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Thread: Jundo Tackles the 'BIG' Questions - V (Love)

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    Jundo Tackles the 'BIG' Questions - V (Love)

    Another lovely 'BIG' question today ...


    What place does love have in buddhism, if attachment is discouraged?
    Wow, good question!

    Of course, when we are talking about any emotion as powerful as "love" all neat formulas and theories can go right out the window in the face of a broken heart ... but let me try this anyway.

    A great insight of Zen philosophy is that we may live, all at once, from many different perspectives, seemingly opposing (but held without the least opposition), all true yet each different; conflicting views experienced simultaneously without the least conflict ... In our Buddhist Practice, we learn to hold each and all simultaneously. So many of the Koans are just about tasting that 'conflict free of all conflict'.

    So, we drop all attachments, let things be as they are, do not become emotionally bound to the people and events of the world, calm the emotions, accept that everything in this world is impermanent and will not last ... allowing all to be born when it is born, end when it ends without regret or resistance ...

    ... on one 'channel', while on another 'channel' ...

    ... we fall in love, deeply in love ... feel our emotions, do not run away from involvements and ties ... rejoice at birth and cry with grief at the end of a long relationship ...

    ... both 'channels' tasted at once without the least discord.

    The result is something like this: Being completely and passionately in love at this moment, yet willing to release it all when the time for endings has come. Being fully with your loved one when with them (yet somehow apart), being away when away (yet feeling an unbreakable bond that cannot be broken). We then cry with grief and loss for our lost love one, even as hand-in-hand, we also are tasting that which has not loss or gain, and by which no separation of 'us' from 'our loved one" is possible. All at once.

    Furthermore, we learn not to be a slave to our emotions, that all things must be kept in balance and moderation. One can know love, but should not be its prisoner. Cry with a broken heart, yet taste that which can never be broken.


    Gassho, Jundo


    PS - If later "Zen Buddhism" represents an improvement on the original "formula" of early Buddhism, one way is precisely in this. Namely, early Buddhist theory emphasized only the first part of the formula (dropping all attachments, breaking relationships, calming the emotions) but had not yet mastered how to do so effectively amid the relationships and emotions. That was a discovery of the Mahayana, and especially of Japanese sensibilities which never quite wanted to leave this world behind. Western Buddhism, with its increasing emphasis on lay practice, has further developed this way of tasting life. It is a formula that works.

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