Love and Fear

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Love and Fear

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Mar 18, 2014 12:25 am

Greetings,

In the Dhamma, we speak of kusala and akusala dhammas...

Kusala dhammas are regarded as wholesome or skilful ~ these include wisdom, generosity and lovingkindness.

Akusala dhammas are regarded as unwholesome or unskilful ~ these include delusion, greed and aversion.

It is also established within Theravada Buddhism that kusala and akusala dhammas cannot co-exist.

I have observed a potential parallel here with certain Christian teachings I have seen online...

Frank Sant'Agata wrote:Love and fear are the only emotions we as human entities are able to express. All the others are just sub-categorical emotions. For example, on love's side there is joy, peacefulness, happiness, forgiveness, and a host of others. On the other hand, fear reflects: hate, depression, guilt, inadequacy, discontentment, prejudice, anger, attack, and so on.

Love and fear can not coexist. Where one is, the other can't be also. The one will leave immediately, should the other enter its presence. If you find yourself in a situation where you are experiencing great joy, and are suddenly overtaken by fear, the joy is gone! But it works the other way too: If you are terrorized, frightened, or otherwise threatened in any way, all you need to do is turn to the love within, and the fear disappears.

Source: http://timelessmiracles.com/LightGuide/love.htm

John 4.18 wrote:There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears punishment has not been perfected in love.


All of which brings me to my question....

Could the couplet of kusala and akusala be profitably understood as love and fear respectively?

:heart: :?

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)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Love and Fear

Postby daverupa » Tue Mar 18, 2014 12:38 am

The term kusala should at least indicate the kammapatha; a skilled speaker could craft something about how each one was "love of X", maybe. Then it means their opposites could be framed in terms of "fear of Z".

So, for example, the first item of kammapatha is killing living beings, so: "love of goodwill to living beings" v "fear of living beings & their effects on a self &c", or something.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: Love and Fear

Postby culaavuso » Tue Mar 18, 2014 12:54 am

retrofuturist wrote:It is also established within Theravada Buddhism that kusala and akusala dhammas cannot co-exist.

This is established in the Abhidhamma at the granularity of thought moments, but the suttas talk about mixed kamma (such as AN 4.232).

retrofuturist wrote:Could the couplet of kusala and akusala be profitably understood as love and fear respectively?

Those definitions seem compatible with the quoted passages, but there are a few problems with broadly equating the terms.

One such problem is that the definition of "love" used in those passages does not include the sense of greed, envy, possessiveness, passion, and other akusala characteristics of what is commonly called "love" in the everyday use of the term. This means that drawing an equivalence between these terms is based on a specialized definition that applies to the way these terms are used in the first passage but doesn't necessarily carry over more broadly.

The other issue that stands out is that "fear" would then need to include the akusala conditions of greed and delusion, but it seems to be a bit of a stretch to say that greed has to do with punishment. The definition of "fear" in the first passage comes much closer since it includes "inadequacy" and greed is essentially seeing an inadequacy with the present.

It seems that perhaps turning this around, it might be more useful to say that at least in the context of the first quoted passage, love and fear could be profitably understood as kusala and akusala. It's not clear that the terms as used in the first passage cover the full meaning of kusala and akusala, but they seem to refer to at least a strict subset of each.

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Re: Love and Fear

Postby Dan74 » Tue Mar 18, 2014 1:50 am

Reminded me of this old bit from our very own Michael Leunig:

Image
_/|\_

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Re: Love and Fear

Postby Ben » Tue Mar 18, 2014 2:37 am

Retro,

culaavuso wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:It is also established within Theravada Buddhism that kusala and akusala dhammas cannot co-exist.

This is established in the Abhidhamma at the granularity of thought moments, but the suttas talk about mixed kamma (such as AN 4.232).

retrofuturist wrote:Could the couplet of kusala and akusala be profitably understood as love and fear respectively?

Those definitions seem compatible with the quoted passages, but there are a few problems with broadly equating the terms.

One such problem is that the definition of "love" used in those passages does not include the sense of greed, envy, possessiveness, passion, and other akusala characteristics of what is commonly called "love" in the everyday use of the term. This means that drawing an equivalence between these terms is based on a specialized definition that applies to the way these terms are used in the first passage but doesn't necessarily carry over more broadly.

The other issue that stands out is that "fear" would then need to include the akusala conditions of greed and delusion, but it seems to be a bit of a stretch to say that greed has to do with punishment. The definition of "fear" in the first passage comes much closer since it includes "inadequacy" and greed is essentially seeing an inadequacy with the present.

It seems that perhaps turning this around, it might be more useful to say that at least in the context of the first quoted passage, love and fear could be profitably understood as kusala and akusala. It's not clear that the terms as used in the first passage cover the full meaning of kusala and akusala, but they seem to refer to at least a strict subset of each.


I have to agree with Culaavuso on this one. The quoted passage from Sant'Agasa seems to be a bit off-kilter from a Buddhist perspective. As you know, the terms kuala, akusala, bhaya (fear), and the various forms of love all have precise meanings in Pali. As you know, 'love' is reified in the Christian tradition yet remains a very fluffy, if not flakey, concept, and there is no indication in the quoted passage what form of love, or whether it is all forms of love, that are inferred. As Culaavuso and others have pointed out, love can be kusala, but quite often personal love is a conglomerate of both deeply kusala and akusala mental states that are generalised as 'love'. It is true that within Buddhist philosophy that kusala and akusala mental states cannot coexist together, but they can follow each other in a rapidly changing chain of becoming that is interpreted as love or any other compounded emotion.
With metta (no pun intended!)

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Love and Fear

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Mar 18, 2014 2:49 am

Greetings,

Ben and culaavuso ~ yes, I mean love in the sense that one might understand a "pure" love, devoid of any the "fear" components (e.g. hurt, attachment, jealousy, greed, lust, delusion, possessiveness) associated with "conventional" or "everyday" love which is clearly an alternating mixture of kusala and akusala. Translated to a Buddhist context, the love I speak of might be the "boundless" expression of the brahma-viharas, attributed to the Buddha (not just metta) with an absence of their "near enemies".

culaavuso ~ as for AN 4.232... I do not find it a convincing counter-argument to the temporal exclusivity of kusala and akusala mindstates. I think there are sufficient suttas clearly demarcating kusala and akusala mindstates (refer: Ven. Nyanaponika's "The Roots Of Good And Evil", Satipatthana Sutta etc.) as separate dhammas in order to infer temporal exclusivity, even without recourse to the Abhidhamma and associated commentaries. All AN 4.232 says is that if your mindstates (and thus, cetana) alternate between kusala and akusala, then there will be mixed results commensurate with a combination of good and bad kamma.

Dan ~ Thanks for sharing the Leunig prayer... I think he's on to something there.

daverupa ~ Thanks for referencing kammapatha, which for the purposes of conversation I shall list here in their akusala (fear-based?) forms...

1.Destroying life
2.Taking what is not given
3.Wrong conduct in regard to sense pleasures
4.False speech
5.Slanderous speech
6.Harsh speech
7.Idle chatter
8.Covetousness
9.Ill will
10.Wrong view

Kusala (love?) based ones are defined by the abstenttion of these akusala kammas.

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)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

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Re: Love and Fear

Postby Ben » Tue Mar 18, 2014 6:20 am

Hi Paul,
With great respect, I believe what you are doing is attempting to squeeze a round peg through a square hole. I don't have time to write at the moment a detailed explanation as to why I believe that, however, what I would like to know is whether your contention is supported anywhere within Buddhist literature (ancient or modern).
With metta,
Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Love and Fear

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:16 am

Greetings Ben,

I'll get back to you on that - I'm not sure that the Pali Canon makes reference to "love" and "fear" at the Leunig sort of level, which is what I'm getting at in this topic... it's more inclined to break it down into its constituent components, which I tend to think sit neatly along the kusala/akusala lines. In other words, I do not see anything kusala which you could categorise under "pure fear", nor do I see anything akusala which you could categorise under "pure love". It's noteworthy that another (currently unpopular) translation of kusala/akusala is good/evil.

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)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

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Re: Love and Fear

Postby Ben » Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:32 am

Yes
My personal take is that I believe you may be defining kusala and akusala as love and fear respectively, is too narrow.
Kind regards,
Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia
e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com

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Re: Love and Fear

Postby cooran » Tue Mar 18, 2014 8:29 am

Hello all,

Maybe have a read about the meaning of Kusala and Akusala in page 18 chapter 2

http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/good_ ... pdf#page29

With metta,
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Re: Love and Fear

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:57 am

Greetings,

Ben wrote:My personal take is that I believe you may be defining kusala and akusala as love and fear respectively, is too narrow.

Either that, or your defining of love and fear may be too narrow to accommodate the comparison I'm making.

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)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

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Re: Love and Fear

Postby imagemarie » Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:57 am

"Could the couplet of kusala and akusala be profitably understood as love and fear respectively"?

It kind of works for me. If love is regarded as a faculty, an attitude, an "orientation of character" (Erich Fromm).
The "love" word carries a lot of emotional/psychological baggage for most people and they would rather avoid it, or feel that it's association with sentimentality, emotionality, narcissism, eros etc. etc. preclude it's kusala usage in a Buddhist context. That there are better words, definitions, going perhaps.
"Love" is .. messy.

My experience is that I act most unskilfully when contracted, self-protected, and reactive (fearful).
When open, available, and allowing (as when acting from a loving heart), there is the potential for something kusala to arise.

Thomas Jay Oord has defined agape (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agape) as "an intentional response to promote well-being when responding to that which has generated ill-being". Which sounds quite skilful.


"I believe you may be defining kusala and akusala as love and fear respectively, is too narrow."
Or too broad?

:anjali:

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Re: Love and Fear

Postby Dan74 » Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:01 am

Love is a pretty abused words in the modern Western culture, but if one could rescue it from the sex-infused infatuation or a romantic fantasy, then maybe we could see something along the lines you suggest? To me love in its true meaning is a powerful good-will that is not exclusive to one person but infuses everything with its radiance. Metta, mudita and karuna come to mind.
Last edited by Dan74 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
_/|\_

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Re: Love and Fear

Postby Aloka » Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:21 am

From page 19 of the link provided by Chris:

Kusala can be rendered generally as “intelligent, skillful, contented, beneficial, good,” or “that which removes affliction.” Akusala is defined in the opposite way, as in “unintelligent,” “unskillful” and so on.

The following are four connotations of kusala derived from the Commentaries:

1. Arogya: free of illness, a mind that is healthy; mental states which contain those conditions or factors which support mental health and produce an untroubled and stable mind.

2. Anavajja: unstained; factors which render the mind clean and clear, not stained or murky.

3. Kosalasambhuta: based on wisdom or intelligence; mental states which are based on knowledge and understanding of truth. This is supported by the teaching which states that kusala conditions have yoniso-manasikara, clear thinking, as forerunner.

4. Sukhavipaka: rewarded by well-being. Kusala is a condition which produces contentment. When kusala conditions arise in the mind, there is naturally a sense of well-being, without the need for any external influence. Just as when one is strong and healthy (aroga), freshly bathed (anavajja), and in a safe and comfortable place (kosalasambhuta), a sense of well-being naturally follows.

http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/good_evil_beyond.pdf#page29



:anjali:

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Re: Love and Fear

Postby barcsimalsi » Tue Mar 18, 2014 12:10 pm

retrofuturist wrote:
All of which brings me to my question....

Could the couplet of kusala and akusala be profitably understood as love and fear respectively?

:heart: :?

Metta,
Retro. :)

Not according to this sutta.
Conscience and concern seems to be skillful fear.

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Re: Love and Fear

Postby binocular » Tue Mar 18, 2014 2:15 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Kusala (love?) based ones are defined by the abstenttion of these akusala kammas.

Reference, please?

/.../
When this was said, the Blessed One said to Pañcakanga: "In that case, carpenter, then according to Uggahamana's words a stupid baby boy, lying on its back, is consummate in what is skillful, foremost in what is skillful, an invincible contemplative attained to the highest attainments. For even the thought 'body' does not occur to a stupid baby boy lying on its back, so from where would it do any evil action with its body, aside from a little kicking? Even the thought 'speech' does not occur to it, so from where would it speak any evil speech, aside from a little crying? Even the thought 'resolve' does not occur to it, so from where would it resolve on any evil resolve, aside from a little bad temper? Even the thought 'livelihood' does not occur to it, so from where would it maintain itself with any evil means of livelihood, aside from its mother's milk? So, according to Uggahamana's words, a stupid baby boy, lying on its back is consummate in what is skillful, foremost in what is skillful, an invincible contemplative attained to the highest attainments.

"If an individual is endowed with these four qualities, I do not describe him as consummate in what is skillful, foremost in what is skillful, an invincible contemplative attained to the highest attainments. Rather, he stands on the same level as a stupid baby boy lying on its back. Which four? There is the case where he does no evil action with his body, speaks no evil speech, resolves on no evil resolve, and maintains himself with no evil means of livelihood. If an individual is endowed with these four qualities, I do not describe him as consummate in what is skillful, foremost in what is skillful, an invincible contemplative attained to the highest attainments. Rather, he stands on the same level as a stupid baby boy lying on its back.
/.../
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html



retrofuturist wrote:Either that, or your defining of love and fear may be too narrow to accommodate the comparison I'm making.

But why are you making that comparison? What do you try to accomplish by making it?

Are you just exploring possibilites, or is there more to it?

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Re: Love and Fear

Postby daverupa » Tue Mar 18, 2014 3:40 pm

retrofuturist wrote:... (fear-based?)...(love?)


Eh, there needs to be a better reason to use these terms I think; a direct translation of a/kusala is inaccurate when done this way, and otherwise I wonder about what sorts of connotations are getting snuck in through the back...
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: Love and Fear

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Mar 18, 2014 5:23 pm

Dan74 wrote:Image


Only 2? What about uppekha?

Pure love being completely kusala may be only metta and mudita. Is it possible with the relationship type of rāga, sexual-love relationship? I don't know; I know it is allowed for lay people (obviously) to have relations, but is it pure love? The term for the relations 'rāga' also means lust and greed.

Can a spouse or partner truly be free of all jealousy and possessiveness? What if the other partner strays?

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Re: Love and Fear

Postby binocular » Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:55 pm

daverupa wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:... (fear-based?)...(love?)

Eh, there needs to be a better reason to use these terms I think; a direct translation of a/kusala is inaccurate when done this way, and otherwise I wonder about what sorts of connotations are getting snuck in through the back...

Yes, "kusala" and "akusala" just don't have much drama in them - unlike "love" and "fear". And everybody likes good drama! Had Shakespeare written about "kusala" and "akusala," 'good' and 'evil', 'skillful' and 'unskillful', he'd be long buried under the dust of history that thickly covers all great moralists.

:alien:

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Re: Love and Fear

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:08 pm

Greetings David,

David N. Snyder wrote:Only 2? What about uppekha?

By my reckoning uppekha is an act of acceptance, thus an act of love.

David N. Snyder wrote:Is it possible with the relationship type of rāga, sexual-love relationship? I don't know; I know it is allowed for lay people (obviously) to have relations, but is it pure love? The term for the relations 'rāga' also means lust and greed.

Greed would be fear (i.e. fear of not having).... lust could probably still afford to be broken down further into its constitutent components.

David N. Snyder wrote:Can a spouse or partner truly be free of all jealousy and possessiveness? What if the other partner strays?

Good question. What would be kusala and akusala in that circumstance?

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)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)


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