Two women. One in America the other in England. Both have recently received acknowledgment of the contribution they have made in their professional work. They have been promoted. One made President of the company she started out with by doing their accounts from her home. The other potentially being made Head Teacher of the school where she teaches, and as I understand it, in extremely challenging circumstances too.
Such recognition of ones professional ability is no small thing. Yes, there is likely to be all those things that spell ‘success’ in the world of work: all that comes with greater status, more money as well as extra privileges and ‘perks’. Who knows what promotion brings but one thing which is likely is for a rash of jealousy and envy to rise up amongst the ranks. Who has not been disappointed when others receive the public recognition you privately longed for.
I learned about mudita, or more correctly the teaching was pointed out to me, when I was suffering from the private hell of envy. I can’t even remember what that was all about now. Mudita is the possibility, the human potential, to have arise naturally a sense of sympathetic or appreciative joy. It’s chief characteristic is a happy acquiescence in others’ prosperity and success. Knowing that this is possible and can arise out of ones depths naturally, even in the face of crushing disappointment, is one of the great blessings.
One might imagine that Buddhist, religious practitioners, would be ‘above’ such matters as recognition of ones contribution to society. That it might not have any meaning. Water of a ducks back in fact. Or could it be that there is a natural pride that grows in doing ones best and that we humans wish to join our hands, and applaud such efforts. Effort’s which all benefit from, ultimately.
Well done my dear good friends. It really doesn’t matter if you accept the accolade or not, the important thing is it was proffered.
2 thoughts on “Appreciative Joy”
So I’ve learned something today, mudita — the opposite of schadenfreude — a very necessary thing.
I’ve been enjoying your photos of your travels and learning a wee bit more about OBC related things eg the photo of Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett at Sojiji. Very nice.
Hmmm, I have found myself indulging in some subtle but definite ‘schadenfreude’ today…an ugly and quite powerful feeling leaving a very palpable sense of disquiet. Good to read your post and be reminded of how silly, ignorant and potentially dangerous it is.