I often talk about the issue of jealousy when I am expounding the Law. Why? There has been an extremely intense display of jealousy in China. It is so intense that it has become natural and people themselves are not aware of it. Why do the Chinese people have such strong feelings of jealousy? It has its own origin. The Chinese people have been heavily influenced by Confucianism in the past, and so they are introverted. They neither express their anger nor happiness. Instead they believe in self restraint and forbearance. Being accustomed to such a way, our nation as a whole has developed a very introverted personality. Certainly such a personality has its own advantages which include not showing off one's intelligence. But it also has its disadvantages which may bring about negative side effects. Particularly during this Period of Decline, the negative aspects have become more conspicuous, thus making people develop jealousy. If someone has good news made public, others will become very jealous. Some people are afraid of mentioning awards gained in their work unit or elsewhere for fear that others may feel psychologically unbalanced when they learn about the news. Westerners called it Oriental Jealousy or Asian Jealousy. The whole Asian region is more or less this way due to the influence of the Chinese Confucianism, but there is a more intense display of it in China.
This jealousy is somewhat related to the absolute equalitarianism that we once went in for. Whatever happens, everyone will die together if the sky falls; everyone should have an equal share if there is a profit; and everyone should have a raise in salary together with others regardless of the rule that only a certain per cent of the employees can get a raise. Such a mentality seems to be fair, with everyone being treated equally. How could it be the same in fact? The jobs are different, and so are the positions each holds and the responsibility put into the work. There is a principle in this universe which is called "No loss, no gain". To gain, one has to lose. Ordinary people believe in the fact that one does not gain if he does not work; that the more one works the more he should gain or the less one works the less he should gain; and that one should gain more if he gives more. The absolute equalitarianism which once was rampant claimed that everyone is born equal and that post-natal life changes a person. I find that this is too absolute, and anything absolute is incorrect. Why were some people born males and others females? And why do they not look alike? People are not born the same, as some people are born ill and handicapped. From the high dimension, we can see that one's whole life exists there in another space. How could it be the same? People all wish to be equal. But if certain things were not pre-arranged in one's life, how could they be equal? People can not be the same.
A Westerner's personality is comparatively extroverted. They show their happiness or anger from their appearance. This personality has its advantages and disadvantages, which includes intolerance. The Western and Asian dispositions based upon different outlooks bring about different consequences in practice. For the Chinese people, if one is praised or treated favourably by the supervisor, others become psychologically unbalanced. If one earns a bonus, he might as well put it in his pocket and not mention a word to others. It is difficult to be a model worker nowadays. If you are a model worker, you will be expected to come to work early in the morning and go home late. Others may say sarcastically: since you are good at the job while we are not, why don't you do all of it? It is difficult to be a good person.
Such a case would be the opposite in other countries. The boss may give the employee an extra bonus if he does a good job at work. The latter would cheerfully count the bills in front of others, and say that my boss gave me so much money. He could happily tell others about it while counting the money without receiving negative consequences. If it happened in China that someone earns an additional bonus, the boss would tell the employee to hide the money and not to let others see it. In Western countries, if a child got 100% on a test, he would cheerfully run home all the way, shouting, "I have got 100% on the test!" One neighbour would open the door and say, "Good job! Tom. Nice kid." Another neighbour would open the window and say, "Hi, Jack, you made it!" It would be a disaster if this happened in China. When a child runs home, shouting, "I have got 100% on the test," the neighbours will begin to cuss in their houses before the door opens, "What is so great about getting 100%? Showing off. Who has not yet scored 100% on a test?" The two different approaches produce different results. It is likely to arouse jealousy. If someone is doing well, some people will be uneasy instead of feeling happy for him. Problems like this may occur.
Years ago China pushed the policy of absolute equalitarianism which has messed up people's minds. For instance, one may feel that others are not as capable as he is in the office, and that he is indeed great because he can accomplish everything. He may say to himself: I am qualified to be a factory director and manager, or for a high ranking official, or even a prime minister. His colleagues may also share his views and say that this person is talented and competent. However, let's say there is another person in his work group or office, who is very incapable of doing anything. One day this incompetent person is promoted to the position of a cadre instead of the competent one, and even becomes his boss. He becomes so unbalanced psychologically that he runs around talking about it, feeling very upset and jealous.
I am telling you about a principle that ordinary people are unaware of: you may think that you are capable of doing everything, but you cannot get what you want because it has not been arranged for you in your life. Another person may not be capable of doing anything, but he can get what he wants because it has been arranged for him in his life. In this way he gets promoted. No matter what ordinary people think about it, it is only the viewpoint of ordinary people. From the perspective of the intelligent beings, the development of human society is only going on according to the specified laws of development. Therefore, what one does in a lifetime is not pre-arranged according to his capabilities. Buddhism believes in the Karmic Principle of Rewards and Retributions. One's life is pre-arranged based on one's karma. No matter how capable you are, you may have nothing during your lifetime because you do not have De (virtues). You see someone is good for nothing, but he has a lot of De, so he becomes a high ranking official and very rich. An ordinary person can not see this point, and always believes that he should appropriately do what he should do. Therefore, he contends and competes all his life, and has got his feelings hurt. He feels very bitter, tired and unbalanced in his mind. He can not eat or sleep well. He gets disappointed. By the time he gets old, he is in poor health and comes down with all sorts of illnesses.
So we practitioners should not behave this way. We practitioners follow the natural course. If something belongs to you, you will not lose it. If it is not yours, you can not get it through competition and contention. That is, of course, not absolute. If it is absolute, there will not be the problem that man commits wrong doings. That is to say, there may also be some unstable factors. However, as practitioners, we are cared for by the Master's Law bodies, so accordingly, others will not be able to take away what belongs to you. So, we believe in following the natural course. Sometimes, you think something should be yours, and you are told so as well, but it is in fact not yours. You probably believe that it is yours. Eventually, it does not belong to you. In this case you will be tested to see whether you can let go of it. Being unable to give it up is an attachment. This would be the way to get rid of your desire for self interests. That is the bottom line. Because ordinary people can not realize this truth, they will compete and contend for the sake of their interests.
Jealousy is extremely popular among ordinary people. It also has been predominant in the world of cultivation. The different cultivation ways do not respect each other. Your cultivation way is good or his cultivation way is good. They indulge themselves in idle gossip. In my opinion, they all belong to the level of healing illnesses and keeping fit. Most of those competing with others belong to the dishonest qigong of spirit possession which does not value Xinxing. Someone may have practised qigong for over twenty years without developing any supernormal capabilities while others have produced them in a short time of practice. Then, this person will feel unbalanced mentally: I have practised for over twenty years without developing supernormal capabilities; but they have; what sort of supernormal capability have they got? He is infuriated: What they have got is spirit possession and they have stepped into the way of cultivation insanity. When a qigong master gives a lecture, someone may sit there with disrespect, thinking: Ah, what sort of qigong master is he? I am not interested in listening to what he teaches. The qigong master may really not be able to speak as well as he, but he talks about the things of his own faith. However, this person studies everything and attends every qigong master's lecture. He has got a pile of graduation certificates. Indeed, he knows a lot, more than that qigong master. But, what is the use? It is all about removing diseases and keeping fit. The more he takes in, the more harmful and complicated the messages will become, and the harder it becomes for him to practise. It is all in a mess. Genuine cultivation should specialize in only one cultivation way and there should be no deviation. Among those who really cultivate Tao, there are also such manifestations as mutual disrespect, the desire to compete and contend with others, which tends to incur jealousy.
Let us talk about a story. In the book "Investiture of the Gods", the Honourable Divine of the Origin asked Jiang Ziya to grant titles to Gods. In Shen Gongbao's eyes, Jiang Ziya was old and incompetent. Therefore, he became jealous and thought, "Why should he be asked to grant titles to Gods? I am so powerful that I can put my head back on the shoulders after cutting it off. Why was I not asked?" He became so jealous that he always made trouble for Jiang Ziya.
Primeval Buddhism in Sakyamuni's times valued supernormal capabilities. However, nobody dares to discuss them any more in Buddhism now. If you talk about them, you will be labelled with cultivation insanity. What supernormal capabilities? They do not acknowledge them at all. Why? Monks today do not know at all what supernormal capabilities are all about. Sakyamuni had ten senior disciples, of which Mujianlian came first in supernatural powers. Sakyamuni also had female disciples, among whom Lianhuase was the number one in supernatural powers. There have been many accomplished monks through different dynasties in history since Buddhism entered China. When Dharmer came to China, he rode on the stalk of a reed to cross a river. Yet, supernatural powers have become rejected and have been put aside more and more throughout the history. The main reason is that senior monks, mentors and abbots in the temple do not necessarily have great inborn qualities. Though they have become abbots and senior monks, these are the positions of ordinary people. They are also practitioners, and nothing more than professional practitioners. You cultivate at home as amateurs. Whether one succeeds in cultivation or not depends on the cultivation of the heart. All are the same without a slight difference. However, the junior monk who cooks and keeps the fireplace may not have poor inborn qualities. The more hardship the junior monk endures, the easier it is for him to open his cultivation energy. The more comfortable the senior monks are, the harder it is for them to become enlightened due to the principle of transformation of karma. The junior monk always suffers. It will be faster for him to pay back his karma and become enlightened. Perhaps, his supernormal capabilities will be opened one day all of a sudden. After opening his supernormal capabilities, becoming enlightened or half enlightened, his supernatural powers all come out. The monks at the temple all come to consult him and show their respect for him. But, the abbot cannot bear this: How could I be the abbot! What enlightenment? He is insane. Get him out of the temple. The junior monk will be expelled from the temple. As time passes by, nobody in Buddhism in our Han region dares to talk about supernormal capabilities. You know Ji Gong had great supernormal capabilities. He could move tree trunks from the E'mei Mountains and throw logs one after another from a well. He was finally driven out of Ling Yin Temple.
The issue of jealousy is very serious as it directly concerns the matter of our attainment of consummation. If the attachment of jealousy is not eliminated, all the aspects of one's Xinxing cultivation will become fragile. There is this rule: During cultivation, one will not at all complete the right achievement if the attachment of jealousy is not eliminated. Perhaps, you may have heard in the past what Amitabha said about going to the Paradise with karma, yet that one is not allowed to go there with an attachment of jealousy. It will be all right to be a little weak in some other aspects if you go to the Paradise with karma and continue your cultivation there. However, it is absolutely impossible to do so with the attachment of jealousy. Today, I am telling the practitioners that, you should not adhere to your foolish ways without awakening. The goal you want to reach is to cultivate up to the higher dimensions, and the attachment to jealousy must be abandoned. Therefore, I single out the issue to talk about.