Paradox of Contentment

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: Paradox of Contentment

Postby convivium » Sat Mar 16, 2013 6:19 am

i have semantics; i'm not talking mere syntax like a robot or computer is limited to. i don't think i have a qualitative or experiential correlate behind my talking about nibbana, but i think i know what contentment means.
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php
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Re: Paradox of Contentment

Postby ground » Sat Mar 16, 2013 6:23 am

Whatever you have or do not have or know or do not know, you may be content or discontent. :sage:
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Re: Paradox of Contentment

Postby convivium » Sat Mar 16, 2013 6:44 am

Whatever you have or do not have or know or do not know, you may be content or discontent.

by "have" i take you to mean material possessions and external circumstances. by "know" i take you to mean ordinary intellectual knowledge. not having the wrong things/external circumstances and not knowing the wrong things, as it were, makes it a lot easier to be content (which is why people live in monasteries). having so-called needs met (not necessary for personal survival e.g. sex) and pleasant things/external circumstances in one's life makes it easier to feel content in a mundane way or at a mundane level; but theravada is looking for a more autonomous ground for contentment (in transcendental right view). so, means to achieving mundane contentment and means to achieving transcendental contentment can be (at least at a more refined level of scrutiny) mutually exclusive. i'd like to spell this out more.
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php
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Re: Paradox of Contentment

Postby Bakmoon » Sat Mar 16, 2013 10:12 am

It is difficult to be content because one cannot gain contentment by willpower. It is only through developing wisdom that one can be content.
The non-doing of any evil,
The performance of what's skillful,
The cleansing of one's own mind:
This is the Buddhas' teaching.
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Re: Paradox of Contentment

Postby Dan74 » Sat Mar 16, 2013 10:44 am

convivium wrote:so we have to deny or pacify the self-interested will to be content. then what about acting so as to have health insurance, good health, shelter, food, or time to sleep? can we act to self-interested ends, in line with the personal will, in a detached way so as to feel content in doing so? or would we just be fooling ourselves?


Contentment is in a sense a natural state but the greed and the worry lead away from it. Once we relinquish these, contentment naturally arises.
_/|\_
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Re: Paradox of Contentment

Postby Mr Man » Sat Mar 16, 2013 12:33 pm

I think that we have to be careful about getting different kinds of "contentment" muddled up.

Prior to the Buddha's enlightenment he remembered and reflected upon the experience of "contentment" as a child. Something was remembered that was quite simple and that had been forgotten.
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Re: Paradox of Contentment

Postby convivium » Sat Mar 16, 2013 4:32 pm

It is difficult to be content because one cannot gain contentment by willpower. It is only through developing wisdom that one can be content.
the will has to have some role in developing wisdom (namely, turning itself against itself, as it were); can we say more about the limits of this role (e.g. it should not be driven by a gaining idea or spiritual materialism, etc) and how exactly it should be used (e.g. in developing wholesome qualities, abandoning unwholesome qualities, keeping sila, daily discipline in practice, etc)? what about subduing the will by taking in great art (i experience this most often with music)? it's this theravada theme of using fabrications of the personal will to get beyond its fabrications.
Contentment is in a sense a natural state but the greed and the worry lead away from it. Once we relinquish these, contentment naturally arises.
do you mean according with natural law, i.e. dhamma, brings forth contentment? Otherwise, I don't know what's natural and not natural.
I think that we have to be careful about getting different kinds of "contentment" muddled up.
Prior to the Buddha's enlightenment he remembered and reflected upon the experience of "contentment" as a child. Something was remembered that was quite simple and that had been forgotten.
this is interesting with regard to my last post. i think you're referring to when he spontaneously entered jhana, upon seeing the suffering of animals and insects while sitting under a tree (as the story goes).
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php
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Re: Paradox of Contentment

Postby Mr Man » Sun Mar 17, 2013 8:24 am

convivium wrote: this is interesting with regard to my last post. i think you're referring to when he spontaneously entered jhana, upon seeing the suffering of animals and insects while sitting under a tree (as the story goes).

The story is in the Maha-Saccaka Sutta MN 36 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.036.than.html. Not sure if it is also related elsewhere. I was considering it in a rather loose and abstract way. The idea that contentment is possibly quite close and not that alian but we pass over it or do not remain with it.
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Re: Paradox of Contentment

Postby Dan74 » Sun Mar 17, 2013 9:08 am

convivium wrote:
Contentment is in a sense a natural state but the greed and the worry lead away from it. Once we relinquish these, contentment naturally arises.
do you mean according with natural law, i.e. dhamma, brings forth contentment? Otherwise, I don't know what's natural and not natural.


I mean that contentment shines forth when the grasping and aversion are let gone of, even temporarily.

I don't even mean nibbana, just the letting up of the greed and the fears.
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