November 27, 2012

The Nature of Love, Part 4: Buddhist and Daoist Concepts

Last time in Part 3 of this series, I talked about how the mystical traditions classified love. This time, I'm going to look at the Buddhist and Daoist ideas.

As we make our way toward the Eastern traditions, especially those of China, the ideas about love become less and less about classification and types, and more about overarching themes and ideas. The first one we will look at, Buddhism, basically divides love into only two main categories. Whereas Daoism, the next one we will look at it, has no categories at all.

November 15, 2012

108: The Number of the Cosmos

The number 108 is considered special, sacred, and mystical by many cultures, especially Eastern cultures. It is common in Hinduism, Vedic teachings, Daoism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, and many yoga practices. We will take a look at where this number shows up and try to understand why it is considered so important.
November 13, 2012

Prayer Beads

The use of prayer beads spans cultures and traditions the world over. It is one of the few religious symbols that is common across most major religions. What we call "prayer beads" can actually take three forms (one of which is not even made of beads):

  1. Necklace Prayer Beads - these are most common
  2. Wrist (Bracelet) Prayer Beads - these are smaller version of the necklace variety
  3. Prayer Rope - these are ropes or fabrics with knots tied in intervals, which serve the same purpose as beads.

November 12, 2012

The Nature of Love, Part 3: Mystical Concepts

Last time in Part 2 of this series, I talked about how Greeks and Christians classified love. This time, I'm going to look at the mystical traditions, and how they view love.

Whereas the Greeks and Christians were fairly clear in how they classified types of love, other traditions weren't always so obliging. We're going to look at two of these. First, in this part, we will look at the Mystical Christian tradition which, though still Christianity, is different enough from "lay Christianity" to be considered a separate tradition. The second one, which we will look at in the next part, will be Daoism and its concepts of love.

November 8, 2012

The Nature of Love, Part 2: Greek and Christian Love

Last time in Part 1 of this series, I talked about how to define love. This time, I'm going to look at the different types of love, how they can be classified, and how to tell the difference.

Love is a difficult thing to classify. On the one hand, we're usually not clear what causes it, which makes categorizing it difficult. On the other hand, there seem to be so many different kinds of love, and so many different people with a wide array of interpretations about it, that it can be dizzying trying to make sense of it all.

Fortunately for us, many people and many cultures have already attempted to classify love. We will look at some of the ones most relevant to this discussion, such as Greek, Christian, Daoist, Mystical, and Modern classifications of love.

November 6, 2012

The Nature of Love, Part 1: What is Love?

This is Part 1 of an 11 part series on love. In this first part, I will attempt to define love in the sense that I will be referring to it.

When pursuing any form of spiritual study, you will inevitably come across all sorts notions about "love". But what is love, really? Wikipedia defines it as "... an emotion of a strong affection and personal attachment." Personally, I don't agree with this definition.

I don't think love is an emotion at all. Emotions can be fleeting. Anger can be upon you in a flash, but so can laughter. This doesn't sound like love to me. Love is not fleeting - it is persistent. In fact, love can be the hardest thing in the world to rid yourself of.