A Gift of Dharma for 4.19.11
by Danny Fisher
Practice of the morality of individual liberation, whether lay or monastic, leads to contentment…. Examine your attitudes toward food, clothes, and shelter. By reducing expectations you will promote contentment. The extra energy which is released should be devoted to meditation and to achieving cessation of problems, corresponding to the fourth and third noble truths. In this way, contentment is the basis, and the resulting action is called “liking meditation and abandonment.”
We should be contented in material areas, for those are bound by limitation, but not with regard to the spiritual, which can be extended limitlessly. Though it is true that a discontented person who owned the whole world might want to own a tourist center on the moon, that person’s life is limited, and even the amount that can be owned is limited. It is better right from the beginning to be contented.
However, with regard to compassion and altruism there is no limit, and thus we should not be content with the degree that we have. We are just the opposite; in the spiritual field we are content with slight amounts of practice and progress, but materially we always want more and more. It should be the other way around. Everyone needs to practice this, whether lay or monastic.