Contentment is the state of mind that allows us to be quietly happy in any situation, and to be at peace with who we are.
Contentment is freedom from anxiety, want or need. Contentment is the goal behind all goals because —once achieved— there is nothing to seek.
In samsaric existence, a sentient being cannot maintain “contentment” (actually, pleasure or satisfaction) for very long, as the three sufferings quickly end the momentary experience of satisfaction:
] The Suffering of Suffering refers to direct physical and emotional pain and discomfort.
] The Suffering of Change refers to the inevitable alternation between pleasure and pain.
] All-Pervasive Suffering is the basis of the first two, being the fundamental nature of samsaric existence: birth, disease, aging, and death.
The Causes of Suffering:
- Ignorance: imputing reality to the false self and phenomena
- Selfishness: relating all persons and phenomena to the false self
- Attachment: wanting to possess and guard what is pleasant
- Aversion: wanting to avoid and destroy what is unpleasant
- Grasping at the 5 Heaps: clinging to the manifestations of false self
Mechanics of Delusion:
- Perception of a person, object, or situation
- Pleasant or unpleasant feeling associated with the perception
- Isolation of the positive or negative qualities eliciting the feeling
- Exaggeration of the positive or negative qualities
- Generating and fixating the disturbing emotion
- Contentment rests on humility
- Others treat us as we deserve to be treated
- We have as much or as little as we can utilize properly
- Our situation is appropriate to our stage of spiritual cultivation
- Contentment rests on patience
- Our relationships with others are determined by our past deeds
- We have as much or as little as we merit
- Our present situation is necessary for our spiritual cultivation
- Contentment rests on wisdom
- Dependent origination and impermanence define relative reality
- Emptiness of false self and phenomena define provisional reality
- Great Natural Perfection defines ultimate reality