What does Buddhism think of the idea of “Love”?

“Love” is a generic, layperson concept. Buddhism does not speak of “love” in the same manner as laity, but refers more to “compassion” in its teachings. “Love” begins with the premise of selfishness or self-centredness, for example, we love in order to be loved in return, or because they are our parents, so we love them; we love money due to our needs and wants; we love our bodies, as we need our bodies.

On the other hand, compassion does not focus on self-centredness, but connotes the quality of intelligence. For example, in showing our love towards our parents, we need to appropriately care for them, provide for their needs and well-being in the right way and without expecting anything in return. Similarly, in a relationship between man and woman, both hope to care for each other in the best way possible, without necessarily expecting their love to be reciprocated in equal proportions – such is one of the greatest marks of intelligence and compassion.

Extracted from: Master Sheng Yan’s “The Meaning of Life’s Existence”

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