Higher Insight and Buddhist Love

Part 2. Love of our Buddhist practice changes our mental outlook on what is important and what is not important. We might even find special secret delight to see our meditation cushion, our altar objects, or even our mala prayer beads. You should treat this delight respectfully and not have false sophistication or be cynical saying to yourself, "Oh, how silly of me, I am acting like a kid." Maintain a very careful love relationship with your meditation practice. I do not know, maybe sometimes you could hug your mala. Personally, it delights me inside to express joy of practice in this very clean and innocent manner.

A meditator might sometime experience anxiety about their practice objects such as who do I allow to touch them, are they good enough quality or imbuing them with too much solidification. In order to overcome these and other issues regarding our own Buddhist objects, we are trained to understand that even these things we love as part of our practice arise in dependence upon causes and conditions, and are empty of self nature by being naturally without essence.

However, because of our love of our practice, we do not reject them as being without value in confusion regarding their emptiness and instead might affirm, “
This is my mala, the mala of my practice, and you want to take away my mala? No way! I keep my mala. Why? I need my mala because it is useful, and it is part of my practice. It is my friend”. You might look around you, "Oh, if someone walked in the door and saw me hugging my meditation cushion, what would they think?" Do not give up objects that are part of your practice. The attitude is subtle and balanced. You do not cling toward them, but you do need to have a kind of love that a supports delight for your practice objects. However, we do not need to collect many dharma objects to demonstrate our love of our practice and objects of practice.

The main point is that we make strong efforts not to contaminate our intimate love relationship with our practice by feeling that we have learned enough or that we have reached a level where we have gotten all that is possible to get out of the practice. That means we never give up our Buddhist refuge vows in the three jewels, Buddha, the dharma path to enlightenment and sangha, the enlightened community. We also never give up bodhichitta, the wish to be of benefit to all sentient beings.

With this correct love toward our cultivated buddhist values and careful perceptions, at the time it automatically arises for you to enter a lower Nirvana of cessation, will you say, "
I will give up my bodhichitta if that is what is the best thing for me to do." No, you will need to have these values so well ingrained that they become your personal strengths. Do not be off again, on again regarding values that have been affirmed by others who have entered the enlightened state to be a support for awakening. Be dependable and trustworthy in what is called samaya, in values that produce the energetic support for your inner process to the enlightened state.

An interesting story from the Lam Rim stages of the path… In Tibet, a very simple woman had a son who was traveling to India on a trading trip. As he is departing she requests him with folded hands, "
Now you are going to India, and you may not go ever again, and I am old already. You please bring me back a tooth of the Buddha so that I can place it on my altar and make offerings. That is all that I want." As the son is returning from India, he realizes that he completely forgot his mother's request. He also knows that it is patently absurd to be able to find a tooth of Lord Buddha Shakyamuni as these relics are rare and the few remaining are encased in stupa reliquaries in holy places.

He is almost home when he sees the rotting remains of a dead dog at the side of the road. Reaching down he easily pulls out a tooth from the head of the dead dog, wipes it off, wraps it in a clean napkin, and continues home where his mother is waiting to greet him. "H
ello my son. Did you bring me the tooth relic of the Buddha?" "Of course I did dear mother and here it is." With great delight she immediately placed it on the altar and began to make extensive offerings, many prayers, and many rejoicings. The son was shy to tell her that this was a dog's tooth and as time went on, he began to feel more and more guilty that he had done this and fooled his mother so badly. He was at the point of telling her about his lie, "You know that tooth that I brought you…" She, with great delight, showed him the tooth on the altar, glowing with inner light. It was the Buddha's tooth after all.

Upon the basis of a dog's tooth and faith, she attained enlightenment. What to say about the consecrated practices you have been offered that are in an unbroken lineage from Lord Buddha? Beyond that, what you bring to your practice in faith, motivation, love and dedication is what you get out of the practice by personal values. If you feel that you have gotten everything that you could have out of the practice, and the practice is vast, deep, powerful, transformative, and blessed, then certainly it is not a lack that is coming from the practice.

Sharing happiness with all living beings such as in the Four Great Wishes trains us in sharing love and joy without holding it as a personal possession. The second of the Four Great Wishes, wanting to end suffering for all living beings, instills a deep love of order and alignment for their benefit toward more evolved ways of being that is supported by the Buddhas and bodhisattvas. This is even more clean altruistic love based in understanding the illusory way that things exist. Suffering, by nature, is misalignment with the way that living beings actually exist. We learn to become tireless in our efforts to end suffering by arising bodhichitta compassion. We do not end suffering by suffering ourselves. Because it feels so good, so pleasurable to experience this desire to end suffering, your wanting to end suffering is no suffering at all for you! In fact, it feels good.

Your wish for all sentient beings to experience bliss that is without the stain of confusion of the innate view that takes the transitory to be permanent, connects you to the love of, and value of perfection, certainly a suitable object for your evolving sense of love. However, we should not let this love of perfections greatness degenerate into an ordinary worldly demand for perfection, something that this world is not capable of giving. Wishing for all sentient beings to experience bliss also destroys the contaminated basis for your own suffering.

Equanimity, the fourth of the four great wishes, destroys racism and specism, so, we do not damage or discourage this ability to love others by becoming dry and scholarly in our approach to life and spiritual practice. The encouragement from those who have entered the enlightened state or advanced meditators is alive, juicy, and expectant with healthy love energies that guide and direct us toward transformation and perfection.


  1. I will admit that I have hugged my meditation cushion already :)


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