Love Vanishes When People Need
A Delicious Taste

Love is a remedial tree that could heal all miserable illnesses of all beings. Yet, people do have a heart to break its branches and let it deteriorates. Fortunately, there are some branches left with some new sprouts. Intentionally or unintentionally, we are destroying the remedial tree. That will be a tremendous lost for the mankind in which nothing can replace. Hopefully by realizing its significant value, they will exertively protect it and nuttier it for its future development. That will truly be is an endless happiness for the mankind.

Mr. Ba (Third) in the neighborhood has raised a hen and its chicks, which are fat and cute. Every morning, he called them up to feed them with a handful of rice. As usual, the flock crowded up for the delicious meal. He gave them a tender look and perhaps, they would look at him as a lovable owner. The relationship between him and the flock became deeper, while the flocks were growing bigger.

One day, after several months went by, Mr. Ba had a visitor. As usual, in the morning, he stepped out to feed them rice. Instantly, he grabbed one. In shock, the chicken struggled, trying to escape. This made the rest scatter everywhere. But the screaming of the chicken didn't seem to soften its owner's mind. At last, its legs were tied, and its throat was cut. Well, obviously, the shouting for help and the struggling from death of the chicken could not in any way changing the owner's plan. It's life ended to satisfy its owner's taste. The love of Mr. Ba for the flock only exists when it is not used for cooking. Whenever the chickens are needed for the meal, the love will vanish like smoke!

At one of our temples, there are two dogs named "Tieu Hy" (Little Happy One) and "Tu Tu." Every morning, they play and wrestle with each other dearly. These moments have brought me joy as I thought that even though being animals, they know to love each other like humans do. But the problem occurs when Tieu Hy is fed with a bowl of food from the nuns. In those occasions, Tu Tu comes by to share, but Tieu Hy automatically growls at it. Tu Tu backs off. Tu Tu behaves the same way when it's fed with the food. But after the meals, they are happy with each other.

The scenario of the dogs makes us realize that when all beings are in need of foods or have a control of the foods, their relationship with others will vanish. Do the dogs really love each other? If they don't then why do they caress and wrestle with each other? On the other hand, why do they become enemies instantly when they are fed with a bowl of rice? Are human relationships the same?

Once, a family from a far province came to take a refuge in the Three Jewels with me. All of their children were grown. Because the parents were getting older, they decided to make a will. No one knew how the properties were partitioned, but some of the children asked me if I could convince their parent to divide the properties equally so that they would not have bad thoughts about their parents. I then immediately advised them, "Your parents gave birth to you, raised you up, provided you education, and supported you through marriage. Your blessings from them are unlimited. Because your parents are well financed, all of you are being well taken care of and even entitled for an inheritance. If your parents are poor, you will instead have to work to support them to fulfill your role as the children. Well, doesn't matter how much you are entitled, it is still wonderful. Let's not ask for more to upset your parents. You should realize that there are many less fortunate families out there, whose parents are deceased, have to work very hard to be successful. Comparing you to them, you are in a much better situation since your parents are still alive and give you their properties. Thus, to be good children, you should listen to them. Do not blame them so that you will loose your blessings." Nevertheless, they still disagreed with me and responded, "We would rather have nothing than receiving an unequal portion…It's unacceptable!"

I had no choice, but to be silent. They left with an unhappy feeling. Later, the parents came by to have a talk with me. During the conversation, I mentioned to them the situation and recommended them to be fair as to give their children as much as they could, or else, it would lead to a dispute. They replied, "We will give more to those who preserve the properties and less to the reckless ones. To us, it is reasonable and fair." I had no comment at this point. Later on, I heard that those entitled less had sued their parents. I sought for being powerless in teaching my followers. It's quite sad! It's even apathetic when seeing humans, who are smarter than animals, would become enemies over the materials. Nothing is closer then brotherhood, sisterhood, and parenthood. Because of a little property, people could oppose each other. Honestly, the more I think of life, the more hurtful I feel!

Do humans in this world really love each other? If one nation has a good relation with another, then it should provide supports such as foods, medications, and money when catastrophes occur. However, when the benefits of both nations are invaded, the war exists if no settlement is set. This means that people only love each other when their benefits are not taken away. Therefore, it is unclear to know who are friends or enemies in this life. The human love is restrained in a drawn parameter and vanished beyond that boundary. Even those, who are publicly known for bringing the love to humans, are still limited by particular conditions, which can even turn them into enemies if these conditions are not met.

The presentations above would make us feel questionable about love. Does it base on words or lip talks? This is the pessimism of the moralists and an emergency alert for socialists. In eyes of Buddhism, to nourish the unlimited love, we have to use the "eyes of wisdom" to see the conditions of humans. The reason that we are closing our doors of love is greed, hatred, and ignorance. Once the eyes of wisdom are opened, those three evils will be destroyed. Our doors of love then will widely open. How can we open the eyes of wisdom? First, we have to carefully look at the real life of humans by asking "How long can we live?" or "In our life time, have we lived in peace?" or "Have our ancestors and we truly lived in happiness?" Our eyes of wisdom will turn bright if we observe closely these three issues.

The first question is "How long will our life last?" The truth is nothing can guarantee. We aware that we are still alive at this moment, but we have no idea how we will be in the next second. The death is surrounding us in all forms such as a wrong walk, an airplane crash, a brain nervous breakdown, etc… Therefore, Buddha had said, "Humans live in every breath." By knowing life is such impermanent with no guarantee, why can't we love and care for each other in each moment that we live? Why should there be greed and hatred when our lives are temporal? And why can't we forgive each other in order to live in happiness and peace? Discerning how impermanent our life is, we will be free from hatred and greed, meantime, our love will open wide for whom having the same circumstances as ours.

The next step is to observe from the time of birth to this minute to see if we have lived in peace and security. For sure, all of us will answer "no." There are so much adversities: physical & mental illnesses, unexpected incidents, bankruptcies, broken relationships… Our and other people's life of adversity indeed are not different. Why can't we understand and share each other the love? We need to comfort each other. It is the flower of love that is blooming in our heart.

Finally, we have to observe if our ancestors and we have truly lived in happiness. Some of our ancestors, who used to live in fame, are now disfamed. Some heroes are now disabled, and some homeless people out there who once owned much of money. Can either we or our ancestors strongly say "my life is full of happiness?" If life is not a happiness, why should we still attach to it? Should we bring each other out of the ambushes? The happiness of life is an illusion which makes us suffer when we chase it. But because everyone wants to get the same happiness, they have caused each other indefinite conflicts or hatred. Analyzing it clearly, we ought to tell each other to stop the chase. By then, the true love will appear from the bottom of our heart.

Through those three methods of observations, we will be able to open the "eyes of wisdom" and arise the true love. This love is unlimited, unconditional, and it widely spreads. From this wisdom, the three poisons of greed, hatred, and ignorance will vanish. But in other to get that wisdom, we should have moments of peace for observation. Don't bury ourselves at work or attach to the TV since those won't give us the chance to extent our wisdom. The root of love is not drying out yet, since there are subterranean streams of water in the ground of humanity, which are seldom discovered. They're waiting to be found. This is the hope of the people and moralists.

One time, a Buddhist told me about her trip from the city to her birth place, Vinh Long province. The bus that she took was full of passengers. At one stop, a young man came aboard, but carelessly hurt his knee by hitting the door. Seeing his leg bleeding, she searched in her purse to find cottons to stop the bleeding, then put on antibiotics to clean the wound. Finally, she tore up her handkerchief to cover the wound. The young man gave her an appreciated look among many other respectful eyes. At the next stop, he got off the bus first, then helped her to step down. The young man was much appreciated for her kindness, so he thanked her before he walked away. Another time, she took her 13-year-old grandson to our monastery "Tu Vien Chan Khong" to visit me. It was during the time that the monks were serving jack-fruits, the best ones that were reserved in 30 minutes break between the duty times. They were offered some. After finishing about 10 pods, the lady told her grandson to save the rest for the beggars. Several hours later, both of them left us to return to the city. At a free market, she passed out the jack-fruits to the beggars before their departure.

The pods of jack-fruits are not valuable, but her intention (kindness) is precious because it came from an unlimited love, which could hardly find. If we all have the same indefinite love, this society will have less sufferings. Hopefully, people will remember the less fortunate ones and share them their love in order to make this earth a paradise in the future.

The unconditional and unlimited love in Buddhism is called the "Mind of Compassion." It is strengthened by the wisdom to destroy the boundaries of selves, families, groups, religions, nations…and itself will expand indefinitely. When one already has a compassion, he/she will think of the hungers while having a good taste. Living in success, he/she will remember the unlucky ones. He/she also has a compassion for the poors, and the defeats. These are the steps to help us to terminate the mind of selfishness and ignorance. All beings have enough of sufferings, so we don't need to add more pain to them when we can't reach out to support all at once. Let's wake each other up from the dreams of ignorance, end the chase of greed, and stop causing pain to each other. The true happiness will never appear in the presence of greed, selfishness, ignorance, and madness. It can only be in oneself who's always giving out the love.