Anatta and Romance

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Anatta and Romance

Postby Moth » Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:00 pm

I was just contemplating this and I thought I'd ask your opinion. To say that you love someone "for who they are" would always be incorrect as all beings are empty of a self. So in that sense all romance is based on clinging to external (selfless) phenomenon such as form, perception, or feeling that arise in dependence with contact (either with sight, scent, sound, touch, etc). Thus romantic love is a conditioned feeling, impermanent, subject to clinging, and dependent upon certain external stimuli--not on any particular individual person. Would it follow then that saying you love someone (romantically) is a false statement?
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Re: Anatta and Romance

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:17 pm

If given that it's a conditional love, yes. But if you love them regardless of whether they're empty of a self or not then it's pure metta expressed in various ways. There's 2 kinds of love, there's attached conditional love, and unattached unconditional love. The latter is how most people ideally want their romantic relationships to be.
"One is not born a woman, but becomes one."- Simone de Beauvoir
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Re: Anatta and Romance

Postby andre9999 » Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:57 pm

Moth wrote:Would it follow then that saying you love someone (romantically) is a false statement?


Even if all that were true, that is still your understanding of this world unless you're awakened. I'd say the greater lie would be if you said that loving someone was false while you still cling to self.

Still, choose your battles. You tell someone that you can't love them because they cling to a concept of self, and that will probably be a short relationship.
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Re: Anatta and Romance

Postby Kenshou » Fri Jan 14, 2011 10:07 pm

As far as I know romantic love doesn't necessarily exclude the possibility of being aware of people/the person as a non-atta process of conditionality.
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Re: Anatta and Romance

Postby cooran » Fri Jan 14, 2011 10:11 pm

We are aware intellectually of the difference between Conventional and Ultimate truths. But unless we've reached one of the levels of enlightenment, it is all just theory. Live your life where you actually are.

with metta
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Re: Anatta and Romance

Postby zavk » Sat Jan 15, 2011 12:49 am

Hi moth

I'll let others more knowledgable clarify the dynamics of the doctrines involved in this issue. For me, when I was first getting established in the Dhamma I had to come to terms (quite painfully) with how I totally screwed up a relationship. I had to honestly ask myself, 'Do I really know what it means to love someone else? Have I really just been caught up in a sense of self and was actually expecting someone else to give me affirmation for this projected sense of self--and mistaking all of that for 'love''? Learning about the following helped a lot:



Raja Sutta: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi, in Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. Now at that time King Pasenadi Kosala was together with Queen Mallika in the upper palace. Then he said to her, "Is there anyone more dear to you than yourself?"

"No, your majesty," she answered. "There is no one more dear to me than myself. And what about you, your majesty? Is there anyone more dear to you than yourself?"

"No, Mallika. There is no one more dear to me than myself."

Then the king, descending from the palace, went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to the Blessed One: "Just now I was together with Queen Mallika in the upper palace. I said to her, 'Is there anyone more dear to you than yourself?'

"'No, your majesty,' she answered. 'There is no one more dear to me than myself. And what about you, your majesty? Is there anyone more dear to you than yourself?'

"'No, Mallika. There is no one more dear to me than myself.'"

Then, on realizing the significance of that, the Blessed One on that occasion exclaimed:


Searching all directions
with one's awareness,
one finds no one dearer
than oneself.
In the same way, others
are fiercely dear to themselves.
So one should not hurt others
if one loves oneself.


I hope this is of relevance.

:anjali: :smile: :group:
With metta,
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Re: Anatta and Romance

Postby nobody12345 » Sat Jan 15, 2011 2:50 am

Moth, I agree whole heartily with your assessment of 'love'.
Also I believe all romance ends in tears, even the greatest ones.
When two people fall in love, two things will happen.
1. One of them will fall out of love.
2. One of them will die sooner or later.
All romance ends in misery/suffering.
Metta.
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Re: Anatta and Romance

Postby ground » Sat Jan 15, 2011 5:21 am

Moth wrote:I was just contemplating this and I thought I'd ask your opinion. To say that you love someone "for who they are" would always be incorrect as all beings are empty of a self. So in that sense all romance is based on clinging to external (selfless) phenomenon such as form, perception, or feeling that arise in dependence with contact (either with sight, scent, sound, touch, etc). Thus romantic love is a conditioned feeling, impermanent, subject to clinging, and dependent upon certain external stimuli--not on any particular individual person.

I would say "You love someone (romantically) due to the love you feel based on the way they are appearing to you."


Moth wrote:Would it follow then that saying you love someone (romantically) is a false statement?

No, the statement is conventionally valid.

Kind regards
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Re: Anatta and Romance

Postby vesuyul » Sat Jan 15, 2011 7:07 am

That's why the wise of old and even now.....all go forth to the homeless life and practice meditation. There is no higher bliss than Nibbana.
If not, follow conventional reality and be your best in efforts to be a good husband, good wife, good child, good father, good mother etc etc.
In a relationship, there can be gain as well. Husband and wife can help each other in practice and collecting parami. It's not that we think it's anatta and poof its all false. We have to know it is false. And yes finally it's all false.
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Re: Anatta and Romance

Postby ravkes » Sun Jan 16, 2011 4:26 am

Moth wrote:I was just contemplating this and I thought I'd ask your opinion. To say that you love someone "for who they are" would always be incorrect as all beings are empty of a self. So in that sense all romance is based on clinging to external (selfless) phenomenon such as form, perception, or feeling that arise in dependence with contact (either with sight, scent, sound, touch, etc). Thus romantic love is a conditioned feeling, impermanent, subject to clinging, and dependent upon certain external stimuli--not on any particular individual person. Would it follow then that saying you love someone (romantically) is a false statement?


yes. however, when it is seen that all phenomena is empty of self the love he feels is deeper and no longer for only one person.. the expression of this love may be romantic.

:)
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Re: Anatta and Romance

Postby Guy » Mon Jan 17, 2011 11:31 am

imaginos wrote:When two people fall in love, two things will happen.
1. One of them will fall out of love.
2. One of them will die sooner or later.
All romance ends in misery/suffering.


Or 3. They both die and in their next lifetime they fall in love with each other all over again
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: Anatta and Romance

Postby andre9999 » Mon Jan 17, 2011 12:47 pm

Guy wrote:
imaginos wrote:When two people fall in love, two things will happen.
1. One of them will fall out of love.
2. One of them will die sooner or later.
All romance ends in misery/suffering.


Or 3. They both die and in their next lifetime they fall in love with each other all over again


So you mean my wedding vows meant we'd be together forever and not just this lifetime? My wife's gonna be pissed.
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Re: Anatta and Romance

Postby Guy » Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:49 am

andrer9999 wrote:
Guy wrote:
imaginos wrote:When two people fall in love, two things will happen.
1. One of them will fall out of love.
2. One of them will die sooner or later.
All romance ends in misery/suffering.


Or 3. They both die and in their next lifetime they fall in love with each other all over again


So you mean my wedding vows meant we'd be together forever and not just this lifetime? My wife's gonna be pissed.


Depends - are your wedding vows "forever" or "til death do us part"?
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: Anatta and Romance

Postby andre9999 » Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:21 am

Guy wrote:Depends - are your wedding vows "forever" or "til death do us part"?


The latter, but it didn't specify which death.
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