We distributed food today, again, as we do most days. A man and woman, dear friends, in the hot sun begging, and hungry, we gave them bread, fruit, drink, and donuts, and the comfort of respect, and company for a while. A man, pushing his shopping cart in the hot desert sun, clearly thirsty and tired, we gave him iced tea unlooked for, and were honored when he accepted this simple gift. It is true what the Vedas say: what food and drink we gave was enough to suppress their hunger and thirst a little while, but Love - expressed by friendship - provides lasting satisfaction in this life.
The Buddha said, love is not only the means to this satisfaction, but the whole purpose of it. Om Kamadev, vidhmahe!
When we eat, it is an excellent practice to consider all that was sacrificed so we might eat, that we might become worthy of accepting that sacrifice as food. Offering food at the altar is also an excellent practice, as is offering food to the hungry ghosts and our ancestors, and the gods of our ancestors. As is the gift of food to those who have given their lives over to practice, whether willingly or not. But an offering of love, an offering to Love, is better still.
It is sometimes difficult to know what love is, to recognize Love when you find it. But it is not impossible: if you would know Love, be generous, kind, loyal, courteous, honest and persistent.
But should you ever find you have mistaken Love, and worshiped a false idol unworthy of your devotions, who demanded sacrifices they were unworthy of, trust me, as long as it is love itself we adore, the acts of love which we perform wrongly are easily forgiven. For our love for Love was true. Love will forgive you because your faith in Love was pure, even if your manner of worship was corrupt.
Therefore, you should love Love, unafraid of erring, fearlessly, courageously. Of all the gods your ancestors worshiped, only Love will not hurt you. Of all the gods, Love is the only one you may trust. For Love is not blind like Justice, nor bound by the chains of duty, like Liberty. Love is invincible, world-conquering, generous, kind, loyal, courteous, honest and persistent. And greatly rewards those who put their faith in Him, and serve Him, loyally defending them against all harm.
When you do not notice the hungry and thirsty around you, consider why you have grown callous, ignorant, and unaware. When a beggar asks you for food, consider why you do not have anything to offer them.
Consider the rare opportunity to express love through food. Give food not to suppress their hunger, but to enlarge your heart. Give, sacrifice, love - because it is your human nature to do so. Only then will you understand what it truly means to be human, the rare and precious gift it is to live a human life. The rare and precious gift it is to meet another human being as a human being yourself. Then you will know Love.
The love they felt, that you felt, will remain. Love is true, and unchanging; it remains uncorrupted by hate. For you see, none of us escape the consequences of our actions, good or ill: and there is much in love that is good, and love, once acted upon, bears good a lifetime. Or longer.