This talk is the third in a series exploring the Brahma Viharas, the Divine Abidings: metta (lovingkindness), karuna (compassion), mudita (sympathetic joy) and upekkha (equanimity). Mudita is the empathetic attunement with the happiness of others, a celebration of the success of another person whether it is to your advantage or not. Peter reviewed the observation of humans as social beings and the survival advantage of promoting the happiness and success of others as a way to encourage interpersonal security and the survival of the species. The close association of mudita with katannu (gratitude) and dana (generosity) was described: Being the recipient of another person’s celebration of your happiness generates gratitude and gratitude leads to a willingness to “gift” someone through generosity, thereby enhancing their happiness. The “far enemy”, jealousy and envy and the “near enemy”, pretentious generosity, of mudita were described along with antidotes. Peter provided ways to contemplate mudita, beginning with reflection on being the recipient of another person’s generosity and then proceeding towards noticing and appreciating the spontaneous happiness of others (children playing for example) and then contemplating and enacting gratitude and appreciation for others through both physical and social generosity. This was followed by discussion among those attending regarding the benefits of mudita.
Here are the notes prepared for this talk: CELEBRATING HAPPINESS FOR OTHERS
Next week’s meeting is on Thanksgiving Eve and it has been the custom of those attending to talk about how the principles and practices of Buddhism have cultivated gratitude on a daily basis.