The Principle of Love is the first principle of the Fourfold Path – the Principles of Happiness. The Principle of love has the highest priority because it is love that brings people the most happiness and this principle is the simplest and easiest for everyone to practice.
“Looking at the suffering in the world, it is clear that most of it springs from pain caused by the attitude of taking love. People only think of what they themselves want and this desire leads to pain. Rather than concentrating on what you want, think about what you can give to others. Then you will find that as soon as you try doing this, your worries disappear.”
(From the book: The Laws of Happiness | p82)
The Principle of Love states that people should cease taking love from others, and instead – live by giving love. We usually have a preconceived idea that love is something we receive from others. We instinctively feel happy when we are loved and unhappy when we do not feel loved. However, true love is not something that we take, but something we give. As we become independent and mature adults we must let go of the attitude of “taking love”, which we acquire in the early stages of our lives by receiving love from parents, teachers and many others. The transformation from being a person who “takes love” to someone who “gives love” requires a determination to detach from the past, a sense of social responsibility and understanding the meaning of life on this Earth.
The starting point of happiness is abandoning “love that takes” and learning how wonderful it is to give. True love is “Love that gives” and it is the kind of love that constantly gives for no return and expects no reward. “Love that gives” is eternal happiness as it is not conditioned on the love that we receive from others. The earthly world would become Utopia if there were more people thinking “I want to do something for others” rather than those thinking “I want others to do something for me.”
Living in human society we cannot help but compare ourselves with others. Comparing ourselves with others and feeling that we are being given less love breeds feelings of unhappiness. At such times our thoughts are concentrated only on what we are not being given and we become less aware of what we already have. The starting point for overcoming feelings of unhappiness is to recognize the value of what we have already been given and feel grateful for it. In fact, people have been given by God everything that they need to live in this world. Feeling grateful for what we have been given produces a great mental transformation, which leads to the decision to give love to others as a way to express our gratitude for God’s mighty love.
If we compare what we have received with what we have given to others, we can take a good hard look at the reality that we have been given so much in contrast to the little we have given to others. If we draw up a balance sheet of love – a chart comparing what we have been given and what we have given with regard to people like our parents, teachers and partner – we can really see just how loved we are and how an ungrateful life we have led. The first way to correct this is to feel gratitude towards others; then we should abandon our feelings of dissatisfaction and stop searching for the flaws in others. We should make a firm decision to make others happy, to bring them joy and help them to succeed. By putting this into practice we part with “selfish love” and start a life of “giving love.”
The teaching of the Developmental Stages of Love is unique to Happy Science and at the same time is a bridge which joins Jesus Christ’s teachings of love and Shakyamuni Buddha’s teachings of enlightenment. This theory teaches that there are higher and lower forms of love, that love’s influence varies, and that the depth of love corresponds to the level of enlightenment. Just as there are different stages of enlightenment, which are reached by practicing the Noble Eightfold Path, there are also stages of love.
is the most basic stage of love. It is the love for parents, siblings, a spouse, children – people we instinctively feel we must love. Sexual love is also instinctive love. At this stage, we love because we want to be loved in return. However, if we lose our peace of mind, mistake what love is and become consumed with the desire for it, we will find ourselves in hell. We need to progress to a higher understanding of love and learn that the essence of love is not to take, but to give.
is the next stage of love and is the starting point of “giving love”. Fundamental Love is to give and be kind to others, not only your family, but also the people you meet in the course of your life – at your workplace or school, or elsewhere in society. It is what Jesus called, “love for your neighbors.” In regards to enlightenment, Fundamental Love corresponds to the level of the fifth dimension of the Spirit World.
is a love that guides people. It is a love of a leader or a teacher, who guides people and brings out their Divine or Buddha nature, and enhances their spiritual development. In order to practice Spiritually Nurturing Love and lead others, a person must be independent and not need to rely on others. Spiritually Nurturing Love is the love of those who have refined themselves through study and diligent work and have emerged as leaders. They can be entrepreneurs, teachers, artists, writers, doctors, judges, lawyers and politicians. Spiritually Nurturing Love reveals a sterner side to love and requires wisdom to practice. This is the kind of love that exists in the sixth dimension of the Spirit World.
is the love of Angels. Forgiving Love transcends good and evil with a deep compassion for all living beings. It is a state of mind that is able to see the divine light in everyone, even in those who make mistakes. It is a selfless and dedicated love emanating from a person who has attained a deep perspective on life and understood his life’s mission. This level of mind is attained through experience of overcoming life’s difficulties and continuous effort to refine one’s soul. Forgiving Love corresponds to the level of enlightenment of the seventh dimension of the Spirit World.
is the love of the great Angels (Tathagatas) who reside in the eight dimension of the Spirit World. The love of a Tathagata, or love incarnate, expresses the light of God and it is no longer a one-to-one love, but a love for everyone. A person who has attained the stage of Tathagata radiates boundless love in all directions, and that person’s existence itself is love. This is the love embodied by the great figures whose names have lasted throughout history, such as the great Greek philosopher Socrates, the great humanitarian Albert Schweitzer (1875–1965), and the great inventor Thomas Edison (1847–1931), who contributed to the advancement of science and technology. The very existence of these great figures is an expression of love for all humanity.
Each stage of love is a guideline for our spiritual development. The goal of human souls’ spiritual training on earth is to progress through the earlier stages of love – fundamental love, spiritually nurturing love, and forgiving love – to love incarnate, where the very existence of the soul is a blessing to all humankind.
There is even higher stage of love – The love of the Savior of the ninth dimension, but this love is beyond the reach of people on earth.