Monday, April 4, 2016

Building a Community of Love (1)

Read deeply the following Thay's teaching on "Building a Community of Love".
The followings are the excerpts.

bell hooks: What is your thinking about why people are moving away from love, and how we can be part of moving our society towards love.

Thich Nhat Hanh: In our own Buddhist sangha, community is the core of everything. The sangha is a community where there should be harmony and peace and understanding. That is something created by our daily life together. If love is there in the community, if we’ve been nourished by the harmony in the community, then we will never move away from love.

The reason we might lose this is because we are always looking outside of us, thinking that the object or action of love is out there. That is why we allow the love, the harmony, the mature understanding, to slip away from ourselves. This is, I think, the basic thing. That is why we have to go back to our community and renew it. Then love will grow back. Understanding and harmony will grow back. That’s the first thing.

The second thing is that we ourselves need love; it’s not only society, the world outside, that needs love. But we can’t expect that love to come from outside of us. We should ask the question whether we are capable of loving ourselves as well as others. Are we treating our body kindly—by the way we eat, by the way we drink, by the way we work? Are we treating ourselves with enough joy and tenderness and peace? Or are we feeding ourselves with toxins that we get from the market—the spiritual, intellectual, entertainment market?

So the question is whether we are practicing loving ourselves? Because loving ourselves means loving our community. When we are capable of loving ourselves, nourishing ourselves properly, not intoxicating ourselves, we are already protecting and nourishing society. Because in the moment when we are able to smile, to look at ourselves with compassion, our world begins to change. We may not have done anything but when we are relaxed, when we are peaceful, when we are able to smile and not to be violent in the way we look at the system, at that moment there is a change already in the world.

So the second help, the second insight, is that between self or no-self there is no real separation. Anything you do for yourself you do for the society at the same time. And anything you do for society you do for yourself also. That insight is very powerfully made in the practice of no-self.

(My commentary)
True love is inside of us, not outside of us. We should not be deceived by the appearance, such as material values or physical actions. That's because they are really an attachment, obsession, or addiction. They are not true love. True love is generated through understanding (insight). And for that, mindfulness and concentration are essential.
Loving oneself is the foundation of loving others. Only if we can love ourselves, we can love others. And if we can really love ourselves, we can automatically love others. That's because we have no fear or insecurity. So, we don't have to separate ourselves from others for self-protection. I am you and you are me. In this case, I am non-separate self, awareness, or true self. However, there are so many people in the world who can't love themselves unconditionally. They sometimes hate themselves. In such cases, they need to understand the root cause of their self-hate. For that, mindfulness and concentration are essential.


Thay's calligraphy