A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

Archive for the tag “love”

Are you a diamond or a rose?

If you had to choose a symbol of either a diamond or a rose to describe you which would you choose?


They say diamonds are forever, while a rose by any other name would smell as sweet has been with us since Shakespeare wrote “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet” in Romeo and Juliet.

Looking at some of the history and mythology around diamonds, we find that they have been admired and desired in almost every culture around the world. The earliest mass production of diamonds was in India, where they call the stone, “varja” meaning lightening, referring to the strength of the stone as well as the flashes of light from the facets. However it wasn’t until the 1500s that cutting the stone, came into practice. In ancient Judiac practice diamonds were thought to be lie detectors, where the brighter the brilliance the more truthful the wearer. This was still a common into the 14th century when the author Jean de Bourgoigne more commonly known as Jean De Mandeville wrote “It happens often that the good diamond loses its virtue by sin and incontinence.” During the middle ages, diamonds were thought to have the power to cure diseases, the clearer the stone the more powerful. This was thought to happen because of the purity of the stone, drawing the disease out of the sufferer. Also if you wore a diamond, it was thought to make you immune to poisons. In romance, almost 4000 years ago diamonds were first recorded as a sign of love between a husband and wife. The earliest writing recording this was one from the Roman poet Plautus who wrote about this. So guys, it’s not modern marketing that is causing you to buy a diamond for the love of your life, however it has only been since the 1930s that two months salary has become the guideline. It was in the 1930s that DeBeers suggested that a man should spend one months salary on the ring, and shortly afterwards was amended to two months, due to the success of the campaign in increasing the sale of diamonds. So diamonds are thought to be a symbol of clarity, purity, and forever. What makes them forever is their hardness, their keeping the same shape and instead cutting most other materials they come into contact with instead. Why diamond tipped drills and blades were used to cut many materials before the advent of lasers, and why even today the largest market for diamonds is for the industrial market, for the production of cutting edges.

The symbolism of the rose as a sign for love is ancient as well. In fact the term rose means pink or red in the Romance languages. In ancient Egypt the rose was the symbol of the Goddess Isis, and the Greeks and Romans later associated the flower with the Goddess of love. The petals of the red rose became associated with the five wounds of Christ, and later as a symbol for the Virgin Mary. Today a bouquet of red roses means love in most countries around the world. Today with the flower rose, different colors have different meanings, for a very detailed list visit RoseforLove.com.


When it comes to love, which symbolizes you more? The cool. sharp edged diamond that shapes others around you, forever holding firm against all that buffets you. Your passion lasting forever. Perhaps you are more like the rose, alive you are plucked, the person looking past your thorns, to hold and admire your beauty, to inhale your fragrance, knowing that the beauty you offer will eventually fade. Yet still they choose you, to have and enjoy for the time available, then living with the memories of those precious moments.

Both are but two of the symbols we use to show someone how we feel, both equally important, they are used only to illustrate how we approach the ones we love.


Daily Prompt: Plead the Fifth

What question do you hate to be asked? Why?

The question I hate, answering doesn’t exist. The one I hope not to hear, because it takes a while to answer is; “How can you love that person after what they did to you? This refers to something in the past. I usually give a few quotes to begin, here are some I have used.

“Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”  Abraham Lincoln

“In the New Testament our enemies are those who harbour hostility against us, not those against whom we cherish hostility, for Jesus refuses to reckon with such a possibility. The Christian must treat his enemy as a brother, and requite his hostility with love. His behaviour must be determined not by the way others treat him, but by the treatment he himself receives from Jesus; it has only one source, and that is the will of Jesus.”  Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“It is easy enough to be friendly to one’s friends. But to befriend the one who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion. The other is mere business.”  Mohandas Gandhi

“Whenever you are confronted with an opponent. Conquer him with love.”  Mohandas Gandhi

“Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, “Love your enemies.” It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals.  Just keep being friendly to that person.  Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies.”  Martin Luther King Jr.

“Whenever we want to combat our enemies, first and foremost we must start by understanding them rather than exaggerating their motives.”  Criss Jami

“It is a man’s own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways.”  The Buddha

“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner. Nelson Mandela

“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 14th Dalai Lama

Then I will explain that love in Buddhism is closer to what Christians refer to as Agape love than what western literature means, when the word love is used. Love is unconditional, you have to develop the capacity to make others happy without expecting something in return. Love is non-attachment, you want the other person to be happy regardless of what they have done to you. This isn’t easy for it means you have to begin by accepting yourself flaws and all, for when you accept you as you are now, then you can accept others as they are. This means that one act does not define the person for all time.

However there is a selfish reason to love the person who hurt you, it takes less effort. If you have ever tried to stay mad at someone, you know it takes effort. Your stress level goes up, you may not sleep well. Being angry is like holding a hot coal in your hand to throw at someone, the longer you hold it, the more you are hurting yourself. So by not staying angry, and by wishing the person the best of life, you are releasing yourself from suffering.

So why are you carrying a grudge?


Love is…

“Love feels no burden, thinks nothing of trouble, attempts what is above its strength, pleads no excuse of impossibility; for it thinks all things lawful for itself, and all things possible.” Thomas Kempis

When we love without reservation or expectation, we exhibit the best qualities of ourselves. We think nothing of the hardship that we might face to do something for the other being. We don’t think, but this could possibly cost me, my possessions, my job or my life. People have been recorded of having done what we would call super human feats, such as lifting an object they they ordinarily would not be able to lift without help. There might be a thousand reasons why what we are about to attempt might fail, but we grab hold of that one slender thread of possibility, and swing to reach the other side of the chasm that separates us from our goal. We consider the first law of humanity to be our calling in the situation, to show compassion, and that nothing can stand in our way.

We don’t have to be a superhero to show compassion, and love. A simple act of opening a door for a stranger, volunteering at a soup kitchen, taking a weekly shift on a help phone, for the suicidal, lost kids, or women wondering about an unwanted pregnancy. Giving others a hand up, when they have stumbled, knowing that but for one misstep goes us. So how will you show love today?

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