On the Subject of Contentment
A Master and disciple are sitting under the shade of a tree near
a prarie grassland.
Upon hearing this, the young disciple removes his Buddhist robe, changes
into modern clothes and enters the real world again. He meets a wife,
has kids, accomplishes great deeds, and experienced all that the world
offered him, without a cloud of fear hanging over his head, fearful of
doing this, fearful of doing that.
- What is the ultimate goal in life?
- Being Content.
- How do I become content?
- Follow your heart.
- But my heart leaps with great ambition!
- Then fulfill them. You were not born to waste away your life
thinking you could have done this or that, but never tried.
- But what if I fail?
- What about it?
- Well, I would feel kind of disappointed and depressed.
- The same feeling (or worse) when you grow old dissapointed
with what you could have done. It is better knowing you tried,
then having not even tried, and wishing you had.
- But I was taught in Buddhism to never have any desires
(or goals for that matter)
- Anything taken to the extreme is detrimental to your health.
Buddhism stresses moderation of desire to relieve suffering. An
outright full detachment from desire makes you out to be a vegetable.
Ambition and desire are necessities in life. There is nothing wrong
with having them. There is something wrong with having no desire,
as there is something wrong with having too much desire. It is best
not to be exposed to Buddhism when young, as it will psychologically
damage your will and motivation to accomplish objectives and experience
all that the world offers.
After 20 years, the disciple visits his Master again...
- I am content.
- Good. Now you are ready.