Absolute Truth Necessary for Love?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Absolute Truth Necessary for Love?

Postby Radman622 » Fri Oct 26, 2012 11:45 am

Hello, I have done some readings into Buddhist philosophies, and have always been very impressed by frequent mention and emphasis on love and compassion as the ultimate goal of enlightenment.

However, I have also noted that Buddhism is a highly relativistic religion/philosophy, one of the things about it that attracted me as opposed to more absolutist theistic religions. If I am incorrect in this assessment, please correct me.

I was contemplating the other day about the concept of an absence of absolute "Truth," and came to the conundrum of love. Pure, selfless love might be described as "the ultimate expression of truth," and I'm sure you'd all agree with me when I say I believe that love is the most powerful force in the universe, if it exists.

Basically, wouldn't the existence of something that powerful constitute an absolute? A truth? A God or at least, God-Force of some kind? Isn't it true that without this absolute, love is nothing more than a chemical reaction in the brain or an advantageous behavior, nothing more?

Please advise me, I am in personal crisis - my theistic friends and family have been posing these questions to me, and I am only beginning in my studies of Buddhism, so I am not entirely certain what the correct answer would be from a Buddhist perspective.

I do know one thing, I don't want to go through life not believing in love.

:namaste:

-Conrad
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Re: Absolute Truth Necessary for Love?

Postby m0rl0ck » Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:13 pm

Radman622 wrote:
Basically, wouldn't the existence of something that powerful constitute an absolute? A truth? A God or at least, God-Force of some kind? Isn't it true that without this absolute, love is nothing more than a chemical reaction in the brain or an advantageous behavior, nothing more?



Why separate yourself from everything? And don't forget, It takes an entire universe to support that chemical reaction in the brain. Don't worry about god and i bet he will return the favor. Buddhism is about suffering not about pleasing some diety, its a path and practice based on confidence gained from experience, not belief in phantasms.
For more about the place of love and kindness in buddhsm see http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?tit ... ma_Viharas
Last edited by m0rl0ck on Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Absolute Truth Necessary for Love?

Postby equilibrium » Fri Oct 26, 2012 2:47 pm

Radman622
Love and compassion are only part of the goal of enlightenment, there are others such as appreciative joy and equanimity. Further developments leads to the ten perfections.

"the ultimate expression of truth" is not only love but includes those above.....and beyond.....you are correct however that it is "selfless"

To say god would be jumping to conclusions.

There is no such a thing as a personal crisis, if one were to remove the words "I am" and "personal" there is only crisis.....and that would be existence itself.....for anything to exist it must have an end.....by holding on to that existence would be suffering.

The love that we all know of when there is a self is different to that of the selfless, they are two different things.
You said it yourself "I do know one thing, I don't want to go through life not believing in love".....this shows that you are trying to hold on to this experience which is based on the self believe hence this believe cannot be true as you are already aware that there is love within the truth which is even more powerful.

A believe is just a believe, one should seek to know.
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Re: Absolute Truth Necessary for Love?

Postby DAWN » Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:53 pm

Love have the same nature that gravitaion, and interdependence of all fenomena, this origin is Unity of all. (Even if Buddha said in "Cosmologist Sutta" that Oneness of all is a cosmology, Unity is one of propriety of samsara/nibbana)
Actualy feeling of love have no self, it's just manifestation of gravitation (unity) inside of us. Just some physic(dhammic) law.

And why "love" brings us pleasure?
Beacause is one of most natural fenomena, because swimming adrift a steam meka us suffer less that swimming against stream, against true nature of fenomena.
Aniway, we cant swimming against, because all action, all reaction, is fruition of love. We do only that we love (even if we do tht we dont love, we do it to get something that we love, so the love is origin), also heat of something is actualy love of something else (ego)

i hope you see that i talking bout
Sabbe dhamma anatta
We are not concurents...
I'am sorry for my english
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Re: Absolute Truth Necessary for Love?

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:56 pm

Don't worry about god and i bet he will return the favor.


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Re: Absolute Truth Necessary for Love?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Fri Oct 26, 2012 5:14 pm

Radman622 wrote:Hello, I have done some readings into Buddhist philosophies, and have always been very impressed by frequent mention and emphasis on love and compassion as the ultimate goal of enlightenment.

The ultimate goal of enlightenment is freedom from suffering; although compassion and kindness and joy and equanimity are inevitable results of such an attainment as well as incredibly helpful wholesome states to cultivate, they are still not the main focus of the spiritual path.

However, I have also noted that Buddhism is a highly relativistic religion/philosophy, one of the things about it that attracted me as opposed to more absolutist theistic religions. If I am incorrect in this assessment, please correct me.

Buddhism is relativistic in that it defines reality in terms of individual experience, but it is also very rigid and deontological when it comes to ethical behavior and wholesome vs. unwholesome actions.

I was contemplating the other day about the concept of an absence of absolute "Truth," and came to the conundrum of love. Pure, selfless love might be described as "the ultimate expression of truth," and I'm sure you'd all agree with me when I say I believe that love is the most powerful force in the universe, if it exists.

Kamma is the most powerful force in the universe as it is what binds beings to Samsara, and I'd say that the ultimate truth would be the Four Noble Truths. Compassion is definitely important and good, but it is inseparable and subservient to wisdom.

Basically, wouldn't the existence of something that powerful constitute an absolute? A truth? A God or at least, God-Force of some kind? Isn't it true that without this absolute, love is nothing more than a chemical reaction in the brain or an advantageous behavior, nothing more?

All things are constructed, lacking in essential self, and subject to change - that includes love. It's very wholesome and valuable and helpful, but it's still just as empty as every other thing in this mass of suffering we call Samsara. It's better to focus on how compassion helps others as well as yourself without wondering on the metaphysics of this or that.

Please advise me, I am in personal crisis - my theistic friends and family have been posing these questions to me, and I am only beginning in my studies of Buddhism, so I am not entirely certain what the correct answer would be from a Buddhist perspective.

Just say that the Buddha encouraged compassion, kindness, and joy in other people's success, but that Buddhism also recognizes that all things are compounded, empty, and bound up with suffering. Love is a tool to help ease the suffering of beings, but it has no independent existence apart from the causes and conditions that allow it to arise.

I do know one thing, I don't want to go through life not believing in love.

Well luckily...
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Absolute Truth Necessary for Love?

Postby m0rl0ck » Fri Oct 26, 2012 6:58 pm

BubbaBuddhist wrote:
Don't worry about god and i bet he will return the favor.


Migod Mo, that's grand. Mr. Natural worthy.
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BB


Hey man read the bible. When god worries about you its usually to your detriment and quite often fatal :) Where is the bible quote that goes, "and god looked at them with great indifference and they carried on as usual." ?
Joshu was asked,
"When a man comes to you with nothing,
what would you say to him ?"
Joshu replied, "Throw it away!"
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Re: Absolute Truth Necessary for Love?

Postby CoreyNiles92 » Sun Oct 28, 2012 8:56 am

Love is just a chemical reaction in the brain, so too is the sound of music and the feeling you get while you listen to your favorite song. Or the chemical reaction in your eyes, that sends a message to your brain causing another reaction, allowing you to feel joy and peace when you see something beautiful beyond explanation.

Does the fact that a chemical reaction lies at the base of everything a human perceives and understands make things any less beautiful?
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Re: Absolute Truth Necessary for Love?

Postby Ben » Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:17 am

m0rl0ck wrote:Hey man read the bible. When god worries about you its usually to your detriment and quite often fatal :) Where is the bible quote that goes, "and god looked at them with great indifference and they carried on as usual." ?


You need to read the teachings of the Church of God Almighty the Utterly Indifferent, revealed through the prophet-genius of Winston Niles Rumfoord.
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

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Re: Absolute Truth Necessary for Love?

Postby Radman622 » Sun Oct 28, 2012 8:57 pm

I feel like there were great responses from everybody, and I wish that I could take the time to reply in detail to every one. Even so, I want to assure you all that I have carefully considered your words, and will probably re-read them in the future. Thank you all for your thoughtful repsonses!

A few points I would like to reply to:

Buddhism is rigid on ethics because what causes suffering is wrong. But this is significantly more... Logical... Than theistic religions which teach right and wrong on the basis of "God said so," in other words, an absolute. In this sense, it is more relativistic.

I suppose the notion that without some kind of "separate" existence of love (or other phenomenon) behind the "chemical reaction" it is somehow less meaningful is just the fact I've been raised for 18 years in the belief system of Neo-Platonism that is Christianity. Old habits die hard, please forgive me since I am just beginning.

Although I see the wisdom in what you all have said, I don't think one can have wisdom without love and compassion, enlightenment without virtue... Perhaps I was hasty in identifying love as superior to the other perfections, but they are all interrelated.

I don't know if I agree with your harsh assessment of personal love... Surely the tastes one have had of personal love, while not perfect, are manifestations of the greater "cosmic love" are clues which can lead one to know and experience the nature of love beyond the confines of the personal scale... An infant must crawl before it can walk, and to say that crawling is "useless" because it is not the fullness of walking is to ignore that it is a necessary prerequisite.
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Re: Absolute Truth Necessary for Love?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:11 pm

Greetings Radman,

A few quick thoughts.

On "love", it's worth investigating the word "metta" (translated generally as 'lovingkindness') and see what it is, and what it is not.

Metta: The Philosophy and Practice of Universal Love
Acharya Buddharakkhita
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el365.html

radman wrote:I suppose the notion that without some kind of "separate" existence of love (or other phenomenon) behind the "chemical reaction" it is somehow less meaningful is just the fact I've been raised for 18 years in the belief system of Neo-Platonism that is Christianity. Old habits die hard, please forgive me since I am just beginning.

What is relevant in a Dhammic context is not so much the underlying chemical reactions. Rather, it is the experience, and the mindful, non-appropriating awareness of the experience, and whether the experience and its volitional underpinnings are conducive to happiness or suffering.

Finally, no consciousness exists independently in-and-of itself. (This may help in the question to stop looking for the 'separate existence' of love)

MN 38: Mahatanhasankhaya Sutta
http://www.leighb.com/mn38.htm

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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