On Sunday 5 March, Achariya Tan Siang Chye gave a Dhamma talk on the happiness and wealth we can gain from contentment. In an age of uber-materialism, many societies suffer from perpetual discontent due to endless cravings that bring about unwholesome states to our mind. In a futile search for happiness through mundane pleasures of the senses, we find that whatever ‘happiness’ we gain is transient and fleeting. Is there hope for any lasting, stable happiness?
Contentment gives us the answer, as it is the basis of a different, and higher form of happiness. It is an essential Dhamma practice, as it serves as the antidote to endless craving. In practising contentment, we should reflect on our true needs vis-à-vis our wants or desires – do we actually need all the things we want? Most of the time we find that the answer is ‘no’. We should therefore learn to be content with whatever we have, in order to stop the greedy chase after pleasure and ‘happiness’. ‘Wanting what we have’ is the answer to true and lasting happiness.
An important aspect of this practice also involves the understanding of impermanence. Contemplating the transient nature of feelings allows us to see the nature of reality, and to let go of likes and dislikes, giving rise to a peaceful mind. Having serenity through contented acceptance, we gradually grow in joy and wisdom.
Right cultivation of contentment will thus bring us true ‘wealth’ and lead us to higher happiness. We thank Achariya for his insightful talk. Sadhu anumodana!