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|Glossary of Buddhism|
Muditā (Pāli and Sanskrit: मुदिता) means joy; especially sympathetic or vicarious joy, or the pleasure that comes from delighting in other people's well-being.
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.
According to Buddhist teacher Ayya Khema showing joy towards sadistic pleasure is wrong. Here there should instead be compassion (karuṇā).
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)