Published Thursday, 24 June 2021
To contemplate life leads to wisdom;
without contemplation wisdom wanes.
Recognise how wisdom is cultivated and destroyed,
and walk the way of increase.
Dhammapada v. 282
It is understandable if we assume that the way to increase ease and contentment is to achieve our goals in life. And to some extent the Buddha wouldn’t disagree; however it does depend on the nature of our goals. To aim for fitness and good health is a relatively suitable goal, unless, that is, it means we view the inevitability of old age as something going wrong. The Buddha wanted us to recognize the relative importance of such matters as maintaining physical health. At the same time he wanted us to develop the faculty of wise reflection – or contemplation – to the point where we see that this body is not truly who and what we are. Of course the body is part of our identity and we are responsible for taking care of it. We are also responsible for the state of awareness out of which we live. The most suitable goal in life is the realization of the quality of wisdom that sees beyond the way things merely appear to be, to that which is actually true.