The translation of Muditā

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The translation of Muditā

Postby starter » Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:04 pm

Hi, I'm wondering if it would be better to translate Muditā (joy) as appreciative joy, instead of altruistic, sympathetic, or empathetic joy, because to my understanding it is not really the selfless joy. We rejoice at our own and others’ goodness and wellbeing, both filled with peace and contentment instead of exhilaration obtained from sensual pleasure. Mudita can serve as an inner spring of joy and contentment, which is a prerequisite for Samadhi, and can also serve as antidotes to negative mental states (non-virtues) such as discontent, anger, resentment, jealousy, or envy. It appears to be as important to be able to rejoice at our own good deeds and success.

By the way, I couldn't find an English or Chinese sutta that actually defined the meaning of Muditā. I'd appreciate your recommendations of such suttas.

Thanks and metta!
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Re: The translation of Muditā

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:15 pm

Greetings Starter,

I think "appreciative joy" is a good translation.

Here's a topic where that is explored...

Personal experiences of mudita ~ appreciative joy
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=12474

(actually, that was a really fun topic... feel free to kick-start it off again if you like!)

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: The translation of Muditā

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:16 pm

starter wrote:Hi, I'm wondering if it would be better to translate Muditā (joy) as appreciative joy, instead of altruistic, sympathetic, or empathetic joy, because to my understanding it is not really the selfless joy. We rejoice at our own and others’ goodness and wellbeing, both filled with peace and contentment instead of exhilaration obtained from sensual pleasure. Mudita can serve as an inner spring of joy and contentment, which is a prerequisite for Samadhi, and can also serve as antidotes to negative mental states (non-virtues) such as discontent, anger, resentment, jealousy, or envy. It appears to be as important to be able to rejoice at our own good deeds and success.

By the way, I couldn't find an English or Chinese sutta that actually defined the meaning of Muditā. I'd appreciate your recommendations of such suttas.

Thanks and metta!
mudita is (to my understanding) more for others. but as to its translation sure, it is an appreciation.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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Re: The translation of Muditā

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:20 pm

Greetings Cittasanto,

Cittasanto wrote:mudita is (to my understanding) more for others. but as to its translation sure, it is an appreciation.

Wouldn't the classic "rejoicing in your merits" (i.e. the satisfaction with good deeds done, that was encouraged by the Buddha) be an expression of mudita?

It seems odd and somewhat unbalanced to appreciate what others do, but to not be able to appreciate what you yourself do.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: The translation of Muditā

Postby SDC » Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:18 am

According to Ven. Punnaji...

Mettā - concern for the the welfare of all beings - wanting all beings to be well and happy

Karuṇā - the depth/strength of that concern

Muditā - the happiness experienced as the idea of self diminishes amongst this concern. In other words, a concern that was once reserved for the self is extended to all beings, which diminishes the value and importance of the self (idea of self).
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Re: The translation of Muditā

Postby Dmytro » Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:39 am

Hello Starter,

In the early texts, such as Vibhanga cited below, Muditā is defined as directed toward other beings, and developed to the level of jhana.
Evidently it is not directed toward oneself.

3. Muditā

663. Kathañca bhikkhu muditāsahagatena cetasā ekaṃ disaṃ pharitvā viharati? Seyyathāpi nāma ekaṃ puggalaṃ piyaṃ manāpaṃ disvā mudito assa, evameva sabbe satte muditāya pharati.

Tattha katamā muditā? Yā sattesu muditā muditāyanā muditāyitattaṃ muditācetovimutti – ayaṃ vuccati ‘‘muditā’’.

Tattha katamaṃ cittaṃ? Yaṃ cittaṃ mano mānasaṃ…pe… tajjāmanoviññāṇadhātu – idaṃ vuccati ‘‘cittaṃ’’. Idaṃ cittaṃ imāya muditāya sahagataṃ hoti sahajātaṃ saṃsaṭṭhaṃ sampayuttaṃ. Tena vuccati ‘‘muditāsahagatena cetasā’’ti.

2. Abhidhammabhājanīyaṃ

683. Catasso appamaññāyo – mettā, karuṇā, muditā, upekkhā.

688. Tattha katamā muditā? Idha bhikkhu yasmiṃ samaye rūpūpapattiyā maggaṃ bhāveti vivicceva kāmehi…pe… paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja viharati muditāsahagataṃ, yā tasmiṃ samaye muditā muditāyanā muditāyitattaṃ muditācetovimutti – ayaṃ vuccati ‘‘muditā’’. Avasesā dhammā muditāya sampayuttā.
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Re: The translation of Muditā

Postby theY » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:44 am

Hi, starter and all dear

See lakkhāṇādicatukka in about no. 108
http://static.sirimangalo.org/private/9.html

(My english is terrible, so I am not sure to fix on point. However, it is at the end of brahmvihāraniddesa.
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Re: The translation of Muditā

Postby SarathW » Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:51 am

47. Mudità—
Derived from √ mud, to be pleased.
It is not mere sympathy but appreciative joy. Its direct
enemy is jealousy and its indirect enemy is exultation
(Pahàsa). Its chief characteristic is happy acquiescence in
others’ prosperity (Anumodanà). Mudità embraces prosperous
beings. It discards dislike (Arati), and is the congratulatory
attitude of a person.

Page 137:

http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/abhidhamma.pdf
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Re: The translation of Muditā

Postby theY » Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:56 am

Ok, I found it.

Muditā Definition:

1. Gladness is characterized as gladdening (produced by others’ success).
2. Its function resides in being unenvious.
3. It is manifested as the elimination of aversion (boredom).
4. Its proximate cause is seeing beings, success.

It succeeds when it makes aversion (boredom) subside, and it fails when it produces merriment.


Visuddhimagga No.95 Pg. 311
http://static.sirimangalo.org/private/9.html
Lesson Relationship of Abhidhammatthasaṅgaha (10/31/2012)
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Re: The meaning of Muditā defined in the suttas

Postby starter » Fri Feb 15, 2013 10:41 pm

Hello friends,

Many thanks for your input. I'd like to know the definition of Mudita in the suttas, if any. I haven't found a sutta that actually defined Mudita.

Metta to all!
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Re: The meaning of Muditā defined in the suttas

Postby Dhammanando » Sat Feb 16, 2013 12:09 am

starter wrote:Hello friends,

Many thanks for your input. I'd like to know the definition of Mudita in the suttas, if any. I haven't found a sutta that actually defined Mudita.

Metta to all!


None of the occurrences of the term in the Sutta Pitaka is accompanied by any definition as such. However, the abhidhammic identification of muditā as a state opposed to arati is supported in the Dasuttara Sutta:

Or he might say, "I have developed the emancipation of the heart through sympathetic joy, and yet resentment still grips my heart..." He should be told, "No! Do not say that! Do not misrepresent the Blessed Lord, it is not right to slander him thus, for he would not have said such a thing! Your words are unfounded and impossible. If you develop the emancipation of the heart through sympathetic joy, resentment has no chance to envelop your heart. This emancipation through sympathetic joy is the cure for resentment."
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: The translation of Muditā

Postby starter » Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:54 pm

Hello Bhante Dhammanando,

Your help is very much appreciated. To my premature understanding of the cited teachings, the resentment could be toward others, and could also be toward oneself. If we want to practice the cure for resentment and discontent (MN 62) for Samadhi, then we might include the appreciation for our own goodness and success as well -- or is there another term/teaching for the appreciative joy towards oneself?

MN 62: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

""Develop the meditation of appreciation. For when you are developing the meditation of appreciation, resentment (or discontent) will be abandoned."

With gratitude and metta,

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Re: The translation of Muditā

Postby Dhammanando » Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:03 am

To my premature understanding of the cited teachings, the resentment could be toward others, and could also be toward oneself.


I don’t think it is clear in the Suttas whether or not arati / anabhirati may be directed toward oneself. The Abhidhamma commentaries, however, conceive it as something that is wholly other-directed. Resentment is stated to be the function (rasa) of the mental factor of envy (issā cetasika). Obviously it is psychologically impossible to be envious of yourself. That is to say, you can’t be enjoying some success or happiness and yet simultaneously resent your possession of it.

An unattractive woman, for example, may resent a beautiful woman’s possession of beauty, but a beautiful woman would not ordinarily resent her own possession of beauty. Where she does resent it, it will either be because she fails to perceive it (as in the case of an anorexic woman with a delusional perception of her bodily dimensions) or because of some unwished for consequences deriving from it (perhaps it leads to her being constantly harrassed by unwelcome suitors). In these cases, however, the resentment is directed towards something that the woman perceives to be a flaw or drawback (vipatti) rather than an asset (sampatti). Resentment of a flaw (or of what one perceives to be a flaw) would consist in the mental factor of aversion (dosa), not the mental factor of envy (issā).

If we want to practice the cure for resentment and discontent (MN 62) for Samadhi, then we might include the appreciation for our own goodness and success as well -- or is there another term/teaching for the appreciative joy towards oneself?


As you may have seen from the Vibhaṅga quote posted by Dmytro, muditā even in the Canon is conceived as other-directed. The commentaries make it clearer why this is so. The range of potential ārammaṇas for any beautiful mental factor is co-extensive with the range of potential ārammaṇas for the unwholesome state that it opposes and displaces. So, whomsoever may be the object of one’s envy may also be the object of one’s sympathetic joy. But as we have seen, one cannot be the object of one’s own envy. From this it follows that one cannot be the object of one’s own muditā.

This is not to say that joy doesn’t arise on account of one’s own sampattis, but merely that ‘joy’ in this case would be a term for something other than muditā. Whereas muditā is always reckoned as wholesome (except when occurring in the kiriyācittas of an arahant, when it is merely functional), the joy that arise in connection with one’s own sampattis may be wholesome or unwholesome. If, for example, you win the lottery and joy arises as you dream of all the ways you’ll now be able to indulge yourself, then this would be unwholesome pīti and sukha. But if joy arises as you contemplate all the gifts that you now plan to give people, then it would be wholesome pīti and sukha. In neither case would the joy be termed muditā.
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
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Re: The translation of Muditā

Postby starter » Mon Feb 18, 2013 4:18 pm

Hello Bhante,

Many thanks for your very helpful clarification. I agree we can separate two types of wholesome joy: one directed toward others' goodness and righteous success (Mudita as you explained) for overcoming envy and jealousy, and one directed toward our own goodness and righteous success (pāmojja?) for overcoming discontent. I'd practice the appreciation of both.

Thanks and metta,

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being envious of oneself Re: The translation of Muditā

Postby frank k » Mon Feb 18, 2013 4:24 pm

Could these examples be considered being envious of one self?

The beautiful model who is aging and losing her beauty being envious of her youthful beauty?
The talented musician who is aging and can't compete with their younger selves?
The yogi who loses some attainments through health or lack of practice?

You could argue that it's the dukkha of losing what one had rather than being envious, but many people experiencing that kind of dukha has the wish, "I wish I could be that young talented/beautiful person again", which is a very typical emotion for that situation. dictionary.com defines envy as:
"a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another's advantages, success, possessions, etc."
Based on that defintion, there definitely is discontent and covetousness with one's youthful self, so I would argue this qualifies as envy.

metta,
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Re: being envious of oneself Re: The translation of Muditā

Postby beeblebrox » Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:40 pm

frank k wrote:Could these examples be considered being envious of one self?

The beautiful model who is aging and losing her beauty being envious of her youthful beauty?
The talented musician who is aging and can't compete with their younger selves?
The yogi who loses some attainments through health or lack of practice?

You could argue that it's the dukkha of losing what one had rather than being envious, but many people experiencing that kind of dukha has the wish, "I wish I could be that young talented/beautiful person again", which is a very typical emotion for that situation. dictionary.com defines envy as:
"a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another's advantages, success, possessions, etc."
Based on that defintion, there definitely is discontent and covetousness with one's youthful self, so I would argue this qualifies as envy.


Hi Frank K.,

That seems like a strained use of the word envy... besides, it would be the young self (conventionally speaking) that one will be directing the mudita to, not to the present self.

Also, I don't think that this would be a skillful way of cultivating the mudita, for the purpose of liberation... because it's only directed to what's in the past, instead of what's currently at the hand.

In any case, the key word in the definition that you gave still seems to be "another."

:anjali:
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Re: The translation of Muditā

Postby theY » Tue Feb 19, 2013 5:08 am

All Brahmavihāra is action into another (Pali:para, pare, paraṃ). See kakacūpamasuttaṃ @ mynm.mac.mula. 227/172,

[227] “pañcime, bhikkhave, vacanapathā yehi vo pare vadamānā vadeyyuṃ— kālena vā akālena vā;bhūtena vā abhūtena vā; saṇhena vā pharusena vā; atthasaṃhitena vā anatthasaṃhitena vā; mettacittāvā dosantarā vāฯ kālena vā, bhikkhave, pare vadamānā vadeyyuṃ akālena vā; bhūtena vā,bhikkhave, pare vadamānā vadeyyuṃ abhūtena vā; saṇhena vā, bhikkhave, pare vadamānā vadeyyuṃpharusena vā; atthasaṃhitena vā, bhikkhave, pare vadamānā vadeyyuṃ anatthasaṃhitena vā; mettacittā vā, bhikkhave, pare vadamānā vadeyyuṃ dosantarā vāฯ tatrāpi vo, bhikkhave, evaṃsikkhitabbaṃ— ‘na ceva no cittaṃ vipariṇataṃ bhavissati, na ca pāpikaṃ vācaṃ nicchāressāma, hitānukampī ca viharissāma mettacittā, na dosantarāฯ tañca puggalaṃ mettāsahagatena cetasāpharitvā viharissāma, tadārammaṇañca sabbāvantaṃ lokaṃ mettāsahagatena cittena vipulenamahaggatena appamāṇena averena abyābajjhena ‚ pharitvā viharissāmā’tiฯ evañhi vo,bhikkhave, sikkhitabbaṃฯ


or below quote, nissāraṇīyasuttaṃ @ mynm.ang.chakka. 13/11 .

[13] “chayimā, bhikkhave, nissāraṇīyā dhātuyoฯ katamā cha? idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhu evaṃvadeyya— ‘mettā hi kho me cetovimutti bhāvitā bahulīkatā yānīkatā vatthukatā anuṭṭhitā paricitā susamāraddhā; atha ca pana me byāpādo cittaṃ pariyādāya tiṭṭhatī’tiฯ so ‘māheva’ntissa vacanīyo— ‘māyasmā, evaṃ avaca; mā bhagavantaṃ abbhācikkhi, na hi sādhu bhagavatoabbhakkhānaṃ, na hi bhagavā evaṃ vadeyyaฯ aṭṭhānametaṃ, āvuso, anavakāso yaṃ mettāya cetovimuttiyā bhāvitāya bahulīkatāya yānīkatāya vatthukatāya anuṭṭhitāya paricitāya susamāraddhāya;atha ca panassa byāpādo cittaṃ pariyādāya ṭhassati ‚, netaṃ ṭhānaṃ vijjatiฯ nissaraṇañhetaṃ, āvuso,byāpādassa yadidaṃ mettācetovimuttī”’ti ‚ฯ
“idha pana, bhikkhave, bhikkhu evaṃ vadeyya— ‘karuṇā hi kho me cetovimutti bhāvitā bahulīkatā yānīkatā vatthukatā anuṭṭhitā paricitā susamāraddhā; atha ca pana me vihesā cittaṃ pariyādāya tiṭṭhatī’tiฯ so ‘mā heva’ntissa vacanīyo— ‘māyasmā, evaṃ avaca; mā bhagavantaṃ abbhācikkhi, na hi sādhu bhagavato abbhakkhānaṃ, na hi bhagavā evaṃ vadeyyaฯ aṭṭhānametaṃ, āvuso, anavakāso yaṃ karuṇāya cetovimuttiyā bhāvitāya bahulīkatāya yānīkatāya vatthukatāya anuṭṭhitāyaparicitāya susamāraddhāya; atha ca panassa vihesā cittaṃ pariyādāya ṭhassati, netaṃ ṭhānaṃ vijjatiฯnissaraṇañhetaṃ, āvuso, vihesāya yadidaṃ karuṇācetovimuttī”’tiฯ


So, arati must be act into another, too, because it is in brahmavihāra's context. See mahārāhulovādasuttaṃ @ 120/87.

[120] “mettaṃ, rāhula, bhāvanaṃ bhāvehiฯ mettañhi te, rāhula, bhāvanaṃ bhāvayato yobyāpādo so pahīyissatiฯ karuṇaṃ, rāhula, bhāvanaṃ bhāvehiฯ karuṇañhi te, rāhula, bhāvanaṃbhāvayato yā vihesā sā pahīyissatiฯ muditaṃ, rāhula, bhāvanaṃ bhāvehiฯ muditañhi te,rāhula, bhāvanaṃ bhāvayato yā arati sā pahīyissatiฯ


-In pali-- muda=modanā. Anu=sub-action. Anumodanā= often modanā after pre-action, that will make vipāka. And mudita is ta-paccaya at the end mean "acted".

So muditā is pre-action--modana in vipāka, that formed from the action, that we had anumoditā.

-In pali-- rati=love, and Arati=hate (āratī viraī pāpā--maṅgalasuttaṃ).

So, Arati is "Hating in another's vipāka, that formed from the action, that we had anumoditā. "

-Where is the sutta about hating/loving in another vipāka?

See below, cūḷakammavibhaṅgasuttaṃ ‚@ mynm.mac.upari. 293/246.

idha pana, māṇava, ekacco itthī vā puriso vā anissāmanako hoti; paralābhasakkāragarukāramānanavandanapūjanāsu na issati na upadussati na issaṃ bandhatiฯ so tena kammena evaṃ samattenaevaṃ samādinnena kāyassa bhedā paraṃ maraṇā sugati๎ saggaṃ lokaṃ upapajjatiฯ no ce kāyassa bhedāparaṃ maraṇā sugati๎ saggaṃ lokaṃ upapajjati, sace manussattaṃ āgacchati yattha yattha paccājāyatimahesakkho hotiฯ mahesakkhasaṃvattanikā esā, māṇava, paṭipadā yadidaṃ— anissāmanako hoti; paralābhasakkāragarukāramānanavandanapūjanāsu na issati na upadussati na issaṃ bandhatiฯ


So, abhidhamma, and commentary of sāriputta school wrote about arati==issā.

So, I had quoted below from commentary:

theY wrote:Ok, I found it.

Muditā Definition:

1. Gladness is characterized as gladdening (produced by others’ success).
2. Its function resides in being unenvious.
3. It is manifested as the elimination of aversion (boredom).
4. Its proximate cause is seeing beings, success.

It succeeds when it makes aversion (boredom) subside, and it fails when it produces merriment.


Visuddhimagga No.95 Pg. 311
http://static.sirimangalo.org/private/9.html
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Re: being envious of oneself Re: The translation of Muditā

Postby Dhammanando » Tue Feb 19, 2013 7:56 am

frank k wrote:Could these examples be considered being envious of one self?

The beautiful model who is aging and losing her beauty being envious of her youthful beauty?


Is the aging model (musician, yogi) afflicted with some dissociative disorder, such that she supposes her remembered younger self to be a wholly different person, lacking any causal continuity with her present self? If she is, then I suppose that there may arise in her envy towards her past self whom she perceives to be someone else. I’ll leave it to any shrinks who might be reading this to pronounce on whether such a thing is actually possible. But even supposing that it is, clearly we would be talking about a psychologically very exceptional situation and not a sane puthujjana’s typical mental functioning.

On the other hand, if we are talking about an aging model experiencing the normal sort of misery that comes with losing one’s good looks, then I can only say ditto to Beeblebrox’s contribution. I don’t think the semantic range of ‘envy’ (even by your own quoted dictionary definition of it, let alone the very precise commentarial delimiting of issā) would extend to the scenarios you’re describing.
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: The translation of Muditā

Postby frank k » Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:10 pm

Thanks to all for the very stimulating discussion on mudita. I re-read the thread again, and am still feeling unsatisfied similarly to how starter expressed in his messages of why mudita can not be directed towards self. Since the brahmaviharas seems to be a pretty comprehensive system in expanding, refining love from selfish to selfless and boundless, I find it very odd that appreciative joy directed towards oneself is explicitly excluded.

In practicing metta and karuna towards our self, it can strengthen our foundation in that practice when we apply that practice to others. With appreciative joy, one of human nature's most common and serious defects is to not appreciate the good fortune that we have, but to feel discontent towards what we don't have, losing perspective of our overall good fortune. I find it a powerful practice to be frequently appreciative of the opportunity to encounter proper dhamma, have good dhamma friends, food to eat, etc.
By including this practice under mudita (as a brahmavihara), does it somehow lessen the ability for one to decrease envy, jealousy, and resentment towards others for the good fortune they encounter?
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Re: The translation of Muditā

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:49 pm

Well said Frank.

Especially this... "Since the brahmaviharas seems to be a pretty comprehensive system in expanding, refining love from selfish to selfless and boundless, I find it very odd that appreciative joy directed towards oneself is explicitly excluded."

"Selfless and boundless" would not discriminate between "self" and "other"...

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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