Regarding the definition of love, there is a very moving description in the Corinthians section of the Bible.
Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails...
1 Corinthians 13：4-8
Jesus preached universal aching people across the land, he willingly allowed his fellow men to crucify him, so that he could suffer on behalf of the world’s people. Confucius pursued the ideal of benevolence all his life. In his search for a king who would be able to govern with benevolence, he wandered through various countries until his death. These examples teach us that we should love people. People in this world, regardless of their ethnic background, nationality, skin color, gender, age, economic and social status, all live under the same sky, walk upon the same earth, and breathe the same air. This is due to affinities we have created over hundreds and thousands of eons. Yet, because of our desire for personal gain and our attachments, we very easily get into a belligerent frame of mind. We fight not only with ourselves, but with others. This leads to family feuds, competition among companies, wars among nations, and bickering among religions. There are struggles and battles going on all the time, turning what was once a beautiful world into a scarred and hideous world. Who is to blame? Whose fault is it? Since some unknown time, people's minds have become more and more narrow and their views more and more shallow with each passing day. As a result, aggression and fighting have become more and more prevalent. In the end, it is we ourselves who get hurt! Therefore, people of all religions, those who care about the spiritual path, have been traveling around and speaking out forcefully, hoping to awaken the love in people's hearts, using love to save the world we live in.
However, the benevolent love that most religions and philosophies speak of is directed at human beings. Buddhism alone extends the bounds of love to encompass all living beings, whether they fly, swim, crawl, or remain still; whether they are born from wombs, eggs, moisture, or transformation; creatures endowed with various physical appearances, temperaments, and outlooks. Why? Because all these living beings, before becoming enlightened and achieving Buddhahood, are deluded and do not realize that they have been of the same species and the same families as other beings, in the endless cycle of transmigration. If they happen to have different forms and belong to different species in this life, they mutually want to hurt one another. Thus the atmosphere is suffused with hatred and enmity. When living beings breathe in that air, their dispositions grow more violent and perverse. In this vicious cycle, great and small wars break out endlessly.
The Buddha appeared in the world in order to teach and guide the deluded masses, hoping to wake us up so we realize our past mistakes and do things right from now on, and ultimately realize Buddhahood. The Buddha represents wisdom and enlightenment. The realization of Buddhahood involves turning away from delusion and returning to enlightenment; awakening to Bodhi and achieving a state of great wisdom. All living beings will sooner or later realize Buddhahood, regardless of whether they are human beings in this life and whether or not they believe in Buddhism.
Strictly speaking, Buddhism cannot be considered a religion. Whereas religions are usually partisan, Buddhism transcends all parties and factions. It is the teaching of wisdom. That's why we say that Buddhism is the teachings of the Buddha, and it is also the pursuit of wisdom by living beings. The seed of this great wisdom is inherent in all living beings. In order for it to bloom and bear fruit, it must be watered with the water of kindness and compassion.
What is meant by kindness and compassion? In simple terms, kindness means cherishing living beings and making them happy; compassion means sympathizing with living beings and eliminating their suffering. "Guanshiyin Bodhisattva's Universal Door Chapter" in the
Lotus Sutra praises Guanshiyin Bodhisattva in this way:
Living beings are beset with hardships
And oppressed by limitless sufferings.
The power of Guanyin's wondrous wisdom
Can rescue the world from suffering.
Guanshiyin Bodhisattva is also known as the Bodhisattva of Great Compassion. And Maitreya Bodhisattva, with his big belly that holds everything and his ever-laughing mouth, wears what the
Lotus Sutra calls "the clothing of gentleness and patience" and cultivates the Dharma door of making living beings happy; he is the Bodhisattva of Great Kindness. The "Chapter of Universal Worthy's Conduct and Vows" in the
Avatamsaka Sutra says, "The Bodhisattva takes living beings as his roots. By benefiting all beings with the water of great compassion, the Bodhisattva can realize the flowers and fruit of wisdom." Living beings are like the roots of a tree; Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are its flowers and fruit. If there are no roots, or if the roots are there but they do not get watered, how can the tree grow tall and strong? How can it blossom and bear fruit? That is why those who study and practice the Bodhisattva Path are able not only to cherish living beings with a kind heart, but to sacrifice themselves and compassionately gather in living beings. The Venerable Master Hua made Eighteen Great Vows. Doesn't his third vow, "to undergo suffering on behalf of all living beings," make him a transformation of the Bodhisattva of Great Compassion?
According to the Dhammapada, the Buddha said that people who always practice kindness and compassion will obtain twelve kinds of benefits in life after life: (1) They are always blessed. (2) They sleep peacefully. (3) They are peaceful when awake. (4) They have no nightmares. (5) They are protected by gods. (6) They are loved by people. (7) They will not be poisoned. (8) They will not be involved in the military. (9) They will not be killed by water. (10) They will not be killed by fire. (11) They will obtain benefit wherever they are. (12) They will ascend to the Brahma Heaven after death.
Therefore, whether one is a Buddhist or not, to practice kindness and compassion is beneficial to others as well as oneself. Thus, is there any rea son not to practice? The Sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, was a very kind and compassionate man. When he was still living in Springfield, Illinois, there was a girl who had planned a trip with her friend. However, the person she had asked to help her carry her luggage did not show up, and she herself did not even know where the train station was. She was so worried that she stood by the door and started crying. Lincoln happened to pass by and asked what was the matter. Seeing that there was still time to catch the train, he picked up her luggage and told her to follow him.
The girl raced to keep up with the long-legged gentleman, following him to the station. The train had not left yet! Lincoln helped put her bags on the car and then left without taking a cent. Another time, when he was still a lawyer, he and several colleagues made a trip on horseback to take care of some business. On their way, they passed by a forest. The group spotted a stream and went to water their horses. At that time, they discovered that Lincoln was no longer with them. One of his companions said, "Lincoln found a baby bird that had been blown down by the wind. He must be looking for its nest!" Soon afterwards, Lincoln caught up with his companions and told them, "I found the nest! It was difficult, but I was determined to find it. If I didn't return that poor little bird to its mother, I wouldn't be able to sleep tonight."