Jealousy and Envy: 5 Teaching’s of Buddhism

Jealousy and Envy are considered to be similar negative emotions that are responsible for making a person miserable and spoil the different relationships.

Jealousy is resentment towards others because these folks possess things which does not belong to the individual while Envy is a form of resentment towards the others because of their success or the possessions, but can be linked to the lack of confidence or even a sense of inferiority.

For tackling the problem of jealousy and envy Buddhism teaches us that the person can let go of all the negative emotions and should understand that where are these emotions coming from.

The Roots of Suffering

The culture of Buddhism pictures that there can be many causes that can lead an individual to suffer from Envy and jealousy.

The Roots of Suffering
The Roots of Suffering

It also says that whatever is causing the suffering the roots of this particular suffering are because of the three reasons which are also famous by the name of the three unwholesome roots.

These three reasons are hate, greed, and ignorance. But the famous Theravadin teacher Nyanatiloka Mahathera has said the following lines:

“For all evil things, and all evil destiny, are rooted in greed, hate, and ignorance; and of these three things, ignorance or delusion (moha, avijja) is the chief root and the primary cause of all evil and misery in the world. If there is no more ignorance, there will be no more greed and hatred, no more rebirth, no more suffering.”

The above lines tell us one thing that this particular ignorance is of the fundamental nature of reality and it is also of the self-image.

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Envy and jealousy are considered to be rooted in the belief in an autonomous and permanent self or soul. But Gautam Buddha has taught us that this permanent and the separate self is an illusion.

It is also referred to in various textbooks that the world is related through the fiction of the self as we become very protective and greedy about our belongings and also for getting more than what is required.

We have divided the world into two parts, the first part is me and the second part is other. All the people have become the center of jealousy when we are thinking about others and are also taking something we are owed.

We have become envious and are strengthening this emotion by thinking about others and also the fact that they are more fortunate than we are.

Recovery Through Mindfulness

It is not at all easy to release the jealousy and envy from the mind and body. But the most basic steps are mindfulness and metta.

Mindfulness is the awareness of the full body and mind at the present moment. The first two stages of the process of mindfulness are the mindfulness of feelings and the mindfulness of the body.

Recovery Through Mindfulness
Recovery Through Mindfulness

One should pay attention to the various emotional and physical sensations that are happening in the body. When a person can recognize envy and jealousy, then being a person and can return to the normal state, then he can acknowledge the feelings and take ownership of them.

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Nobody is making you jealous but you are making yourself jealous. A man should let all these feelings go away and make the kind of recognition about these particular bad feelings and make them a habit.

Metta is the process of loving-kindness and also the kind of loving-kindness which a mother feels for her child. One should begin with the metta for themselves.

Deep inside the mind, one must be feeling insecure and frightened. They would also be feeling betrayed and even ashamed. All these things would compile and lead to sad feelings, which will feed on your misery.

For tackling the same, one must learn to be gentle and forgiving with all the people and even with themselves. If this is made a regular practice, then the person would be able to trust himself or herself and can even be more confident in their life.

After this, Jealousy and envy will be removed from your mind and body. The famous Buddhist teacher Sharon Salzberg has said that:

“To reteach a thing its loveliness is the nature of metta. Through loving-kindness, everyone and everything can flower again from within.”

Envy, Jealousy, and Attachment

Jealousy and envy can also be considered to be forms of attachment. In the first instance, this may seem to be very odd as envy and jealousy are about the things which a person does not have so how can he or she be attached.

Envy, Jealousy, and Attachment
Envy, Jealousy, and Attachment

But the people can get attached to the things and this can be done both in the emotional sense and as well as the physical sense. The emotions of the people cause them to cling to the things even if these things are out of their reach. This also creates an illusion that is permanent to the separate self.

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This is because the people mistakenly see themselves as a separate entity from everything else that they can get attached to. The attachment requires at least two separate things which are attacher and an attached.

If a person can fully appreciate that nothing is separate, then in the beginning attachment will become impossible.

Zen teacher John Daido has said the following lines:

“According to the Buddhist point of view, nonattachment is exactly the opposite of separation. You need two things to have attachment: the thing you’re attaching to, and the person who’s attaching. In nonattachment, on the other hand, there’s unity.

There’s unity because there’s nothing to attach to. If you have unified with the whole universe, there’s nothing outside of you, so the notion of attachment becomes absurd. Who will attach to what?”

One should notice the fact that the writer has said that people are non-attached rather than detached. The term detachment for the idea that a person can be completely separate from something is considered to be just another illusion.

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Difference between Jealousy and envy

Understanding the Difference
Understanding the Difference between Jealousy and envy
S No.ParticularsJealousyEnvy
1DefinitionJealous means “apprehensive or vengeful out of fear of being replaced by someone else.” It can also mean “watchful, ” “anxiously suspicious, ” “zealous, ” or “expecting complete devotion.”Envy means “to bear a grudge toward someone due to coveting what that person has or enjoys.” In a milder sense, it means “the longing for something someone else has without any ill will intended toward that person.”
2ExampleI am jealous that you like her over me.I envy her possessions or situation.
3Easy Way to RememberJealousy is the emotion when you fear you may be replaced in the affection of someone you love or desire.Envy is the emotion when you want a possession someone else has.
Difference between Jealousy and envy

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Using Appreciative Joy Technique

Using the appreciative joy technique for tackling jealousy and envy is a method that has been proved very useful for many people all around the world.

Appreciation is taking out time for noticing that what is already present inside the human being and what he is having right now in this very moment.

Using Appreciative Joy Technique
Using Appreciative Joy Technique against Jealousy and envy

This capacity will provide the inner strength for tackling the different problems and thus appear in a more sophisticated and skillful way. This will also help in staying connected with the near and dear ones and also becoming the support of each other.

When a person starts practicing the appreciated joy technique for the others then he can see the success and happiness of others and remove the anger from his mind and body.

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The person also starts believing in the fact that the jealousy is something that they can dissolve and live without. Enjoying the good fortune of others also helps in opening the heart and the mind and evoking a sense of connection with the people.


Jealousy and envy are linked together with the emotion of anger. The psychologists believe that jealousy is a natural emotion that has been observed in the non-human species as well.

On the other hand, envy is something which is the craving for the things that one does not have. Both jealousy and envy are like toxins that are constantly poisoning the individual from within.

One should always let them go and make room for loveliness and good emotions.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Can the jealousy and envy be removed completely from the mind and the body?

Yes, jealousy and envy can be completely removed from the mind and the body of the individual. This feat is difficult to attain but can be done with the help of meditation and the regular practice of Buddhist teachings present in various books and on the online platforms.

Does anger play an important role in making person jealousy and envy?

Yes, anger plays a very important role in making a person angry and jealous. The anger is found to trigger the emotions of Jealousy and envy in the mind and the body of the individual which destroys the relationships.