Pāḷi; √ muditā
alt. sp.: IPA: mud̪ɪt̪ɑː, Velthuis: muditaa, readable: muditaa, simple: mudita
translation ~: …
muditā: Description welcome. Info can be removed after imput.
by late Ven. Nyanalokita Thera:
by the Pali Text Society:
by Ven. Thanissaro Maha Thera:
by Ven. Varado Maha Thera:
Parisā Sutta: muditā brahmavihāra
The Parisā Sutta (AN i 243) shows that muditā is a joy associated with living in harmony with others. It says that in whatever community the bhikkhus dwell together in unity, on friendly terms, without quarrelling, like milk and water mixed, viewing each other with affection, such a community is called united.
Idha bhikkhave yassaṁ parisāyaṁ bhikkhū samaggā sammodamānā avivadamānā khīrodakībhūtā aññamaññaṁ piyacakkhūhi sampassantā viharanti. Ayaṁ vuccati bhikkhave samaggā parisā.
The sutta says when bhikkhus dwell like this, they beget much merit.
Yasmiṁ bhikkhave samaye bhikkhū samaggā sammodamānā avivadamānā khīrodakībhūtā aññamaññaṁ piyacakkhūhi sampassantā viharanti bahuṁ bhikkhave bhikkhū tasmiṁ samaye puññaṁ pasavanti.
At such time they dwell in a divine abiding, that is to say, in the liberation [from perceptually obscuring states] through muditā (muditāya cetovimuttiyā).
Brahmaṁ bhikkhave vihāraṁ tasmiṁ samaye bhikkhū viharanti yadidaṁ muditāya cetovimuttiyā.
The sutta says that in one who is glad, rapture arises (pamuditassa pīti jāyati). The sutta therefore treats muditā and gladness (pamudita) as synonyms (i.e. …yadidaṁ muditāya cetovimuttiyā. Pamuditassa pīti jāyati…).
Pamuditassa more usually follows pāmojjaṁ. For example, when a bhikkhu realises the five hindrances have been abandoned within him, ‘gladness arises. In one who is glad, rapture arises’: tassime pañca nīvaraṇe pahīṇe attani samanupassato pāmojjaṁ jāyati. Pamuditassa pīti jāyati (DN i 204). This suggests that muditā is close in meaning to pāmojjaṁ gladness.
The phrases ‘on friendly terms, without quarrelling, like milk and water mixed, viewing each other with affection’ support muditā being rendered ‘[unlimited] warmhearted joy.’ This is confirmed in the Cūḷagosiṅga Sutta.
The Cūḷagosiṅga Sutta
Venerable Anuruddha, living with Venerables Nandiya and Kimbila, was asked by the Buddha:
• But, Anuruddha, how do you abide in unity, on friendly terms, without quarrelling, like milk and water mixed, viewing each other with affection?
Yathākathaṁ pana tumhe anuruddhā samaggā sammodamānā avivadamānā khīrodakībhūtā aññamaññaṁ piyacakkhūhi sampassantā viharathāti?
• Bhante, as to that:
1) I reflect: ‘It is a gain for me, it is a great gain for me, that I am living with such companions in the religious life.
Idha mayhaṁ bhante evaṁ hoti: lābhā vata me suladdhaṁ vata me yohaṁ eva rūpehi sabrahmacārīhi saddhiṁ viharāmī ti.
2) I maintain loving conduct of body, speech, and mind, both openly and privately towards those venerable ones.
Tassa mayhaṁ bhante imesu āyasmantesu mettaṁ kāyakammaṁ paccupaṭṭhitaṁ āvī ceva raho ca mettaṁ vacīkammaṁ paccupaṭṭhitaṁ āvī ceva raho ca mettaṁ manokammaṁ paccupaṭṭhitaṁ āvī ceva raho ca.
3) I think ‘How about if I set aside my own wishes and lived according to the wishes of these venerables?’ And so I do so.
Tassa mayhaṁ bhante evaṁ hoti yannūnāhaṁ sakaṁ cittaṁ nikkhipitvā imesaṁyeva āyasmantānaṁ cittassa vasena vatteyyan ti. So kho ahaṁ bhante sakaṁ cittaṁ nikkhipitvā imesaṁyeva āyasmantānaṁ cittassa vasena vattāmi
4) Though we have different bodies, bhante, we assuredly have only one mind.
Nānā hi kho no bhante kāyā ekañca pana maññe cittan ti. (MN i 206)
Unlimitedness: the ‘[unlimited]’ parenthesis.
The practices of mettā, karuṇā, muditā and upekkhā are sometimes called the four divine abidings (cattāro brahmavihārā, DN ii 196) and sometimes the four unlimited states (catasso appamaññā, DN iii 223). Practising them together is called the ‘unlimited liberation [from the āsavas]’ (appamāṇā cetovimutti, SN iv 296).
The Mahāvedalla Sutta (MN i 298) and Godatta Sutta (SN iv 296) say the ‘makers of limitation’ (pamāṇakaraṇo) are rāgo doso and moho (rāgo kho āvuso pamāṇakaraṇo doso pamāṇakaraṇo moho pamāṇakaraṇo). Therefore the four brahmavihāras should be practised unlimited by rāgo doso and moho, and should be parenthesised accordingly.
Arati: disgruntlement [with the celibate life]
The Dasuttara Sutta says disgruntlement [with the celibate life] can be overcome by [unlimited] warmhearted joy:
• For this is the liberation from disgruntlement [with the celibate life] namely the liberation [from perceptually obscuring states] through [unlimited] warmhearted joy.
nissaraṇaṁ hetaṁ āvuso aratiyā yadidaṁ muditā cetovimuttī ti.
The sutta says if the practice of [unlimited] warmhearted joy is developed and cultivated, it is impossible, out of the question, that disgruntlement [with the celibate life] would plague one’s mind. There is no such possibility.
arati cittaṁ pariyādāya ṭhassati netaṁ ṭhānaṁ vijjati. (DN iii 249)
Overcoming disgruntlement: Saṅkhadhama Sutta
The Saṅkhadhama Sutta describes in more detail the practice of muditā:
• The noble disciple abides pervading one quarter with a mind of [unlimited] warmhearted joy, likewise the second quarter, the third quarter, and the fourth quarter. Thus above, below, across, in all directions, everywhere, he abides pervading the whole world [of beings] with a mind of [unlimited] warmhearted joy, vast, exalted, unlimited, free of unfriendliness and hostility.
muditāsahagatena cetasā ekaṁ disaṁ pharitvā viharati tathā dutiyaṁ tathā tatiyaṁ tathā catutthiṁ; iti uddhamadhotiriyaṁ sabbadhi sabbatthatāya sabbāvantaṁ lokaṁ muditāsahagatena cetasā vipulena mahaggatena appamāṇena averena avyāpajjhena pharitvā viharati. (SN iv 322)
This meditation can be practised in either a quiet room or deep solitude. For example, King Mahāsudassana practised muditā in his golden-gabled chamber sitting on a silver couch (DN ii 188). The Buddha practised it in a quiet grove sitting on a bundle of grass (AN i 183). Thus although the Parisā Sutta says muditā arises where the bhikkhus dwell together in unity, it does not mean that the formal practice of muditā involves the company of others.
Muditā: cure for envy?
The Visuddhimagga says the function of muditā ‘resides in being unenvious’ (Chapter 9, paragraph 95) and ‘is always in the sense of gladness at others’ success’ (p.309 n.10). But if muditā meant unenviousness, it would surely have featured in the cure of odious envy (pāpikā issā) expounded in the Kāya Sutta (AN v 40) which says when an envious person sees a fortunate layperson or bhikkhu, he is envious about it:
The sutta says envy is abandoned not through muditā but through seeing envy over and over again with discernment (paññāya disvā disvā pahātabbā).
If envy can be considered part of aversion (āghāto), then again muditā is not for overcoming envy, says the Āghātapaṭivinaya Sutta (AN iii 185), saying that three ways of dispelling aversion involve developing mettā, karuṇā, and upekkhā, but not muditā: Yasmiṁ bhikkhave puggale āghāto jāyetha mettā… karuṇā… upekkhā tasmiṁ puggale bhāvetabbā (AN iii 185).
Cultivating pāmojjaṁ gladness
We said above that muditā is close in meaning to pāmojjaṁ. Therefore we might understand how to develop it by examining pāmojjaṁ.
1) Gladness (pāmojjaṁ) is associated with virtuous conduct. For one who is virtuous (sīlavato) there is no need to harbour the aspiration: ‘May freedom from an uneasy conscience (avippaṭisāro) arise in me. It is quite natural that this should happen (dhammatā esā bhikkhave yaṁ sīlavato sīlasampannassa avippaṭisāro uppajjati). For one free from an uneasy conscience, there is no need to harbour the aspiration: ‘May gladness arise in me.’ It is quite natural that this should happen (AN v 2).
2) Gladness is associated with physical seclusion (divā pavivekāya rattiṁ paṭisallānāya). Abiding thus diligently, gladness arises (evaṁ appamattassa viharato pāmujjaṁ jāyati, SN v 398).
3) Gladness is associated with faith inspiring meditation objects (tassa kismiñcideva pasādaniye nimitte cittaṁ paṇidahato pāmujjaṁ jāyati, SN v 156). This means reflecting on the Buddha, the teaching, the community of disciples, one’s own virtue, and on how one has the virtuous qualities of the devas. As one reflects like this, one’s mind becomes serene and gladness arises (cittaṁ pasīdati pāmujjaṁ uppajjati AN i 207).
4) Gladness is associated with abandoning the five hindrances. Seeing that the five hindrances are abandoned, one becomes glad (pāmojjaṁ jāyati); glad, rapture arises (pamuditassa pīti jāyati DN i 74).
5) Gladness is associated with righteous conversations (labhati ca tatonidānaṁ pītipāmujjaṁ): conversations on faith [in the perfection of the Perfect One’s enlightenment], virtue, learning, generosity, and wisdom (saddhākathā sīlakathā bāhusaccakathā cāgakathā paññākathā, AN iii 181).
6) Gladness is associated with grasping the meaning and truth of the teaching dhamme atthappaṭisaṁvedī ca hoti dhammapaṭisaṁvedī ca. This gives rise to gladness (pāmujjaṁ jāyati) This can happen either in the process of
Six principles of cordiality: dhammā sārāṇīyā
Cultivating muditā likely involves the six principles of cordiality, because they are the key to harmonious relationships: chayime bhikkhave dhammā sārāṇīyā piyakaraṇā garukaraṇā saṅgahāya avivādāya sāmāggiyā ekībhāvāya saṁvattanti (MN i 322).
These principles are:
1-3) Maintaining loving conduct of body, speech, and mind, both openly and privately towards one’s companions in the religious life.
Idha bhikkhave bhikkhuno mettaṁ kāyakammaṁ… vacīkammaṁ… manokammaṁ paccupaṭṭhitaṁ hoti sabrahmacārīsu āvī ceva raho ca.
4) Sharing one’s gains with one’s virtuous companions in the religious life without reservation, including even the contents one’s almsbowl.
Puna ca paraṁ bhikkhave bhikkhu ye te lābhā dhammikā dhammaladdhā antamaso pattapariyāpannamattampi tathārūpehi lābhehi appaṭivibhattabhogī hoti sīlavantehi sabrahmacārīhi sādhāraṇa bhogī.
5) Maintaining virtues that are pure and conducive to inward collectedness both openly and privately together with one’s companions in the religious life.
Puna ca paraṁ bhikkhave bhikkhu yāni tāni sīlāni akhaṇḍāni acchiddāni asabalāni akammāsāni bhujissāni viññuppasatthāni aparāmaṭṭhāni samādhisaṁvattanikāni tathārūpesu sīlesu sīlasāmaññagato viharati sabrahmacārīhi āvī ceva raho ca.
6) But the chief, the most cohesive, the most unifying of these principles is [having a shared] view that is noble, and which leads to deliverance [from suffering], and which leads the one who practises it to the complete destruction of suffering.’
Imesaṁ kho bhikkhave channaṁ sārāṇīyānaṁ dhammānaṁ etaṁ aggaṁ etaṁ saṅgāhikaṁ etaṁ saṅghātanikaṁ yadidaṁ yāyaṁ diṭṭhi ariyā niyyātikā niyyāti takkarassa sammā dukkhakkhayāya. (MN i 322)
We parenthesise ‘[having a shared]’ because the sutta affirms this previously, by saying that:
• Whatever view is noble, and which leads to deliverance [from suffering], and which leads the one who practises it to the complete destruction of suffering, a bhikkhu abides united in a view such as this with his companions in the religious life, both in public and in private
bhikkhu yāyaṁ diṭṭhi ariyā niyyānikā niyyāti takkarassa sammā dukkhakkhayāya tathārūpāya diṭṭhiyā diṭṭhisāmaññagato viharati sabrahmacārīhi āvī ceva raho ca. (MN i 322)
Limits of muditā
The Saṅkhadhama Sutta says the essential practice of muditā involves pervading the whole world [of beings] with a mind of [unlimited] warmhearted joy. But [unlimited] warmhearted joy does not mean unconditionally [unlimited] warmhearted joy because the scriptures say that establishing community harmony involves firstly excluding troublesome individuals. The Dhammacariya Sutta says:
• Then winnow the chaff, those who are not ascetics but consider themselves so. Having banished those of unvirtuous desires, conduct, and sphere of personal application, live in unity, mindfully, the pure with the pure. Thus living in unity, being mindful, you will put an end to suffering.
Tato palāpe vāhetha assamaṇe samaṇamānine
Niddhamitvāna pāpicche pāpaācāragocare
Suddhā suddhehi saṁvāsaṁ kappayavho patissatā
Tato samaggā nipakā dukkhassantaṁ karissathā ti. (Snp 282-283)
Secondly, one needs a zealous gatekeeper. When the three arahants, Venerables Anuruddha, Nandiya, and Kimbila were living together in the Gosinga Sāla-tree Wood, their utmost harmony was shielded by a zealous gatekeeper who so diligently defended the place against visitors, that when on one occasion the Buddha dared enter uninvited, he was swiftly rebuked: ‘Do not enter this grove, ascetic! There are three noble young men here seeking their Soul. Do not disturb them!’
mā samaṇa etaṁ dāyaṁ pāvisi sant’ettha tayo kulaputtā attakāmarūpā viharanti mā tesaṁ aphāsumakāsī ti. (MN i 206)
The problem with muditā
The Parisā Sutta alludes to a potential problem with muditā by suggesting that [unlimited] warmhearted joy may mean less time for solitude and meditation. It says the ‘assembly that is foremost’ (aggavatī parisā) is better than a ‘harmonious assembly’ (samaggā parisā) because it is dedicated to solitude and to applying energy for the sake of spiritual attainment (paviveke pubbaṅgamā viriyaṁ ārabhanti appattassa pattiyā (AN i 243).
Comparing muditā with mettā and karuṇā
The fragility of muditā is not seen in mettā and karuṇā, which remain operational under great stress:
• Bhikkhus, even if thugs should sever your limbs one by one with a two-handled saw, he whose mind was thereby filled with hatred would not on that account be a practiser of my training system.
Ubhatodaṇḍakena pi ce bhikkhave kakacena corā ocarakā aṅgamaṅgāni okanteyyuṁ tatrāpi yo mano padūseyya na me so tena sāsanakaro.
… In this regard, you should train yourselves thus: ‘Neither shall our minds be troubled by this, nor shall we utter unvirtuous words, but we shall abide tenderly concerned for their welfare, with a mind of [unlimited] goodwill, without inner hatred.’
Tatrāpi vo bhikkhave evaṁ sikkhitabbaṁ: na ceva no cittaṁ vipariṇataṁ bhavissati. Na ca pāpakaṁ vācaṁ nicchāressāma. Hitānukampī ca viharissāma mettacittā na dosantarā. (MN i 129)
The practice of muditā seems more successful where incompatible individuals live apart. Mettā may be strengthened where they live together. But muditā is nonetheless an ego-dissolving exercise in which one can live with others like milk and water, and allows one to joyously overlook or endure their idiosyncracies.
Illustration: muditā, [unlimited] warmhearted joy
Now at such time as the bhikkhus dwell in unity, on friendly terms, without quarrelling, like milk and water mixed, viewing each other with affection, at such time they beget much merit. At such time they dwell in a divine abiding: that is to say, in the liberation [from perceptually obscuring states] through [unlimited] warmhearted joy. (AN i 243)
Illustration: muditā, [unlimited] warmhearted joy
The noble disciple abides pervading one quarter with a mind of [unlimited] warmhearted joy, likewise the second quarter, the third quarter, and the fourth quarter. Thus above, below, across, in all directions, everywhere, he abides pervading the whole world [of beings] with a mind of [unlimited] warmhearted joy. (SN iv 322)
Illustration: muditā, [unlimited] warmhearted joy
If the liberation [from perceptually obscuring states] through [unlimited] warmhearted joy is developed and cultivated, it is impossible, out of the question, that disgruntlement [with the celibate life] would plague your mind. There is no such possibility.
aṭṭhānametaṁ āvuso anavakāso yaṁ muditāya cetovimuttiyā bhāvitāya bahulīkatāya yānīkatāya vatthukatāya anuṭṭhitāya paricitāya susamāraddhāya atha ca panassa arati cittaṁ pariyādāya ṭhassatī ti netaṁ ṭhānaṁ vijjati. (DN iii 248)
Illustration: muditā, [unlimited] warmhearted joy
The liberation [from perceptually obscuring states] through [unlimited] warmhearted joy has the state of awareness of boundless consciousness as its culmination.
viññāṇañcāyatanaparamāhaṁ bhikkhave muditā cetovimuttiṁ vadāmi. (SN v 120)
Suttas and Dhammadesanā