Dear friends near and far,
As always, I hope this message finds you well, healthy and happy. On today’s Guru Rinpoche day, I would like to share with you a quote from the sixth chapter, “Rejoicing and Dedicating,” from the Perfection of Wisdom in 8,000 verses, which teaches the vital importance of rejoicing:
The bodhisattva mahasattva Maitreya spoke to Venerable Subhuti: “Noble Subhuti, compared to merit created by generosity towards beings, by discipline, or by meditation, the merit that bodhisattva mahasattvas create by dedicating their rejoicing in virtue is infinitely superior. It is sublime, paramount, immense, supreme. It is unsurpassable. It is unequalled. It is equal to the unequalled.”
As Maitreya teaches here, dedicating the merit gained by rejoicing in the good deeds of others is the supreme dedication. Thus, in order to gather the unsurpassable accumulation of merit and, most importantly, as an antidote to our attachment and our jealousy, we should genuinely rejoice in whatever good actions are performed by all beings—whether physically, verbally, or mentally—and, in particular, we should rejoice in the conduct of bodhisattvas and arahants and the awakened deeds of the buddhas. Thinking how great, and how wonderful these good actions are, and dedicating the merit obtained thereby, is the best type of dedication.
The reason this dedication is praised as supreme is because it is untainted by the mental poisons. These days, while in Asia there is a lot of concern with accumulating merit, Westerners dismiss it as a religious belief. Actually, there’s nothing religious about so-called merit: ‘merit’ just means any action of body, speech, or mind that is not motivated or affected by negative mental states. Thus, whatever benefits the mind is merit, or virtue. This is why, through the blessings of Buddha Shakyamuni, these questions and answers from the sixth chapter of the Perfection of Wisdom teach the importance of rejoicing.
Personally, I can see that when I rejoice in others’ good actions, my pride, pessimism, and, most importantly, my jealousy, are reduced. Therefore, please rejoice, as you will gather a wealth of merit in this way. If you spend one or two minutes rejoicing each day, you will also see your pessimism diminish, while your optimism grows. Your ego-centrism will be reduced and you will become humbler. Finally, by accumulating unsurpassable merit in this way, your attachment, pride, and jealousy will diminish. So please take the time to rejoice in all good actions of others, every day.
With all my love and prayers,