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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.”

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.”

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
Social psychologist and philosopher
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.”

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.”

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
Social psychologist and philosopher
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
Social psychologist and philosopher
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.”