How to Expand Love ~ Widening the Circle of Loving Relationships

by HH the Dalai Lama

While some of his works are of a more esoteric nature, this book targets a wider audience. It doesn’t reference heavily on Buddhism idea, but a familarity will make the concept easier to understand (and swallow), such as the concept that every being has been one’s mother some time along the countless cycles of lives.

One important element of Mahayana Buddhism is the cultivation of loving kindness to all sentinent beings, to the extent that one will vow to stay in this world, instead of entering nirvana, to help deliver everybody from suffering. This book is a step by step guide to achieving such profound love for mankind.

The seven steps start with the understanding that all living beings, man or animal, long for happiness and avoid pain and suffering. With the help of meditation, we realize that friends all not always friends, and thus foes are never forever evil. Every person have been both our friend and our enemy somewhere along the long stream of lives and deaths. Our enemies are here to help us develop patience, love and inner strength. The real failure will be the failure to recognize the chance for development. When someone wishes us harm, recognize that the trouble is not the person, but his or her afflictive emotion. Just as when a cloud covers a sun, we do not hate the sun. Similarly, for ourselves, we can learn to separate a corner of our mind from strong emotions such as hatred, and become an observer. Thus, we know that the mind and hatred are not one; the person and hatred are not one.

We continue to expand our love, from people we are close to, to neutral persons, to enemies. We wish on them all things good and wish them untouched by pain and suffering. With heightened compassion, we long to help others be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.

When sickness and unfortunate events befall us, our thoughts wil be “May this illness or misfortune serve as a substitute for the suffering of all sentinent beings.” “May the suffering that I am undergoing now function as the ripening, manifestation, and conclusion of the many bad karmas I have accumulated.”

Finally, our compassion moves us to altruistic acts. The impermanence of this present life will mean that all wealth we accumulate will be left behind. If we use our wealth for beneficial purposes, the resultant good karma is carried the the next lifetime, but if we hold on to it with attachment, that itself will keep wealth away from us in future lives.

Published in: on April 4, 2006 at 5:47 pm  Comments (1)