47 The Cultivation of Empathetic Joy


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Alan introduces the third of the three immeasurables, great empathetic joy. This is essentially gladness or delight. Empathetic joy is something that is cultivated, the aim of which is to bring about an inversion or shift in attitude. It is revolutionary and Alan exemplifies by citing revolutions that have occurred in the scientific world, such as the theory of evolution or quantum mechanics, where, as a result, there was a complete shift in everything. Ordinary gladness is embedded in ‘I’ and ‘mine’. That is, we are glad when we (or those close to us) gain material things, prestige, influence, etc., feel indifferent when those who we don’t identify with gain things and would prefer those who we regard as adversaries to not gain such things. Alan also draws on parallels where there is war, and how this attitude influences our how we feel about those suffering. Alan then emphasises that happiness is not found by looking outwards and by striving to acquire more. Enough is sufficient. Cultivating gladness goes back to the first of the uncommon preliminaries, that is, appreciation of this human rebirth which provides us with leisure and opportunity to listen to and practice Dharma. Alan goes on to say that some people fail to appreciate their own virtues with low self-esteem seemingly global. This leads into the meditation where the focus is on appreciating our own virtues, not as ego-grasping but gladness of what we have brought to the world. Meditation is on Empathetic Joy. Following meditation Alan points out that life is full of ups and downs which is reflected in our meditation practice. However, having an understanding and experience of Dharma provides a reality-based ground. This allows us to take to delight in every day, transferring felicity and adversity into the path. Meditation begins at 31:02. ___ Course notes, other episodes and resources for this retreat are available here The text for this retreat can be purchased via the SBI Store. Finally, Please contribute to help us afford the audio equipment we rent to make these, and future podcasts freely available.

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