Sunday, January 17, 2016

Love, Free and Rational in the Bodhichitta Mind

"Do not conform yourselves to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing, and perfect." the Bible, Romans 12:2

The Christ exhorted his disciples to "love one another; the highest commandment is that we love one another. The rest is all commentary."
However, as in previous discussion, there is, we will see, one love, one world all contained within. In our efforts to describe and learn about this experience, it is important to keep sight of the philosophical and theological values which "love" entails, to distinguish them from secular notions.

The union of persons in a love relationship, states Karol Wojtyla in his book, Love and Responsibility, "do so, and must do so as free and rational persons." Thus the union of persons has a truth, moral and unique to the individuals, shared between them, and is a value as such.  
Moral is within, distinguished from that imposed from without. "In giving persons [as distinct from animals], a rational nature, and the capacity to consciously decide their own actions, it thereby makes possible for them to choose freely the ends...
And where two persons can join in choosing a certain good as their end, there exists also the possibility of love. This view is consistent with the simple mind. It is consistent with practice and the precepts.

Yet, persons must not be chosen merely as the means or instruments of creative power, but on the "basis of a love worthy of human persons." We are, then, compelled to understand the Gospel commandment to love as the will of the Creator towards creation.
And for this reason, the notion of use becomes important. A Buddhist precept, right behavior towards others, also resonates through most all spiritual traditions. Eric Bayda writes extensively on this subject in his book, At Home In the Muddy Water.

Another view prevalent in the West worth mentioning is the Doctrine of Manifest Destiny. This idea supposes that all is decided at the moment of birth; free will plays little if any role in the face of manifest destiny. Some in America deride this theological teaching, calling it 'spiritual imperialism.'
A great many spiritual traditions in the west continue to trace their modern views and attitudes to such thought.

Contrary to secular views or manifest destiny, in the union of persons, in the wholeness of the universe there exists a joy, consistent with the dignity of human persons, resulting in collaboration, from mutual understanding and the harmonious expression of jointly chosen aims. The French aristocrat, writer and adventurer, Antoine de St.Exupery writes in his book, Wind Sand and Stars: "love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction."

St. Exupery writes further on the subject:
"...Very slowly do we plait the braid of friendships and affections. We learn slowly. We compose our creations slowly. We have to live a long time to fulfill ourselves.
But you, by the grace of an ordeal which stripped you of all that was not intrinsic, you discovered a mysterious creature born of yourself. Great was this creature and never shall you forget him. And he is yourself.
You have had the sudden sense of fulfilling yourself in the instant of discovery, and you have learned suddenly that the future is now less necessary for the accumulation of treasures. That creature within you is not bound by ties of perishable things; he agrees to be swallowed up in something universal.

A great wind swept through you and delivered you from the matrix the sleeping prince you sheltered--Man within you. You are the equal of the musician composing his music, the physicist extending the frontier of knowledge. Now you are free. What have you now to lose, to believe in what you cannot yet see? You have reached an altitude where all loves are of the same stuff. Perhaps you have suffered. What of that! This day you have been welcomed home by love.

No man can draw a free breath who does not share with others a common and disinterested ideal. Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction. There is nothing other than union through the same effort. All of us desire the same sort of contentment...

Let us then refrain from astonishment at what men do. One finds his essential manhood comes alive in cooperative effort, self sacrifice, a rigorous vision of justice. For that man, there will be then one truth. Truth for any man is that which makes him a man.

If our purpose is to understand mankind and his yearnings, to grasp the essential reality, we must never set one man's truth against another's. All men are demonstrably in the right.... But truth, we know, is that which clarifies, not that which confuses. Truth is the language that expresses universality. Truth, then, is not what is demonstrable but what is ineluctable. What all of us want is to be set free. We all yearn to be set free in love, to escape from prison."
Resonating this view, Karol Wojtyla writes 20 years later: he observes if, instead, the role of man in creation is understood as fundamentally a "drive for enjoyment [as in a Freudian psychological view], this inner life is almost totally negated."
In this figuring of the person, Wojtyla writes, "thus the Gospel teaching of love is not consistent with use, but more seeks, demands cooperation with and about creation. It is a mutual relationship created in truth and freedom for the objective good of persons." The element of free will plays a central role; it negates any notion of manifest destiny.'
"man possesses a characteristic of the inner self, the ability to know, to comprehend, the truth objectively and in its entirety... He is even capable of understanding his role" in the creative process, as a form of participation in the work of cosmic creation...'
"the person is reduced to a subject 'externally' sensitized to enjoyable sensory stimuli of a sexual nature. This conception puts human psychology --perhaps without realizing it-- on the same level as the psychology of animals. An animal may be conditioned to seek sensory pleasure, and to avoid unpleasant experience of the same sort, since it normally behaves instinctively to achieve the ends of its existence." 

Thus the Gospel teaching of love is not consistent with use, but more seeks, demands cooperation with and about creation.
The union of persons is a mutual relationship, created in truth and freedom for the objective good of all persons. The use of others in the effort to create, to the contrary is a false relation.

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