Sympathetic joy

by | Nov 10, 2013 | Uncategorized | 11 comments

 Last night I helped create an altar for an Interfaith gathering on the theme of sympathetic joy. I forgot my camera, but someone let me use their cellphone to take a couple of photos.

Sympathetic joy is celebrated by Buddhists, and means rejoicing in the happiness of others. The Buddha referred to sympathetic joy as ‘the mind deliverance of gladness.’

 My role in the service was to do an invocation to the 4 elements of life: earth, fire, air and water.

There is so much joy expressed in nature at present.  These are the native renga renga lilies which grow well on rocks and banks and are now flowering along the coastline.

Hilary, the ordained interfaith minister, who gave a beautiful talk at the service, told stories of sympathetic joy. One of them was about the astounding moment in a concert by Paul Simon earlier this year.

 After Paul Simon announced that he was going to play ‘Duncan’, a fan called out from the audience, ‘I learned to play guitar on that song’.
Then, to everyone’s amazement, Paul Simon called her up on stage.
Despite her reluctance, he kept calling her up, then handed her his guitar and invited her to sing. His whole face and body were radiant with sympathetic joy as he watched over her, encouraging her every step of the way. I’ve just watched the youtube clip and it’s had me in tears.
Here’s the link for you. I wish you many moments of expansion this week, as you rejoice in the good fortune of others.


  1. growMama

    I love this. I am sad I didn’t make the service now, but will weave our own version into our day tomorrow. Thank you for the inspiration…as ever! x

  2. Juliet Batten

    Anissa, you would have loved it. Might see you at a future one.

  3. Penny O'Neill

    Sympathetic joy. You have taught me something new, Juliet; at least the term. I think I’ve always known this, just now what it is called.

    Loved this! Paul Simon has always been a favorite of mine. This just cements it. Thank you for sharing.

  4. silkannthreades

    What a lovely setting. One of the best parts of blogging is that we are can find so much joy in other people’s posts.

  5. silkannthreades

    What a lovely setting. One of the best parts of blogging is that we are can find so much joy in other people’s posts.

  6. Hilary Melton-Butcher

    Hi Juliet .. it sounds like a wonderful service for all – remembering all, as well as acknowledging our differences …

    The Paul Simon and Rayna clip is amazing .. loved watching it ..

    Cheers Hilary

  7. Juliet Batten

    * Penny, isn’t it a wonderful term? I’ve just learned it myself. Paul Simon is outstanding, isn’t he?

    * Silkannthreades, what a lovely comment. It’s so true. I delight in the posts of others too.

    * Hilary, it was an expansive evening. So glad you enjoyed the video clip. I had tears in my eyes when I watched it.

    Thank you Penny, silkannthreades, and Hilary for joining in the joy.

  8. Hotly Spiced

    That’s so good of Paul Simon to give that girl a moment she will treasure for the rest of her life – very generous. The scenery images are very beautiful xx

  9. Juliet Batten

    Wasn’t it so generous of him? Thanks Charlie.

  10. Vicki Lane

    What a lovely thought — to rejoice in the joy of others! Actually, I did just that reading your last post.

  11. Juliet Batten

    * Vicki, what a nice comment. Thank you for your sympathetic joy. It’s an uplifting concept, isn’t it?


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