Love that brings Happiness

Extract from Old Path White Clouds

King Pasedani asked the Buddha, “Ordinarily, love does contain elements of discrimination, desire, and attachment. According to you, that kind of love creates worry, suffering, and despair. How can one love without desire and attachment? How can I avoid creating worry and suffering in the love I hold for my own children?”

The Buddha replied, “We need to look at the nature of our love. Our love should bring peace and happiness to the ones we love. If our love is based on a selfish desire to possess others, we will not be able to bring them peace and happiness. On the contrary, our love will make them feel trapped. Such a love is no more than a prison. If the persons we love are unable to be happy because of our love, they will find a way to free themselves. They will not accept the prison of our love. Gradually the love between us will turn to anger and hatred.

“Majesty, did you hear of the tragedy that took place ten days ago in Savatthi because of selfish love? A mother felt she had been abandoned by her son when he fell in love and married. Rather than feeling as if she had gained a daughter, she only felt that she had lost her son, and she felt betrayed by him. Because of that, her love turned to hatred, and she put poison in the young couple’s food, killing them both.

“Majesty! According to the Way of Enlightenment, love cannot exist without understanding. Love is Understanding. If you cannot understand, you cannot love. Husbands and wives who do not understand each other cannot love each other. Brothers and sisters who do not understand each other cannot love each other. Parents and children who do not understand each other cannot love each other. If you want your loved ones to be happy, you must learn to understand their sufferings and their aspirations. When you understand, you will know how to relieve their sufferings and how to help them fulfill their aspirations. That is true love. If you only want your loved ones to follow your own ideas and you remain ignorant of their needs, it is not truly love. It is only a desire to possess another and attempt to fulfill your own needs, which cannot be fulfilled in
that way.

“Majesty! The people of Kosala have sufferings and aspirations. If you can understand their sufferings and aspirations, you will be able to truly love them. All the officials in your court have sufferings and aspirations. Understand those sufferings and aspirations, and you will know how to bring them happiness. Thanks to that, they will remain loyal to you all their lives. The queen, prince, and princess have their own sufferings and aspirations. If you can understand those sufferings and aspirations, you will be able to bring them happiness. When every person enjoys happiness, peace, and joy, you yourself will know happiness, peace, and joy. That is the meaning of love according to the Way of Awakening.”

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