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By Ven. Myojang (Abbot of Yeonhwasa Temple)
Let us Rejoice even in the Smallest Merit
O noble-minded man and woman, what is meant by “rejoicing at the merits and virtues of others?” In the Buddha Purelands, the Buddhas, equal in number to the smallest dust-motes of all the worlds, throughout all the dharmadhatu and cosmic void, of the ten quarters and in the duration of the three yugas, have devoted their lives to the sole purpose of acquiring all wisdom, and diligently accumulating merit. All such good roots of merit I emulate and rejoice in.
Moreover, whatever merit or virtue may be possessed by any being, either of the six realms of existence, or belonging to the four kinds of births, or appertaining to any species of life in the worlds of the ten quarters, though such merit may be as infinitesimal as a speck of dust, all will have my sympathy and corresponding regard, with all such I rejoice. Again, all the Sravakas, the Pratyeka-Buddhas, the thoroughly learned ones, and those who are still to be advanced on the path of disciples, all such are the saints of the ten quarters and the three generations, with whom I rejoice in their merit if any may be possessed. All the Bodhisattvas who through infinite self-sacrifice and boundless achievement have overcome all obstacles and having formed the wish to attain the highest goal of Bodhi, with them also I rejoice in their vast merits.
Thus, even though the void of space, together with the states of beings, with the karmas of beings, with the sorrows of beings, though all these be ended, yet my approval and joy in the merits of all beings will not be ended. Thought succeeding thought without interruption, in bodily, vocal, and mental deeds without weariness.
--Avatamsaka Sutra: Samantabhadra’s Aspiration Prayer
‘Let us Rejoice!’
Rejoicing in other’s happiness is an important practice to prevent jealousy and anger.
Rejoicing is an important practice to prevent arrogance, jealousy, and anger. Whenever you hear about the success of another, please rejoice in their success. Just as we would be happy with getting what we want, let us rejoice at the happiness of others. When others find happiness, let us rejoice as if we had found happiness ourselves. We cannot be happy, cherishing only ourselves. However, if we can cherish others as we would ourselves, then we will naturally have happiness.
If someone is much more intelligent than us or know much more about dharma, let us rejoice in their goodness. If we can be happy at others’ happiness, we will accumulate a great deal of merit. If we rejoice at the goodness of someone who is superior to us, we gain twice the merit of that person’s goodness. Without doing much, we can accumulate great merit. We can accumulate merit as immeasurable as the sky in a single moment. If we can sincerely rejoice at others’ merit, this is the easiest way to accumulate the most merit. Rejoicing at the qualities of others also gets rid of our jealousy. When we feel jealous, there is a danger that we might try to ruin the success or happiness of others.
If we can make an effort to throw away our jealousy and rejoice, although what we do now may not be successful, we will create the cause of future success. If we can rejoice at the virtue of good practitioners on the path to enlightenment, and those who understand the dharma well, as well as the virtue of those who have attained enlightenment—we will create the cause to have such experiences ourselves. Rejoicing is an excellent psychological method to prevent obstacles and it plays a very important role in everyday life.
If we cannot rejoice in the happiness of others and trade places with them, happiness and peace cannot come into our lives. Because we cannot rejoice at others happiness, we drive others crazy and make them act crazy. Since we have a healthy human body and the potential to attain enlightenment, we can help other in a vast way. We must apply ourselves to fulfill this potential.