Sunday, July 15, 2012


I have to say that hanging out at the pool all afternoon, drinking sangria with fruit and ice, and then biking at night to have dinner at Pizza Luce about every other weekend this summer just doesn’t get old! Neither do shows at First Avenue. Or making love. This summer, not to mention the past 10 months, has been so pleasurable. It is so amazing what companionship and love can do in your life. Everyone needs a BFF (Best Friend Forever). How lucky am I to have found mine! Thank you, thank you, thank you to whatever forces in my life that have made this possible. It is truly a blessing. Good karma.

“The Buddha has said, ‘If a man can find a suitable and understanding wife and a woman can find a suitable and understanding husband, both are fortunate indeed.’”

A Happy Married Life, by Ven Sri K. Dhammananda 

The key words are “suitable” and “understanding.” This means compatibility, maturity, wisdom and compassion. It means clear seeing and understanding each other’s true selves in a very real and honest way. Having a common understanding – similar thought processes, values, lifestyle, activities, tastes, cultural background, life stage, future goals. A couple who is highly compatible, mature, honest and communicate well are fortunate indeed. The relationship can be a safe haven of security, pleasure and even a platform for spiritual growth. It is a healthy attachment, and a healthy outlet for our desires.

Hey, wait a minute… Didn’t the Buddha say that desire and attachment cause suffering? How can I practice toward the goal of freedom from sense desires when I am pulled so strongly toward a romantic love relationship? Isn’t a love relationship just a distraction from the goal?

But then I remember, this is how it is for me now. This is nature. I am not a fully enlightened being who is free from sense desires. We can’t just run over our desires or pretend like we don’t have them. We can continue to practice toward the goal of being free from desires by seeing clearly and acknowledging that we have desires. As we meet our desires, we find understanding and insight about meeting desires. As we experience pleasure, we find understanding and insight about experiencing pleasure. We experience a deep understanding that desires and pleasures arise and pass away continuously. Our job now is just to pay attention and learn about it. A love relationship is a wonderful place to learn about desire.
Here is more from Ven Sri K. Dhammananda:

“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.

“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 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.”

Passion has arisen. Suppressing it is pointless. A committed love relationship is an appropriate outlet for human passion. We can’t let go of something until we are really ready to let go of it. So enjoy the worldly pleasures that you have. Enjoy them with wisdom. Enjoy them knowing that pleasures are just pleasures. They come and go. We must go with the ebb and flow of pleasure instead of trying to hold on to it. Enjoying a pleasurable moment and having the ability to let it go when it ebbs, instead of it becoming an addiction, is a skill. This is what we are learning and practicing.