Archive for the ‘guest blogger’ Category

What is LOVE?

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Note: Way back at the beginning of April, a few of us in the YWP hosted a Day of Dhamma for the UC Riverside Buddhist Student Association (BSA). The topic for the day’s teachings was the ever popular topic of “love”. Below is a thoughtful reflection from James, one of the participants that day:

love love love

Source:  Hyoin Min, www.flickr.com/photos/nyoin

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LOVE. Love is universal; everyone experiences love, whether with their family, friends (or acquaintances), or in some cases with complete strangers. I had a general idea of what love was, caring for that person and worrying for that person, but I knew that every individual has a different interpretation of what love is. Some people think it’s showing affection, jealousy, worrying for others, taking time for others, buying them things, etc. If you asked me a couple of years ago I would have agreed with people who thought of these concepts about what love is. Upon learning about Buddhism, I have come to understand what true love is.

One day a Buddhist monk asked a group of us, “What is love?” Before I learned about Buddhism I would have answered how most people would have responded to this question—taking time for others, worrying about them, jealousy, etc. This monk advised us that showing compassion or taking time for others is part of love but worrying about individuals or jealousy is not. I was amazed as to why not. He told us that jealousy and worrying about people is actually a “sign” of attachment towards another person. I was lost since I thought that being attached to people was a good thing? It was an expression of my love towards that person. The monk further explained how being attached to things or people leads to suffering because someone day that thing will be gone or the people we love will pass; everything is impermanent in life. He explained that it does not mean that we should be indifferent to people—that is not what it means—we should show compassion to a point where we are not attached to individuals or items. This idea of what love is made sense.

Love is a complex emotion that we experience, but we must shift away from the type of love which leads towards attachment. I have come to learn about metta, or loving-kindness, a pure, unconditional and selfless love for yourself and others. This form of love is something great and a wonderful gift to express to others; hopefully these people will pass it on. So go to a person you love or a stranger and express metta!

~Guest post by James , member of the UCR Buddhist Student Association (BSA)

 

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It’s a Part of Nature

Monday, April 25th, 2011

Over a month ago, I was watching Ajahn Brahm’s lecture, “Transcending Disasters,” on Youtube during my free time. Little did I know that an actual natural disaster would strike – the tsunami in Japan. According to the news, the major earthquake had left Japan in shambles with its buildings in ruin and its citizens homeless and without basic amenities.

It’s hard to avoid the question of, “Why?” when the disaster had left the people of Japan in such a terrible situation. We may find ourselves asking, “Why did this happen to them? What did they do to deserve this misfortune?”

However, the reality is that bad things just happen; it’s a part of nature. As much as we would like to figure out why things played out the way they did, it just doesn’t work like that. All I kept on thinking about was what Ajahn Brahm had been saying. He had speaking the truth all along: Natural disasters happen, for they are part of living in the world, and what matters in the end is how we deal with these natural disasters.

We could easily spend a lifetime pitying ourselves and others for the tragedies we experience, or we can acknowledge that bad things happen, then help one another the best we can, and ultimately grow from these experiences. I choose the latter.

~Guest post from Grace, President of the UCR Buddhist Student Association (BSA)

 

Mo’ Metta Mo’ Betta

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Metta, or loving-kindness, is a pure, unconditional, and selfless love for yourself and others. According to the Buddhist Teachings, metta is defined as the strong wish for the happiness and well-being of yourself and others, and words and actions that flow from this wish. Loving-kindness and wisdom go hand in hand.

Metta is radically different from our conventional and sensationalized Hollywood understanding of romantic love, which is typically based on desire, attraction, possessiveness, and self-interest. Metta is a form of love that is boundless and doesn’t discriminate. It isn’t based on your relationships, identity, preferences, or any other conditions, including what the other person has done for you lately!

You don’t share metta with this person but not that person. You don’t just share it only with people you like of a particular gender, race, personality, or status; you share it with other living beings without exception. And unlike “respect”, which is so conditional and relative, metta is both unconditional and constant. It can be described as a universal and unattached love since it seeks the happiness of literally all living beings, without limit and without seeking anything in return. In other words, metta is a “true love” that doesn’t revolve around “me”, “mine”, and “I.”

Just ask yourself when was the last time you even considered the happiness and well-being of not just your family, friends, partner, but ALL living beings? Metta isn’t just a nice pleasant thought or wishful thinking; it is a way of life and an attitude, a state of mind and being, and a skill that you can develop and improve with practice. By practicing it, we are literally training our minds and expanding its capacity to be kind and loving, positive and caring. We are also learning how to love in a wise way that doesn’t create suffering for ourselves and others.

And the good news is that everyone is capable of this kind of love. In the words of one wise monk, “It is a miracle that such a love exists, and that every single human being has the ability to develop it.” To start cultivating loving-kindness, you have to start with yourself first and foremost. The sincere aspiration for your own happiness and well-being is the very foundation of your happiness and all positive actions you do for yourself and the world. The Buddha once said that we can search the entire world and not find someone more deserving of loving-kindness than OURSELVES.

It’s not hard to spot people who have strong metta; in fact sometimes you can feel the energy of metta when they enter a room. And then there are those great beings who have made a profound impact on human history by embodying loving-kindness. Take a moment to think about just how powerful of an act this can be – to do our best to express and radiate kindness through our thoughts, words, and actions, at all times and at all places. Metta truly is a “love revolution”, a revolution that starts in the heart and ripples out into the world.

~Guest post by ST