Appreciative Joy (Mudita)

May all beings never be separated from the supreme joy
that is beyond all sorrow

Late Afternoon Stillness by the LakeIn this third verse, we generate the mind of Sympathetic [Appreciative] Joy. From the very depths of our heart, we radiate in all directions the sincere wish that all living beings never be separated from the supreme joy that is beyond all sorrow. The immeasurable quality of Sympathetic Joy is our genuine ability to rejoice and delight in the happiness, success, and good fortune of others. With this sublime quality of Joy we are able to truly appreciate and be inspired by the positive qualities and virtuous deeds of others.

In this way, Sympathetic (Altruistic) Joy opens the heart and dissolves envy, jealousy, aversion, self-centeredness, and dualistic views that create separation between people. Our Sympathetic Joy—our sincere wish for the unceasing joy and good fortune of others—must extend even further than those to whom we feel close. Our Sympathetic Joy must extend to and embrace all living beings throughout all realms of existence for it to become sublime, limitless, and immeasurable.

Source: Used with permission from SourcePoint Global Outreach, The Heart of Dharma Collection (Mount Shasta, CA: Naljor Prison Dharma Service, n.d.)



May my good fortune continue and increase.
May our good fortune continue and increase.

Mudita strengthens the capacity to experience joy and happiness. It is likened to a flower at full bloom. It is the ability to appreciate something as it is blooming and releasing the fragrance of its happiness, without falling over the edge into a skeptical sardonic reaction such as “What is the point? It will only last for a moment.”

The practice of mudita lifts the heart out of its preoccupation with insufficiency. As a result, the buoyant energies of gratitude and generosity begin to restore the human spirit.

The near enemy of mudita is exuberance. Exuberance is an overly excited, even manic state. It is the sense of deprivation grasping at moments of joy.

The far enemy of mudita is resentment. Mudita is the medicine for the poisons of jealousy, envy and derision. Mudita heals the cruel urge to suppress happiness. With the cultivation of mudita we tap a reservoir of joy by sharing times of happiness and good fortune.

Mudita is exemplified in the mother-child connection when the child begins to express its own creative nature. Mudita is the ability to join and support this expanding spirit. The Buddha taught that one of our challenges is to cultivate mudita even in a world full of misery.

Source: Used with permission from the Brahma Vihara Foundation.