There may be no easy route to success. Yet, everyday life offers us a hundred different chances to attain a higher level of consciousness. At home, in office and elsewhere, there are plenty of opportunities to empathise, forgive and evolve.
Take those who are rude or mean or nasty towards you. There are two choices facing a person who has to deal with malice, jealousy and bickering, daily.
You can either respond in the same manner as your antagonist does, or take the opportunity to rise above him.
“You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger,” said the Buddha. The Buddhist Abhidharma texts classify jealousy as part of hostility.
They define it as “a disturbing emotion that focuses on other peoples’ accomplishments and is the inability to bear their accomplishments.” It’s a fact of life that those who harass others are quite miserable themselves.
They are blinded by rage, jealousy and resentment and knowingly walk into the abyss of self-destruction.
Buddhist monk Mittavinda harassed another ‘perfect’ monk and had to repent for 1000 lifetimes, thereby acquiring ‘The Curse of Mittavinda’. The Jataka Tales narrate how this monk, once happy with his simple village life, did not realise how lucky he was and let jealousy consume him, literally.
When Christ said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” he meant that the cross of forgiveness and magnanimity had to be carried by the humbler, more evolved person.
He meant that although the easy way out was to react, the humane approach was to rein in your response.
For, in the end, the wheels of life come a full circle and teach us all the lessons that we need to learn, in this life and in the next. These immortal lines from Magna est veritas put it well: “For want of me, the world’s course will not fail; When all its work is done, the lie shall rot; The truth is great and shall prevail, when none cares whether it prevails or not.”