Posted by: Upāsaka | 12/30/2019

Santuttham Sutta: 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 improprietyon 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.”

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

I have been practicing with and thinking a lot about gratitude and I’ve come to realize that much of what I’ve loaded into the term really has more to do with contentment than it does with being grateful. Yes, there are plenty of occasions and circumstances for which to be grateful; id est, gratitude to one’s parents and teachers, gratitude to a giver of gifts, etc. However, I often find that contentment with things as they are is called for and using the concept of gratitude does violence to what or an otherwise noble and worthy attitude and praxis.

For theists it makes perfect sense to be grateful every moment as they believe that their creator is responsible for the creation and sustenance of every moment and everything. Trying to do so from a Dhammic perspective is just a tad disingenuous. So, when there is no betting to whom to give thanks, being content with one’s possessions, one’s circumstances seems to be called for. And, who better to emulate than the Venerable Mahakassapa?


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