Modern Bodhisattva’s Way of Life: Rejoice!

Now Shantideva explains how jealousy and envy can also lead to anger. 

(6.76) If someone else develops a mind of joy
Through praising another’s good qualities,
Why, mind, do you not praise him too
And experience the same kind of joy?

Our normal reaction when others experience some sort of good fortune is jealousy or envy.  We think about how the other person doesn’t deserve that good fortune, or we simply wish we were experiencing it but are frustrated that we are not.  It is quite common for some people to work very hard and they never seem to catch a break, whereas others hardly work at all, yet good things just naturally fall into their lap.  This usually leaves us feeling jealous and discouraged, and then we go looking for others to blame for our plight, leading to anger.

We all wish to experience joy, happiness in our lives and whenever there is an opportunity to do so, we take it.  So why not rejoice in others’ good qualities, happiness, and so forth, rejoice when others are being praised?  The only reason for a difference in our reaction is because we are still influenced by the wrong view that our happiness is somehow more important than theirs, or their happiness is somehow not important.  The key to developing a robust practice of rejoicing, therefore, is the meditation on equalizing self and others.  Once we have some experience of considering the happiness of each and every living being as being equally important, then rejoicing will come easily.  Once rejoicing comes easily, we will be able to accumulate merit all of the time – we merely need think of those who are experiencing some good fortune, and we can rejoice.

We should also take an opportunity to share in the happiness experienced by the one who is giving praise.  As we go through our daily life, we will sometimes hear one person praising another.  Our normal reaction when this happens is externally we may nod in apparent agreement, but internally we then quickly going on to point out some fault that we have noticed in the person who is being praised.  There is always a ‘yeah, but’ in our mind.  We see only faults.  But when we see somebody praising another it is a particularly good time to practice rejoicing, because we can rejoice both in the person receiving the praise and the person giving the praise. 

As Dharma practitioners we must rejoice in one another’s good qualities, we must rejoice in one another’s activities, virtuous activities. We need to not just observe, but also admire them and rejoice in them.  We need to admire and rejoice in their skillful means. And then we will be inspired to follow the example others are setting for us.  And as well we must rejoice in the joyful effort of others. Whenever they try, we must make a point of rejoicing in their efforts, and talk to others of the good qualities that we see in them.  And we should also rejoice when others understand things that we don’t.  

The benefits of rejoicing are almost limitless.  First, rejoicing creates the cause to acquire the qualities you rejoice in.

(6.77) I should always rejoice in others’ happiness and virtue.
This joy causes my virtues to increase.
Moreover, it is the cause of delighting the holy beings
And the supreme method for benefiting others.

Rejoicing I think is one of the best ways of accomplishing results.  We’re so concerned with results! If we really want results, rejoice. It is the best way of accomplishing both internal and external results.  Rejoicing creates the causes to acquire what we are rejoicing in.  If a teacher and students are rejoicing a lot, then even if mistakes are being made at their Center, progress is being made, both internal and external.  No doubt that holy beings easily, powerfully can help progress in such a joyful, harmonious environment.

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