Celebrating The Happiness of Others

This talk reviews the concepts and practices associated with cultivating Mudita, translated as Sympathetic Joy, one of the four Divine Abidings.  Mudita is the empathetic cognitive and emotional response shaped by lovingkindness which celebrates the success and happiness of others in an unselfish way.  The description also clarifies the characteristics of the far enemy and near enemy of sympathetic joy, along with suggestions for reflecting on the value of gratitude and generosity in the cultivation of Mudita.  There is a recorded meditation posted in the archives of this website entitled “Guided Contemplation Of Sympathetic Joy”, which is intended to supplement the concepts and practices reviewed in this recording.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  CELEBRATING HAPPINESS FOR OTHERS

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Guided Sympathetic Joy Contemplation

This guided meditation focuses attention the cultivation of empathetic joy, which supports and celebrates the success and happiness of another sentient being.  This experience is most often related to the joy of another human, but can also be experienced regarding pets or other animals we encounter.  During the contemplation you are invited to recall the feelings experienced while being the recipient of another person’s generosity or good will as the memory resource, which is then accessed while celebrating the happiness of others.  Comments during the meditation are provided to support recognizing and disregarding what are called the far enemy or the near enemy of sympathetic joy, through applying mindfulness, investigation of mental phenomena and Right Effort.

This meditation is intended to accompany the Dharma talk entitled “Celebrating the Happiness of Others” recorded and posted the same day, February 9, 2022.

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Celebrating The Happiness Of Others November 20 2019

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.

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Brahma Viharas

In this Dhamma talk, Judy explores the relationship between the Noble Eight-Fold Path and the Brahma Viharas, the Four Divine Abodes: Metta (lovingkindness), Karuna (compassion), Mudita (Joy), and Upekkha (equanimity).    She explains each of their major characteristics   and their “near” and “far” enemies, actions that seem similar but are not and their opposites  She also gives us ways to use these in our meditation practice.