Bodhisattvacharayvatara by Acharya Śāntideva

Chapter VI – verses 76 – 77

Transglomeration: [76] If someone is attuned enough to spiritual things to find delight and joy in recognising the appearance of excellent qualities and worth in another and praising them as a good person, and if this makes them happy and draws people close together, why then, oh (sulky) mind, don’t you join in with the recognition as well; why are you not rejoicing too and taking the same delight too?   [77] (But isn’t feeling joy and delight an attachment, and therefore bad?)   But this pleasure, this delight cultivated through praise of another’s virtue, is an entirely virtuous activity, a spring, a fountain, of joy, which is not prohibited, but, even, a precept, taught by those of Ultimate Quality and Worth, an excellent way to bring people together of which one should take full advantage.

~~~ “BCA” ~~~

Reflection: so, rather than being envious and sitting to one side of events smouldering anger, while people get on doing stuff and supporting each other (and, face it, Mark, people DO make a whole, world-wide society of life which is both the crowning achievement of humanity, as well as its repeated acts of shame) I should be recognising the good of others: their talent, their kindness, their love, their steadfastness, their generosity, their art, their smile.

 

In fact it is a precept, as the Tibetan would have it, something I should be cultivating, something I should be indulging in; in fact, where fountains are concerned, it is something I should rather be getting drunk on.   It is a (the?) means of getting close to others, of including others, of not rejecting others.   This is not, so much, making friends with others (a bit needy for a Bodhisattva), but of gathering people into my circle of care and thought and concern and recognition … and love.   It is not about gathering disciples or acolytes – it’s not about widening my circle, so much, as enriching the circle that was always there if I wasn’t so sulky and insular that I didn’t know it.   In fact it is not something that will be expressed all that much aloud, only to the people I live with and acquaintances (now that I’ve finished working), but it is something that will be, nevertheless, involved, muscular, glue-like to the society in which I sit, quietly, in my quiet house.

 

And what is stopping me doing it?   And why am I sitting here, sulking.   It’s because I didn’t get the praise, so I’m churlish about dishing it out myself.   ‘Praise’ is getting the reputation, it’s getting the recognition.   It means ‘getting the job’, getting the ‘likes’, getting the ‘followers’, winning the prize, … if I don’t get it (or any of it), I’ll fume with ‘it’s not fair/biased/underserved; what about me, me, me’, I’ll not recognise the joy of the ‘winner’, I’ll not recognise the joy of the ‘bestower/granter’, I’ll just be seething ‘what about me!’.   But the unabashed rejoicing, the not-thinking-about-it and just … rejoicing, the just being happy that some people have found a bit of happiness in this world (and, for goodness’ sake, happiness is not just laying around anywhere to be picked up and delight), this frees me from the me, me, me.   And the only thing making a problem with living a more inclusive life with open arms is … me, me, me: everyone else is delighted, except me, me, me.

 

So come on, oh wondrous Bodhisattva, all piously sitting here on your own making all these prayers for the happiness of all: lighten up and do some virtuing!   It’s free, and hardly takes any effort.

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