As with everything, what seems negative can, with a little refinement, be beneficial.
Sometimes we may feel competitive with other students, or even with our teacher. We may think that we know more, or we want and deserve to know more. This is the arising of pride and jealousy which, if viewed correctly, are two wisdom qualities – The Buddha in the Mud!
Actually, we may ‘know’ more; we may be more scholarly than others, but there is one thing we cannot beat, and that is purity. Purity knocks spots off scholarliness. There are practitioners whose practice is pure: they may not be able to express it in an eloquent manner, but they are just ‘it’! I witnessed this in Nagi Gompa in Nepal, where the nuns were out of this world…totally guileless (I actually typed ‘glueless’, and that still works – no stickiness! 🙂 )
The feeling of being competitive or wanting more.
A teacher can only take us so far, and we might even start finding fault with them because we want to know more without practising; that cannot be done, as the practice itself is beyond knowledge. We have to look more closely at our own minds, and experience refinement. Even the Buddha cannot practise for us. Much of our learning is to unlearn.
There is a great difference between knowledge and pure experience. We need an understanding of knowledge to take the next step of actual experience of purity which is beyond ‘me’ experiencing ‘something’.
Understanding pride and jealousy.
Pride: thinking we know better than others; this is debilitating as it locks us into a set position. Jealousy: thinking we are worse than others; this is also debilitating as it too locks us into a set position. We should be more concerned about the state of our own mind rather than that of others.
Q. So, what can we do?|
A. Look, and recognise.
Pride, in the very first instant, is the “Wisdom of Equality”. Whatever we think we know, sooner or later everyone else will reach that same level. Some may even be past that level already; accepting that fact is good karma.
Thinking others are better than us leads us to jealousy which, in the very first instant, is the “All Accomplishing Wisdom”. Whatever we see others as attaining, the actual seeing of that means that quality must also be within us; we can only recognise this manifestation because it is also within us. It is said that by merely recognising good qualities in others, we acquire the same merit – good karma.
being competitive can be beneficial
if it is inspiring and compassionate.
It is detrimental
if we use knowledge as a weapon
against ourselves and others.