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Thread: Happiness and contentment

  1. #1
    There's a sentence in the Dhammapada Ch 23 v.331

    "Happiness is contentment with whatever there is."

    Is this something that's difficult to achieve in the modern world ?

    I'd be interested in hearing your comments.


  2. #2
    Forums Member Slartibartfast's Avatar
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    I think it can be difficult to be content with the world as it is. I mean, can anyone think of a time when there wasn't war of some kind or another? When there wasn't mass suffering, starvation, slavery etc, etc, etc.

    Incredibly difficult to be aware of this and not be upset or distraught by it. Being able to see all this and remain mindful and compassionate could not be anything but difficult.

    However the Dhammapada also says

    "For in this world, hate never yet has dispelled hate. Only love dispells hate. This law is ancient and will last forever."

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slartibartfast #2:

    Incredibly difficult to be aware of this and not be upset or distraught by it.
    Think this comes under the heading "idiot compassion".

    Think what can you do about it,(these wars)...nothing.

    If there was something you could do,well then there is a case to make,as it is it's just a bad case of beating yourself up. How pointless.

    The one thing you can do is work on your practice.
    Do what you can do.
    Work with what you've got.
    The world will go to hell in it's own sweet way,leave it alone.

    "For in this world, hate never yet has dispelled hate. Only love dispells hate. This law is ancient and will last forever."

    Equanimity will also work.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aloka-D #1:
    "Happiness is contentment with whatever there is."
    The Dhammapada is a pretty variegated source for the Dhamma, and this statement is an example.

    It can be interpreted in a number of ways, some of which are wholesome and some of which are not. I'll give an example of each, as I see it:

    1) Being content with simple food, such as eating ramen noodles and a multivitamin instead of a ritzy market sandwich and a soda with a slice of cheesecake.

    2) Being content with the lack of equality for women worldwide.

    As you can see, a statement of ethics is really not going to be comprehensive when the original source is inspirational poetry. For example, imagine if the Universal Declaration of Human Rights had been written as a collection of lymericks.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Replying to Sobeh:
    from post #4
    I wasn't really looking deeply into the meaning - I just meant a simple present moment happiness.

    Theoretically one can be aware of the suffering and inequality in the world, do what one can to help others according to ones personal situation, yet still have a tranquil happy mind, surely?

    There's a saying in Tibetan Buddhism about us not being able to cover the whole world with leather so we wear leather shoes instead. (or something like that ! )

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aloka-D #5:
    There's a saying in Tibetan Buddhism about us not being able to cover the whole world with leather so we wear leather shoes instead.
    I actually enjoy the Tibetan Buddhist custom of having the three marks of existence written on the heels of their boots.

  7. #7
    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aloka-D #1:
    Is this something that's difficult to achieve in the modern world ?
    Yes, I feel that for many people this is realy very difficult to understand in a world that makes you think you "need" and infinite amount of "things" so to "be".

    Since I was young I was used to discuss spiritualism with my grandmother, hinduism basicaly, so I had the glimps that that kind of achivement was only through a very easy way of life. So I get used to look for that kind of achivement.

    Strangely life gave me a very hard test about this kind of desire and I realize it. Nowdays my life is realy much more simple and easy and the experience of contentment with whatever here is and happens gives me a lot of spiritual strength.


  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Aloka-D #1:
    "Happiness is contentment with whatever there is."

    Is this something that's difficult to achieve in the modern world ?
    Yes, imo, this is a mind/heart state that definitely can be experienced in the modern world...if we have a clear understanding of what contentment and happiness really are, and if we create the conditions of mind/heart that give birth to contentment and happiness no matter what appears.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pink_trike #8:
    ..if we have a clear understanding of what contentment and happiness really are
    Yes Pink though we have to be very careful that what we think of as contentment and happiness really are so...
    Sorry,preaching the choir.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Replying to frank:
    from post #9
    Quote Originally Posted by frank #9:
    we have to be very careful that what we think of as contentment and happiness really are so...
    Agreed

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