These musings concern the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra.
Today, the Tathagata [i.e. Buddha] the Alms-deserving and Perfectly Awakened One, pities, protects and, with an undivided mind, sees beings as he does his [son] Rahula. - first paragraph of the sutra
This quote suggests to my mind an emotion of compassion toward all beings that does not discriminate based upon traits. The quote does not directly here state “all beings,” but the rest of the text seems to align the meaning with that sentiment.
The Buddha said, “ . . . I have great compassion for all beings.” - Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra, from Chapter 7: On the Four Aspects
I have encountered in various places the common sentiment amongst Buddhists that Buddhas do not experience love. Depending on the individual, some say love the way it is commonly perceived, others say love in any form. I have been warned not to attribute a “Jesus like” love to Buddha.
It is my interpretation of the echoes of history, 2,500 or so years, that this perception amongst Buddhists is rooted in mistranslation of the original intent behind the authentic Buddha’s scriptures.
An example of an opportunity for this mistranslation to occur:
"Also, emancipation is lovelessness [desirelessness]. Love is of two kinds. One is hungry [craving] love and the other love of Dharma. True love is not possessed of hungry love. As there is love for all beings, there is the love of Dharma. Such love of Dharma is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata. - Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra, from Chapter 7: On the Four Aspects
At first it seems as if love is dismissed entirely as unenlightened, then the text explains in what sense. Love for all beings, without “craving” - which I interpret to symbolize attachment.
It is difficult to understand what love would be like without attachment unless a direct experience of such is available. Here, I begin to agree with those Buddhists that say Buddha does not experience love as commonly understood.
I sense the depiction of a state of selflessness not commonly perceived.
"Also, emancipation is entering. If there is a gate, this [means] that this is the entranceway. It is as in a place where there is gold which one can get. Emancipation is thus. It is like a gate. One who practises selflessness can indeed enter. “ - Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra, from Chapter 7: On the Four Aspects
The Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra is controversial because where former Sutras include the Buddha claiming there is no self, in the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra Buddha claims there is a Buddha Self. He explains that he formerly illustrated, in a sense that was true, no self so that the Buddhist could not experience arrogance. What is there to take pride in other than yourself. It is my inference that the Buddha Self is expounded so that, by meditating on it without experiencing pride, the individual enters the same state of mind as a Buddha.
Loving-kindness is the Tathagata. Loving-kindness is Mahayana. Mahayana is loving-kindness. Loving-kindness is the Tathagata. The Tathagata is loving-kindness. O good man! Loving-kindness is Great Brahma. Great Brahma is loving-kindness. Loving-kindness is the Tathagata. O good man! Loving-kindness acts as the parent to all beings. The parent is loving-kindness. Loving-kindness is the Tathagata. O good man! Loving-kindness is what exists in the inconceivable world of all Buddhas. What exists in the inconceivable world of all Buddhas is at once loving-kindness. Know that loving-kindness is the Tathagata. O good man! Loving-kindness is the Buddha-Nature of all beings. - Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra, from Chapter 21: On Pure Actions (a)
Great Loving-Kindness and Great Compassion are the Buddha-Nature. - Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra, from Chapter 39: On Bodhisattva Lion’s Roar (g)
Emancipation is Nirvana, and Nirvana is Loving-Kindness, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy, The Mahayana Mapaharinirvana Sutra and Equanimity. - Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra, from Chapter 41: On Bodhisattva Kasyapa (b)
Having meditated on the entire Sutra, and reflected upon my previous meditations, it is my best guess that Nirvana is without pride. All pride is released, and along with it emotions such as sorrow, fear, anger, humiliation. One’s spiritual emotion, love simplified into perhaps something beyond the common depiction of love, is utilized to release the emotional complex (the “ego”). Without pride, love unconditionally embraces everything, an emotion it is useful to generate to help in the release of pride. Love expands acausally, regardless of circumstance, generating the most profound type of pleasure it is possible for me to imagine.
Without pride, there is no way for love to attach.
In the Sutra, Buddha tries to explain why he is unimpacted emotionally by the death of others. Without attachment, there is no sorrow, yet great compassion for all beings persists.