"A loving relationship is meant to serve not as a safe harbor for our unhealthy tendencies but rather as a healthy place of reformation where such tendencies can be eliminated. Only by exposing the dark spiritual poisons within us can we transform them in the light of spiritual healing." ~Taro Gold
"What is Love?" is inspired by the universal principles of Buddhism. When we learn to be at peace with ourselves, we can spread this peace to the world. Unconditional love truly can heal the world. In a similar way that music unites us, love is what we need to unite the world. Hate destroys while love nurtures. I have found that there is a point at which the pain of life dissolves into the bliss of love.
This tiny book explores the topic of "Love" in 80 exquisite pages. "What is Love?" is filled with inspirational quotes, watercolors and Taro's wisdom. There are swirling goldfish, flowers clinging delicately to the edge of pages, pots of orchids, birds perched on bamboo leaves and cherry trees, and a variety of creatively patterned pages.
There are three main sections:
Part One: Love and Illusion - Taro introduces a variety of interesting ideas and explains how in early Buddhist teachings, romantic love is seen as unstable while compassionate love is seen as limitless. He truly starts to delve into the meaning of love and explains why love as an illusion will disappear as fast as it appeared. I loved the humorous ending to the "Zuri" story that is almost as funny as the quote by Woody Allen, which just spins your mind. "Needy Love" is not often discussed and this is the first time I've seen an author explain this aspect of love in such a concise manner. Taro explains why "needy love" is ultimately unfulfilling. "Moments of temporary insanity" - I can relate to this.
Part Two: Love and Reality - Taro's writing is filled with creativity and speaks directly to the heart. He explains relationships through the retelling of an ancient Japanese comedic tale. Taro then explores change, the three main types of love, self-mastery and "meeting your soul mate." This book makes complete sense although the issue of greater and lesser worlds was a new concept to me. Who would not want to reach the place of "Enlightened, altruistic, unshakable happiness." Page 50 is just powerful. The entire section on enlightenment makes the concept very easy to understand. Most books do not reach this depth, nor do they make enlightenment quite so attainable. Taro takes mysterious topics and transforms then into everyday wisdom.
Part Three: Love and Life - Taro's thoughts continue to create a connection between the quotes and his experience with Buddhist wisdom. The quotes are not all Eastern and you will find quotes from Judith Viorst, Alfred, Lord Tennyson and even Victor Hugo. He explores the topics of loyalty, romance, commitment and karma. The story of how we become mirrors in relationships is so true.
Taro Gold has spent much of his life living overseas. He has been successful as an author, children's counselor, teacher, interpreter, actor, singer and songwriter. He has traveled to over thirty countries and has lived in Australia, Spain and Japan. He has also written extensively for international Buddhist publications and his books have been published in seven languages.
I find Taro's choice of art for the covers to be quite intriguing. His message is definitely "peace and hope" for a better world. "What Is Love?" is a gift for our hearts and this book is much more than a book of quotes. It is a journey into the true meaning of love in all its forms. You will we see a picture of the type of love you feel reflected in the pages. You will also see images of love you will want to emulate in their fullest forms.
"What is Love?" is a true combination of Buddhist wisdom and real-life experience. Taro Gold's books are well worth collecting and make the perfect gifts for any occasion. They are universal in their appeal and always bring moments of enlightenment to your life.
Also look for:
Open Your Mind, Open Your Life (miniature and larger edition) by Taro Gold
The Tao of Mom: The Wisdom of Mothers from East to West
~The Rebecca Review