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Self Love Series: Love Yourself Teachings By Buddha

by Evelyn on May 17, 2011

Buddha: Teaching of Self-Love“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha

An important core teaching in Buddhism is self-love. Buddha teaches that you love the self before extending the love to others. In other words, before you are able to be a love luminary, you must have the capacity to embrace yourself fully. Today being Vesak Day, let’s celebrate Buddha’s teachings about love.

Buddha observes, “you can travel around the world to search for someone more lovable than yourself, and yet that person is never to be found.” In other words, the search is not external but internal. You first find it from within. To love the self is to be in continuous connection with your true essence. You learn to accept, appreciate and affirm who you are.

Unconditional love and compassion are divine qualities of your intrinsic nature. When you connect from the inside, you experience the unfolding of wisdom. An inability to experience true self-love leads to love as something conditional. You love yourself if and only if you fulfill a certain expectation of the self. Your love for others also becomes conditional. Clouded by filters and perceptions, the ability for true knowing of the self and others become lacking.

Self-realization is key. This means that you are to awaken into love on an experiential basis. You are to actualize it with your own experiencing. As it has been often pointed out, “the finger pointing to the moon is not the moon”. All in, Buddha’s teachings involve an existential approach, rather than through fuzzy understanding via a religious abstraction.

From self love, you lay the ground for the expression of compassion for others. You tune into the sense of shared humanity. You recognize that others are no different from yourself. Everyone is going through essentially the same pain and sorrow – regardless of the specific packagings of external circumstances. You extend to others what you would extend to the self. By opening your heart, you gain a gentle-yet-powerful connection with all others.

Loving the self enhances your ability to send metta, generating energy that is real, pure and transformative. Many Buddhists practice the sending of metta in their prayers. The Buddha shares insightfully, “”Hatred can never be ceased by hatred; it is ceased by love alone.”

Metta is the radiation of loving kindness towards all beings. The wish is this: may all beings be well and happy. True metta is a warm feeling of generosity, compassion, abundance and love that extends beyond all human-imposed boundaries (such as political, racial, social and gender barriers and the divide between human and all other things).

Love is a practice. It is something that can be worked upon. The more you practice, the greater your ability to love and be compassionate. Buddha encourages you to share your light, “Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”

Prayer of Metta

Vesak Day commemorates the birth and enlightenment of Buddha and his entry into Nirvana. It is a day of chanting, praying, meditating and giving alms to the poor and needy. In Singapore, Vesak Day is a public holiday where thousands of devotees will gather at the temples. Celebrations usually culminate with a candlelight procession.

It is believed that good deeds made on Vesak will earn merits multiple times over. Whether this is true or not, let’s take the opportunity to send loving-kindness wishes to everyone. Here’s my prayer of metta for you who’s reading my post:

May all beings be peaceful.
May all beings be happy.
May all beings be safe.
May all beings awaken to the light of their true nature.
May all beings be free.

Namaste: the divinity in me bows to the divinity in you.

Shine in Self-Love Always,
Evelyn

P.S. Photo taken of the radiant Buddha statue at Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery in Singapore.

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Todd | Channelingmyself May 17, 2011 at 7:41 pm

I believe there are too many people in the world that don’t understand what self love means. It took me some time to figure it out, I used to be the type of person that gave too much love to everyone around me and didn’t have any for myself.

Lance May 17, 2011 at 8:59 pm

Namaste, dear friend…

Christopher Lovejoy May 17, 2011 at 11:15 pm

In Lak’ech, Evelyn.

The divinity in me honors the divinity in you.

Christopher

Michele May 18, 2011 at 1:13 am

@ Todd, I believe that as well. Some of us aren’t taught how to love ourselves and be ok with ourselves when we are young, causing us internal turmoil as we grow older. This is why you have people at war with their bodies, mind and soul, and hurting themselves because of it.

SophieAna May 18, 2011 at 3:12 am

Kudos to Budda when saying love yourself before extending your love to others. Most kids are taught to always be nice to the people around you but nobody ever says “Don’t forget to be nice to yourself”. I think I can say that only loving others is avoiding facing you loving yourself. When you focus all your love on them who cares about you?? What a great strategy for ignoring and trying to forget. Self love….. there is so much to it. We could all use a day of self love and dedication to ourselves…. Perhaps a spa day : P
Peace, Love
S. Ana

Giulietta Nardone May 18, 2011 at 5:46 am

Hi Evelyn,

These words ring really true to me, “You recognize that others are no different from yourself. Everyone is going through essentially the same pain and sorrow – regardless of the specific packagings of external circumstances.”

Yet, we don’t realize it for a very long time because our educational model does not promote compassion or cooperation. People who work together are deemed cheaters. How bizarre that is?

I, too, believe loving ourselves is the default. All else is learned.

Got my self-love post up today! Thx, Giulietta

Angela Artemis May 18, 2011 at 6:19 am

Evelyn,
This was fabulous. There is so much more to self love then we would think at first glance.

Little Lessons Under the Big Sky May 18, 2011 at 6:24 am

This is simply beautiful, Evelyn.

I love your prayer of Metta. I also love that the Buddha picture was taken in Singapore. I traveled to Jakarta four years ago, and stayed overnight in Singapore. It was a powerful time to reconnect with my own true self, and rediscover self-love.

Have a beautiful day….
Jen

David Stevens May 19, 2011 at 8:23 am

Hi Evelyn,
Yes. Not much more than I can say. Still learning, gradually getting a hold of this.
Be good to yourself
David

The Vizier May 19, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Hi Evelyn,

It’s true. We have to love ourselves first before we can extend our love to others. I like how the Chinese believe that they must put their house in order first before they can deal with external matters. I believe that this philosophy applies to all areas of life. If our inner world and personal lives are not in harmony, it is hard to have self-love or love for anyone.

I agree fully with you that love is a practice. Once we have self-love, the more we practice love and compassion, the more loving we become. Having said that it helps to ensure that we nourish our minds with love and surround ourselves with loving people. In such a loving atmosphere, it is easier to be a beacon of love.

Thank you for sharing this lovely article and I hope you had a lovely Vesak Day! :)

Irving the Vizier

Steve/Authentic Abundance May 20, 2011 at 7:52 am

Evelyn,

This is a remarkable post.

It’s only recently in my own life that I’ve started to see and understand the meaning of unconditional love and compassion and how it can help us live each day fully and authentically.

Once we accept the abundant movement of spirit in our own lives joyfulness and gratitude become easy and natural.

J.D. Meier May 20, 2011 at 10:24 pm

> to be a love luminary, you must have the capacity to embrace yourself fully.
I like that. It’s flowing strength and compassion from the inside out.

Galen Pearl May 21, 2011 at 11:42 am

As the flight attendant says, put your own oxygen mask on before helping others! I like the quotes you used and the lovely photo of the Buddha statue. Thank you for the information on Buddhism and the inspiration on self love.

Joy May 21, 2011 at 9:08 pm

Evelyn,
Absolutely beautiful! Thank you:)
I was raised with the belief that we serve others, to the point of martrying our self..However, I learned that I serve others best when I am at my maximum health on all levels..

Suzie Cheel May 22, 2011 at 11:18 am

Namaste and I love your prayer, resonates for me. How wonderful to have the beautiful Buddha to visit in your own city.
Such simplicity yet we all seem to have such a winding path to get to that inner place where loving ourself is okay especially when as Joy says we were raised with the belief that we serve others, to the point of martrying our self.., then we learn that to be selfish is to take care of oneself- wonderful series and I am still working on my piece for you- will be up this week
love and hugs
Suzie

Zengirl @ Heart and Mind May 22, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Evelyn,

When I was young, one of my dear aunt always told me, to be beautiful, you have to feel beautiful. Without loving and forgiving ourselves first, we can not love or forgive others. Buddha is someone I admire a lot, as he was born in India, there are lot of Hindus believe in his messages like many others.

Preeti

Chris Edgar May 24, 2011 at 12:28 am

Hi Evelyn, that quote about how you can search the world for someone more lovable for yourself, but such a person doesn’t exist, seems like such valuable guidance for relationships between people. Accepting that there’s no one out there who can “complete” me was painful at first, but it adds such simplicity to life to understand that what’s really needed is to see the completeness that’s already there.

Nick May 28, 2011 at 11:53 pm

“Once we accept the abundant movement of spirit in our own lives joyfulness and gratitude become easy and natural.”

I really love this above. I felt the energy immediately throughout my body.

And your article above is wonderful, I have sent it to all the people close to me in my life. Our world, and especially the U.S. is such an individually based place. Yet with all that individuality we’re almost exclusively scheming ways to better ourselves to be ready for the competitive environment, so it’s not individual in a fulfilling way. What I’ve learned in the last 4 years, I’m only 32 mind you, is that if you are in tune with yourself and the beauty of everyone around you, even the competitive nature of our society is somehow beautiful. You learn to appreciate how the competition breeds progress, then you appreciate your cell phone for what it is and the fact that we have a SPACE station! Come on, how cool. The secret is simply balance, we cannot get caught up in the material based world, but we are meant to be a part of the race.

Right now the majority of us are thinking of ways to move up or forward monetarily and in status when we should be focusing on how amazing and love-able we are as beings, that’s our time alone. And when we are actively a part of the “competitive world”, be it work or even in a group, many of us are still bothered by the feeling of not feeling centered or loved and we crave solitude to reach that place. We need to switch those around, when we have the time, meditate, take care of you, appreciate yourself. When you do this with your time alone, entering the world we live in isn’t so stressful or overwhelming. And a key for success in business, forget you’re in business. I’m in sales and the best I’ve ever done is the period in time that I, with all the energy I could muster, focused on what I loved about each person I spoke with. The results were amazing, and genuine, fulfilling and abundant. No joke my closing percentage was twice that of anyone else in the office with none of the stress. Thanks for listening:) Love you all.

Kate I August 27, 2012 at 11:24 pm

Wow Evelyn…I was so thrilled and happy when I opened up my inbox today and found that Patti Digh had included a link to your essay for today’s Project 137: thoughts on loving well. (Each day is divided into 3 tasks…love well, live well and letting go). Your words are always deep and true and are a beautiful gift to the world.

Blessings my friend!

KASTURIRANGAN RAMASWAMY August 9, 2013 at 12:46 am

live strong happily.

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