Session 77: Empathetic Joy and Sacred Tension

B. Alan Wallace, 19 Nov 2010

In the Theravada context, cultivating Empathetic Joy (Mudita) is cultivating an emotion. There is so much to take delight in! This will add yeast to life regardless of one’s world view. When we get away from the retreat center we can really practice!
In the Mahayana context, the practice is cultivating an aspiration, not an emotion. “Why couldn’t we all be free from suffering, why not?” If we don’t terminate after death, the Mahayana prayer takes on greater relevance. Only from the perspective of rigpa does the prayer take on significance: “I shall see that we all never become separated from happiness”. Alan uses the term, “sacred tension” to define the balance between the wish to be of service and the wish to attend to one’s own enlightenment.
The question and answer time included: Are the lamas lying when they say they have no realizations? Is it better to be vegetarian? Alan shared some personal stories about the lovable qualities of some of his teachers.

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