WHAT DO THE DALAI LAMA AND THE ROSICRUCIANS SAY ABOUT LOVE?
I hope you don’t think that this is a weird combination. My entire life has revolved, in one way or another, around reconciling the East and the West in my way of seeing the world and translating that into humane action. I do believe that synthesis of these seemingly disparate approaches is still possible despite the increasingly divisive world we are living in right now. With Pluto in Capricorn squaring Uranus in Aries for the long haul symbolically, we will probably witness power plays among deeply conflicting entrenched interests. On the one hand we have conservative societal structures that have become too rigid for their own good, and on the other we have the unpredictable upheavals possible when the people finally realize that change is within their power to manifest. The general pattern, whether individually or collectively, is one of death, rebirth, and reinvention – and it could happen as quickly as a lightning strike!
Even so, I think that there is still a lot to be thankful for in this world, and that is because, despite my battle-hardened cynicism, I remain a firm believer in love. This love is not just the kind that two people share to the exclusion of everyone else, but the kind of love that also encompasses our fellow human beings and our Earth.
In His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s book, “How to Expand Love: Widening the Circle of Loving Relationships (Atria Books, 2005),” he talks about extending the reach of our capacity to love through meditational exercises taught in Tibetan monasteries more than a thousand years ago. Honestly speaking, I can’t say that I meditate often enough, but I think I’d do well to make it a more consistent part of my hectic life. I do love extended periods of utter silence when it’s just me and a free-floating version of my thoughts. Does that count? My mother says that her meditation is when she putters in her garden because her plants give her great joy. An acquaintance says that knitting is her form of meditation. Another friend feels in the zone when he plays classical guitar. Meditation could mean different things to different people. To the Dalai Lama, “Heartfelt wishes for your own future spiritual development and for the progress of others is itself a form of meditation (p. 192).” The gist of the meditations through the chapters is that the Dalai Lama asks us to first visualize a friend who may need help, and then to “slowly extend this meditation person to person: first to more friends, then to neutral persons, and finally to enemies, eventually including all sentient beings throughout space.” Tall order? Too tough? Well, he did say to do it slowly.
He tailored his writing style to appeal to the Western mind by creating steps and lists. The broad outline of his main how-to-expand-love message follows these steps: 1.Recognizing friends, 2. Appreciating kindness, 3. Returning kindness, 4. Learning to love, 5. The power of compassion, 6. Total commitment, and 7. Seeking altruistic enlightenment. To the Dalai Lama, then, love is about generosity, compassion, aiming to help others, and the final ideal: altruism, unselfish concern for the welfare of others, or in a word: selflessness.
To complement this concept of love, why don’t we delve into the Rosicrucian Declaration of Human Duties?
Article 1: It is each individual’s duty to respect without reservation Human Rights such as they are defined in the Universal Declaration.
Article 2: It is each individual’s duty to respect him- or herself and not to debase his or her body or conscience through behaviors or practices that jeopardize his or her dignity or integrity.
Article 3: It is each individual’s duty to respect others, irrespective of race, gender, religion, social status, community, or any other apparently distinctive element.
Article 4: It is each individual’s duty to respect the laws of the countries in which he or she lives, being understood that such laws should be based on the respect for the most legitimate rights of individuals.
Article 5: It is each individual’s duty to respect the religious and political beliefs of others, as long as they do not harm human beings or society.
Article 6: It is each individual’s duty to be benevolent in thoughts, words, and deeds, in order to be an agent of peace in society and an example to others.
Article 7: It is the duty of each individual who is of legal age, and in a fit condition to work, to do so, whether it be to support his or her needs or his or her family’s needs, to be useful to society, to grow personally, or simply not to sink into idleness.
Article 8: It is the duty of each individual who is responsible for raising or educating a child to instill the child with courage, tolerance, non-violence, generosity, and more generally, the virtues that will make the child a respectable and responsible adult.
Article 9: It is each individual’s duty to assist anyone in danger, whether by direct action, or by doing everything necessary so that qualified or authorized people can act.
Article 10: It is each individual’s duty to consider the whole of humanity as his or her family and to behave in all circumstances and everywhere as a citizen of the world. This means making humanism the basis of his or her behavior and philosophy.
Article 11: It is each individual’s duty to respect others’ goods, whether private or public, individual or collective.
Article 12: It is each individual’s duty to respect human life and to consider it the most precious good existing in this world.
Article 13: It is each individual’s duty to respect and preserve Nature, so that present and future generations can benefit from it on all planes and consider Nature a universal heritage.
Article 14: It is each individual’s duty to respect animals and to truly see them as beings that are not only alive; they are also conscious and feeling. (Sept. 21, 2005, R + C year 3358)
To the Rosicrucians, then, human rights should be accompanied by human duties. Are you still in the mood to say “Happy Valentine” after reading through all of these?
I sincerely hope so, and may you express your love not just for one, but for the many.