I have been coming across this advice from both Chinese Mahayana and Thai Theravada schools recently. Here’s sharing with you.
Many of us like to compare with others and we tend to think that the grass is greener on the other side. Perhaps its about our jobs or company, our spouse or children, our home, car, vacation and even our government. We tend to compare about everything in life.
Worst of all, we like to compare with others to find out what we are lacking. Then we start feeling discontented and unhappy. We feel that we are lacking something in life. We believe that our life will be happier if we have those things. That constant looking for something to want and the resentment of not having them is pure mental suffering.
For most people, we do not examine our faults or think of how we can improve our situations in life. We only know how to crave for things and feeling resentful about not having them. Just like a kid throwing tantrums in the toy store. When we develop this into a mental habit, we create a very unfortunate existence for ourselves.
The simplest solution is to STOP COMPARING.
Initially, it is going to be a tough fight if we had been habitually comparing with others since young. We need to know that those wistfulness, envy, regret, wanting, and etc, are negative feelings and thoughts that cause stress and mental suffering. Once we understand this simple truth, we will then earnestly practice to stop ourselves from comparing. Stop ourselves from looking at other people’s life with envy. This is where mindfulness is important. Once the thoughts appear, we need to nip it. Practice until we stop comparing.
Next, we need to accept that our current life is a result of deeds we committed in our past, and that includes our former lifetimes. In another word, our current situation is a done deal. Comparing doesn’t help.
To improve and have a better future, we need to do good deeds now. Therefore, it is better to be positive and be proactive. Comparing doesn’t help improve our life. Being a good person does.
The 1st good deed that we can do for ourselves is, to STOP COMPARING. When we compare and feel insufficient, we are adding to our suffering. This is because we are punishing ourselves mentally when we develop negative thoughts and emotions.
As a Buddhist, we learn to rejoice instead. That is another good deed we can simply do by switching our perspective. Instead of feeling inadequate or envious, we train our mind to be joyous about what others have.
1. Joy of the infallible truth of karma
We tell ourselves that they are enjoying life now because of their past good deeds. We should be joyous that karma is infallible. In another word, we take joy in the Dharma we had acquired. In this manner, we are further inspired to be a good person now, and we are confident that our future, including our next life will be a happy one. What we are doing here is, filling our mind with confidence and hope.
2. Rejoicing at others good karma
When we see others having a happier time or life, we rejoice in their good karma. Instead of feeling sour, we train our mind to be appreciative and joyous. Its like being happy for our BFF on their happy occasions. When we develop this into a habit, our mind become joyous and pure too. That positive energy in our mind attracts blessings.
More importantly, we should also be joyous at other people’s good deeds. When we witness people doing kind deeds and charity, we ought to participate in them by being joyous. Simply say “Sadhu” mentally and feel happy that good things and good deeds have appeared in this world. Simple right?
3. Rejoicing in the training solutions found in Dharma.
Buddhism is not just about praying and doing nothing. The Buddha taught his followers to be industrial and diligent. We also learn how to develop a balanced and disciplined mind. Karma means actions and results. Thus, if we want a better future, then we ought to work lawfully and honestly towards it. We also learn tolerance, patience , endurance, and etc. These various trainings equip us with the best chances to succeed in life.
In summary, we ought to stop comparing ourselves with others. What other people enjoy now is due to their previous good deeds. We do not need to be envious because we can start doing good now to benefit our future. And the simplest good deed we can start doing for ourselves and others is to stop our envy and be happy. And of course, to get off our lazy bums and be proactive in life.
May all be well and happy.