April 11, 2011

Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche on the Cricket World Cup and Sympathetic Joy

Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, via the speakingtree.in,

Your Joy is My Joy

When India won the World Cup, more than a billion people were instantly overjoyed — men, women, children, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Christians. Having never encountered so much happiness all at once, I was struck by how over a billion people could share in the joy of the Indian team. Let’s take a moment to reflect on this.

In the eighth chapter of the Bodhicharyavatara, Shantideva suggests that we should care for all sentient beings as one singular self. If they are joyful, we should feel joy; if they are suffering, we should be concerned, just as over a billion people were concerned when Sachin Tendulkar was out. And then, as the team played well, everybody became hopeful.

Of the more than a billion watching, few stood to gain materially from a win. Rather, it was a philosophical joy: everybody made the team their own, so their emotions aligned with the emotions of the players. If a player did poorly, you were as concerned as if you yourself were playing badly; if a player had a good game, you felt happy. Over one billion people were sympathetically connected.

Similarly, if we connect to all humanity with a sympathetic mind, we can leave the small self and focus on the bigger Self. For instance, if someone somewhere is suffering, as many are in Japan right now, we can spend some time praying for them; similarly if someone is happy — as in India right now — we can rejoice.

Why do we not have the same joy and care for all humanity? When India won, a seven-year-old boy rejoiced in the same way as did a spiritual teacher. This shows that they both have the same potential, which, in the right conditions, manifested in the same way. So, if we choose to experience sympathetic joy, we can simply associate ourselves with another person and, whatever good happens to them, rejoice and be happy as if it happened to us.continued

Read the whole piece here.

Further reading:

"Realizing Guiltlessness" -Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche speaks with Pema Chödrön

"The Theater of Reflection" by Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche

"Free Expression" -Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche on his paintings, natural creativity, and the art of living a sane life

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