Mudita

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Mudita (Pali: sympathetic joy or joy with others) is the ability of being happy in the happiness of others and is therefore the opposite of jealousy, spite and envy. This attractive mental state is one of the four Brahma Viharas, the different expressions of love.

The Buddha says, ‘Let one be pleased and joyous with the gains of others just as one is pleased and joyous with one’s own gains’ (S.II,198). Sadly, the common reaction to other people’s success and good-fortune is envy, jealousy or disparagement of their abilities. This is particularly true in societies where being a ‘winner’ is held up as the ideal and competitiveness in all aspects of life is emphasised. In Buddhism, where co-operation and sharing are valued and everyone participates in and partakes of the benefits of a successful enterprise, jealousy is far less common. The ancient Buddhist custom of ‘dedicating good’ (punna anumodana) to others probably also encourages vicarious joy.

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