The Fifth Vow: To be Joyful over Others Meritorious Deeds

This requires us to go against what seems so natural to us, jealously. It is natural for humans to have this emotion. For example, small children appear unhappy when others receive more candy than they do. This is jealously and it is a major obstacle to our self-cultivation. Universal Worthy Bodhisattva largely attributed this vow to jealousy. He taught us not to feel envy but rather to regard others meritorious as our own and to further assist them in their endeavors.

This vow tells us to not only feel joyful over others meritorious deeds but to help them accomplish even more. If we are unable to offer assistance, we can at least express our joy and admiration. However, if we are able to offer assistance then it will be a true fulfillment of this vow. Remember that helping others is helping ourselves. We would do well to love and tolerate those who exceed us for in this way we will accomplish the virtue of this vow.

In ancient times, education in China was such that each succeeding generation was expected to exceed the current generation in accomplishment. If not, the education was considered a failure. People today however, are afraid that others will exceed them. When they try to teach others, they may hold back important information. This is called grudging teaching, which will incur the retribution of ignorance. Grudging money incurs poverty. These people are not aware how serious the retribution will be. We should strive to continuously progress in our cultivation of virtue, acquisition of knowledge, development of ability and improvement of the standard of life. Only in this way will education be successful with the entire society progressing.

It will be our responsibility in the next era to educate others. If we fail to attain virtue, knowledge and ability, we will not be able to help the next generation of sentient beings. Why? Look at today’s children. The education they receive is learning more and more towards science and technology while society is becoming increasingly complicated. Therefore, those who have vowed to help others will need to have a purer heart, greater wisdom and higher virtue to cope with the new era and opportunities. Jealously and hatred are extremely harmful to our self-nature and hence should be extinguished. So, the virtue of being joyful over other’s meritorious deeds will be even more important.