The translation of Muditā

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starter
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The translation of Muditā

Post by 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

Post by 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
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=12474" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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

Metta,
Retro. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: The translation of Muditā

Post by 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.
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Re: The translation of Muditā

Post by 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. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: The translation of Muditā

Post by 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

Post by Assaji » 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

Post by 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" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

(My english is terrible, so I am not sure to fix on point. However, it is at the end of brahmvihāraniddesa.
Last edited by theY on Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The translation of Muditā

Post by 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" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: The translation of Muditā

Post by 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
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Re: The meaning of Muditā defined in the suttas

Post by 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

Post by 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."
“Keep to your own pastures, bhikkhus, walk in the haunts where your fathers roamed.
If ye thus walk in them, Māra will find no lodgement, Māra will find no foothold.”
— Cakkavattisīhanāda Sutta

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Re: The translation of Muditā

Post by 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" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

""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

Post by 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.
“Keep to your own pastures, bhikkhus, walk in the haunts where your fathers roamed.
If ye thus walk in them, Māra will find no lodgement, Māra will find no foothold.”
— Cakkavattisīhanāda Sutta

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Re: The translation of Muditā

Post by 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

Post by 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,
Frank
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