05 January 2012

Mudita in a World of One-Percenters

Mudita, or sympathetic joy in the happiness and success of others, is one of the four brahmavihāras. Its far enemy is envy; its near enemy is exhilaration or selfish joy.  It is said to be the most difficult of the four to cultivate.

This summer I got to know a new colleague at work who said that he had recently been at a wedding attended by some very wealthy people.  In the course of a conversation, he had found out that one of the guests had just received something on the order of a $179,000,000 bonus for the year above and beyond his multimillion dollar salary (and yes, the zeros are all in the right place).

When I note the mix of thoughts and feelings that arise in me when I hear something like that, I have to agree: mudita is immensely difficult to cultivate!

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