Facebook Pixel

The 4 Spiritual Aspects of Love: Buddhism and Relationships

By HERWriter
Rate This
Emotional Health related image Tord Sollie/Unsplash

You don’t need an article to tell you if you are physically attracted to another person. Attraction — sexual and platonic — is obvious and magnetic. But how do we measure the spirituality of our relationships, the characteristics that rise above the basic drives of need, lust and companionship?

In Buddhism, there are four immeasurable aspects to true love: Love, Compassion, Joy and Equanimity.

In his book, “Teachings on Love”, scholar, activist and Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, referred to these aspects as ". . . 'immeasurable,' because if you practice them, they will grow in you every day until they embrace the whole world. You will become happier, and everyone around you will become happier, also.”

1) Love

Love, the first aspect of the overarching “True Love”, is an outward expression affecting more than just two individuals in relationship. From the Sanskrit word maitri, it is defined by Thich Nhat Hanh as “the intention and capacity to offer joy and happiness.”

Love is other-centered — an offering, a gift, a sacrifice to the world. Thich Nhat Hanh teaches that such love cannot exist without understanding. Understanding opens us to the needs, desires, sufferings and aspirations of others.

Some of us, survivors of trauma or of childhood abuse or neglect, are often so focused on day-to-day survival and affirmation that we can forget that our partners do not exist exclusively to fulfill our unmet emotional needs.

Our partners have their own doubts, weaknesses and aspirations. Keeping the humanness of one’s partner in mind is an affirmation of love.

2) Compassion

Compassion, from the Sanskrit word karuna, is “the intention and capacity to relieve and transform suffering and lighten sorrows.” Also other-centered, this aspect of love enlightens us to the sufferings of another.

Love garners knowledge. Compassion spurs us to act on that knowledge.

Add a CommentComments

There are no comments yet. Be the first one and get the conversation started!

Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Emotional Health

Get Email Updates

Emotional Health Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!