Loving Kindness – Rejoicing in the Happiness of Others

By Desmond Yeoh SC

person smiling while about to clap hands selective focus photographyu

The Buddha taught that we can gain merits by rejoicing in the happiness of others. In other words, we feel happy when we see that others are happy. This is also referred to as loving kindness.

While compassion is the sadness we feel when we see others suffer, loving kindness is the joy we feel when we see others happy. A spiritual practitioner needs to develop both compassion and loving kindness. Compassion spurs him into action to reduce the suffering of others while loving kindness provides him with an endless supply of energy to do so. With compassion alone, he may suffer ‘spiritual burnout’.

Truly rejoicing and sharing in the happiness of others is a simple and inexpensive way to add happiness to our life. Loving kindness is also an antidote to pride, jealousy and greed because we focus on what others have instead of what we lack. We do not see the achievements of others as our failure.

Recent research findings have shown the effectiveness of loving kindness because happiness has been proven to be contagious! It has been shown that if a person starts to become happier with his life, a friend living close by has a 25 percent higher chance of becoming happy too. This is probably because his friend would celebrate more with him and rejoicing in his achievements.

Another study of nearly 700,000 Facebook users concluded that we tend to mirror the emotions we encounter in our social media feeds. It was found that positive things in a person’s news feed would influence him to write more positively and vice versa.

These findings provide sufficient encouragement to bring more happiness into our life by celebrating with and sharing in the happiness of others.

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