Published Friday, 16 March 2018
Do not rest contented
because you keep all the rules and regulations,
nor because you achieve great learning.
Do not feel satisfied because you
attain meditative absorption,
nor because you can dwell in
the bliss of solitude.
Only when you arrive
at the complete eradication
of all ignorance and conceit
should you be content.
Dhammapada v. 271-272
When it seems there is so much going on around us, we might sometimes feel unsure as to where we should pay attention. If we are concerned about arriving at real contentment, then as the Buddha points out in this verse from the Dhammapada, it is good to look out for ignorance and conceit. If we can be aware of the degree to which an obsession with ‘me’ and ‘my way’ are central to so many struggles – our own and those of others – we will naturally become interested in making some changes. In fact, just seeing with clarity how taking ‘me’ and ‘my way’ so seriously is a primary cause of so much suffering can be enough to precipitate letting go. It is not as if we have to convince ourselves to let go, it will just happen.