Mudita

mudita

Muditā [moo-dee-tah] means ‘joy’ in sanskrit, especially sympathetic or vicarious joy. it is the pleasure that comes from delighting in other people’s well-being rather than begrudging it. The traditional paradigmatic example of this mind-state is the attitude of a parent observing a growing child’s successes, but it is not to be confounded with pride as the person feeling mudita must not have any interest or direct income from the accomplishments of the other. Its antonym is the German word ‘schadenfreude’ (‘pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others’).

Many Buddhist teachers interpret joy more broadly as an inner spring of infinite joy that is available to everyone at all times, regardless of circumstances. The more deeply one drinks of this spring, the more secure one becomes in one’s own abundant happiness, and the easier it then becomes to relish the joy of other people as well. Joy is also traditionally regarded as the most difficult to cultivate of the four immeasurables (the ‘four sublime attitudes’). To show joy is to celebrate happiness and achievement in others even when we are facing tragedy ourselves.

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