The 8th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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Joy (pīti) is a feeling of subtle and refined happiness and is similar to it. In Buddhist psychology, joy is seen as the result of virtuous living, a sign of successful meditation and as an indication of growing spiritual maturity. Many different types of joy are identified in Buddhism. Sympathetic joy, for example, is the ability to be able to rejoice in the success and happiness of others. When the sage Bāvari merely heard the word ‘Buddha’ he experienced exaltation (udagga), jubilation (vedajāta) and elation (attamāna, Sn.995). Buddhālambanapīti is the calm joy one can feel while contemplating a statue of the Buddha. In the Visuddhimagga, joy is categorized according to its intensity and the effect it can have on the body; thus there is minor joy (khuddikā pīti), momentary joy (khaṇikā pīti), showering joy (okkantikā pīti), uplifting joy (ubbegā pīti) and pervading joy (pharaṇā pīti, Vis.143).
Some people are cautious of joy, thinking that it might lead to attachment, but Buddhaghosa made the interesting comment on this matter: ‘It is called joy because it is meant to be enjoyed.’ (Vis.143). Joy is an important part of the jhāna's and one of the seven limbs that lead to enlightenment (D.II,79).