A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

The final step in becoming a Radical is to embrace love!

The final step in becoming a radical becoming love.

There are many different ways of looking at love.  Traditional thinking from the time of the ancient Greeks divides love into four types. First is Eros love named after the Greek God of Love. This is what is first felt in a romantic relationship, and is usually based on physical traits. which of course means it probably won’t last. The second type is Philos or fraternal love, which develops between friends over time. In time many romantic relationships evolve from an eros basis to a philos base, as shared experiences, deepening trust, and other conditions develop. The third is storge or familial love, which we show to our families or friends. The fourth type of love is agape or unconditional love. This is selfless love, where the person gives love even if there is no benefit to themselves. This can be as simple as helping a stranger, without sticking around afterwards. It can be not retaliating when your partner insults, you rather accepting that this is an issue that needs to be worked out, and while emotions are high is not the best time to confront the other person, rather be calm and non-violent in your response.

To be radical you must stretch yourself to make agape your basis for love to all beings. It isn’t easy and most of us will have problems with those we dislike. After all many of us have vies that we would spend a love time advocating for, and would argue with anyone who disagrees with us. However we can look to the being known as man’s best friend for lessons on agape love. Those who have had a dog share their journey, have felt this. The dog doesn’t care what your thoughts are, but can sense if your happy or unhappy. They don’t care about your sense of fashion. Sit and watch the television or go for a walk, your dog is just happy to be with you.

I am not advocating that you be like a dog in accepting everything that comes your way. You have principles, and values which help make you unique and valued, and these need to be upheld. However we can look to people like Mohandas Ghandi, Mother Teresa, and Aung San Suu Kyi as examples of those who show agape love, on a daily basis.

I will leave you with a quote from H.H. The 14th Dalai Lama:

“‘Compassion and love are not mere luxuries. As the source both of inner and external peace, they are fundamental to the continued survival of our species.’

The four immeasurables, also known as the Brahma Viharas (Skt.) are found in one brief and beautiful prayer:

May all sentient beings have happiness and its causes,

May all sentient beings be free of suffering and its causes,

May all sentient beings never be separated from bliss without suffering,

May all sentient beings be in equanimity, free of bias, attachment and anger.”

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4 thoughts on “The final step in becoming a Radical is to embrace love!

  1. Welcome back Keith.

  2. I don’t know how good I am at unconditional love toward everyone but I do think it’s easier to love than to like… 😉

    • It’s not easy for any of us, which is why I left it to the end, and also look at the few examples of people who have achieved it. When you can love unconditionally you can accomplish what some people would call miracles.

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