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.
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.