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Overcoming Jealousy

Vipassana Meditation Master Acharavadee Wongsakon

J ealousy is a feeling of unhappiness when seeing someone in a happy state from having something. It is the feeling that has extreme power to drive a person to do something evil.

In Buddhism, the person who is known as the most jealous one is Devadatta, a Buddhist monk and cousin of the Buddha.

After the enlightenment, the Buddha started his teaching which was different from other doctrines as it was based on reasoning – the principle of cause and effect. All fortunate people who listened to his teachings and gained Dhamma insight said that “It’s like turning upright what had been overthrown, showing the way to the lost one, shining light in the darkness.” His key teaching was “Birth inevitably leads to death.”

In those days, the teachings of all other doctrines were very different from the Buddha’s. Some practiced to obtain supernatural power, some focused on debate, and some preached about self-mortification, none of which truly help their followers relieve unhappiness and suffering.

On the other hand, the Buddha’s teaching had enabled his followers to access the true meaning of life and some eventually attained enlightenment. He became widely respected with more and more disciples and followers. Leaders of other doctrines envied him and tried to find ways to discredit him including making false accusations. Devadatta was one among of these people although he was actually a cousin and disciple of the Buddha. Jealousy in Devadatta’s mind was so strong that he presumed that with his supernatural power, he should have been highly respected at the same level.

Jealousy was like burning fire in his mind. As times passed by, it blazed fiercely and drove him to commit the gravest sin; killing the Buddha.

If he could realize that the most important morality of humans was gratitude, especially to the teacher who taught him the invaluable knowledge of Dhamma, he would have known that he was still far from pure virtues which cannot reside in the mind that’s full craving and hatred.

How can we get rid of jealousy in our mind then?

1. Look into yourself to see the level of jealousy. If it’s there, accept it as it is. No need to tell anyone. That’s the starting point to fix it.

2.Whenever jealousy or anger comes to your mind, be mindful and tell yourself that “Jealousy (anger) should not exist in my mind”. Then continue with your work or activity without paying any attention to that emotion. If you don’t focus on the feeling, it will subside. That’s because the power of mindfulness acts like the scissors that keep on cutting the evil thoughts.

3.The mind needs to be purified. You may start with a powerful prayer to help eliminate impurities in your mind. On top of this, the most effective way is to develop your mind with Vipassana Meditation practice which can destroy the poisonous impurities embedded inside you. Do remember that as long as there’s still a bit of jealousy, it can develop further and damage your life any time.

Humans are born with both good and bad karmic fruits. If you realize that you’ve accumulated impurities in your mind, then you should cleanse it. If you only focus on building success in your life without realizing that your mind has been poisoned, by the time the effect of karma comes into play, it will be too late.

Therefore, the only way to overcome jealousy is to know it, accept it, and then determine to resolve it.