There are two kinds of love - selfish and unselfish. If selfish emotions dominate our relationships with others, we doom our lives to disillusionment and pain. The more personal our emotions, the more desperately we cling to others for happiness and understanding, the closer we come to mental and emotional illness. Buddha fully realized that human love is the most valuable and also the most dangerous of emotions. He revealed to his disciples the mystery of compassion, which is affection purified of all self-interest. Compassion is not the end of loving, but the beginning of TRUE love. A mother does not love her child less because she has experienced compassion for all the children of the world. To love the sky, the
symbol of all the Buddhas; the earth, full of growing life; the stranger, who may be in need of sympathy; and the enemy, who must abide with his own sorrows - these are among the works of compassion. To love the eternal laws that guide our destinies; to bless the troubles that come our way; to accept with warm gratitude the wonders of new things, never questioning the benevolence of Providence, is to dwell forever in Blessedness. Compassion is a radiant child of infinite love. By our acts of mercy, we fashion the ship of salvation that carries us safely across the sea of illusion and brings us in the end to the shores of the Blessed Land. The inner nature of man aspires to quietude, contentment, peace, and serenity of spirit. We all prefer to live constructively, but against this natural inclination is arrayed an army of pressures and negative associations. To meet the confusion that arises, we now have recourse to a variety of escape mechanisms. We try to avoid the impact of truth by refusing to acknowledge it, or by giving our attention to lesser matters. Actually, we realize the destructiveness of the confusion that we endure and even increase by our attitudes, and we look forward to some time in the future when we can reaffirm the more benevolent aspects of our innate humanity. In the meantime, we may turn to psychoanalysis or to sedatives (medication) in the hope of finding some degree of relief from psychic stress. Buddhism takes the position that when man becomes aware that he is living badly, it is his moral obligation to rectify his character, and if he does not do so, he must reap the harvest of his mistakes. It is utterly impossible for any human being to break the rules of his species and escape suffering. He must therefore determine how much suffering he is willing to endure, how long he is content to be unhappy and insecure as the result of his own ignorance or lack of courage. The truth of the matter is that the solution is far less painful than the ailment, and can be applied at any time the individual resolves to change his ways. He cannot do this, however, until he realizes the need and wholeheartedly accepts the challenge. Weak attempts, not supported by adequate convictions, seldom achieve much. We must first realize that it is possible to control every thought, every emotion, and every action originating from within ourselves. The person who does not believe that he is stronger than his own disposition is ignorant, regardless of how much knowledge he may posses on other subjects.