Monday, November 10, 2014

Buddhism 101: Love Is a Rose


Years ago -- decades ago -- when I first learned about Buddhism I came up with the idea that if I had no opinions, my life would be better and more peaceful and I would cause fewer conflicts. What I misunderstood was that opinions are fine -- in fact one should have lots of strong opinions to be fully alive -- but one should not be attached to opinions. Attachment stunts growth as much as absence does.

Years and a lot of knowledge later, I was teaching Intro to World Religions at a local college. As I prepared to introduce the concept of attachment, it occurred to me that a cute stunt would be to quote Neil Young before going on to the real lesson. What happened, though, was that when I quoted Neil ("Love is a rose but you better not pick it / It only grows when it's on the vine / Handful of thorns and you know you missed it / Lose your love when you say the word 'mine'"), the students perked right up, and I realized that that wasn't the warm up to the lesson: That was the lesson.

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