No to depression!

- through Francois Leclercq

Published on

What if instead of staring glumly at the glass half empty, we rejoiced that it was half full?

Contrary to the fairly widespread tendency to see things from a negative angle, the Buddha argues that it is possible to transform possible obstacles into assets. Among other means, he proposes to get used to rejoicing in the qualities, strokes of luck and successes of oneself and of others, including the characters who have reached the highest spiritual levels.

About us, we will feel happier, and more sure of ourselves, if we appreciate what we have of good or good. The field is wide! On the interior level, we all have qualities, gifts, talents, knowledge, know-how, which only ask to be developed more and more. Let's also take a closer look at the external conditions. We may benefit from a loving family, considerate and devoted friends, a rather comfortable material life, interesting or lucrative activities, social supports, etc. For example, it is a chance to be born, or to live, in a country at peace, in a democratic state, to have access to education and health care, to have the freedom to move , to express themselves, to make choices.

Rejoice in each other's virtues

Concerning others, admiring their qualities and their happiness has the first advantage of protecting us from jealousy, this corrosive poison which too often rots our existence. Moreover, by ceasing to be a rival, the other becomes a stimulating model. It reveals to us what it is possible to accomplish. Among the Three Jewels, objects of refuge on the part of the Buddhists, such is moreover the role of the Jewel of the Sangha, the more advanced companions on the spiritual path. For the novice practitioner, they are examples to follow. Through their experience, they bear witness to the qualities of benevolence and wisdom that the practice of the Dharma allows to flourish, and they inspire the desire to follow in their footsteps.

By ceasing to be a rival, the other becomes a stimulating model. It reveals to us what it is possible to accomplish.

On the level of karma, the rejoicing of the virtues of each other is described as a source of great merits:

– Rejoicing in the merits accumulated by someone similar to oneself, from the spiritual point of view, generates merits equal to one's own.

– Rejoicing in the merits accumulated by a character endowed with superior qualities – master, Buddha, bodhisattva, saint, etc. – produces merits less than his own, but still greater than those of which one is ordinarily capable by oneself.

– Rejoicing in the merits accumulated by someone of a spiritual level for the moment lower than oneself arouses merits… superior to one's own.

On a practical level, a great advantage of this practice of rejoicing is its simplicity. It is accessible to all, regardless of age or level of education. It requires no ritual or decorum. It can be done standing, lying, sitting, in all the circumstances of daily life. It is not based on a belief, but on the observation easily verifiable by experience, that it brings relaxation and well-being, not only to oneself, but also to those around them.

photo of author

Francois Leclercq

François Leclercq is the founder of Buddhist News, a website which aims to disseminate information and practical advice on Buddhism and spirituality. François Leclercq was born and raised in Paris. He studied Buddhism at the University of Paris-Sorbonne, where he graduated in social sciences and psychology. After graduating, he devoted himself to his passion for Buddhism and traveled the world to study and learn about different practices. He notably visited Tibet, Nepal, Thailand, Japan and China.

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