The Nature of Love and Pleasure  


LOVE:

There are different kinds of love, and these are variously expressed as motherly love, brotherly love, sensual love, emotional love, sexual love, selfish love, selfless love, and universal love.


If people develop only their carnal or selfish love towards each other, that type of love cannot last long. In a true love relationship, one should not ask how much one can get, but how much one can give.


When beauty, complexion and youth start to fade away, a husband who considers only the physical aspects of love may think of acquiring another young one. That type of love is animal love or lust. If a man really develops love as an expression of human concern for another being, he will not lay emphasis only on the external beauty and physical attractiveness of his partner. The beauty and attractiveness of his partner should be in his heart and mind, not in what he sees. Likewise, the wife who follows Buddhist teachings will never neglect her husband even though he has become old, poor or sick.


"I have a fear that the modern girl loves to be Juliet, to have a dozen Romeos. She loves adventure . . . . . The modern girl dresses not to protect herself from wind, rain and sun, but to attract attention. She improves upon nature by painting herself and looking extraordinary."


— Gandhi


SEX:


Sex by itself is not "evil," although the temptation and craving for it invariably disturbs the peace of mind, and hence is not conducive to spiritual development.



In the ideal situation, sex is the physical culmination of a deeply satisfying emotional relationship, where both partners give and take equally.


The portrayal of love by commercial groups through the mass media in what we call "western" culture is not "real" love. When an animal wants to have sex, it shows its "love," but after having experienced sex, it just forgets about love. For animals, sex is just an instinctive drive necessary for procreation. But a human being has much more to offer in the concept of love. Duties and responsibilities are important ingredients to maintain unity, harmony and understanding in a relationship between human beings.


Sex is not the most important ingredient for happiness in a married life. Those who have become slaves to sex would only ruin love and humanity in marriage. Apart from that, a woman must cease to consider herself as the object of a man's lust. The remedy is more in her hand than in a man's. She must refuse to adorn herself simply to please a man, even if he is her husband. If she wants to be an equal partner with a man, she should dress so that her dignity is enhanced, and she does not become a sex symbol. Marriage for the satisfaction of the sexual appetite is no marriage. It is concupiscence. (Gandhi)


Love may indeed be a product of sex, but the reverse is likewise true: sex is an expression of love. In the ideally happy married life, both love and sex are inseparable.


The Buddha's Explanation:


We can study the Buddha's teaching regarding the feelings that man and woman have for each other. The Buddha says that he had never seen any object in this world which attracts man's attention more than the figure of a woman. At the same time the main attraction for the woman is the figure of a man. It means that by nature, woman and man give each other worldly pleasure. They cannot gain happiness of this kind from any other object. When we observe very carefully, we notice that among all the things which provide pleasure, there is no other object that can please all the five senses at the same time beside the male and female figures.


The ancient Greeks knew this when they said that originally man and woman were one. They were separated and the two parts that were divided are constantly seeking to be re-united as man and woman.


PLEASURE :


Young people by nature like to indulge in worldly pleasures which can include both good and bad things. Good things, like the enjoyment of music, poetry, dance, good food, dress and similar pursuits do no harm to the body. They only distract us from seeing the fleeting nature and uncertainty of existence and thereby delay our being able to perceive the true nature of the self.


The faculties and senses of young people are very fresh and alert; they are very keen to satisfy all the five senses. Almost everyday, they plan and think out ways and means to experience some form of pleasure. By the very nature of existence, one will never be completely satisfied with whatever pleasure one experiences and the resultant craving in turn only creates more anxieties and worries.


When we think deeply about it, we can understand that life is nothing but a dream. In the end, what do we gain from attachment to this life? Only more worries, disappointments and frustrations. We may have enjoyed brief moments of pleasure, but in the final analysis, we must try to find out what the real purpose of our lives is.


When one ceases to crave for sensual pleasure and does not seek to find physical comfort in the company of others, the need for marriage does not arise. Suffering and worldly enjoyment are both the outcome of craving, attachment and emotion. If we try to control and suppress our emotions by adopting unrealistic tactics we create disturbances in our mind and in our physical body. Therefore we must know how to handle and control our human passion. Without abusing or misusing this passion, we can tame our desires through proper understanding.


By Dr K Sri Dhammananda  ( A Happy Married Life )

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