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Love is not Enough

November 24, 2013

Love is not Enough

We have been taught to believe
that love is everything
the most important thing
and that it leads to happiness.

But I have heard
and have directly seen
that love is a selfish thing
and it leads to suffering.

Even a perfect love
will end in death
and you will be
bereaved and weeping.

Even love of God
is something human
born of our imagination.
Who can say it is forever?

What could be more than love?
Commitment to a path
that leads to the end
of all stress and pain.

Maybe I should explain this for those who are unfamiliar with the Buddha’s teaching. From the Buddha’s point of view, romantic love, or love of any impermanent object, is a form of mental illness. It is a kind of hysteria where we place the hope of continuing our existence, our identity, in the care of some external person, thing or ideal. Love may give some short-term distraction from our pain, but only sets us up for disappointment and suffering.

One of the greatest things I have learned in my long life journey, from Christianity to the Vedic path to the Buddha’s teaching, is that love is a false refuge. It never gives the ecstasy it promises—it only seduces us into making bad decisions that disempower us and make us dependent on the object of love.

However, commitment and devotion to something greater than ourselves, such as the path of the Buddha, is a noble cause that leads to cessation of suffering. It is a platform far more stable than love because it depends only on ourselves. Such a commitment helps us grow beyond the limits of selfish love, and empowers us to achieve great things, such as success in attaining enlightenment and perfection of the Noble Eightfold Path.

I would like to help my friends see this. It is not that I want to hurt their feelings, but to show them a more robust and satisfying way of living. We should not remain dependent on family, friends, partners, lovers, teams, clubs and religious groups. We should always be ready to walk away from it all. We can only do this is we have found shelter within ourselves that is better than any external refuge. And the way to do that is through putting the Buddha’s teaching into practice in our lives.

From → Buddhism, Ontology

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