At our last "gathering after the meeting", 
Don and I were talking about universal love, 
and we kind of landed on (for that moment) 
"depends on what you mean by love".

So, how about we start with defining terms?


Topic: "Buddhist Love"
Some things we might talk about: 
summarized, followed by detail & links.

Summary: 
1) "Definitions" (Loving kindness, "benevolent love")
2) A couple of inspiring threads, re' purifying/transforming ("healing"?)
3) Is this "love without limits"?
4) Metta meditation (looks good... can we play? :)
5) If we feel like it, and time permits... provocative threads: 
 (5a--"selflessness")
 (5b--intimacy: "no intimacy with sensual pleasure"
 ( ^^what's up with this??! LOL) 
 vs "intimacy with all things")
 (5c--energy and charity)
 (5d--spaces and togetherness) 



Details and links: 

1) "Definitions." 
(in quotes because.... it may be "fine" the way it is?... 
In de-fining it, and re-fining it, are we coming back to it? LOL)


1a) Wikis !
"benevolent love"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love#Buddhism
Believe it or not, I thought this Wikipedia reference on Mettā was one of the best:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mett%C4%81


A few other interesting definitions 
(that I saw first, before I found the Wiki)

1b) from "The Four Immeasurables" -- 
http://viewonbuddhism.org/immeasurables_love_compassion_equanimity_rejoicing.html
"The definition of love in Buddhism is: wanting others to be happy." 

1c) from "quangduc - love in Buddhism" -- 
http://www.abuddhistlibrary.com/Buddhism/B%20-%20Theravada/Metta/Love%20in%20Buddhism/IV/quangduc%20-%20love%20in%20Buddhism.htm
 
 "The word 'metta' is an abstract noun for the word 'mitra', meaning 'friend'. However, it is not defined just
as 'friendliness', but as the same love that prompts a mother to love her only child even more than her life,
as it says in the Metta-Sutta (Discourse on Loving kindness),”
“Just as a mother protects her child,
Her only child (with so deep a love)
Even as to risk her own life for its sake,
even so towards all living beings
may one cultivate boundless loving thought. (2)" 



2) Inspiring threads: purification, transformation, healing, 
thru the cultivation of metta: 

"... in his personal admonition to his own son Rahula 
in the Mahàràhulovàda Sutta [ M.1.424 ], the Buddha tells
that the cultivation and practice of mettà or universal loving kindness,
dispels the unwholesome mental frame called enmity or hostility."
From webpage "Love as the Basis of Spiritual Growth" 
http://www.metta.lk/english/wwyng2.htm



Similar, from webpage "Newsletter - 3/1/04 - Love in Buddhism"

http://www.urbandharma.org/udnl2/nl030104.html
(point 1: Loving Eyes) 

Loving Eyes is the white, four armed Buddha aspect, symbolizing the united love and compassion of all Buddhas.  His mantra OM MANI PEME HUNG is used worldwide in most Buddhist traditions. The six syllables purify the six realms of exsistence:

* OM purifies pride - the god's realm,
* MA purifies jealousy - the realm of demi-gods,
* NI purifies desire / attachment - the human realm,
* PE purifies stupidity - the animal realm,
* ME transforms greed - the realm of hungry ghosts,
* HUNG transforms hate and anger - the hell realm.

[Doug speaking] I noticed that the first 4 are being "purified",
while the last 4 are being "transformed" :)


3) Does "universal love" / "love for all" mean "love without limits"? 

Ken Keyes Jr.'s model: 
"unconditional love, conditional involvement".
It's kind of like saying 
"unlimited energy, with limited (or specific) intentions" 

Does this mean: 

I) still having a "love with favoritism",
reserved for a few, 
and ALSO have a "love with equanimity" for all? 

Or, II) 
starting with that "love for favorites", 
extending it toward all, 
and in that RE-ORIENTATION 
see its quality opened/expanded, 
so that it loses its favoritism?
It becomes, or starts to become, equanimity-flavored love? 

Or, III) Or, my current frontier (I don't have answers here) :
what if an-atman (sp?) 
participates in a love that is everywhere? 

IV) All the above, at different times? <-- I like this idea. (who said that?) 


4) Metta meditation 

There seems to be a website (well, here ONE of them)
called "WildMind" (like the title) dedicated to metta meditation. 
http://www.wildmind.org/metta/methods_one

Suggested stages:
 * Stage 1 – Cultivating metta toward yourself
 * Stage 2 – Cultivating metta towards a good friend
 * Stage 3 – Cultivating metta towards a “neutral person”
 * Stage 4 – Cultivating metta towards a “difficult person”
 * Stage 5 – Cultivating metta toward all sentient beings 
I suggest we might play with some metta meditations together. 



5) Provocatives :) 

5a) Selflessness 
I lost track of the links I'd seen here, 
but I thought I saw some that sounded like "self-denial",
at least one that sounded like "loving all included the self", 
and pretty much of a concensus on "self-acceptance" in any case. 


5b) Intimacy 

On the one hand, from 
http://www.katinkahesselink.net/tibet/love-quotes.html

"Don't give way to heedlessness
or to intimacy
with sensual delight--
for a heedful person,
absorbed in jhana,
attains an abundance of ease."
 The Buddha, Dhammapada 


On the other hand, from webpage 
http://www.urbandharma.org/udnl2/nl030104.html 
(point 5: "How would Buddha love?") 

"As Zen Master Dogen says: 'To study the Buddha Way is to be intimate with all things.' " 



5c) Energy and charity 

This was a provocative thread for me: 
'Even offering three hundred bowls of food three times a day 
does not match the spiritual merit gained in one moment of love.'
Nagarjuna 
-- from webpage "The Four Immeasurables" 
http://viewonbuddhism.org/immeasurables_love_compassion_equanimity_rejoicing.html


5d) Spaces and togetherness, 

from webpage Buddhist quotes on Love, Sex, and Relationships 
http://www.katinkahesselink.net/tibet/love-quotes.html
"If one stays too long with friends
They will soon tire of him;
Living in such closeness leads to dislike and hate.
It is but human to expect and demand too much
When one dwells too long in companionship."
-- “The Song of the Snow Ranges”, Milarepa 


On the other hand, from 
http://www.katinkahesselink.net/tibet/love-quotes.html
"There's a famous quotation from the time the Buddha learned of the deaths of two of his greatest disciples:  
'It's as if the sun and the moon have left the sky.' 
From that quotation, I would guess that while the Buddha loved all beings everywhere, with no exclusion, he also had relationships that were special to him, and he felt their loss."
 Sharon Salzberg, “The Open Heart,” Q&A at  www.beliefnet.com