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Ways of Love

  As devout Buddhists, most of Myanmar people take to heart the teachings of the Buddha in their daily lives. Among those teachings, metta or loving-kindness plays an important role and the Buddha Himself was the greatest practitioner of loving-kindness in the whole world.

It was out of this immense love toward all creatures and living beings that He had resolved to become a Buddha at the beginning of a series of existences so that He could help them get out of their vicious circles. In one of His sermons, the Buddha exhorted His followers to regard all living creatures as the only son of one's own.

Because of this particular teaching of the Buddha that Myanmar people have come to acquire such positive characteristics as being kindhearted, helpful, sympathetic, benevolent, tolerant and forgiving.

However, you may be taken by surprise if you are informed of the exact number of ways (or rays) of love nominally existent among Myanmar people. Sometimes, they might mention the 528 or 1,500 ways of love in the Myanmar tradition. People mention the 528 ways of love to indicate pure, selfless, platonic love between two human beings, and the 1,500 ways refer to love of a passionate and selfish nature especially between man and woman.

Although both numbers are generally talked about as love, only the 528 way is the real loving-kindness while the 1,500 way is not genuine love but only base passion and lust looked upon as defilements in Buddhism.

These exact numbers originated in Buddhist scriptures. The scriptures divide people, mind and matter, direction, type of love and defilement into different categories and add them up or multiply them with each other.