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The Traffic Lights of Love

Fo Guang Shan International Translation Center
©All rights reserved.
Written by Venerable Master Hsing Yun
Recorded by Leann Moore

  • The Traffic Lights of Love    3:16

The Traffic Lights of Love

The Traffic Lights of Love

      Love is a power that connects people. Because humans are born of love, they cannot be detached from love. Just as the saying goes, "It is those who are bound to love who are born in the Saha world." There is proper love, and there is improper love. Proper love is given a green light, improper love, a red light.

      Examples of a "green light" love affair are lawful marriages, proper courtships, and relations that are morally, socially, and legally acceptable. Buddhism does not object to worldly love and relationships. The Buddha taught members of the laity in various sutras how to conduct "green light" relationships. Even the Mahayana Buddhist practice, as presented in the Flower Ornament Sutra, the Collection of Great Treasures, and the Vimalakirti Sutra, teaches ethical guidelines for love and relationships. Inappropriate love or a "red light" relationship is immoral or illicit and socially unacceptable. Examples are stalking, forced marriages, infidelity, bigamy, and similar illegal behaviors. These kinds of relationships are dangerous, to say the least.

      Love itself is blind, and when love overcomes sense and loses its direction, then no matter how romantic and marvelous it is, problems ensue. Therefore, we should use reasoning to balance love, wisdom to guide it, right views to deal with it, and right thought to direct it.

      During the Buddha's time, Matangi was infatuated with Ananda, the Buddha's attendant. But, under the skillful guidance of the Buddha, she finally realized the truth that "love is the root of suffering."

      Many in the world commit crimes because of love. On the other hand, there are also many who sublimate love between the sexes into love for humankind. There are many examples throughout history of those who heroically sacrificed their personal love and relations for the love of their compatriots.

      As the saying goes, "Life is precious, love is even more valuable, but for the cause of freedom, both could be given up." This is an illustration of a greater love and moral code. It is great compassion. A person can lose everything in life, but compassion needs to be sustained. If we can further have wisdom as our guide on top of compassion, then, on the path of love, we can easily pass through all the green lights. Otherwise, when sailing on the ocean of love, the giant waves can easily overwhelm us, allowing us to sink in the sea of suffering. Let us hope that all lovers in the world do not drown in the suffering sea of love.

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Humble Table, Wise Fare


Recorded by Leann Moore        

A closed window or door
will cut one off from the outside;
a closed mind
will confine the space of thoughts.

Dharma Instruments

Venerable Master Hsing Yun grants voices to the objects of daily monastic life to tell their stories in this collection of first-person narratives.

Sutras Chanting

The Medicine Buddha SutraMedicine Buddha, the Buddha of healing in Chinese Buddhism, is believed to cure all suffering (both physical and mental) of sentient beings. The Medicine Buddha Sutra is commonly chanted and recited in Buddhist monasteries, and the Medicine Buddha’s twelve great vows are widely praised.


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