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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 confounded with pride as a person feeling mudita may not have any interest 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.
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 and envy, two 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.
- cf. Naches - A Yiddish term with a very similar meaning
- Salzberg, Sharon (1995). Loving-Kindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness, Chapter 8 "Liberating the Mind through Sympathetic Joy". Boston: Shambhala.
- Elizabeth J. Harris, A Journey into Buddhism Source for Free Distribution with permission from Access to Insight and the Buddhist Publication Society
- Mudita - A brief passage on mudita from the Brahma-Vihara Foundation