What is true love? – according to Buddha – by Thich Nhat Hanh

True love is something that helps you to suffer less and helps the other person to suffer less. True love is something that makes you happy and makes the other person happy. True love can help you to have more freedom.

In the teachings of the Buddha, there are four elements of true love.

1. Loving Kindness

The first is maitri means ‘loving kindness’. Maitri has the power to offer happiness. When you are able to generate a feeling of joy and happiness to yourself. That is true love offered to yourself. If you can generate a feeling of joy and happiness and help the other person to generate a feeling of joy and happiness. That is loving kindness. That is true love. So if you are a true lover, you can create happiness for you and for him or her. According to our teaching, it is not so difficult to create joy and happiness. Just breathe in and recognize the many conditions of happiness and joy that are already available. Generating joy and happiness for you and for the other person.

2. Sufferless

The second element of true love is the capacity to make yourself suffer less and help the other person suffer less. We have learned that there is an art of suffering. If we know how to suffer, we suffer much, much less. We can make good use of suffering in order to fabricate understanding and love. You can help the other person to suffer less, to transform suffering in her, in him. That is the second element of true love: compassion, karuna. The Buddha is able to help people to suffer less. His compassion is great. It is called ‘mahakaruna’, great compassion. As we continue to practice, our karuna continues to grow. One day, it will be mahakaruna.

3. Joy

The third element of true love is joy, mudita. If love does not generate joy, it is not love. If love makes the other person cry every day. It is not love. If love makes you suffer every day, that is not true love. True love is capable of generating joy for yourself and for the other person. In the last four days, we have learned how to produce a feeling of joy.

4. Inclusiveness

The fourth element of true love is upeksha, inclusiveness. In true love, you don’t see any frontier between the one who loves and the one who is loved. It is like bowing to the Buddha: The one who bows and the one who is bowed to between them there is no frontier. That is why the communication is perfect.

In true love, your suffering is her suffering, your happiness is her happiness. There is no individual suffering or happiness anymore. No discrimination, all inclusive, is the fourth element of true love. Equanimity, that can be translated as inclusiveness. You begin with yourself and the other person. But if you continue with this practice of true love, your heart will open, grow, and very soon you will include all of us in your love. You do not exclude anyone, anything from your love. That is the love of the Buddha. No discrimination about race, citizenship, religion or anything. That is the element of non-discrimination. That is the element of inclusiveness.
That makes you very free, very happy and makes your love unlimited. In true love, you continue to grow, your love continues to grow until it embraces every one in the cosmos.

By Thich Nhat Hanh

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