What is love?

Given today’s historical significance, I started to wonder about how many times and ways our world has tried to define such a large ideal: love.

Below are just a few definitions and quotes, and by no means are comprehensive.


Thoughts from the Buddhist tradition:

The definition of love in Buddhism is: wanting others to be happy.

  • “This love is unconditional and it requires a lot of courage and acceptance (including self-acceptance).
  • The “near enemy” of love, or a quality which appears similar, but is more an opposite is: conditional love (selfish love).
  • The opposite is wanting others to be unhappy: anger, hatred.
  • A result which one needs to avoid is: attachment.” – from the Four Immeasurables.

Catholic thoughts:

The theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God.” Paul tells us that love is the greatest of the theological virtues: “So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:13).

Judiac beliefs:

Ahava is the Hebrew word for both interpersonal love and love between God and God’s creations. To refer to loving-kindness, the word chesed is used, which describes love regarding humans. 

In the Torah, we find “Love your neighbor like yourself” (Leviticus 19:18) as well as to love God “with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might” (Deuteronomy 6:5).

Philosophy of love:

5 great perspectives!  ‘Compassion and love are not mere luxuries.

“As the source both of inner and external peace, they are fundamental to the continued survival of our species.” -His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”- Lao Tzu

“One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: That word is love.” – Sophocles


For me, what is love?-  It’s by far one of the most commanding reasons for living.At the end of the day, I do not think we can sum up this potential that love has, nor a find singular definition. Love is as theoretical as it is experiential.


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