By Lama Surya Das, who will be presenting Make Me One with Everything in Vancouver on Sept 24, 2017.
Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite American holidays. The fact
that this over-commercialized day falls around the same time as Tibetan New Year reminds me to make new year’s resolutions relating to my loved ones, and to renew my commitment to cultivating warm empathetic, altruistic compassion and unselfish goodness of heart, the very essence of authentic love. These resolutions usually involve opening my heart and mind; listening better; learning to forgive and love even those I don’t like; and coming to accept and bless the world, rather than fighting with it or trying to escape from it. Through co-meditating with everything, as it appears; through intermeditation and interbeing with it–rather than against or apart from “it”– I am learning to see thru the illusion of separateness. I also remember groups and individuals who may not feel included in this so-called lovers’ day in our country, including single people and the LGBTQ+ communities. As Zen Master Dogen says: “To study the Buddha Way is to be intimate with all things.” This is true love.
What is true love? How would Buddha love? By seeing every single being, human and otherwise, as fundamentally like himself, and thus able to treat them and love them in the way he or she would be treated. We call this infinitely benevolent, selfless love the invaluable Bodhicitta or the Awakened Heart, the very spirit and soul of enlightenment. One can find this taught elegantly in the “Loving-kindness Sutra”; in Shantideva’s classic “The Way of the Bodhisattva“; in Atisha’s “Seven Points of Mind-Training & Attitude Transformation,” and in The Good Book.