Buddhism sees love at it’s core. Loving kindness is one of the most important teachings of Buddhism. Buddhism teaches love is important in order to attain Nirvana. But in order to understand the kind of Love that Buddhism teaches we must first differentiate Love vs. Attachment.
Love VS. Attachment
What is love and what is attachment. In the day to day sense many people mistake love as holding on to someone and clinging on to a feeling. But it is not. In Buddhism, we are taught to seek out freedom. Freedom is the ultimate goal of Buddhism. Freedom from suffering is Enlightenment; it is Nirvana.
But many times, people misunderstand love. They think that holding on is love. They think that fighting for love is love. But these forms of love are not the kinds of love that Buddhism teaches.
There are four types of Love that Buddhism teaches:
1. Loving Kindness
This love is not the selfish love. It is the love that frees oneself from claiming. It is the sort of love that cares and nurtures. Loving kindness is also being kind to others. It is not just being kind to the person we think we love but being kind to all.
Love entails compassion. Compassion is needed in order to really love. But this compassion is not just compassion for others, but also compassion for oneself. We need to learn to be compassionate to ourselves to fully show others love. This means looking after our needs, not in a selfish way but in a self nurturing way.
Compassion is also helping those who need our help. It is when we pick people up instead of putting them down. It is when you forget blame but instead show kindness and mercy.
3. Appreciative Joy
Appreciative joy means valuing each and every second given to us. We appreciate our time here in this plane of existence. We also appreciate people around us. We also appreciate those who hurt us, because they teach us patience.
Appreciative joy is the total opposite of attachment. This is the kind of happiness we draw from the small wonders given to us but not claiming them us our own. It means that when a beloved dies, we do not become angry or we do not feel loss because we know that we had spent a wonderful time with them.
It is also understanding that there is nothing permanent in life and that everything is fleeting. And because everything fades away, we do not expect anything to be with us forever.
Equanamity is the state of mental calmness. It is the feeling of a still pond that reflects the sky on it’s surface. Equanamity allows a person to find grace and composure even in the moments of great distress. It means not being angered by others around us. It means trying to understand what causes others to be hateful and angry and not reciprocating that anger.
So as you see, in Buddhism, Love is Liberation. Love is not selfish or self-seeking, it is something that that liberates. So you see, love is NEVER ABOUT ATTACHMENT.
What is Attachment?
Many people think that attachment is just selfishness but it is not. Attachment is holding on to something which is unnatural to us. Remember that anything that is not inherent to us causes us suffering and thus, attachment causes suffering.
Attachment comes in many forms. At lot of times people misconstrue attachment for love. They tend to become jealous, angry and upset. They also tend to fear being alone. They fear death. Attachment causes DUKKHA or suffering.
Selfishness may not be obvious in most relationships. We tend to want the person to be only ours. We get jealous and angry. We try to make them stay. We want their time and attention. This causes suffering on both parties.
Selfishness requires people we “love” to act certain ways around us, while loving kindness allows them to just be.
Fear is another form of attachment. We become afraid of losing people. We become afraid of death. We become afraid of being hurt. Fear causes many disagreements and hate because we are afraid. When we learn compassion, we forget fear. Compassion teaches us to be kind to ourselves and not hold on to fear. We also let go of fear when we have equanamity.
3. Pain – The truest forms of love does not cause pain, but brings about joy and bliss. Even if death comes, we do not feel pain because we are thankful that we had the experience of having that person join us even for a short time. Attachment causes pain because when we tightly hold on to something, we lose our freedom. And lack of freedom causes us to struggle.
Love is never angry. Love is pure and considerate. It is never demanding or hurtful. When we love, we accept and we forgive. But a lot of times, attachment causes us to be angry. We expect people that we love to act a certain way towards us. When they fail to achieve this expectation, we get hurt and become resentful and ANGRY.
True Love Shines
True love is like a light in a dark tunnel that leads the way. It is a way to achieve Nirvana and freedom. A lot of times we think that love is just for those we like and those close to us. But that is not love. Love is universal. Love is giving respect to all life. Love is gives bliss, not only in happy times but also in those moments of trials and tribulations.
True love is strength. True love is never selfish, it is giving and kind.