Luang Phaw, what are the consequences for people who like to rejoice in merits and people who like to rejoice in sins?
by Venerable Dhattajeevo BhikkuIf you rejoice in merit, you will receive merit. If you rejoice in sins, you will receive sins. First, what is to rejoice (anumodana)? To rejoice is to be delighted with or to be happy with. A simple translation is, to support, or consent to. It is the delight in oneself and the giving of moral support to a person who performs good deeds, so that they have the courage to do even more good deeds. This is wonderful.
Rejoicing in sins simply means, being happy when someone performs bad deeds. It is when someone else performs bad deeds and you think it’s great. For example, when someone you don’t like gets hurt, you become happy and you think that it serves him right. Oh…I’m glad that he is suffering. Although you don’t get along well, it doesn’t matter. He has suffered. He was hurt by others. But you were happy about it. This is rejoicing in sins. But you have a chance to receive those sins, too. This should be clear.
Let’s look at this at a deeper level, with an easy example. You may not like this type of person, but you should not rejoice in their suffering. For instance, there is a drug dealer who has performed bad deeds. The law dictates that he gets the death penalty. The time comes. The newspaper announces that this drug dealer was given the penalty of death because he had caused great harm to many people. If he were to continue living, more people would become addicted to drugs and more people would suffer. Therefore, he could not live and deserved the death penalty. Many people rejoiced in that punishment because he deserved it.
People rejoice in bad deeds, like this, everywhere. When it happens, people all over town rejoice. When the drug dealer was sentenced to death, people all over town rejoiced in it. They did not know that they were rejoicing in sins. They were happy with killing a person. They were happy that someone was being killed. In general, most people would see that it is right. He performed such bad deeds and deserved to be killed.
Actually, we do not create lives, nor do we create a person’s life. Therefore, we do not have the right to kill anyone. When there is killing, we should not look at it from the perspective of the law, but we should look at it from the perspective of the cycle of reincarnation. No one has the right to kill anyone. When there is killing, there are bad deeds. When we rejoice in that bad deed, we will receive that bad deed, as well. Why do we receive this bad deed? It is because as soon as we are delighted with the wrongdoing, our mind becomes cloudy. We probably remember that when our mind is cloudy and not clear, hell is the destination. The person will go to the place of suffering. Therefore, when someone rejoices in bad deeds, that person’s mind is cloudy.
Furthermore, it indicates that our body cultivates the lack of kindness. The person with the death sentence cultivated the lack of kindness toward everyone in the world, which is why he sold drugs. He was then killed because he violated the law. He must be killed. We became happy. We think that it serves him right. However, we do not realize that we also cultivate the lack of kindness towards others’ lives. Our mind becomes cloudy. It indicates that, whether in this life or the next life, we are ready to do bad deeds, like he did, because our mind has the seed of cloudiness.
In addition, we cultivate another bad behavior of not thinking thoroughly. Why did a person perform such bad deeds that he was punished with the death penalty? Actually, he did not want to be a bad person. He wanted to be good, but he was not very wise because his mind had been cloudy from the time he was born. When his mind was cloudy and not wise, he thought that selling drugs was good and right. Therefore, when we killed him, or rejoiced in his killing, it did not correct his mind. After he dies, he will be born again. When it is time for him to be reborn, his mind will still be cloudy. He will still perform bad deeds.
In order to prevent him from performing the bad deed of selling drugs, we need to teach him and correct his behavior. He needs to know about merit and sin in this lifetime. This is just one example. Otherwise, there is no point. He has not corrected his behavior. He will still be a bad person. We will just feel satisfied and gain bad kamma.
Therefore, do not rejoice in bad kamma. Do not do it at all. Sometimes a massive disaster occurs. A person who has attained a high level of dhamma checks on the massive disaster. Some people who died in the group were people who had killed others. Another type was people who rejoiced and encouraged the killing. When the time came, they died together. This is the retribution of rejoicing in bad kamma. Therefore, do not rejoice in anyone’s bad kamma. If we hear news about a death sentence, we should just acknowledge it and think that it is kamma in this world. What we did to others will happen to us. Think impartially and no bad kamma will happen to us.
On the contrary, if we know someone performing good deeds, we should quickly rejoice in their merit. Our mind will be open and filled with delight. We will have the courage to perform good deeds as well. The person you rejoice with will have the courage to perform even more good deeds. We will both have more opportunities to perform good deeds together in the future. Whether in this lifetime or the next, we should use our merit to continue making merit. It is this situation that we should rejoice in.