Metta (loving kindness), Karuna (compassion), Mudita (sympathetic joy) and Upekkha (equanimity) are called the four perfect virtues. The meaning is the state of mind of the nobles. It is not an easy Dharma for everyone to have. In other words, it is the dharma that requires systematic training.
These are necessary for the peace of the world and are also important for personal peace of mind. In our minds, there is anger, hatred, aggression and jealousy. The mind fluctuates depending on the good and bad of the world. Because of this, at first, the person himself feels burned.
In addition, he often causes trouble for others, fights because of anger, and torments by hatred and he plans to destroy others due to jealousy. When faced with good fortune, his pride rises, he becomes arrogant and he insults others. When faced with bad fortunes, he collapses, becomes angry at the world, becomes sarcastic and creates problems.
So, we should try to cultivate loving kindness instead of anger, compassion instead of hatred, sympathetic joy instead of jealousy and equanimity instead of a restless mind.
The other 3 are often written about, so in this article, I want to talk about Mudita. Personally, I see that these 4 precepts are arranged from the easiest to the most difficult. I also thought that it had to be built step by step.
Loving kindness is the easiest thing to have. However angry a person is, he may have a person whom he has loving kindness. Equanimity, which is stability of the mind, is the most difficult. When you see something good, you are happy. If you face something bad, you get stressed. It is very difficult to keep a calm mind like the water surface of a lake. It is possible to stabilize a little bit after the Vipassana (insight) effort becomes quite strong.
Mudita is not as difficult as Upekkha, but you also have to try hard. Think about yourself. It’s easy to have loving kindness towards your loved ones and your friends. It’s also easy to have compassion for those who are lower than you. If you only see someone who is better or will be better than yourself, your mind will become jealous.
Of course, only talking is easy. ‘I am happy’, ‘Congratulations’, etc. can be said eloquently. In fact, only you know whether your heart is happy or not.
It is common to be jealous of people who are close to you and are in the same situation. If someone has a higher than you, you feel envious. You may be happy for the ones who are not related to you.
I feel more jealous of people who are more or less than me, who are in the same field or in the same environment. For example, Ko Tayzar San won the award from South Korea, but I didn’t feel anything because we are not in the same field. Jealousy comes from seeing which author is selling how many books right now. Readers, think for yourselves. You will understand better.
As I once wrote, jealousy is very subtle. Take aside the strangers. It often happens even between teacher and student, between parents and children. For example, the teacher might be afraid that his students would get better if he taught them everything. So, he withholds knowledge from his student. People who have to teach at work tend to be more like that than teachers who teach. If you are not careful, then you might end up suppressing this junior.
There are some parents who, although they don’t want to harm their children, are afraid that their children will be better than them. And they are afraid that their children won’t live under their shadow. There are also jealousy of mother-in-law to son-in-law and daughter-in-law. It can also be among siblings.
Yes. So how do you get rid of jealousy? How to live with Mudita? Initially, there are 2 things that you need. The first thing is that in order to enhance Mudita, he needs to have loving kindness in his heart. That’s why it is said that these 4 perfect virtues have to be built step by step.
It is impossible for someone who can’t even have the attitude of wanting others to be well and the good attitude as a friend, to develop Mudita. It is possible to have Mudita if your heart is kind and you are calm. Even such a gentle person sometimes shows jealousy. Someone whose mind is harsh and who doesn’t see anyone good, will be even worse.
You are ready to help others only when you are able to accept that they may become better than you. That mind is Metta. Someone asked for business advice. Only if there is Metta that you want to help him, then there will be Mudita that makes you happy about his success.
Second, you need to be satisfied with your life. In other words, it is important to have high self-esteem to be successful. Look at those who are jealous. There are many defects in that part. When do you get jealous? When you are not satisfied with your life, you become jealous.
See if your lover or spouse is jealous. They must have some insecurities, such as when a man is unable to perform sexually, when there is no income and no job, when a woman has weak skills and when you can’t give birth, etc. They are afraid that their partners might find someone better than them (as they think). So they became jealous.
It’s also related to childhood. A person who doesn’t experience the love of a parent or guardian from childhood, care, attention, a person who has to spoil for such affections and a person who has experienced bullying and violence, is not satisfied with his life. And he has a lot of negativity. So he can’t grow Mudita for anyone.
Therefore, in order to develop Mudita, a person must have a loving heart. His life must be comfortable to some extent. He should be able to satisfy himself. There are some people who are not happy, dissatisfied and pessimistic with their lives.
Only when these requirements are fulfilled, can Mudita be enhanced –
💟 1. Awareness is needed.
For this reason, about 7 out of 10 Buddha teachings include awareness. Awareness is very important for everything. If you don’t realize that you’re jealous, you can’t do anything else.
💟 2. Acceptance is needed.
Jealousy is the most unacceptable of all the impurities of the mind. If someone asks if they are jealous, they become sensitive. In fact, they are jealous. So we need to accept it as it is.
One who has accepted what happened and is trying to get rid of it, is better than onewho is stubbornly refusing that he is not jealous, and attacking, defiling and intending to destroy others.
💟 3. You need to learn to keep your heart right.
It’s equanimity. Without the previous two, this one would be impossible. Because a person can’t think straight when jealousy is on the rise. When there is awareness and a calm mind, the heart can be kept right.
How to take heart right depends on the status your jealousy.
For example, if you see a writer who cannot participate till the end of the revolution, working again and selling many books, how would you keep your heart right? You may feel relieved when you think that: “People are making their own choices. I chose this path and got this result. A person will only do what he can do. There are people who can do more than me and sacrifice more. I can’t measure up to this,” etc.
“A person succeeded. Ah, it is because he tried. I was taking it easy when he was trying. The action is different, so the result is different too.
One of my juniors passed over me. Don’t just look at age. Look at the effort. In addition, how was it convenient for me because of the seniors who had a great attitude and enhanced Mudita for me? I have to pass this on. How angry would I have been if I had encountered a jealous senior? I will end this in my turn.”
When these thoughts come true, it becomes a happy mind. In short, it is righteous awareness and a righteous thought. These are the points from the 8 Magas that the Buddha taught us to practice.
▪When someone else does a good deed, or gets a good result, you can’t just say you’re happy from the tip of your mouth to be able to enhance Mudita without being jealous. You have to train and practice your mind systematically.
Dr. Phyo Thiha