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Most of us are familiar with the religious injunction to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. As a species, we may not have always lived up to this ideal, but it has always been written in our sacred scriptures and uttered out of the mouths of our wisest sages and prophets. The kind of love that religions advocate is exactly the kind of selfless love that we need in the world right now. It is the kind of love that is to be extended universally and in equal measure to all—the love that all humans are deserving of.

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Quotations

C.S. Lewis
Christian theologian and writer
Christianity

“[L]ove [is] the Divine energy. This primal love is Gift-love. In God there is no hunger that needs to be filled, only plenteousness that desires to give.”

Shantideva
Buddhist monk
Buddhism

“When you look at others think
That it will be through them
That you will come to Buddhahood.
So look on them with Frank and loving hearts.”

Baha’u’llah
Baha'i prophet
Baha'i

“Ye were created to show love one to another and not perversity and rancour. Take pride not in love for yourselves but in love for your fellow-creatures.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá
Baha'i leader
Baha'i

“It is not only their fellow human beings that the beloved God must treat with mercy and compassion, rather must they show forth the utmost loving-kindness to every living creature.”

Huston Smith
Scholar of religion
Hinduism

“The Hindus have represented God in innumerable forms. They all point equally to God, but it is advisable for each devotee to develop an abiding attachment to one of them. Only so can its presence deepen and its power be fully assimilated. For most persons the most effective ishta will be one of God’s incarnations, for the human heart is naturally tuned to loving people.”

Martin Buber
Austrian-Israeli Jewish philosopher
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“Jesus’ feeling for the possessed man is different from his feeling for the beloved disciple; but the love is one. Feelings one ‘has’; love occurs. Feelings dwell in man, but man dwells in love. This is no metaphor but actuality: love does not cling to an I, as if the You were merely its ‘content’ or object; it is between I and You.”

Ibn Al ‘Arabi
Islamic scholar and mystic
Islam

“I follow the religion of Love: whatever way Love's camels take, that is my religion and my faith.”

Hermann Hesse
German-Swiss novelist
Art & Literature

“But today I think: this stone is a stone, it is also an animal, it is also a god, it is also Buddha; I do not revere and love it because it may some day become one thing or another, but because it has for a long time, always, been everything—and it is precisely the fact of its being a stone, of its appearing to me as a stone now and today, that makes me love it and see value and meaning in each of its veins and cavities, in the yellow, in the gray, in its hardness, in the ring it emits when I strike it, in the dryness or moistness of its surface.”

Arthur Zajonc
American Physicist
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“Our true relationships in life are never to the material side of things. Reflect for a moment and you will recognize that you love your child or your garden or a poem because you have worked your way through its exteriority to an interior relationship with it.”

The Dhammapada
Buddhist scripture
Buddhism

“Hatred does not cease through hatred at any time. Hatred ceases through love. This is an unalterable law.”

Teresa of Avila
Christian saint
Christianity

“We cannot know whether or not we love God, although there are strong indications for recognizing that we do love Him; but we can know whether we love our neighbor.”

Meister Eckhart
Christian mystic
Christianity

“If you love yourself, you love everybody else as you do yourself. As long as you love another person less than you love yourself, you will not really succeed in loving yourself, but if you love all alike including yourself, you will love them as one person and that person is both God and man. Thus he is a great and righteous person who, loving himself, loves all others equally.”

Augustine of Hippo
Christian saint
Christianity

“Once for all, then, a short precept is given you: Love, and do what you will: whether you hold your peace, through love hold your peace; whether you cry out, through love cry out; whether you correct, through love correct; whether you spare, through love do you spare: let the root of love be within, of this root can nothing spring but what is good.”

The Bhagavad Gita
Hindu scripture
Hinduism

“This supreme Lord who pervades all existence, the true Self of all creatures, may be realized through undivided love.”

Anne C. Klein
Scholar of Buddhism
Buddhism

“A Bodhisattva needs other people in order to cultivate compassion, but that cultivation depends far more on his or her own efforts in developing certain attitudes toward them than on what actually occurs in interactions with them.”

Jiddu Krishnamurti
Philosopher and speaker
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“What is important is to understand oneself in relationship with another. Then relationship becomes not a process of isolation but a movement in which you discover your own motives, your own thoughts, your own pursuits; and that very discovery is the beginning of liberation, the beginning of transformation.”

Erich Fromm
The Art of Loving Social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, philosopher 1900-1980
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“The religious form of love, that which is called the love of God is, psychologically speaking, not different. It springs from the need to overcome separateness and to achieve union.”

The New Testament
Christian scripture
Christianity

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

The New Testament
Christian scripture
Christianity

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Erich Fromm
The Art of Loving Social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, philosopher 1900-1980
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“In brotherly love there is the experience of union with all men, of human solidarity, of human at-onement. Brotherly love is based on the experience that we are all one. The differences in talents, intelligence, knowledge are negligible in comparison with the identity of the human core common to all men.”

Erich Fromm
The Art of Loving Social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, philosopher 1900-1980
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“Love is not primarily a relationship to a specific person; it is an attitude, an orientation of character which determines the relatedness of a person to the world as a whole, not toward one ‘object’ of love. If a person loves only one other person and is indifferent to the rest of his fellow men, his love is not love but a symbiotic attachment or an enlarged egotism.”

Sefer Ha-Aggadah
Collection of Jewish writings
Judaism

“This is what the Holy One said to Israel: My children, what do I seek from you? I seek no more than that you love one another and honor one another.”

Martin Buber
Austrian-Israeli Jewish philosopher
Judaism

“That you need God more than anything, you know at all times in your heart. But don’t you know also that God needs you—in the fullness of his eternity, you? How would man exist if God did not need him, and how would you exist? You need God in order to be, and God needs you—for that which is the meaning of your life.”

Sutta Nipata
Buddhist text
Buddhism

“Let none cajole or flout
his fellow anywhere;
let none wish others harm
in dudgeon or in hate.

Just as with her own life
a mother shields from hurt
her own, her only, child,—
let all-embracing thoughts
for all that lives be thine,

—an all-embracing love
for all the universe
in all its heights and depths
and breadth, unstinted love,
unmarred by hate within,
not rousing enmity."

Ralph Waldo Emerson
American philosopher
Art & Literature

“The power of love, as the basis of state, has never been tried."

The New Testament
Christian scripture
Christianity

"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him." (1 John 4:7-9)

The New Testament
Christian scripture
Christianity

"Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen." (1 John 4:20)

The Analects
Confucian Text
Confucianism

"To rank the effort above the prize may be called love." (6:20)

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
French Jesuit priest, scientist, and philosopher
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“The day will come when, after harnessing the ether, the winds, the tides, gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And, on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.”

Paul the Apostle
Christianity

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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.”

Swami Vivekananda
Hindu monk
Hinduism

"Love is the ultimate beyond Moksha (enlightenment). To love one person is Samsara (suffering), but loving all is Moksha."

George E. Vaillant
psychoanalyst and research psychiatrist
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“The 75 years and 20 million dollars spent on the [Harvard Study of Adult Development] points to a straightforward five-word conclusion, Happiness is love. Full stop.”

Richard Rorty
philosopher and atheist
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“My sense of the holy is bound up with the hope that some day my remote descendants will live in a global civilization in which love is pretty much the only law.”

Elizabeth Dunn
social scientist
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

"Let's stop thinking about giving as just this moral obligation and start thinking of it as a source of pleasure."

Erich Fromm
The Art of Loving Social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, philosopher 1900-1980
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“To be fully awake is the condition for not being bored, or being boring—and indeed, not to be bored or boring is one of the main conditions for loving. To be active in thought, feeling, with one's eyes and ears, throughout the day, to avoid inner laziness, be it in the form of being receptive, hoarding, or plain wasting one's time, is an indispensable condition for the practice of the art of loving.”

Tyler J. VanderWeele, Ph.D.
Director of the Harvard Human Flourishing Program
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“While the term ‘love’ means different things to different people, in much theological writing, it is understood as a desire for and/or commitment to the good of the other. That seeking of the other’s good, in childhood (and arguably throughout life), is very powerful. In addition to the actions that promote the good of the beloved, that experience of love affirms the person’s intrinsic value and worth. It establishes a bond. It fulfills one of the deepest human yearnings for connection with others. It is no wonder, then, that the experience of love appears to affect so many health and well-being outcomes."