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The traditional paradigmatic example of this mind-state is the attitude of a parent observing a growing child's accomplishments and successes. Mudita should not be confused with pride, as a person feeling mudita may not have any benefit or direct income from the accomplishments of the other. Mudita is a pure joy unadulterated by self-interest.
Mudita meditation is used to cultivate appreciative joy at the success and good fortune of others.
The Awakened One, Lord Buddha, said: "Here, O, Monks, a disciple lets his mind pervade one quarter of the world with thoughts of unselfish joy, and so the second, and so the third, and so the fourth. And thus the whole wide world, above, below, around, everywhere and equally, he continues to pervade with a heart of unselfish joy, abundant, grown great, measureless, without hostility or ill-will."
Buddhist teachers interpret mudita 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 securely one becomes in one's own abundant happiness,
the more bountiful it becomes to relish the joy of other people.
Joy is also traditionally regarded as the most difficult to cultivate of the four immeasurables (brahmavihārā: also "four sublime attitudes"). To show joy is to celebrate happiness and achievement in others even when we are facing tragedy ourselves.
The "far enemies" of joy are jealousy (envy) and greed, mind-states in obvious opposition. Joy's "near enemy," the quality which superficially resembles joy but is in fact more subtly in opposition to it, is exhilaration, described as a grasping at pleasant experience out of a sense of insufficiency or lack.
The mudita concept is also found in the Christian scriptures. The apostle Paul said, "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn." (Romans 12:15) Paul also said, using the metaphor of followers of Jesus being a body, "If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it." (1 Corinthians 12:26)
- Karuṇā (compassion)
- Metta (loving-kindness)
- Mind Stream
- Pīti (joy)
- Sukha (happiness)
- Upekkha (equanimity)
- Similar concepts in other cultures:
- Salzberg, Sharon (1995). Loving-Kindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness. Shambhala Publications. p. 119. ISBN 9781570629037.
- U Pandita, Sayadaw (2006). The State of Mind Called Beautiful. Simon and Schuster. p. 51. ISBN 9780861713455.
- Thera. Nyanaponika, Muditā: The Buddha’s Teaching on Unselfish Joy
- Elizabeth J. Harris, A Journey into Buddhism Source for Free Distribution with permission from Access to Insight and the Buddhist Publication Society
- Buddhagosha, 'Vishudimagga' Section 2.100
- "Dhamma Lists: Insight Meditation Center". Insight Meditation Center. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
- Mudita: The Buddha's Teaching on Unselfish Joy: Four Essays by Nyanaponika Thera
- Four Sublime States and The Practice of Loving Kindness by Ñāṇamoli Bhikkhu & Nyanaponika Thera
- Just One More … by Ajahn Amaro
- Mudita - A brief passage on mudita from the Brahma-Vihara Foundation