NOT Getting Hugged by Amma

Amma at StanfordOn Monday, I went to a Conversation on Compassion with Amma at Stanford. Here are a few highlights:

  • “Compassion is the most important factor in life”
  • “Compassion is the first step.  If we can take that step courageously without fear then everything else will follow spontaneously.”
  • “When we have compassion then all the decisions we make and the actions and their results that follow will have a special beauty, spontaneity, and power to it.”
  • “Human’s calculations can always be wrong. But decisions taken from compassion and actions that are compassionate can be never wrong because compassion is a law of nature.”
  • “When we give up the individual mind and tune to the universal mind which happens in compassion, then we can never do anything wrong because it is not us acting, but it is the universal power. Compassion gives us the ability to tune into the universal power.”
  • “When love attains perfection that is when the flower of compassion happens.”


After the conversation, Amma announced that she would give darshan to all the attendees (near 2,000), but she asked that only attendees who have never received a hug come up so Amma could have time to hug everyone who wanted one.

Since I have been getting hugged by Amma since 1999 and I was wearing an “embrace the world” t-shirt that I bought at Amma’s ashram, I knew that I should remain seated, but I REALLY wanted to get a hug from Amma–especially when I saw that they were giving large gift bags to all who received a hug.

Unfortunately, during her talk Amma said that there are three types of people.

  • The first type of person–what they get they eat.
  • The second kind of person–what they get they eat and they also try to take the other person’s food and eat that as well.
  • The third kind of person–whatever they get, they eat a part of it then give the rest to others around them.

I knew that if I went to get a hug, I would be taking from someone else, so I forced myself to refrain from getting a hug.

But something wonderful happened. As I watched Amma hug others, the craving and jealousy drained out of me and was replaced with sympathetic joy (mudita). I saw the glowing faces of the people walking off the stage, and I could feel their joy and gratitude which somehow became my joy and gratitude. I got a taste of the universal mind and power that Amma was talking about.

It was the best non-hug that I have ever received.

Have you ever felt empathic joy? Please share.


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25 comments on “NOT Getting Hugged by Amma

  1. hhh4u says:

    Sounds like a wonderful experience. Good for you! Especially with how you applied what you learned immediately.

  2. Yes I just got joy from feeling your joy 🙂 wonderful experiences for all there… Blessings Sue xox

  3. yaussiechick says:

    Hi Kozo, I am currently in the USA doing a sort of tour of the states because I came over to attend my brother’s memorial. Adam and I decided to stay for a month to visit my other siblings. I have experienced the empathetic joy you described quite a bit lately. I also cried when I read your blog because I recognized that feeling you described. Normally when I was younger I would be very possessive of my brother but when I heard him talk of his partner Lisa and her speak of him I felt such joy for them both because I know they experienced true love which I have with my Adam. I won’t be getting any hugs from Kevin anymore but when I am with Lisa I know he is with us both and we find comfort with each other. Thank you for sharing as always and inspiring. Much love and {{{{{HUGS}}}}}} Dianna

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Wonderful, Dianna. I’m so happy that you and Lisa can comfort, support, and love each other. Life is so intelligent. It gives us exactly what we need to open our hearts. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  4. I get a lot of that in movies, in the poignant bits where it becomes quite clear that the people involved in its production have become quite good at tugging the heart strings; it gets to where I feel like kind of a crybaby when I sit down to watch a family movie. But it may be that this is not true empathic joy. I certainly feel good for those who find joy in their lives, but no specific instance can come to mind.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      I love that sympathetic joy from films as well–Magnolia, Dances With Wolves, 7 Samurai, Breakfast Club, all had me weeping. I definitely think this is true empathic joy.

      funny, but it seems harder to do with real life people??? {{{hugs}}} Koz

  5. Dear Kozo,
    What a beautiful thing. I am so happy for you. virtual hugs to you from me…

  6. Jennie Saia says:

    {{{NON-hugs}}} then, and happiness at your internal transformation. 🙂

  7. An invisible hug clearly felt deeply. A beautiful full circle moment!

  8. utesmile says:

    that sounds perfect. A wonderful no hug! I am sure it was great to see all those people who did get a hug and you being so happy for them. That is one of the best feelings too!

  9. ~meredith says:

    Good morning, Kozo,

    I am leaving a link here to share the peace of Roberto Alborghetti, a man of peace, vision, and activism. His father, an Italian soldier dedicated to peace for Italy, was captured during the siege in Kefalonia, Greece and spent three years in the island concentration camp. Now, he has passed. Roberto, dedicated and determined, took his father’s story to his heart, writing his biography, creating many works of art as he wrote of the horror, transforming his personal sorrow into art and historic insight as he worked, while continuing to work with, and inspire today’s generation of Italian children through his online children’s newspaper, OKAY, as well as traveling to their schools to create art and appreciation for family.

    I leave the link here because, to me, this is peace in rainbows.
    The dedication is titled FROM FATHER, TO SON AND BEYOND and this is the link:

    I hope the story reaches many people, and that Roberto knows the support of Bloggers for Peace.

    Thank you. Meredith

  10. Val Boyko says:

    I love this Kozo. When we are in the presence of love and our hearts are open we received the love that is there. Whether we give it, receive it or are simply in its presence it is all the same.
    Thank you for sharing your own experience of this 🙂
    Val x

  11. Mmm…I’m working to get to this point. I know I can’t rush it but I really wish I were there already.

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