There’s a huge difference between love and attachment. This is one of the most difficult distinctions for us as ordinary sentient beings to really understand because in our society we believe that the more we are attached, the more loving we are. But it is simply not true. Attachment is tricky, but basically it means “I want you to make me happy and to make me feel good.” Conversely, love says, “I want you to be happy and to make you feel good.” It doesn’t say anything about me. If being with me makes you feel happy and good, wonderful; if not, then so be it. The important thing is that love allows us to hold things gently instead of grasping tightly. It is an important difference.

From The Heroic Heart: Awakening Unbound Compassion by Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo ©2022 by Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo. Reprinted in arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Inc.

Thank you for subscribing to Tricycle! As a nonprofit, to keep Buddhist teachings and practices widely available.

This article is only for Subscribers!

Subscribe now to read this article and get immediate access to everything else.

Subscribe Now

Already a subscriber? Log in.