Being Together With Love
Panyananda Bhikkhu

In Buddhism, the Buddha teaches us to acknowledge that all living beings are our fellow sufferers because all lives are just like us. They are born, age, become ill, and decay or die.
Therefore, we should wish them all happiness and success. Avoid malicious, envious or vengeful thoughts toward them. Be devoid of hatred and hostility toward anybody or anything whether good or bad. If they are good, we should be pleased for them. If they are bad we should be sorry for them and hope they change for the better. Pray for them to stop being bad and to avoid evils in their daily life.
Do not be angry with them. Do not hate them. Put yourself in their shoes. Remember that others are just like us in wanting only happiness and disliking suffering. Whatever we dislike, others too feel the same way.
When we meet somebody we should think, " We wish you happiness. May you be free from trouble and suffering. May you prosper in your life and your work." The mere thought will make us happy because we are radiating loving kindness toward them.
If we wish others happiness we too will find happiness. If we wish others suffering we too will find suffering.
Consider your own feelings. How do you feel inside when you hate somebody, are angry with them, want to hurt them, or envy them? You will realize that your mind is burning, cloudy, agitated and troubled. There is no peace in your mind.
We should not think, speak or act in an evil, harmful, or vicious way but should think, speak and act in a useful and beneficial way. It will be better for us and for others.
Thus is the purpose of loving kindness. We should live together with loving kindness. Eliminate anger, hatred, or vengeance toward others.
If we are still a little annoyed with somebody we should now stop. Think and learn from our own feelings. Since we were annoyed with that person, hated that person, wanted to take revenge on him or her, was our life better? Our life was not even the slightest better and our minds just suffered. We became distrustful of people, afraid that our enemies would attack us, hurt us, or bring us troubles.
How can we find happiness with such disruptive feelings? Peace or happiness cannot arise from such disruptive emotions.
On the contrary, if we do not wish any harm or hurt to come to others we will feel happy and peaceful as the Lord Buddha said, " Ap-pa-ya-pat-chang su-khang lo-ke". Refraining from harming others will bring happiness to this world.
Refraining from harming others goes hand in hand with having loving kindness (metta) towards all.
Loving kindness is the basis for living. What or who should we love? We should have a lot of love for the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha
How should we love the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha? Think about the love between lovers. When a man loves a woman he often thinks about her. Whatever he does: eat, sleep, or work, he thinks about her. That is how we should love the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. Whatever we are doing we should often think about them.

Love Buddha
How should we think about Buddha? We should think about his good qualities.
Buddha is kind and compassionate toward all living beings in this world.
Buddha has a pure heart, totally free from all delusions and faults.
Buddha has attained the wisdom and insight. He knows the truth of suffering, the truth of the origin of suffering, the truth of the cessation of suffering, and the truth of the path leading to cessation.
We should think about these good qualities that Buddha has. Think about them often. Imprint them in our minds. Be grateful for them.
Our hearts and minds should be with the Buddha, and not with any unhealthy emotions or evils.
Our minds are neither like the minds of animals, nor those of the devils in hells, nor those of the hungry ghosts in the lower realm, nor those of the higher beings, nor those of the formless beings but are in its natural state a truly Buddha-mind (pure goodness, knowing the truth). Therefore, we should forever love Buddha.

Love Dharma
We love Dharma, meaning we love the teachings of Buddha. When we love Buddha we must love his teachings too because they go together.
Loving Dharma means studying it often. Read and listen to Dharma. Use it as a mirror to reflect, to see where our imperfections or blemishes are.
It is just like one has a small mirror to look at oneself often, then one can see if one's face is oily, dirty, or if the make up is fading away. One can fix or repair it quickly.
This is self-actualization, self-criticism and self-correction. We use Dharma to know our own true selves. If we see anything that is not proper, not right we can correct it and make it better.
Using Dharma in daily life is like having an inner guiding light showing the right path for us to follow. We will be able to walk along without being led astray. Our lives will have less troubles and we will prosper. Therefore we should diligently study Dharma. Read, listen, keep company with the wise and use Dharma in our daily life.
"Dhammo haway rak-kha-ti dhamma ja-ring." Dharma benefits those who practice.
Whoever practices Dharma, Dharma will protect, remedy, alleviate, heal and restore them from harm. We should always think about Dharma. Wherever we go, whatever we do, whomever we associate with, we should think about Dharma. Think about what the Buddha says on those subjects.
For example, when we are going to a place that sells alcoholic beverages, we should think about Dharma, the truth or the reality.
One of the Buddha's five precepts for laymen says, "Drinking alcoholic beverages is bad. You can lose money. You can become ill. You can be quarrelsome when you are drunk. You become shameless and do not feel embarrassed when you are intoxicating. General public despises drunkards. Your awareness and wisdom can not function properly."
Once we realize what the dharma says, we should be able to control ourselves. We will not go to that alcoholic place because it is not right. It is sinful. If we still go there we do not love Dharma. We will be the black sheep among the children of Dharma. We will be damaged. We use Dharma to control ourselves, not going there.
Another example is when we have the urge to gamble we think about the dharma that says, "Son, gambling is bad. If you win, you create losers who may resent and want to take revenge on you later. If you lose, you feel sorry and want to have the money back. You lose money and credibility. Nobody will be able to trust you. Your good name will be destroyed. You will become poor." Once we see the disadvantage of gambling we will show our love for Dharma by not gambling but working diligently and responsibly. When we avoid evils and do our duties diligently we will not be damaged.

Love Sangha
We love Sangha, the virtuous disciples of Buddha who attain Enlightenment and escape from the cycle of rebirth. They are free from all delusions. How do they live?
These disciples have regularly lived virtuously. They take the direct path in dedicating their lives to practice Dharma to free themselves from the world of suffering.
When we love Sangha, the spiritual community, we follow their righteous steps. We let them lead us. We model our lives after them and not after any ghosts, or devils .
We walk cautiously and righteously on the straight path. We walk with Dharma by walking away from suffering. Whatever we do we do it right, straight, and in a Dharma-way. We do it so that we will rise above suffering. This is what loving Sangha is.
When we have the love of Sangha as a basis, we have a strong, righteous and healthy foundation in life. When something happens, we will not be troubled or shaken.

Love Our Duties
We must love our duties, our works, our responsibilities. Talking about duties everyone has duties to perform; some are individual duties and some are community duties.
As a human being, everyone has human duties to fulfill. This means one should live their lives with human dignity and decency. One should not only follow his base instinct, but should live like a lotus in a pond. Water and mud cannot wet or dirty a lotus flower. Out of the muddy, dirty water comes a pure and clean lotus flower. The lotus symbolizes purity, development, and transcendence. Such should be our life. We should live a pure and clean life, and not become dirty or polluted by evil or defilement.
Being free comes with duties of keeping our minds free from delusion, not letting ourselves go under the influence of intoxicating beverages, of worldly pleasures, or laziness.
Being Thai citizens, we have duties not to let ourselves be slaves to anyone or anything because slavery is contradictory to "being free." The word, "Thai" means "free," therefore we have to be free.
Being Buddhists, we have duties to behave like the Buddha's followers.
The Buddha's followers must know, must be awake, must be gracious and joyful at all times.
The Buddha's followers must be alert, ready and progressive in developing a successful daily living.
As fathers or mothers, we must fulfill our parenting duties.
We should love being fathers, mothers, teachers, soldiers, policemen, politicians, etc.
Whatever positions we hold, high or low, rich or poor, we must love them. Dedicate our lives to them. Make the best out of any situations. Perform our duties with love, patience and dedication. Always think that these are our duties, we love our duties, our responsibilities.
Those who do something with love will do it with caution, dedication, and attention to details.
They do it with the best of their abilities for the best result and not just to get it over with.
They are what we call people who love their duties. They perform their daily chores with love and dedication.

Love Our Family
We should love our family because we live together as a family, with the same last name. Many families become nations, or countries. If we think in a small scale, we think about family.
Each member of a family sometimes must give up his or her own happiness for the sake of the whole group.
An example is a husband and a wife who live together and must rely on each other. He works for her and she does the same for him. When they have children, they live together for the sake of their children.
They will not be separated because they do not live only for themselves. Somebody may say that they cannot live with their mates because they have different tastes. Why don't they adapt and try to make them the same?
The reason is they do not love each other. Without love they no longer want to live together. Seeing the face of the unloved one brings repulsiveness, unhappiness, and sometimes plain boredom. And so they divorce. After the divorce, their children suffer because they do not know to whom they should turn.
Most troubled children in societies now come from broken homes. Fathers and mothers go separate ways or live together without love. Some parents behave immorally. Fathers may be drinking; mothers gambling. Parents' bad behavior breeds bad children. This is a very serious sin. It not only effects an individual but also families, and countries. It is not right.
We should set our minds that if we ever have a family, we will love our family.
For example, as head of a household a man can show the love for his family by going to work with love. Work for his family. Do it with patience, dedication and enthusiasm. Do it without boredom and bring success to whatever he is doing because when he is successful, his family will be successful too.
After work he will not go to clubs, bars, or nightclubs. He will not go with any immoral friends who exceedingly indulge in worldly pleasures and waste money unnecessarily.
He will hurry home because he has duties and responsibilities at home. He has the family waiting for him.
He will stay, work, and have meals with his family. While watching televisions with his wife and children he can talk about the good, the bad, the right and the wrong of those stories he is watching. This will help children understand life and how to live. He can see that the children read books, and do their homework. Together, husband and wife, think, teach and raise their children.

Love Our Country
To love our country is to love our fellow countrymen. We wish each and every one of them peace and happiness. This is what loving our country is.
Thinking more about the benefit of the community and less about our own benefit is another meaning of loving our country.
Whatever work we are doing, we do it for the good of the community, not just for our own benefit. We are not being selfish, or thinking only " what will I get out of this" or "What's in it for me?"
Such behavior shows greed and selfishness. It is not dedication to the work and will only lead to corruption and imperfect job results.
How does corruption happen? It happens because people do not truly love their nation; they only love themselves. They do everything for themselves. They do not work for their nation, their country.
We should change the way of thinking. Consider ourselves as small units in a bigger unit, our country.
Whatever we are doing, we should think about our country. Our nation now needs people who truly love it, who will dedicate themselves to work for it, especially those who are running the country, such as government officials. They must really work for the sake of working, for the community's benefit, work steadily with clear and just mind. Do not work with unfair or biased mind, with favoritism or hatred, with fear or misguidedness.
Do not be selfish. Do not use working positions for our gains. Do not use our knowledge to gain benefit just for ourselves.
The Buddha blames , "At-tat-tha panya asu-jee ma-nut-sa" - Whoever uses his mindfulness, wisdom, and ability just for his personal well-being, his own benefit is corrupted and useless. According to the teachings of Buddha, we should not live a corrupted life. We should live a clean life, a life without evils.
This is what loving our country is. We dedicate ourselves to our nation, working for the community benefit, not just for our gain.
Whoever says, he loves his country, but takes bribes or illegal money, should stop doing so and start doing something for the nation's benefit, for the community as a whole.
Remember that each of us was born empty-handed and will die empty-handed. We cannot take anything with us when we die. Why do we crave so much for wealth, for worldly materials?
We should be born to contribute, to do things for the sake of others, to develop our nation. Such living is better than living with greed. It is not good to be recorded in a history book as a man of greed.
Getting up early in the morning, we should set our mind,
"Today I will live for the benefit of the community, for the benefit and happiness of other human beings.
May the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha help me.
May I be honest, firm, and patient. May I dedicate myself more for the community benefit than for my own benefit."
Setting our mind to these goals is a basis for loving our nation, our country. Everything will be better.
When we love the virtuous way we will be righteous, moralistic and civilized. Everything will be better.
Our country wants good people who have high morals. Let us try to live our lives with loving kindness toward our fellow human beings, our religion, our country, our work, and our family.
Let us always live together with loving kindness and compassion toward all beings everywhere.
Let us not live our lives with cruelty, anger, hatred, or vengeance. If we live our lives with those disruptive emotions, we are creating problems and bringing suffering to ourselves and to others. It is not right. It will destroy both ourselves and others.
We are born not to destroy each other but to help each other become happy and successful in whatever we choose to do.