4 Rules to a Good Spiritual Love Relationship
- 4 Rules to a Good Spiritual Love Relationship
(First sent through www.thedailyenlightenment.com on 15/6/2000)
These 4 rules are suggested to be followed in order.
Rule #1 : Become NORMAL Friends
Don't jump the gun, leaping before looking. Be friends (Befriend) before "chasing" each other- or else it is simply "love at first sight" which is largely ridiculous since you can't really love someone you don't know, unless it's too great a karmic attraction, or unless you are a "natural Bodhisattva" who loves all unconditionally once you see them. Even if you, or both of you feel greatly compelled by your instincts, it doesn't necessarily mean you are both right. As Stonepeace used to say, "Sometimes gut feelings are just strange feelings in the guts. And sometimes 2 people having gut feelings about each other are simply 2 people with strange feelings in their guts!" You can trust your feelings all the time without fail- only if they never failed you. As long as we are unenlightened, we should be aware that "love at first sight" is almost always mere infatuation at first sight- puppy love. It would be like Ananda, the Buddha's personal attendant, who used to love the Buddha's appearance and body language more than the Dharma itself.
Remember, the Dharmic essence of a person is always more important than his or her form. The form is only a rough (often VERY rough) guide to a person's true essence. A beast might have great beauty within and vice versa. This person needn't be a Buddhist, since the True Dharma transcends labels. The Dharmic essence of a person is what we should be attracted to, what we can learn from- it might be a particular kindness or wisdom. If you are not attracted by the Dharmic essence of a person, you are attracted by the Samsaric essence! There will naturally be lust of some form involved initially, be it obvious or subtle. This is the very reason why love for
Buddhists is to be spiritual. By learning to love someone spiritually does not mean it automatically or forcefully erases or denies the sexual tensions in between. It is rather, the mindful watching of each other, by oneself, and for each other, such that lust does not dominate the reason for being together. Loving spiritually also means steadily lessening the lust in good time, such that it gradually plays no important role in being together. Spiritual love thus purifies each other; does not further taints each other. You are to free each other, not embrace each other to fall deeper into Samsara. It is obvious the Buddha would not approve of worldly love at all, if it hardly
evolves towards spiritual love.
Rule #2 : Become GOOD Friends
Develop to be good friends before committing long-term to each other. Just as good friendship naturally sustains any long-lasting friendship, realise that the lovingness in a relationship is sustained on good friendship. By friendship here, it is referred to as spiritual friendship. Spiritual friendship is vertical, not horizontal friendship. Horizontal friendship refers to superficial friendship that merely skims the surface of understanding each other. Vertical friendship is in-depth, bent on befriending each other deeply in each other's psyche, addressing important issues of spiritual growth towards bettering each other towards Enlightenment; not just addressing mundane matters such as "Where shall we shop and dine tonight?" There is Dharma to be learnt from each other. If there is none, such a relationship is spirtually sterile, futile. If you can
learn lessons from nature, there should be much more you can learn (and teach) another live and kicking aspect of nature, a human being, whom you can readily communicate (and have fruitful conflicts!) with.
Rule #3 : Become BEST Friends
Further develop to be BEST friends. This is a continual process. If you are already best friends, continue doing your best to sustain the well-developed spiritual friendship. As the law of impermance has it, everything and everyone is changing constantly. Do not become complacent that you already know another person inside-out. You can only understand someone in the moment, not for every moment. If you are yet to be best friends, work towards it. Best lovers are not only spiritual, they are also best friends. That is the real definition of "soulmates" (for lack of a better word, though Buddhism does not subscribe to the belief in unchanging "souls")- two
people who are best karmically apt to motivating each other evolve on the spiritual ladder towards the perfection of Buddhahood. It's all about deep COMMUNICATION, the baring of each other's "souls" to each other. Best friends have nothing to hide from each other, and it is only so, that they can know each other well, thoroughly knowing and accepting each other's imperfections, while encouraging each other to work towards perfection. If you still have deep dark secrets which you hide from your partner, it almost certainly means you do not trust him or her completely yet. The more the secrets, the less depth the relationship. Just as you would bare your
misgivings to a Buddha image in confession, likewise should you be able to confess your thoughts and feelings to your partner, since you are supposed to be life-long Bodhisattvas to each other.
If there is one single word crucial for you to remember from these 4 Rules, it would be COMMUNICATION. Relationships are about honest communication, and benefitting from it. It is the heart and life of any relationship. Just as the Buddha's importance and worth for a Buddhist is in His honest communication of the Dharma, the Truth to us, it likewise applies to all other forms of relationship. Don't you find it bizarre and unsettling that many couples confide best in their best friends who are not each other? What is the real use of being together then, when it is not a communion of minds, but just physical togetherness?
Rule #4 : Become OTHERS' BEST Friends
Realise that spiritual love neither starts nor ends with the two of you. If it is genuine untainted love, it would and should naturally overflow to positively affect others, changing their lives for the better. A healthy spiritual couple has many good friends whom they still try to benefit, whom they still benefit from spiritually. If your love becomes an exclusive relationship that shuts the rest of the world out, it has then become a selfish, ungrowing and confining relationship, likenened to having created a
personal Samsara for each other, mistaken to be a peronal Pureland, as in contrast to creating an imperonal Pureland environment for all, filled with equal love for all. This is the final stage of all fruitful relationships- the boundless Bodhisattva stage. Notice that all 4 Rules begin with "Become". This is important- as spiritual development is a constant becoming, never at a standstill.
BONUS TIP: How do you know your relationship is REALLY spiritual?
When you are ready to let each other go, for the greater good. When your partner might feel that he or she has outgrown the spiritual value of the relationship and wishes to move on, go forth, be it renouncing the lay life to join the Sangha, or just to leave the relationship in the wish to choose another means to upgrade himself or herself spiritually. Imagine this happening now- Can you let go now? Or are you still attached, in every sense of the word? Now consider the relationship vice versa- in the case that you realise the relationship you are in to be spiritually stagnant, even after you had put in the best of your efforts to spiritually revive it, will you let it go?
May all love well, for loving is the essence of fruitful living, the reason why the Buddhas are born, the reason the Bodhisattvas strive on. Do not seek perfect love. Instead, perfect your love. This is the natural way to attract True Love. It never fails. :-]
~ zeph@... | http://stonepeace.blogspot.com