Love (as an aspect of Brotherhood)

Objective love is closely related to selfless service. One way to think of it is that it is the opposite of selfishness. Abdullah says that the most important qualities required of members are love, acceptance and loyalty toward the people and the group itself. He says that in a brotherhood there has to be love. Love is the basis of brotherhood, and without it there is nothing. He says the love has to come through before you can do anything. It allows you to relate, to accept others just as a human beings.

Abdullah says that if we remember God, and know we are here on the planet for only a short time, we may be able to replace our selfishness with love. And that when we work for our fellow men and try to remember God at the same time, from these two things comes a feeling of love. Abdullah also says that the place to find God is in your heart. When you send your love to people you try to concentrate on the heart, and repetition of God’s name or a simple phrase like Lord have mercy upon me, in the heart, is to try to build up love in the heart.

We have three stories today. The first story is called “the two asses” from the Egyptian teaching. [Her Bak, Egyptian Initiate, p.125]

Her Bak left the arguing crowd of boys and went to look for his old donkey. He found him in the stable, side by side with the new donkey he had bought that day. He stroked him gently and gave him some barley, and then he gave some to the new one as well. “How are you getting on together, you two? Not jealous of each other? What a pity we cannot have a real chat together, but I am sleepy now and I will rest an hour between you.”  and he lay down and slept.

But as he slept he heard the asses speaking to each other. Said the old donkey to the newcomer “Don’t stamp your hoof, we must let Chick-Pea sleep!”

“But the boy’s name is Her Bak” said the new ass. “No, his name is Chick Pea I tell you”. The new ass snorted “Let’s not quarrel about it like men”. “No” said the older one, “It is already too much that he thought we could be jealous.” The new ass snorted again “Jealous indeed – it takes two to be jealous.” “But the boy thinks we are two. He sees us as men do when they count herds – so many donkeys, so many cows, so many dogs…” The old donkey shook his head. “That would be like us saying ‘two men’ for their two eyes, or ‘another two men’ for their two ears. It is all just too silly, but as long as they see themselves as separate from one another I suppose they will just go on fighting.”

The second story is called the Verse of the Robe, [Zen is Right Here P.52]

A brief verse of the robe is usually recited three times after the long sitting meditation in Zen Buddhism.

Great robe of liberation

Field far beyond form and emptiness

Wearing Buddha’s teaching

Saving all beings

In the early sixties at the San Francisco Zen Center this was chanted only in Japanese. No-one seemed to know what it meant. One day a student went to Suzuki Roshi and asked, “What’s the meaning of that chant we do right after zazen?” Suzuki said, “I don’t know.” Katagiri Sensei, his assistant teacher, started going through the drawers looking for a translation. Suzuki gestured for him to stop. Then he turned to the student, pointed to his heart, and said, “It’s love.”

The third story is from “The Conference of the Birds”. It is called the ‘Story of the Moths’ [p125].

One night the moths met together tormented by a desire to be united to the candle. They said:  ‘We must send someone who will bring us information about the candle.’  So one of them set off and came to a castle, and inside he saw the light of a candle. He returned, and according to his understanding, reported what he had seen. But the wise old moth who had organised the gathering said that this first moth understood nothing about the candle. So another moth went. He touched the flame with the tip of his wings, but the heat drove him off. His report being not much more satisfying than that of the first, a third went out. This one, intoxicated with love, threw himself on the flame; with his forelegs he took hold of the flame and united himself joyously with it. He embraced the flame completely and his body became as red as fire. The wise moth, who was watching from far off, saw that the flame and the moth appeared to be one, and he said:’He has learnt what he wished to know; but only he understands, and one can say no more.’


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