What is True Love: The Buddhist Definition of True Love + Free Video (Thich Nhat Hanh)

[Self-Love] What is True Love - Thich Nhat Han - Nara Lee.png


“Loving and kindness is not only the desire to make someone happy, to bring to joy to another person.

It is the ability to bring joy to a beloved person.

Because if even if your intention is to love this person, your love might make him suffer”.

– Thich Nhat Hanh


In our society,  the word love in relationships is often throw around like a tennis ball. We use it all the time to express how we feel about someone and show our appreciation and love.

In relationships, control, possessiveness, neediness, status-quo, power, have often been mistaken for love.  Does the mere fact that someone says “I love you” actually mean they truly love you? 

Perhaps we should re-examine, what is True Love?

I love the Buddhist definition and reflection on True Love, and it is best summarised in the words of Thich Nhat Hanh.


According to buddhism, there are 4 elements of True Love:


1. Maitri

 When you are able to generate a feeling of love and happiness in yourself first then you are able to offer joy and happiness to another person. But start with yourself. Give love to yourself first.

2. Karuna

Karuna is Compassion. Compassion requires that we  practice deep looking in another, in order to see and gain understanding of the true nature of pain and suffering in another person. It requires that we transcend judgement, and look a little deeper.

3. Mudita

Mudita is Joy. Joy is the opposite of suffering. If love hurts, makes you cry, makes you live in fear, that is not love. Love brings Joy and Happiness in another person only – it does not make another suffer. Love brings freedom in another person. So many women think their partner is loving them because they are controlling or jealous, as if that is a sign of love and care. It is not. Love sets us free. True love is the ability to generate joy and happiness for yourself, and for other people.

4. Upeksha 

Upeksha is Freedom. In true love there are no boundaries or frontiers between the one who loves and the one that is loved. This is a state of Oneness. Where your joy and your happiness is my joy and my happiness. Where your pain and suffering is my pain and suffering. It is the recognition that there is no place where i begin and you end, we are interconnected and we are One.

Thich Nah Hanh's defines True Love:

As you reflect about true love, think not only about how you are receiving love from others, seeking love from others, and giving love to others but also most importantly, how you are giving love to yourself. Remember, you cannot give what you don't already have. So do not seek external love to fill a void or emptiness in you. Love yourself first, then share that love with others.

And feel free to comment below and share your own reflections on "true love". 

Love & Light,

Nara xoxo


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