In highly competitive sports, our fierce drive to victory can often get our blood boiling when we fall just a few points behind. It pains us to see someone else win the praise and recognition that we were so desperately wishing for ourselves.
|Original Photo by National Assembly for Wales available on Flickr.com
Even if our very good friend shows off their wealth buying the very latest smartphone, we still get a little jealous inside. When that annoying neighbor of ours keeps parking his fancy car in our driveway, we can't help but hold a grudge against him and ceaselessly complain about his rudeness. If the person we can't stand also happens to be in a position of authority like a boss or a teacher, it can fester into resentfulness. After these negative feelings go unresolved for too long, hatred can emerge.
And then when we're in a better position, we begin to look down on others. From a distance, we can even become amused by the suffering of others. Let's say our recently-promoted coworker is fired shortly after her appointment. With the position now available, we smile and quickly see her loss as our gain. Though we may not think so, we are taking delight in others' misfortune unknowingly in our day-to-day lives.
This toxic mindset within us that curses others for their happiness and takes pleasure in their misfortune represents the last of the Three Poisonous Passions, the worldly passion of envy/ignorance.
An envious mind has a total lack of awareness because its actions do not actually lead to real happiness. It is foolish because it only brings about more suffering. For this reason, this worldly passion is also known as ignorance. Even Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "Envy is ignorance."
|Photo by mtchlra (edited to remove brands), original available on Flickr.com
Yet we continue to fall victim to envy because we fail to fully grasp the Law of Cause and Effect. When we envy others for what they received instead of us, we are rejecting the notion of karma. The reason we challenge Causality is we doubt the relationship between a Cause and Effect we have experienced.
So whenever we fail to achieve something, we must look within and begin to take our own steps toward happiness. Remember, envy does not get us to the finish line any faster.
But it is our present thoughts, words, and efforts that direct the flow of our future happiness. No matter to what degree our suffering persists, we must continue to perform good deeds in order to get good results.
|Original Photo by Shinsuke JJ Ikegame available on Flickr.com
Now that we know about it, the key to create our own happiness is to strive toward performing positive virtues like the Six Paramitas everyday. That way, we can accumulate and enjoy future happiness as a result of those actions.
All too often the people we live with are the ones with which we also argue, blame and compete with the most. This next short story illustrates how reflecting on our own past actions during conflict can help reach better harmony in the home.
|Original Photo Art by Celestine Chua available on Flickr.com
Instead of feeling resentful about what others have or their superior ability, work harder toward developing your own skills and you will reap the results. The only way to get better at any endeavor in life is to keep practicing at it.
But still no matter how much we try to perfect this, we as human beings always remain with the worldly passions of desire, anger, and envy/ignorance.
Yet another troubling aspect of our envy/ignorance is that it causes us to take pleasure when people under us experience setbacks. We can all think this way, even if the misfortune seems particularly amusing to us.
|Photo by woodleywonderworks (edited to remove brands, resized) original available on Flickr.com
Out of a total awareness of this horrible mindset within him, a Pure Land Buddhist monk by the name of Master Shinran came to the following conclusion about his true nature.
Then all at once -- in a split-second moment -- our True Self will be revealed to us exactly as it was for Master Shinran. We will see clearly all the ugliest aspects of our desire, anger, and envy/ignorance. We will know ourselves fully for the first time as we really are. Knowing the true reality of ourselves is the only way toward finding a real and everlasting happiness. So let us listen to the teachings earnestly until that moment when we find it for ourselves.