contentment or laziness?

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contentment or laziness?

Postby josephcmabad » Sun Mar 20, 2011 2:02 am

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 ;)
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Re: contentment or laziness?

Postby Fede » Sun Mar 20, 2011 7:52 am

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?

Would you be content to sit idly doing nothing, by while life happens around you? Contentment does not mean doing nothing worthwhile. Contentment means being as still as a rock inwardly, no matter how wildly, or serenely, the weather around you manifests outwardly.....


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?

You are confusing contentment with acceptance. If a parent has starving children, then a parent will do what they can to relieve that hunger.
we see the tragedy of the Japanese Tsunami unfolding daily, with more and ever more news of the tragedy and havoc this has unleashed.
Physically, so far removed, we can do nothing.
But shrugging our shoulders is not the right attitude.
Seeing things are as they are, because they are, as they are, is reality, into which we should hurl our wisdom and compassion with full force.
We should act in whatever way we can, to help our fellow human being, born into this realm of samsara. But gather inner serenity as we do.

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!

Being lazy ultimately leads to suffering. Being lazy is not being content. Being content is not being lazy. This is a smoke and mirrors question, because there is an assumption that the two are similar. They are as similar as chalk and cheese.
What other people perceive may be a deception, but if we ourselves are able to see that being indolent and inactive, does not equate with being content, and act upon that skilfully, then we are only answerable for ourselves.

really need help answering these questions.. thanks guys ;)

That's my bit. :hello:

:namaste:
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


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Re: contentment or laziness?

Postby josephcmabad » Sun Mar 20, 2011 8:54 am

thanks for your answers Fede :thanks:

so being content isn't synonymous with doing nothing, it's kind of an internal attitude towards things existent around us?
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Re: contentment or laziness?

Postby Fede » Sun Mar 20, 2011 8:57 am

Absolutely.

Contentment, serenity, Inner peace, is likened to a Lighthouse on a rocky outcrop.
it matters not what's going on outside. The lighthouse is always there, shining, and unmoved.
A safe haven in the maelstrom of the elements.
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


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Re: contentment or laziness?

Postby josephcmabad » Sun Mar 20, 2011 10:01 am

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
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Re: contentment or laziness?

Postby daverupa » Sun Mar 20, 2011 10:57 am

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.


Such is a worthwhile endeavor indeed. This also addresses claims of laziness as the work of developing and abandoning is not something any old layabout will accomplish. Note in this connection that "contentment with arisen unwholesome states", for example, is an invalid understanding of contentment. Another Sutta in the Anguttara Nikaya mentions being content with whether or not one has the four necessities, which renders an altogether different nuance.

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


Besides wanting to achieve the aforementioned development and abandonment? Let's see what the Buddha had to say about other pursuits:

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...
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: contentment or laziness?

Postby rowyourboat » Sun Mar 20, 2011 4:58 pm

Hi J,

Contentment is not the basic guiding principle in life, according to the Buddhas teachings- rather it is a mix of wisdom and compassion. That is, where wisdom and compassion needs to be used, we do not base our decisions of contentment. The starving children is a good example.

Ambition is good- what the important question is- what is it good for? Are you going to earn gazillions of dollars just for the sake of the money? What are you sacrificing to reach that? This is where wisdom comes in...and contentment helps to control those cravings.

Do what you need to do/can do, rationally, and looking at world through compassion- let go of the rest ..contentment.

Ultimately we are seeking the highest form of happiness that we can. Contentment plays a big role in that- but it is not all of it.

with metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
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Re: contentment or laziness?

Postby pegembara » Mon Mar 21, 2011 5:53 am

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.

The wisdom is the knowledge that having arisen, all things change and die.


That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, the group of five monks delighted at his words. And while this explanation was being given, there arose to Ven. Kondañña the dustless, stainless Dhamma eye: Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: contentment or laziness?

Postby Kim OHara » Mon Mar 21, 2011 8:11 am

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.

I like this prayer too, and it is very appropriate to the topic, but it's only fair to warn folks that it was composed by a Christian for Christians - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serenity_Prayer - and was originally God grant me ...
:namaste:
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Re: contentment or laziness?

Postby dhammapal » Mon Mar 21, 2011 9:46 am

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

With metta / dhammapal.
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Re: contentment or laziness?

Postby josephcmabad » Tue Mar 22, 2011 12:03 am

thanks a lot for your answer guys...
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