Romantic Love

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Bundokji
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Re: Romantic Love

Post by Bundokji » Wed Jul 15, 2015 5:40 pm

Hello Aloka :smile:

Our ideas of romance and relationships in general has been affected a lot by mainstream media which in most cases does not propagate anything that is praiseworthy.

Our modern life style encourages self-centeredness and role playing (no wonder divorce rates continue to rise), but I believe that there are still people in our world who are capable of experiencing pure love based on mutual respect and selflessness.

To sum up, its not always what we do, but how we do it that matters. A wise human being might look from the outside as everyone else, but the interplay of forces within her would be completely different.
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Peace :anjali:
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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robertk
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Re: Romantic Love

Post by robertk » Wed Jul 15, 2015 5:42 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Alex123 wrote:I believe that since nature wants us to reproduce, romantic love is just a way of talking to cover (maybe even from oneself) the real instincts.
Possibly, but as the Venerable makes quite clear, romantic love can be far more that that, which certainly been so for me in the last 20+ years I have been with my one and only dear true.
That is really nice to hear Tilt! :anjali:

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tiltbillings
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Re: Romantic Love

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Jul 15, 2015 5:42 pm

clw_uk wrote:
Could you expand, as I get the feeling I'm being exceedingly dense
The Venerable is putting romantic love into a context of an actual, practical practice of the Brahma Viharas, which I think, and I know, is reasonable and doable, and is a real way of bringing Dhamma practice to one's daily life with another human being at a kitchen sink, day-to-day, face-to-face, level.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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tiltbillings
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Re: Romantic Love

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Jul 15, 2015 5:45 pm

robertk wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Alex123 wrote:I believe that since nature wants us to reproduce, romantic love is just a way of talking to cover (maybe even from oneself) the real instincts.
Possibly, but as the Venerable makes quite clear, romantic love can be far more that that, which certainly been so for me in the last 20+ years I have been with my one and only dear true.
That is really nice to hear Tilt! :anjali:
Thank you.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

dhammarelax
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Re: Romantic Love

Post by dhammarelax » Wed Jul 15, 2015 6:05 pm

clw_uk wrote:tilltbillings -
Interestingly, you really are not addressing what the Venerable had to say.

I thought I touched upon it:

"What I meant was that romantic love can be a source of worldly happiness"


Which the venerable discussed in terms of the 4 brahma viharas, unless I missed something?
Hi clw_uk

I am afraid I have to point to you that he is not discussing it in terms of the 4 Brahma Viharas, ostensibly the 4rth Brahma Vihara (Equanimity) is absent from the video, its is replaced with "Inclusiveness".

smile all the time
dhammarelax
Even if the flesh & blood in my body dry up, leaving just the skin, tendons, & bones, I will use all my human firmness, human persistence and human striving. There will be no relaxing my persistence until I am the first of my generation to attain full awakening in this lifetime. ed. AN 2.5

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Aloka
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Re: Romantic Love

Post by Aloka » Wed Jul 15, 2015 6:18 pm

I know couples who've been together for years, who still have tender, loving relationships and some of them aren't even Buddhists .

Also, my dear (non-Buddhist) maternal grandparents were devoted to each other right into their old age. My grandfather died first and then a couple of years later when my grandmother was dying, she said that at last she was going to be with my grandfather again and died peacefully. It was very touching.




.

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Aloka
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Re: Romantic Love

Post by Aloka » Wed Jul 15, 2015 6:40 pm

dhammarelax wrote: I am afraid I have to point to you that he is not discussing it in terms of the 4 Brahma Viharas, ostensibly the 4rth Brahma Vihara (Equanimity) is absent from the video, its is replaced with "Inclusiveness".
Ven Hahn's interpretation of equanimity is here - and I think the parts I've underlined could be termed "inclusiveness":
The fourth element of true love is upeksha, which means equanimity, nonattachment, nondiscrimi­nation, even-mindedness, or letting go. Upe means “over,” and ksh means “to look.” You climb the mountain to be able to look over the whole situation, not bound by one side or the other. If your love has attachment, discrimination, prejudice, or clinging in it, it is not true love. People who do not understand Buddhism sometimes think upeksha means indifference, but true equanimity is neither cold nor indiffer­ent.If you have more than one child, they are all your children. Upeksha does not mean that you don’t love. You love in a way that all your children receive your love, without discrimination.

Upeksha has the mark called samatajnana, “the wisdom of equality,” the ability to see everyone as equal, not discriminating between ourselves and others. In a conflict, even though we are deeply concerned, we remain impartial, able to love and to understand both sides. We shed all discrimination and prejudice, and remove all boundaries between ourselves and others. As long as we see ourselves as the one who loves and the other as the one who is loved, as long as we value ourselves more than others or see others as different from us, we do not have true equanimity. We have to put ourselves “into the other person’s skin” and become one with him if we want to understand and truly love him. When that happens, there is no “self’ and no “other.”

Without upeksha, your love may become possessive. A summer breeze can be very refreshing; but if we try to put it in a tin can so we can have it entirely for ourselves, the breeze will die. Our beloved is the same. He is like a cloud, a breeze, a flower. If you imprison him in a tin can, he will die. Yet many people do just that. They rob their loved one of his liberty, until he can no longer be himself. They live to satisfy themselves and use their loved one to help them fulfill that. That is not loving; it is destroying. You say you love him, but if you do not understand his aspirations, his needs, his difficulties, he is in a prison called love. True love allows you to preserve your freedom and the freedom of your beloved. That is upeksha.

For love to be true love, it must contain compassion, joy, and equanimity in it. For compassion to be true compassion, it has to have love, joy, and equanimity in it. True joy has to contain love, compassion, and equanimity. And true equanimity has to have love, compassion, and joy in it. This is the interbeing nature of the Four Immeasurable Minds. When the Buddha told the Brahmin man to practice the Four Immeasurable Minds, he was offering all of us a very important teaching. But we must look deeply and practice them for ourselves to bring these four aspects of love into our own lives and into the lives we love.

http://www.mindfulnessbell.org/wp/tag/mudita/

:anjali:
Last edited by Aloka on Wed Jul 15, 2015 8:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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waterchan
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Re: Romantic Love

Post by waterchan » Wed Jul 15, 2015 6:55 pm

dhammarelax wrote: In a nutshell I dont think he is teaching Buddhism.
I see where you're coming from, but you have to consider the audience he's speaking to. Much of Thich Nhat Hanh's audience is comprised of the average Joe who is just looking for some meaning and warmth in his life. If the venerable had instead said:
Romantic love is a distraction. The opposite sex is a distraction. In fact, the Buddha praised seclusion and solitude over worldly relationships. After all, you don't really exist anyway. Go and practice jhanas at the foot of tree trunks if you want a good chance at not being reborn as an animal after you die.


that would close doors for further communication with half of the audience.

dhammarelax
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Re: Romantic Love

Post by dhammarelax » Wed Jul 15, 2015 7:26 pm

waterchan wrote:
dhammarelax wrote: In a nutshell I dont think he is teaching Buddhism.
I see where you're coming from, but you have to consider the audience he's speaking to. Much of Thich Nhat Hanh's audience is comprised of the average Joe who is just looking for some meaning and warmth in his life. If the venerable had instead said:
Romantic love is a distraction. The opposite sex is a distraction. In fact, the Buddha praised seclusion and solitude over worldly relationships. After all, you don't really exist anyway. Go and practice jhanas at the foot of tree trunks if you want a good chance at not being reborn as an animal after you die.


that would close doors for further communication with half of the audience.
I completely agree, I followed a very popular teacher of similar style for about a decade, what I observe is that he should give this advice saying is his own not the Buddhas, nothing wrong in that, I think that will help people to find the warmth but also to realize that there is something higher: the true Dhamma. Had I heard that from my teacher I would have gained interest in what actually the Buddha taught earlier, but because we have all this teachers asserting shamelessly that this or that is what the Buddha taught the audience stays on that that level thinking that what they are getting is the final teaching.

smile all the time
dhammarelax
Even if the flesh & blood in my body dry up, leaving just the skin, tendons, & bones, I will use all my human firmness, human persistence and human striving. There will be no relaxing my persistence until I am the first of my generation to attain full awakening in this lifetime. ed. AN 2.5

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DNS
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Re: Romantic Love

Post by DNS » Wed Jul 15, 2015 7:27 pm

Jack Kornfield wrote a book several years back titled After the ecstasy, the laundry and I believe it was about various spiritual teachers and seekers who went off alone, had spiritual experiences and then when they returned to lay life discovered how much work they still had to do (the laundry). Kornfield himself struggled with relationship issues after disrobing as a Thai forest monk and found much of his progress after he settled down in a relationship and marriage.

Of course everyone is different and to each their own but a relationship can be a real test of the brahma viharas and your progress in general. But I am not saying one should have a relationship for the sole purpose of testing yourself! :tongue: But for those who do choose a relationship it can be a great way to share what you know with someone intimately and you can progress together. Ideally, a partner would be on the Path with you and it can be a great kalyana-mitta to have.

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mikenz66
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Re: Romantic Love

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Jul 15, 2015 7:46 pm

Thanks Aloka, Here's a transcript from the Youtube link:
The Buddha is a teacher of love, true love. Love for mother earth should be true love. And if it is true love, it can bring a lot of happiness to you and to mother earth. And romantic love, if it is true love, it can also bring a lot of happiness. But if it is not true love, it will make you suffer, and make the other suffer as well.

And in the teaching of the Buddha, true love needs four elements. First of all, maitri, loving kindness, that is the capacity to offer happiness. If you cannot offer happiness, that’s not true love. In romantic love, if you are not able to help the other person [be] happy, that’s not true love. So you should train yourself in order to be able to offer happiness to you and to him or to her. Without that, both will suffer.

The second element of true love is compassion. Compassion is the kind of energy that can help remove suffering. It can help transform the suffering in you and in the other person. If you cannot transform and take care of the suffering in you and in [the] other person, that is not true love. That is why karuna, the second element of true love, should be cultivated by you and by the other person. Romantic and not romantic, that’s not important. The important [thing] is it is true love or not true love. Right? And the third element of true love is joy. If by loving you make the other person cry all the time, and you cry all the time, that’s not true love, romantic or not romantic.

True love is inclusiveness; that you do not exclude. His suffering is your suffering, his happiness is your happiness. There’s no individual suffering and happiness any more. In true love, there is the element of inclusiveness, non-discrimination, there’s no separation, there’s no frontier, between you and the other person. In that spirit, you cannot say “That’s your problem.” No. Your problem is my problem. My suffering is your suffering. So this is true love, the forth element of true love. And if romantic love has these four elements, it can bring a lot of happiness also. And the Buddha never said negative things about true love.

And romantic love, if you are successful, you will cultivate a lot of loving kindness and compassion, and very soon, your love will be all-embracing. The other person is no longer the only object of your love, because your love continue[s] to grow and your love will embrace all of us. And happiness become[s] limitless. And that is the love of the Buddha. That is the meaning of the forth element of true love, inclusiveness. If it is true love, then it will continue to grow, and include more and more and more, not only humans, but also animals, vegetables, and minerals, and that is great love, maha-karuna, maha-maitri. And that is the love of the Buddha.
I like the way he expresses how "true love" includes both the four brahmaviharas and selflessness.

:anjali:
Mike

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tiltbillings
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Re: Romantic Love

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Jul 15, 2015 7:48 pm

dhammarelax wrote: In a nutshell I dont think he is teaching Buddhism.
In your opinion, and in my opinion he is teaching, in this video talk, applied, kitchen sink, face-to-face Buddhism.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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SDC
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Re: Romantic Love

Post by SDC » Wed Jul 15, 2015 10:45 pm

It isn't so much that 'romantic' love is not supported by the suttas, but what is taught is the development of a fundamental approach for the well being of all (metta) which goes waaaay beyond the bounds of romantic love - to the point that the two can barely be compared. In fact, it is arguable that to even call metta 'love' or 'loving-kindness' does it a disservice since the prerequisites for romantic and/or platonic love are many (often case specific) while those for metta are few, if any, save the goal of the path itself.

Obviously just my take.

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Alex123
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Re: Romantic Love

Post by Alex123 » Wed Jul 15, 2015 11:56 pm

Romantically loving one person means that one doesn't romantically love all the other people.


Why does love has to be exclusively to one woman or a man? Why can't one love all people?
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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samseva
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Re: Romantic Love

Post by samseva » Thu Jul 16, 2015 12:42 am

In the translation of mettā, loving-kindness (or loving-friendliness), 'loving' is an advective to the noun 'kindness'. It is therefore a kindness characterized by love and not the other way around.

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