The Difference Between Love and Attachment
generate true love, you need to know how it differs from attachment.
Ordinary love and compassion are intertwined with attachment, because
their motivations are selfish: you care about certain people because
they temporarily help you or your friends. As Nagarguna's Precious
Thought involved with attachment to others
Is an intention to help or not to help
Due to being affected by desire
Or an intent to harm.
such love and compassion are under the sway of attachment, they cannot
be extended to enemies, only friends - your spouse, children, parents,
and so forth. Whereas if love and compassion thrive within the clear
recognition of the importance and rights of others, they will reach even
those who would do you harm.
From childhood I have had a
tendency toward love and compassion, but it was biased. When two dogs
were fighting, I would have strong feelings for the one who lost. Even
when two bugs fought, I had a strong concern for the smaller one, but
would be angry at the winner. That shows that my love and compassion
In turning away from attachment, you need no ignore
essential needs, such as food, shelter, and sleep. Rather, you should
separate yourself from superficial distractions that elicit such
exclamations as, "This is wonderful!" "I must have this!" "Oh, if I only
could have this!"
When you give your life over to such
thoughts, finery and money become more attractive than spiritual
development; distressing emotions increase, leading to trouble,
disturbing yourself and those around you, while you figure out ways to
satisfy these emotions, causing yet more trouble. Driven ragged by
attachment, you find no comfort.
The best way to overcome
counterproductive attachments is to realize that the very nature of life
is that what has gathered will eventually disperse - parents, children,
brothers, sisters, and friends. No matter how much friends love each
other, eventually they must part. The mistake is to see these situations
as inherently pleasurable. Attachment is built on this misperception
and will always cause more pain.
Good fortune is not permanent;
consequently, it is dangerous to become too attached to things going
well. An outlook of permanence is ruinous. When the present becomes your
preoccupation, the future does not matter, which undermines your
motivation to engage in compassionate practices for the future
enlightenment of others.
An outlook of impermanence helps. By
seeing that the true nature of things is disintegration, you will not be
shocked by change when it occurs, not even death.
- How to Expand Love: Widening the Circle of Loving Relationships
By His Holiness the Dalai Lama