According to modern Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddha teaches us four elements of what makes true love. According to Hanh, true love is something that makes you happy and the other person happy.
The four elements described follow several Dharma, which is the Sanskrit word meaning ‘to hold or keep; maintain.’ Many eastern religions contain Dharma within their philosophies and theologies, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism. In Buddhism, Dharma is also a word closely associated with phenomena. Buddhism itself originated around the 6th century BCE in India, where it spread around most of Asia over the next few centuries. Buddha or Siddhartha Gautama was an enlightened teacher and philosopher, who paved the way toward a middle road between the complete abstinence of indulgence to the enjoyable indulgence of the senses.
Thich Nhat Hanh is a profound modern Buddhist Zen Master, whose published works in Buddhist literature span across four decades. Thich Nhat Hanh’s lesson on the four elements of true love, bring us to four distinct Dharma that we can incorporate into our own relationships.
1) Maitri: Thich translates this word as ‘loving kindness, with the power to ‘offer happiness.’ He later goes on to teach us that, “when we are able to create a feeling of happiness or joy for ourselves, that is true love.” When you help another person feel this same kind of joy, that is what loving kindness or Maitri is all about.
2) Karuna: Thich describes this word as “the capacity to make yourself suffer less and help the other person suffer less.” The ability to use our suffering to better understand how others might feel, to put things into perspective and help each other get through and ease that suffering, is what Karuna is all about.
3) Mudita: Thich explains that “If love does not bring joy, then it is not love. If love makes the other person cry every day, it is not love. If love makes you suffer every day, then it is not love.” Mudita is joy. We must create Mudita in order to feel Maitri, which in turn helps us learn Karuna. Without Mudita, there cannot be love.
4) Upeksha: This is inclusiveness. To Thich, Upeksha is the idea that there is no distinction between who people loving. It’s like bowing to Buddha, and Buddha bowing back. If one person is doing the bowing, there is no Upeksha. Thich says “In true love, your suffering is her suffering, your happiness is her happiness.” There is no individual self in true love. There is no frontier. Each of you shares a feeling of Upeksha, which keeps you connected and all-inclusive.
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