Mudita – Sympathetic Joy

Mudita – Delight and joy at the success and achievements of others. Not a manufactured joy. Just that which comes in response. And that’s certainly been my response these past weeks knowing a Jade reader has achieved a success recently. O happy heart.

I remember being told about mudita by the late Rev. Master Daizui when, while a novice monk, I’d fallen into a bit of a hole. That conversation changed my whole sense of what was possible. Envy and jealousy, resentments and disappointments come and go, we are better beings for not nurturing such feelings. We can change our ways.

Quite sympathy nurtures a simple joy, which is mudita. Nothing flashy, nothing OTT. More a flowing river than an a now-and-then waterfall.

Sympathetic joy gives to equanimity the mild serenity that softens its stern appearance. It is the divine smile on the face of the Enlightened One. Ven. Nyanaponika

Part of a quote at the end of Unselfish Joy: A Neglected Virtue by Natasha Jackson.

The above quoted article is one of several to be found on the very excellent Access To Insight: “Mudita: The Buddha’s Teaching on Unselfish Joy”, four essays by Nyanaponika Thera, Natasha Jackson, C.F. Knight, and L.R. Oates, 8 June 2010. Retrieved on 30 October 2011.

Just to make it clear, in Zen the closest we come to cultivating virtues (mudita being one of them) is seamless sitting. That’s meditation in daily living, with compassion and Precepts.

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6 thoughts on “Mudita – Sympathetic Joy”

  1. Dear Harvey, Thanks for this request for clarification. I’ll not respond here since I’d like to answer in a post.

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