Something quite different this week. In many ways, Lovely Love (ISBN 978-981-08-0044-4, Tawandhamma Foundation, 2008) and written by a Buddhist monk Luang Phaw Dhammajayo, comes under the heading of ‘self-help’ books, not one of my favorite genres for reading, or review.
It was given to me by my wife, who thought I might find it interesting, so despite misgivings I began reading. There are five chapters entitled Love, Relationships and Love, Relationships for a Lasting Love, A Peaceful Family and finally, the Ultimate Love.
The major point that he makes in the book is: “Before we can love anyone, we need to love ourselves first. Loving oneself and being selfish are two separate and distinct things.” He then goes on to explain this in depth, and expounds on meditation as a method of attaining inner peace. And whilst leaning towards the Buddhist precepts, an understanding is enough.
There is a glossary at the end of the book to explain some of the terms for the non-Buddhist, and a list of their meditation societies world-wide.
I thought it was very interesting when I came across a quote attributed to the movie star Brad Pitt, referring to his wife Angelina Jolie, with whom he had been going through some less than harmonious times. Brad Pitt wrote, “I lost hope and thought that we’ll get divorced soon… But then I decided to act on it. After all I’ve got the most beautiful woman on the earth. She is the ideal of more than half of men and women on earth, and I was the one allowed to fall asleep next to her and to hug her shoulders. I began to pepper her with flowers, kisses and complements. I surprised her and pleased every minute. I gave her lots of gifts and lived just for her. I spoke in public only about her. I incorporated all themes in her direction. I praised her in front of her own and our mutual friends. You won’t believe, but she has blossomed. She became even better than before. She gained weight, was no longer nervous and she loved me even more than ever. I had no clue that she CAN love that much.”
The methods Pitt used were those as advocated by Luang Phaw Dhammajayo, so if you need a testimonial, there is one. The monk is the Abbot of Wat Phra Dhammakaya, and can be seen on the DMC channel on TV.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, ‘self-help’ is not a group I would normally recommend, but this book is different. It is short, readable, not repetitive with ‘magic mantras’ to be muttered into the mirror, and very practical. I found it interesting that a monk would have such a good understanding of human relationships, but reading his own bio, he has been a decorated worker in the field of universal ‘peace’, through examination of one’s inner self, and “love” is part of understanding one’s own self.
The book costs around B. 420 and is available on mail order through the Print Lodge (Singapore), but I suggest email [email protected] first.