The 4 Noble Truths Of Love
This summer, I decided to take the trip of a lifetime. I traveled throughout Asia, seeing the sights and taking in a culture so very different from the one I’m used to. It was during this time that I took a closer look at something I’ve always been very interested in–Buddhism. Buddhists hold true some values which I think are very universally important. They place a great importance on giving, which they refer to as dana, particularly of things money can’t buy. They practice mindfulness, believing that true happiness comes without attachments to the past and anxiety about the future.
It’s for these reasons and many more that I decided to spend some time at a Buddhist monastery. I felt that I learned all the things about this incredibly spiritual religion that I could through the means available to me. The time had come for me to immerse myself in it, and I must say my experience was truly eye-opening. At the core of what Buddhists believe are the Four Noble Truths. To summarize, the Four Noble Truths are:
- Dukkha, or the truth of suffering, is the idea that as human beings, we are unable to achieve satisfaction because we cling to the temporary.
- Samudaya, or the truth of cause of suffering, is the idea that suffering stems from thirst, a thirst that grows when we seek happiness via things outside ourselves.
- Nirodha, or the truth of the end of suffering, explains that suffering has an end that can be achieved by enlightenment and removing the cause.
- Magga, or the truth of the path to the cessation of suffering, explains that through the Eightfold Path, you can escape suffering.
As I learned more about these concepts, I couldn’t help but think of how they apply to romantic relationships. It is with this fresh in my mind that I present you with my own conclusions, the Four Noble Truths of Love.
1) Love involves suffering.
There’s a lot of room for pain in romantic relationships and even friendships because they are the most intimate of relationships. You bare your soul to a lover or a friend in a way that is special.
2) The cause of suffering in love is expectations.
Buddhists believe suffering is caused by looking for happiness outside ourselves. In relationships, we bring expectations, often ones we’ve gotten from outer influences, into our relationships and see the effects.
3) The end of suffering in love is possible.
And I know what you might be thinking, “Not in all cases.” Whether or not you choose to realize it, there are people who are perfectly happy in their relationships, and that allows us to realize it is possible.
4) The truth about the end of suffering in relationships is that it takes work.
Enlightenment in relationships comes when you can let go of your expectations and realize life is filled with the unexpected. Your emotions can only soar after they’ve seen rock bottom, and no matter where you are in the process, you’re on the path to Enlightenment.
Finding Enlightenment, whether in love or in life, is no easy feat. It is a lifelong journey which promises great reward. Buddha believed that happiness was the path, not the destination. The knowledge I gained and the skills I learned in my time at the monastery have changed my life and my perception on life and love. I realized that many times we approach relationships with an eye on what we stand to gain from it. Buddhists believe that by focusing on the present and by emphasizing giving, we reach our highest potential and live our best lives. By approaching your relationship with a focus on present and with the intention to give the best of yourself, knowing it is more valuable than anything you might receive, you can put yourself and your relationship on the Path to Enlightenment.
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