josephcmabad wrote:buddhism seems to regard highly about being contented .. and i believe it is one of the greatest aspects buddhism has.. however questions from other people got me thinking, and it seems i need some help from more matured buddhists to answer some of it.. particular questions are:
1. how do we distinguish contentment from doing nothing worthwhile with our lives?
2. how about in the situation of parents wherein their income cannot feed their children, should they just be contented with what they have even if their children are starving?
3. what separates being lazy to being content, apart from the mindset of the individual? it seems that other people can only see one aspect from both.. not doing anything!
really need help answering these questions.. thanks guys
Ariya-vamsa Sutta (AN 4.28) wrote:Furthermore, the monk finds pleasure and delight in developing (skillful mental qualities), finds pleasure and delight in abandoning (unskillful mental qualities). He does not, on account of his pleasure and delight in developing and abandoning, exalt himself or disparage others. In this he is skillful, energetic, alert, and mindful.
josephcmabad wrote:ok.. so how about wanting to achieve something.. like seeking a higher social stature? does it necessarily go against contentment in the Buddhist sense? wanting to achieve something of the next level we're in? or should we stay in our present status as far as being content is concerned
Lokavipatti Sutta (AN 8.6) wrote:The Blessed One said, "Gain arises for an uninstructed run-of-the-mill person. He does not reflect, 'Gain has arisen for me. It is inconstant, stressful, & subject to change.' He does not discern it as it actually is.
"Loss arises... Status arises... Disgrace arises... Censure arises... Praise arises... Pleasure arises...
"Pain arises. He does not reflect, 'Pain has arisen for me. It is inconstant, stressful, & subject to change.' He does not discern it as it actually is.
"His mind remains consumed with the gain. His mind remains consumed with the loss... with the status... the disgrace... the censure... the praise... the pleasure. His mind remains consumed with the pain.
"He welcomes the arisen gain and rebels against the arisen loss. He welcomes the arisen status and rebels against the arisen disgrace. He welcomes the arisen praise and rebels against the arisen censure. He welcomes the arisen pleasure and rebels against the arisen pain. As he is thus engaged in welcoming & rebelling, he is not released from birth, aging, or death; from sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, or despairs. He is not released, I tell you, from suffering & stress...
pegembara wrote:Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.
Ven P.A. Payutto wrote:Contentment
While not technically an economic concern, I would like to add a few comments on the subject of contentment. Contentment is a virtue that has often been misunderstood and, as it relates to consumption and satisfaction, it seems to merit some discussion.
The tacit objective of economics is a dynamic economy where every demand and desire is supplied and constantly renewed in a never-ending and ever-growing cycle. The entire mechanism is fueled by tanha. From the Buddhist perspective, this tireless search to satisfy desires is itself a kind of suffering. Buddhism proposes the cessation of this kind of desire, or contentment, as a more skillful objective.
Traditional economists would probably counter that without desire, the whole economy would grind to a halt. However, this is based on a misunderstanding of the nature of contentment. People misunderstand contentment because they fail to distinguish between the two different kinds of desire, tanha and chanda. We lump them together, and in proposing contentment, dismiss them both. A contented person comes to be seen as one who wants nothing at all. Here lies our mistake.
Obviously, people who are content will have fewer wants than those who are discontent. However, a correct definition of contentment must be qualified by the stipulation that it implies only the absence of artificial want, that is tanha; chanda, the desire for true well-being, remains. In other words, the path to true contentment involves reducing the artificial desire for sense-pleasure, while actively encouraging and supporting the desire for quality of life.
These two processes -- reducing tanha and encouraging chanda -- are mutually supportive. When we are easily satisfied in material things, we save time and energy that might otherwise be wasted on seeking objects of tanha. The time and energy we save can, in turn, be applied to the development of well-being, which is the objective of chanda. When it comes to developing skillful conditions, however, contentment is not a beneficial quality. Skillful conditions must be realized through effort. Too much contentment with regards to chanda easily turns into complacency and apathy. In this connection, the Buddha pointed out that his own attainment of enlightenment was largely a result of two qualities: unremitting effort, and lack of contentment with skillful conditions. [D.III.214; A.I.50; Dhs. 8, 234]
From: Buddhist Economics by Bhikkhu P.A. Payutto