Posted by: Upāsaka | 03/12/2010

Contentment

“Monks, Kassapa here is content with any old robe. He praises contentment with any robe, nor does he commit any offense of unseemliness or impropriety on account of a robe. If he has not got a robe, he does not worry; if he has got a robe he enjoys the use of it without clinging or foolish attachment, not committing any offense, aware of the danger and wisely avoiding it. Kassapa is content with whatever alms he gets… whatever lodging… whatever requisites in the way of medicines for sickness… he enjoys the use of these things without clinging or foolish attachment, not committing any offense, aware of the danger and wisely avoiding it.

“Therefore, monks, you should train yourselves thus: We will be content with whatever robe,… alms… lodging… medicines… we may get… We will enjoy the use of these things without clinging or foolish attachment, not committing any offense, aware of the danger and wisely avoiding it.

“Monks, I will exhort you by the example of Kassapa, or one like Kassapa. So exhorted, you should practice to gain the goal.”

Although this sutta takes up contentment with requisites of the monks’ life as its subject I think it’s safe to assume that the Lord Buddha’s advice applies equally to those of us living the lay life. Contentment, is listed immediately before gratitude in many of the translations of the Mangala sutta that I have seen and for good reason. It’s awfully hard to imagine being grateful for anything when one is constantly finding fault. I’ll end today’s short post with a short poem by Bhuta Thera which may inspire us to cultivate contentment in the generally less extreme circumstances of our daily lives:

When the thundering storm cloud roars out in the mist, And torrents of rain fill the paths of the birds, Nestled in a mountain cave, the monk meditates. — No greater contentment than this can be found. When along the rivers the tumbling flowers bloom In winding wreaths adorned with verdant color, Seated on the bank, glad-minded, he meditates. — No greater contentment than this can be found. When in the depths of night, in a lonely forest, The rain-deva drizzles and the fanged beasts cry, Nestled in a mountain cave, the monk meditates. — No greater contentment than this can be found. When restraining himself and his discursive thoughts, (Dwelling in a hollow in the mountains’ midst), Devoid of fear and barrenness, he meditates. — No greater contentment than this can be found. When he is happy — expunged of stain, waste and grief, Unobstructed, unencumbered, unassailed — Having ended all defilements, he meditates. — No greater contentment than this can be found.

Sources:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn16/sn16.001.wlsh.html

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/thag/thag.09.00x.olen.html


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