Meditation on Sympathetic Joy
Lately, we’ve been reading a few pages a day of Patrul Rinpoche’s classic introduction to Tibetan Buddhism, Words of My Perfect Teacher. We’ve loved it, and found many beautiful passages, and so thought that we would share excerpts from it with you from time to time. We’re using the Yale University Press edition, translated by the Padmakara Translation Group. You can get the book for yourself if you wish.
We’re going to start where we are, in the chapter on Arousing Bodhicitta, pp. 213-215 of the 2011 edition.
Meditation on Sympathetic Joy Imagine someone of noble birth, strong, prosperous, and powerful, someone who lives in the higher realms experiencing comfort, happiness and a long life, surrounded by many attendants and in great wealth. Without any feeling of jealousy or rivalry, make the wish that they might become even more glorious, enjoy still more of the prosperity of the higher realms, be free of all danger, and develop ever more intelligence and other perfect talents. Then tell yourself again and again how wonderful it would be if all other beings could live at such a level too. Begin your meditation by thinking about a person who easily arouses positive feelings — like a relative, a close friend or someone you love — who is successful, contented and at peace, and feel happy that this is so. When you have established that feeling of happiness, try to cultivate the same feeling toward those about who m you feel indifferent. Then focus on all kinds of enemies who have harmed you, and especially anybody of whom you feel jealous. Uproot the evil mentality that finds it unbearable that someone else should have such perfect plenty, and cultivate a particular feeling of delight for each kind of happiness that they might enjoy. Conclude by resting in the state without any conceptualization. The meaning of sympathetic joy is to have a mind free of jealousy. You should therefore try to train your mind with all sorts of methods to prevent those harmful jealous thoughts from arising. … Once people have been corrupted by jealousy, they no longer see the good in others, and their own negative actions increase alarmingly…. …Moreover, even when evil thoughts about others do not materialize as actual physical harm, they still create prodigious negative effects for the person who has the thought…. Constantly dwelling on such feelings as jealousy and competitiveness neither furthers one’s own cause nor harms that of one’s rivals. It leads to a pointless accumulation of negativity. Give up vile attittudes of this kind. Always sincerely rejoice in the achievements and favourable circumstances of others, whether it be their social position, physique, wealth, learning, or whatever else. Think over and over again how truly glad you are that they are such excellent people, so successful and fortunate. Think how wonderful it would be if they became even better off than they are now, and acquired all the strength, wealth, learning and good qualities they they could possibly ever get. Meditate on this from the depth of your heart. The image given for boundless sympathetic joy is that of a mother camel finding her lost calf. Of all animals, camels are considered the most affectionate mothers. If a mother camel loses her calf her sorrow is correspondingly intense. But should she find it again her joy knows no bounds. That is the kind of sympathetic joy that you should try to develop.
The Words of My Perfect Teacher By Patrul Rinpoche and the Dalai Lama
Our friend, a Buddhist Studies professor in the U.S., notes that this is “an English translation of a Tibetan text on the path to enlightenment. The translation is really good and many Tibetan Studies scholars use the book in their Tibetan Buddhism classes.”
Description: “A favorite of Tibetans and recommended by the Dalai Lama and other senior Buddhist teachers, this practical guide to inner transformation introduces the fundamental spiritual practices common to all Tibetan Buddhist traditions...Patrul Rinpoche makes the technicalities of his subject accessible through a wealth of stories, quotations, and references to everyday life….quintessential introduction to Tibetan Buddhist practice. ” (5 stars/24 reviews)
See More Excerpts from The Words of My Perfect Teacher on YoWangdu: