Mudita…One of the Four “Immeasurables” Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche

Discovering Mudita

Mudita, or “sympathetic joy,” is perhaps the most underrated of all Buddhist virtues.

Along with compassion, lovingkindness, and equanimity, sympathetic joy is one of the brahma-viharas, or “four immeasurables”—the qualities that the Buddha described as the perfections of the heart.

In Buddhist teachings and conversation, we tend to hear a lot about compassion, lovingkindness, and equanimity. So what about mudita? What exactly is it, and what role might it play in our spiritual practice?

Simply put, sympathetic joy is our capacity to delight in the happiness and good fortune of others—think of it as the flip side to feeling compassion for others’ suffering.

“If we choose to experience sympathetic joy, we can simply associate ourselves with another person and, whatever good happens to them, rejoice and be happy as if it happened to us,” writes Tibetan Buddhist teacher Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche.

It sounds simple enough, but how often do we actually stop to share in someone else’s joy, their success, their abundance? Too often, our own feelings of lack and insecurity prevent us from being able to feel happy for another.

Through the practice of sympathetic joy, we find in time that what is good for others is also good for us. As we cultivate genuine happiness for the joy of someone else, our own joy and well-being multiplies.

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