Book Review: Love Hurts
Buddhist Advice for the Heartbroken
By Lodro Rinzler
This book, by 34-year-old author and meditation teacher Lodro Rinzler, had an unusual genesis: for one week in 2015, the author did a residency in the ABC Home and Carpet store in Manhattan, where he invited strangers to speak with him for 20-minute “heartbreak appointments.” He wrote the book while sitting in the store’s front window. His subjects told him about bad romantic breakups and losing parents, friends, and pets—even about suffering due to social conditions.
In this, his sixth book of spiritually centered advice, Rinzler also discusses his own heartbreaks, and he provides counsel based on teachings and philosophy from Shambhala Buddhism. In essence, he writes, there are many forms of heartbreak, but they “all seem to revolve around our unrealistic expectations not being met.” (We expect that relationships will last forever; we expect that those we love will never die.) Ultimately, Rinzler argues, “It’s not the heart that breaks; it’s the ego.”
The author addresses common painful emotions such as betrayal, anger, rejection, and shame. Like other Buddhist teachers such as Pema Chödrön, he advises his readers that mere avoidance will never work; the way to truly deal with heartbreak is to learn to sit with uncomfortable feelings, largely through meditation, to accept them and thus relieve them of their burning power.
This brief volume, which—tonally—seems addressed largely to people of the author’s age, will not much deepen the understanding of readers versed in Buddhist thought and practice, but it’s easy to imagine that Rinzler’s conversational and confessional chapters would prove soothing and illuminating to someone coming to these ideas for the first time. In days and nights of suffering we often feel alone, and the author comes across as a no-nonsense but compassionate and helpful friend.