Muditā (Pāli and Sanskrit) is typically translated a "joy", "sympathetic joy" or "appreciative joy". "Mudita...has the characteristic of gladness at the success of others. Its function is being unenvious at others’ success."
Contemporary teacher Sharon Salzberg describes mudita as the pleasure that comes from delighting in other people's well-being.
A traditional 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 interest or direct income from the accomplishments of the other. Mudita is a pure joy unadulterated by self-interest.
When we are happy at the joy that others feel, it is called mudita.
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 (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.
- Bodhi, Bhikkhu (2012-11-06). A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma: The Abhidhammattha Sangaha (Vipassana Meditation and the Buddha's Teachings) (Kindle Locations 2411-2416). Independent Publishers Group. Kindle Edition.
- Salzberg, Sharon (1995). Loving-Kindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness. Shambhala Publications. p. 119. ISBN 9781570629037.
- U Pandita, Sayadaw (2006). The State of Mind Called Beautiful. Simon and Schuster. p. 51. ISBN 9780861713455.
- Elizabeth J. Harris, A Journey into Buddhism Source for Free Distribution with permission from Access to Insight and the Buddhist Publication Society
- Buddhagosha, 'Vishudimagga' Section 2.100