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Koan: The Voice of Happiness

After Bankei had passed away, a blind man who lived near the master’s temple told a friend:

“Since I am blind, I cannot watch a person’s face, so I must judge his character by the sound of his voice. Ordinarily when I hear someone congratulate another upon his happiness or success, I also hear a secret tone of envy. When condolence is expressed for the misfortune of another, I hear pleasure and satisfaction, as if the one condoling was really glad there was something left to gain in his own world.

“In all my experience, however, Bankei’s voice was always sincere. Whenever he expressed happiness, I heard nothing but happiness, and whenever he expressed sorrow, sorrow was all I heard.”

3 comments to Koan: The Voice of Happiness

  • Mat

    Sympathetic joy (Mudita) is one of the Brahma Viharas (Divine Abodes) – a rare quality but one of the most delightful things both to witness in others and to feel in oneself. There are specific practices to help develop these qualities of the heart and mind but this kind of meditation is often overlooked in preference to insight and calmness practices.

  • Abe Simpson

    An excellent example of how removing something as important can help remove conditioning. However, the blind man is still conditioned.

    I have a question though, if you only hear true compassion once in your life, how do you know it is true compassion?

  • Emma Jane

    To hear true compassion just once in your life is to be made aware of ones completeness through compassions example of total acceptance.The complete mind understands true compassion for all living things.