Ratnavandana has given much of her later life to the cultivation and teaching of Brahma Viharas meditation - helping inspire many people to move towards spending more of their time in the ‘divine abodes’ of love, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity.
Here is the complete archive of teaching from her Spring 2015 Rainy Season retreat in Bristol, UK. The theme was ‘Living In The Mandala’, looking at the Brahma Viharas in the context of the five Buddha mandala. Talks, readings, guided...
Ratnavandana introduces and guides us through a composite practice of all four Brahma Viharas at once - loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, equanimity.
She sets the scene perfectly with an introduction to the notion of cultivation/development within the context of a Buddhist spiritual life, showing how each of these qualities may be called forth whenever needed in the face of our experience, just as the flower is called forth from the seed in springtime.
An infectiously delightful talk by Sanghaketu on the subject of joyful resonance with others (mudita). He really gets into his subject here! And his sense and experience of gladness comes across beautifully through laughter and reflection on the boon of good friends.
Ratnavandana again with an inspiring take on the third Brahma Vihara - mudita (sympathetic joy), which she renders as a “joyful resonance”. Her central image is of the lark ascending, the music of its song, and the possibilities for joy within us if we choose them…
Did you never observe how in moments of happiness a person’s features change and become bright with joy? Did you never notice how joy rouses people to noble aspirations and deeds, exceeding your normal capacity?
Sympathetic joy gives to equanimity the mild serenity that softens its stern appearance. It is the divine smile on the face of the Enlightened One, a smile that persists in spite of his deep knowledge of the world’s suffering, a smile that gives solace and hope, fearlessness and confidence: “Wide open are the doors to deliverance” thus it speaks.
By jvalamalini on Wed, 18 Mar, 2015 - 18:58We’ve had a wonderful sunny spring day today in Bristol, perfect for us to dwell in what Sangharakshita has described as the bright dancing colours of mudita.
Ratnavandana talked about mudita as a natural response that happens often, but which we don’t always recognise. She suggested consciously appreciating moments of gladness in our lives, particularly when it connects us to others - for example she enjoyed seeing three small girls with mother’s day bouquets in the street at the...
Compassion prevents love and sympathetic joy from turning into states of self-satisfied complacency with a jealously-guarded petty happiness. Compassion stirs and urges love to widen its sphere; it stirs and urges sympathetic joy to search for fresh nourishment. Thus it helps both of them to grow into boundless states.