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Meditation on the four immeasurables - joy

The four immeasurables - joy

December 2003

Today we do the third immeasurable meditation about joy. Joy means to be free from suffering and unhappiness. In order to train in joy in meditation, it is important again to recognise that you are fully satisfied with whatever good things you have done in this life. Praise your own good thoughts, good speech and good actions because these bring true joy, peace and happiness. However be careful not to become attached to your joy. Attachment to one's joy contaminates one's happiness. Attachment is like bacteria or germs spoiling joy and happiness.

We can practise joy in many things. Just obtaining human life alone is an immeasurable joy. We think "if I win the million dollar lottery I will have joy", but in fact human life is of more value than whatever you win in a lottery. No matter how many billions of dollars you have, you cannot buy lasting happiness and you cannot buy Buddhahood. This precious human life, if used the right way, can achieve lasting happiness and full and perfect enlightenment. So it is worthy to be joyful that you have obtained this life. Then on top of that, whatever other good things we do are a bonus. Therefore, if you really try to train your mind to see the positive parts of life, that is the best medicine with which to overcome any depression, unworthy thoughts, low self-esteem or other negativities. Joy makes them vanish.

Now we extend that idea to include other beings, for example someone of whom you get jealous. Ask yourself "why am I getting jealous of this person?" The main reason is because that person is probably in a better position than you, or has better opportunities. So when you get jealous of the other person, ask yourself "what's the advantage of feeling like this and what's the disadvantage?" There is no advantage when you get jealous of others - only disadvantage.

When we recognise this and recognise that we have created the disadvantage ourselves we have to learn to drop feelings and thoughts of jealousy. If we truly want to be a happy person and not an unhappy person, then we have to drop the jealous mind. Remember that the person who is more successful than you is not doing this in order to make life difficult for you. He or she is doing their best for herself or himself to be happy, therefore there is no reason to get jealous of that person. In fact being jealous of that person is unreasonable, therefore instead of getting jealous, try to learn from that person because he or she is a good teacher and can show you how to be a successful person.

So always it is important to adopt the positive parts of oneself and of others, because in this way we develop our positive qualities and reject all the negative qualities. Whether the negative qualities belong to us or to others, it is equally important to reject them. So in this way, eventually we can wish that all beings have joy and happiness. If you really find the quality of mind to be joyful for others, this alone can protect you from the negative mind. When you are free from the entire negative mind, you will have a state of true happiness, true joy and true peace. The reason we are not so happy sometimes is because we have negative minds, negative thoughts, and these spoil all our happiness and peace. So because of this, the meditation on sympathetic joy is giving ourself the results of one's positive actions and we continue to develop our positive actions in order to continue experiencing joy for oneself and others.

In this way we meditate for a few minutes on joy for ourself and for others.

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