The Philosophy of Being in Love

(Excerpt From Life’s Ups and Downs Seen Through the Yes of the Enlightened by Grandmaster JinBodhi) Translation by Bei-ai


In a relationship, when two people are deeply in love, it is difficult for them to detach from each other. If they break up, they may feel their heartache is unbearable and fall into a depression. How and why does this happen? The problem lies in both their lack of perspective and lapse in wisdom.

The Breakup Syndrome
A female practitioner came to see me and I noticed she had gained weight; she looked like a different person. I decided that she must have been binge-eating. I told her, “If you continue to binge like this, you are destined not to find love in the future. Look at yourself now. You really don’t look good with the extra pounds.” It indeed turned out that she had been overeating after the breakup with her significant other.

Don’t try to distract yourself from heartbreak by binge-eating. It not only harms your health, but shedding the extra weight gained is not an easy task.


On another occasion, I met a woman who lived in the United States. Being affluent, the way she dealt with her breakup was through shopping sprees. Her compulsive action had helped the American economy, not her. I cautioned her, “How much money do you have left to spend this way? Even if you have millions of dollars to spend, you will eventually end up with regrets when you realize that you wasted so much money venting your anger.”

After pondering my words, she agreed. “That’s very true. I’ve bought a lot of unnecessary things and reselling them will be a big task.” She regretted her impulsiveness as the money could have been channeled toward a good cause.

There is another kind of breakup syndrome. After many failed relationships, a man laments, “All the women in this world are awful.” Likewise, the women complain, “All the men in this world are horrible.” However, you should not blame anyone (including your parents, brothers and sisters) when you fall out of love. If you’re not prepared to accept failure, simply don’t fall in love.

Falling out of love is a personal issue. Like my mother always said, “The one who drowns is the one who knows how to swim.” Some people believe they are skillful at swimming, yet they end up drowned at sea. The wise will instead start at the shallow end before venturing deeper. The same philosophy applies when you are in love. The deeper and faster you sink yourself in the relationship, the more pain you will feel when it does not work out the way you wished it would. Take the relationship gradually.


Love Is Not a Possession
Not long ago I went window shopping and something interesting caught my eye. I pushed the door several times, but it remained locliaotian4ked.

“What are you doing?” a security guard asked me angrily.

“Why would you lock the door?” I asked. “I want to have a closer look at what you sell.”

“Didn’t you see the doorbell on the side? If you want to go in, ring the doorbell,” the guard explained.

“I did not notice that. Why would a store need a doorbell? What exactly do you have in there? So mysterious!” I exclaimed.

“This is a jewelry store,” answered the security guard as he let me in. When I browsed around the store I was struck by amazement. The showcases were crowded with trays of rare gems and jewelry. Some diamonds were bigger than corn kernels and the pearls were larger than grapes. No wonder the doors were locked.

I could not resist having a closer look at two beautiful pearls. I felt an instant connection with the pearls; they were shimmering at me as if beckoning me to bring them home. Although I really liked them, I could not afford them. Thus, I suppressed the urge to possess them. Instead, I just admired their beauty.

The beauty of an object lies in its original state. Upon seeing something beautiful, simply behold the beauty. Upon reaching a mountain peak, we may exclaim, “Wow, what a view.” But, no matter how thrilled we are, there is no way we can bring the scenery home. We know that the beauty of the mountain stays where it is.

Likewise, not all good things are meant for personal possession despite your intuitive connection to them. What does not belong to you cannot be forcibly acquired. If you insist on possessing it, the beauty is bound to be lost.

Human emotions are similar: You can’t insist on having whatever your heart desires.


Wisdom for a Happy Life
Falling in love is easy. Staying in love is difficult. Regardless of that, fate has brought both of you together, so cherish your relationship.

But if separation is inevitable, let go amicably. Do not inflict pain and hurt on anyone. Wish each other well and be rich in joy.

Forceful possession can only be transitory, for whatever is not meant to be yours can in no way be yours eternally.