***** NAMO AMIDA BU *****
Can love change people?
Certainly. Love is simple, so when people come close to love they give up things less important.
Do you mean pure love? Some love is conditional whereas some...
All love is conditional.
All love is conditional?
In this world, yes. Unconditional love, you can say, belongs to heaven, to God's world, not to this one.
Why is it conditional?
Everything here is conditional, but the pure essence of love is inherent even in conditional love.
But conditional love creates conflicts.
Exactly. At the root of conflicts is love. People fight for what they love.
So at the root of all hate is love?
Yes. Love is not the elimination of conflict, but love can be more or less skilful.
So love is at the root of everything we do.
Yes, including the most stupid things.
But sometimes people are only aware of the hate.
The converse is also possible.
A soldier is aware, perhaps, of loving his country, but hardly sees the destruction he is inflicting. He is just doing a job.
But in other situations?
Similarly. In couples or in communities, for instance. Each fights for what they believe is right - what they love - but it does not co-incide with what the other thinks. The conflict then gets entrenched through self-righteousness. Fundamentally, each side of the conflcit is growing from a seed of love, but that does not prevent it becoming bitter. But this started with you asking about change...
Yes, how does one change such bitterness?
By, on the one hand, seeing the love in its simplicity and, on the other, seeing one's own propensity toward folly and realising how universal it is. The latter enables us to see that we are in a conditional world, the former to realise that in this very place we are blessed.
But to change one has to be willing.
Not necessarily. Not even commonly. People are changing all the time, mostly unconsciously.
So the fact that I want to change does not necessarily mean that I will?
Quite. We change when the conditions change. Also, mostly, we are not clear what we really want. People often think they want to change but do not want to change the conditions that keep them the way they are. When the conditions change in spite of themseves they change.
Not always for the better.
But love changes...?
Because it is simple and fundamental. It is at the root of everything. It is like dying.
Yes, in love and death one gives up everything. Love and death together are enlightenment. Can you truly love at the point of death? Can you die in the midst of your love?
What does this mean?
To die in the midst of your love is to love more completely.
But still conditionally?
We are in the midst of conditions - there is nothing we can do about that - but to be aware of love is still liberating.
So some changes are due to change of conditions and some are due to love?
Yes, love, in its great simplicity, allows conditions to fall away. 'Let go of body and mind' the sages say. 'Return to the source'. Love is 'the spirit of the valley', like water naturally finding the lowest place. Where that place is depends on the conditions, but the water is always the same.
So understanding love and understanding our own conditioned nature will free us?
Yes, but not in the way that we initially expect. Initially we are like a person trying to make a bicycle stand up-right by using our own will. The bicycle does not stay up-right by our will. When the bicycle is in motion, we find we have a different kind of control. In the same way, understanding the human situation - love and our conditioned being - gives us a kind of balance that we did not expect but does not mean that we control things in the manner that we initially thought was essential yet so difficult.
So how can we gain this understanding of love?
Have the faith to love simply in your heart; do what needs doing in a loving way; notice one's own folly; smile at the human situation. We are all weak. we are all human. If we were not, love would be unnecessary. In effect, we change when we realise our weakness without losing sight of the love that enfolds us.
by David Brazier