ness one.  Thus, the obstacle of loving-kindness is love-less-ness itself.  Love-less-ness is truly the heart-less-ness.
            For the Buddha Dharma, it is the way of insight wisdom and compassion. It guided the Buddha to walk miles after miles for more than 45 years, helping the people to see the truth of life, in order to free themselves from bondage.
            The Buddha said: love gives birth to sorrow and fear.  Such love is a kind of attachment, and from the egoistic feeling that gives birth to fear of losing and sorrow.  In short, when one falls in love, one loses oneself to delusion and ignorance.  But he also said, “I have considered in all directions, and found nothing comparable to one’s love for self in Dharma.”
            Love of self-nature is the foundation of all kinds of love. They are: parent, husband, wife, friends, neighbors, sentient beings, mother Earth and so on.  Such love is not an art nor science.  It needs no dramatized emotion nor rational determinism.  A pure feeling of giving fearlessness, love is.  Never forced, though empowered, yet allow the young mind to naturally learn the lessons with deep sympathy, able to wait in equanimity for the change to come.
            Love is the best strategy to change the obstinate mind to recognize goodness of love itself.
            Though love is not art nor science, but always gives birth to great art of all wonders and great scientific discoveries.
            Loving-kindness always supports the world and holds human’s heart so that it will not fall into a hell of separatism, self-centeredness, and selfishness.
            For those who are always kind to all sentient beings, his or her mind is naturally soft and easy going with meditativeness and happiness.
            All prophets of all religions are the speakers of truth, and what they acted and preached most was love. Neither in the past, present, and the time to come, love is mentioned as a spiritual food along the path of mankind of all generations.
            And if we are not confused with theoretical discussion about the path and destiny, somehow, love is our own path as well as destiny.  We need freedom for loving-kindness.  Freedom without love is meaningless.
            If we really love ourselves, we also know that the other loves themselves too.  When one knows and feel at heart on that, his or her sense of living will naturally move from existence to co-existence along with attitude of helping each other than destroying or competing.  When one helps the others, one also lifts up oneself from stagnant feeling and narrowness. 
            So to say, giving or helping is the very gesture of love.  Neither chances, things, fearlessness, nor knowledge, giving is the hands of the heart that loves. And if there are the “eyes” of Insight Wisdom in the palms of giving, it is truly the best gift.  As we see in the palms of Avalokitesavara (or KuanYin) statue.  That is the personification of Prajna and Karuna (intuition and kindness).
            In both giving and receiving, we need the awareness in order to understand whether the actions may mislead and corrupt loving-kindness.  Hence, giving and receiving grow to fulfill the very meaning of self-less-ness and emptiness.
            Our heart that loves will sing a song of celebration when we find that all obstacles are actually the benefactors.  And enemies and strangers are merely our friends we just meet.
            I do not know what love is, but it is good to love and to be loved.  And if love and wisdom are of the same golden coin, I take the love side.  

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