The Four Elements of True Love According to Buddha

By Francesca F. on Friday September 22nd, 2017

Image: Crystal Shaw

How to Deepen Our Relationships

In the Buddhist faith, there are four elements of love that make it ‘true’ love. These elements must combine to make love true and long-lasting.

They are not magical or even spiritual concepts, they are simply behaviors and virtues that we must hold in order to make love strong.

These four elements of love are easy to grasp, but they make a relationship much more joyful and fulfilling.

1. Maitri

Conquer the angry one by not getting angry; conquer the wicked by goodness; conquer the stingy by generosity, and the liar by speaking the truth. – Buddha

Maitri is translated into kindness or benevolence. This is not only the desire to make someone happy but the ability to do so. You may have every intention to love someone, but the way that you love may make them unhappy.

You can harness the ability of Maitri by truly looking at the one you love and developing a deeper understanding of who they are as a person. By understanding the person you love, you will, in turn, learn how to love them. This understanding is based on the ambitions, the desires and the troubles of your love.

Understand the one you loveBy understanding the person you love, you will, in turn, learn how to love them. Image: Suzana Sousa

Develop this element:

Take time to be attentive and observe your love. Listen to their words and ask them about their hopes and ambitions. Learning more about your love helps to open the door to understanding them, and how to love them in a meaningful and fulfilling way.

2. Karuna

If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly our whole life would change. – Buddha

The second element of true love is Karuna, meaning compassion. This is the ability to ease the pain of others, as well as the desire to. This is also based on understanding, but the understanding of the suffering of your love. Only when you truly understand their suffering will you be able to help in alleviating and easing their burdens.

Practice meditation to help you in your understanding of your loved one, what distresses them and how you may be able to help and support them.

Develop this element:

Communicate with your loved one about what troubles them and ask if there is anything that you can do that will help in a direct way. Opening this communication, developing an understanding and the desire to help will strengthen your relationship.

3. Mudita

There is no path to happiness: happiness is the path. – Buddha

Easing the painOnly when you understand your love’s suffering will you be able to alleviate it. Image:  ラデク ストーン

The third element is Mudita, translated as joy or happiness. This element of true love is one of the most important, and in some ways, it ties all four elements together. If there is no joy or happiness in love, then the love is not true. If your love upsets you or distresses you, then it is, in fact, not love to begin with, or the love has been lost. Love must be fulfilling and bring joy and happiness to those who feel it.

When we are in love and we experience joy from it, our love grows stronger, and this is a sign that the love is true. Once there is no joy or happiness in love, then there is no longer any love.

Develop this element:

Take time to do the things that bring you joy, both together and as individuals. It is this development of joy in yourself that allows you to share your joy with your love. You should be able to find joy within yourselves, as well as with each other, to have love in its truest form.

4. Upeksha

The price of freedom is simply choosing to be. – Buddha

The final one of the four elements of love is Upeksha, meaning freedom. When love is true, both people within the couple should have freedom, and feel free within the relationship. Each person should feel free to be an individual to allow them to grow and develop in their own way. This allows you to be yourself and have time alone, safe in the knowledge that your love is doing the same. There should also be freedom within the relationship, being able to feel comfortable to share ideas and thoughts without fear of judgment. Having freedom whilst also being able to be a part of a couple is a sign of the truest love.

Happiness in loveIf there is no joy or happiness in love, then love is not true. Image: Valerie Elash

Develop this element:

Spend time apart from your partner without feeling the need to check up on one another. Do the things that you enjoy as an individual and are proud of. Once you come back together, discuss these things and why they make you happy.

Spend some time talking about different thoughts and ideas you have had. Act on these ideas and plan activities that one person wants to do. Developing a sense of freedom within your relationship allows both people to grow.

The Buddha spoke of many things, but love and life were of huge focus. His teachings on love show us that true love should be something positive and enlightening, bringing joy and freedom to our lives. Keeping these four elements of love in mind may just make it a little easier to find true love for ourselves.

Love is a gift of one’s inner most soul to another so both can be whole. – Buddha

The post The Four Elements of True Love According to the Buddha was written by Francesca Forsythe and originally published on www.lifeadvancer.com

How do you feel about this article? Join the conversation.




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The Seven Requirements Of Love


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57 Responses to The Four Elements of True Love According to Buddha

  1. Such an insightful read. As a professional Makeup Artist who specializes in weddings, I am surrounded by love. It’s the best job in the world and love brings so many people together. The world needs more love!

    • We’re so glad you enjoyed the article Gabriella 😊 Thanks so much for reading and commenting 💜

      Team UPLIFT

  2. Excellent article. I am a Hindu, I am writing a book on” Spritual Path.” I would like to get some ideas from this artical. I need permission from you.Thanks

    • Hi Priya,

      Thanks for your request. As this is a reblog, you would have to seek permission from the original author, Francesca Forsythe.

      “The post The Four Elements of True Love According to the Buddha was written by Francesca Forsythe and originally published on http://www.lifeadvancer.com

      Best of luck with your book!

      Team UPLIFT

  3. This is beautiful to read. It left me with two questions. What happens when your partner does not want to partake in the work described here, if it is only one half of the partnership trying to develop these elements? How do these teachings differ for couples who are raising children, a very challenging task and path?

  4. the 4. element isn´t correct. it is not freedom, it is inclusiveness. 2 souls merge together to form a single unity. if that happens, both souls are always together without having to be around. i guess you could call it freedom then but the source isnt freedom, rather a fusion of 2 contrary souls forming 1.

  5. Totally agree with “There is no path to happiness: happiness is the path. – Buddha”

    I wish people understand the real thought of Buddha.

    Nice article keep posting such a good things.

  6. Excellent article. One can easily relate to the real-life situation with the given 4 points.
    The best part of the article is, it also provides the way to develop 4 elements.
    My favourite element is Upeksha or freedom.
    And my favourite line is:
    By understanding the person you love, you will, in turn, learn how to love them.

    Thanks Francesca for the nice article. It’s worth reading.

    • We’re so happy you enjoyed this article and found it useful 😀 Thanks so much for reading!

      Team UPLIFT

  7. One of the elements that resonate with me the most is “mudita”. Although all are as equally important but the joy and happiness one must have is so important in a relationship. With joy and happiness both interlinking together is unique.

  8. Hi Francesca, That’s a good one..Often what happens is that the couple take each other for granted and that is where the problem starts. Love is a consistent commitment to make an effort to let the other person know how much you love/care for your partner!

  9. Mudita is “Joyous Sympathy” as opposed to just Joy.
    I recently served for a Vipassana course & learnt the literal translation of Mudita during my period of serving.
    I hope it helps as a correction to the article. 🙂

  10. I love this.

    My favorite saying, “If there is no joy or happiness in love, then the love is not true.”

    There is nothing that is truer than that statement when it comes to love!

    I wish more people understood the message behind this.

  11. I shared with my Loved one about something that troubled me for a long time. We had good but not best sex. And we had some fights over it but not so serious. I should mention that before she came to my life I thought I was a transsexual and I wanted to have my sex changed. But it was her that helped me to discover my true self and drop the whole thing. But some idea was still there within me. About a sexual relationship with a 3rd person just like a hook up only if she is Okey with it, although I have never done this before and it’s something that troubled me for a long time just for an experience and since my loved one was so sensitive with such ideas, she got so mad and crazy and we had the worst and the most bitter fight I have ever had in my whole life. Then she left me… I know what I did was wrong. I knew this could destroy our relationship, but I was honest with her and wanted to share my thoughts and know her opinion about this issue, I was sure if she didn’t agree I wouldn’t agree with it either and forget the whole idea. But it made a disaster, she over-judged me. Because I know I’m not a whore and I have never done these things before in my life. But I don’t know what to do to bring her back. We had a wonderful relationship, But it’s lost. What did I have to do? I thought If I don’t tell her about this sick idea it will eat me up day by day. I wanted to get this away from my mind. So I had to tell her to help me. But everything turned to a mess. Can anyone give me any suggestions to help me with this disaster?

  12. I love a woman dearly,from the beginning with my soul,we became closer,and a couple,her happiness has lit me,when she suffers I suffer , and when distance is involved something within my being grows.i had been troubled believing that I was the cause of her suffering,just by being,so I tried to separate from any attatchment to her in my mind,but have found my love for her became stronger still.
    she is far away,but I feel her within me.i have no wish to control her,as I love that aspect of her which is the independent spirit she truly is,as it is a part of her whole being , the whole being I love dearly . thankyou for reminding me of the song my soul sings by hosting this site . bless . in love a prayer

  13. Hi.. Upeksha or Upekkha means “equanimity” not “Freedom”. The Buddha didn’t teach anything about “Love”.. he taught about “Dukkha” and the path leading to the cessation of “Dukkha”.

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  15. understanding that freedom is okay and not neglect but a sighn of trust and releasing joulousy that is very toxic to a relationship . Beautiful Thank you

  16. “If there is no joy or happiness in love, then the love is not true. If your love upsets you or distresses you, then it is, in fact, not love to begin with, or the love has been lost. Love must be fulfilling and bring joy and happiness to those who feel it.”

    Love can endure arguments, upsets, and disappointments. Please don’t feed the belief that one argument must mean that you should break up because love isn’t true. A deep love comes from reestablishing connections after a fight. The Buddha would encouraging sitting with discomfort and not running away.

      • Yeah, apart from that, mudita actually means empathetic joy, not joy per se. It means we should practice being happy through the happiness and positive states other people achieve. The rest of the explanations were pretty on point, but this one felt a bit precious and plain wrong.

  17. A good article and I’d definately say it’s all true .It is the elements needed in a true ,trusted loving relationship

    • Thank you for that. I thought as much but wouldn’t have done anything to correct the article. I’m glad you did. Truth is paramount.

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