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A Mosaic of Traditions - One Virtual Sangha => Meditation and Self-Reflection Practices => Topic started by: Samana Johann on August 24, 2017, 03:15:13 am

Title: Issa (Envy)
Post by: Samana Johann on August 24, 2017, 03:15:13 am
    9. Issa (Envy) - one of the 14 unwholsesome Mind factors


    When one hears or meets an individual superior to one in beauty, wealth, education, or morality one often feels envious. This unwholesome thought is envy (issa). There are many who do not appreciate good things of others. They would comment, "All birds are as beautiful as owls" and "Such rabbits are abound." These condemnations grow out of issa. Some in their envious state of mind, say, "Similar toddy shells can be found under every toddy palms."

    There are proverbs, which say, "Envy arises when someone excels you. Having similar objectives breeds hostility." Envy mostly exists in workers who feel inferior to co-workers. Especially persons of same rank or status are affected by envy. For example a fish-paste monger does not usually feel or show envy to a jeweler. But among fish-paste sellers and among jewelers, being subject to competition, there are many who feel or show envy towards one another. So also among Bhikkhu envy can arise. Even preachers and abbots are not immune to slander and envy.

    By felling envious and by fabricating slander, one only ruins oneself because the wise condemn him as worthless person. And the envious shall fall into woeful abodes in samsara, whereas the envied will not be affected at all. Since issa is an akusala, unwholesome mental factor, everyone should abhor and eliminate it.

    Hogs and the Emerald Cave

    Once upon a time, a big lion has his den in an emerald cave in the Himalayas. Near this cave lived a herd of dogs, and they live in constant fear of the fierce lion. They blamed the emerald glow of the cave for their woe. So they first rolled about in the muddy lake and rubbed the emerald cave with mud. However, the emerald cave grew more and more radiant and shiny. Likewise, those who slander, envy and belittle others, actually get opposite consequences. Only they themselves will suffer from hardship while the other is propelled further into prosperity.

    Attukkamsana and Paravambhana

    Attukkamsana means praising one's own self either in speech or writing. (atta = self + ukkamsana = praise). Paravambhana means belittling or downgrading others (para = others + vambhana = down-grading, belittling = denunciation).
    In the case of attukkamsana people will feel mana (vainly proud) and lobha (naively pleased) of their status. In the case of paravambhana, issa (envy) and dosa (hatred) will burgeon.


    Some people proclaim their abilities in a boastful manner. They would say they are learned and well-versed, that they are wealthy that their relatives hold high positions, that they are academically highly qualified, that they excel other, etc. They might also say that although now they are in low positions, once they were a cream of society. Even some monks say that they are powerful, dignified, have wealth donors, pass many religious examinations, preach and teach well, can create gold and silver by alchemy, etc. Thus many persons are fond of making ostentatious statements whether true or false; the ignorant may perhaps be taken in by such pretensions whilst the wise will surely not. In both speech and writing, one should abstain from atthukkamsana with mindfulness (sati).

    Timely Proclamation

    However, there are opportune occasions when you should proclaim your ability and virtue, with a view to gain due respect for the work you are occupied with, for your words and your ideas. Otherwise, people may look down upon you for not grasping the true situation. This is not conceit (mana), but a timely plan that befits the occasion.


    Some people heaps blames on other when they write criticisms or comments in print-media due to lack of sati. This is malicious practice because someone is unjustly hurt through it. On the other hand if it is essential to criticize, you should do so and give right information to others. When it is mandatory to expose evil people, blame and criticism are of course necessary. Bad people deserve blame and the public should be told the truth to avoid misunderstanding. But you should blame and criticize cautiously, with supporting proofs and reliable evidences when you pit yourself against a personage, highly regarded by people.

    Once a devotee who has donated the monastery, and his wife used to hold the abbot in very high esteem. One day the devotee, by chance, saw the abbot himself frying eggs for the evening meal. So he told his wife about the abbot's singular behavior. But as his wife had great faith in the abbot, she did not believe his words. She thought her husband had lost his mind. She told her neighbors so and jeered at her husband. So her husband had to remain in silence. At bedtime he repeated the news ad still his wife would not believe him. So he had to take back his words lest his wife would again proclaim him mad.

    A true, factual may get bad response from others because of inappropriate time; circumstance, place, etc. Therefore it is important that you launch your blame according to time and circumstance, accompanied by supporting evidence. But it is also important to tell unpleasant truths about really evil persons to your close friends and relatives whether they believe you or not when a timely warning is necessary and blame is justified.

    from Abhidhamma In Daily Life By Ashin Janakabhivamsa (http://)

What do you think? How to overcome or work against Issa? Seeking for lower? Mudita, sympatic joy? Or to strive for postmodern and communism ideas? Doesn't it burden the heart tobe always confronted and driven by it?

Are there situations where Issa in regard of real beneficat and worth-while things would help one endless caught in Issa?

Much joy and insight in exploring the deep unknown forest of mind.
Title: Re: Issa (Envy)
Post by: Ron-the-Elder on August 24, 2017, 04:39:45 am
What do you think? How to overcome or work against Issa? Seeking for lower? Mudita, sympatic joy? Or to strive for postmodern and communism ideas? Doesn't it burden the heart tobe always confronted and driven by it?

The greater difficulty seems to be the incessant urge for what is considered progress, or personal betterment:  Bigger house, car, wealth, not necessarily due to comparison with that of the personal circumstances of others, i.e. keeping up with the Joneses.

Much appreciation for your bringing this concept to our attention.  Will give it more reflection as "issa" is recognized when it arises.   :hug:
Title: Re: Issa (Envy)
Post by: Samana Johann on August 24, 2017, 03:08:23 pm
Actually practicing the in modern world so unbeloved and bad treated Mudita and sharing merits, is the best medicine. Of cource it's not easy to practice, since one might be soon scarded finding out how many issa is around inthe societies and relations one usually lives. Like with the work on every hindrence, admirable friends and people who tend to good attributs, are most importand and supportive. When there is outwardly usual, some kind of dynamic starts to grow and it is trained naturally and lesser analytical and even again grim, Ron.

Less is taught and written in the modern world about it, and if mostly also merely convulsive, yet it is a such natural attitude, this joy with merits in SOAsian countries and actually the drive. Maybe some parts of this are useful: Mudita - The Buddha's Teaching on Unselfish Joy ( The introcduction of late Ven. Nyanaponika give a little account.


Oh, maybe importand. Like the other sublime attitudes, it "needs" to start by one self, that is why it is usuall to cite such, having done what ever merit:

Dedication of Merit (

Having a moment not giving envy a chance, is a big deed of letting go and give, and worthy to have you and even share ones merits.
Title: Re: Issa (Envy)
Post by: Ron-the-Elder on August 27, 2017, 06:33:30 am
Thank you for the references, Samana Johann.  I have added them to my literature file.
Title: Re: Issa (Envy)
Post by: Samana Johann on August 28, 2017, 09:43:39 am
A supportive short story from Jataka, in regard of "fighting" notions of envy and similare states:

30. MUṆIKA-JĀTAKA ([url][/url])
"Then envy not poor Muṇika."

--This story was told by the Master while at Jetavana about being seduced by a plump young woman, as will be related in the Thirteenth Book in the Culla-Nārada-Kassapa-jātaka [76].

Then the Master asked that Brother, saying, "Is it true, Brother, as they say, that you are passion-test?" "It is true, sir," was the reply. "Brother," said the Master, "she is your bane; even in bygone days, you met your end and were made into a relish for the company on her marriage-day." And so saying, he told this this story of the past.

Once on a time, when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the Bodhisatta came to life as an ox, named Big Red, on the squire's estate in a certain hamlet. And he had a younger brother who was known as Little Red. There were only these two brothers to do all the draught-work of the family. Also, the squire had an only daughter, whose hand was asked in marriage for his son by a gentleman of the town. And the parents of the girl, with a view to furnishing dainty fare [197] for the wedding guests, began to fatten up a pig named Muṇika.

Observing this, Little Red said to his brother, "All the loads that have to be drawn for this household are drawn by you and me, my brother; but all they give us for our pains is sorry grass and straw to eat. Yet here is the pig being victualled on rice! What can be the reason why he should be treated to such fare?" °° Said his brother, "My dear Little Red, envy him not; for the pig eats the food of death. It is but to furnish a relish for the guests at their daughter's wedding, that the family are feeding up the pig. Wait but a little time and the guests will be coining. Then will you see that pig lugged out of his quarters by the legs, killed, and in process of conversion into curry." And so saying, he repeated this stanza:--

Then envy not poor Muṇika; ’tis death
He eats. Contented munch your frugal chaff,--
The pledge and guarantee of length of days.

Not long afterwards the guests did arrive; and Muṇika was killed and cooked into all manner of dishes. Said the Bodhisatta to Little Red, "Did you see Muṇika, dear brother?" "I have indeed seen, brother, the outcome of Muṇika's feasting. Better a hundred, nay a thousand, times than such food is ours, though it be but grass, straw, and chaff;--for our fare harms us not, and is a pledge that our lives will not be cut short."

When he had ended his lesson to the effect that the Brother had thus in bygone days been brought to his doom by that young woman and had been made into a relish for the company [198], he preached the Truths, at the close whereof the passion-tost Brother reached the First Path of Salvation. Also the Master shewed the connexion and identified the Birth by saying, "The passion-tost Brother was the pig Muṇika of those days, the young woman is the same in both cases, Ānanda was Little Red, and I myself Big Red."
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