Be Satisfied with What You Have

When a human being allows his desires to grow beyond all reasonable bounds, he becomes like a snake trying to swallow an elephant.

No one needs that much. Unreasonable desires are born of illusion and greed. Being satisfied with whatever we have is an important step toward wisdom.

Greed narrows our vision as it obscures the wealth of wisdom contained in our inherent Buddha nature. Greed is always based on false premises, it always makes us more foolish and it never produces good results unless it teaches us at last to get control of ourselves. Greed leads us toward danger even as we think we are moving in a direction that will benefit us.

Life is both simpler and more complex than greed will tell us. Our inherent Buddha nature is more than capable of revealing everything we need to know. When we allow this nature to express itself, we will see that it is relatively easy to know what to do and when to do it. At the same time, we will see that the fullness and perfection of this nature completely transcends anything we can think of.

One of the “tricks” of the successful practice of Buddhism is to allow yourself to relax enough so that your inherent Buddha nature can begin to express itself. We can find this ability to relax by upholding the precepts and being satisfied with whatever we have. 

What more does anyone need than this? If we are upholding the precepts, there is nothing to fear. If we can allow ourselves to relax within our inherent Buddha wisdom, we will see that already we lack nothing. This is the way to find true knowledge of sufficiency. This is the way to be satisfied with whatever you have.

The Sutra of Bequeathed Teachings says:

Knowing how to be satisfied with whatever one has is the ultimate refuge of peace and security. One who knows how to be satisfied with whatever he has can lie anywhere on the ground and feel completely contented.

One who does not know how to be satisfied with what he has will feel that something is lacking even if he is in heaven; one like this is poor even though he may possess enormous wealth.

One like this finds only entanglement and suffering in the operation of his senses while one who knows how to be satisfied finds only comfort and joy in them.

It was originally published in Being Good, written by Venerable Master Hsing Yun.

Image from Pixabay.

More Featured Articles

The analysis of the mind in Buddhism is both multifaceted and sophisticated. As a spiritual practice, Buddhism contains numerous descriptions of the nature and function of the mind and instructions on how to search for, abide with, and refine it. In this regard, Buddhist psychology has much to offer, as Read more
"Walk like the wind, stand like a pine, sit like a bell, and rest like a bow."This basic etiquette not only applies to Buddhists; everyone should practice it as well in daily living.When we first meet a person, we can tell the level of his/her education and cultivation by his/her Read more
What we often care most for in life is the self, and the most important aspect of self is none other than destiny. During one's lifetime, destiny changes frequently because of circumstances that arise. Because of a person, an event, a word, a dollar, or even a thought, entire lives Read more
One of the great advantages of sitting meditation is that you can take it with you wherever you go. Whether you are in a forest deep in the mountains or beside a stream among the grass and reeds, you can develop meditative concentration just by sitting down and crossing your Read more
What are people supposed to do when they are troubled by afflictions? Some people are troubled by very specific things, others encounter poverty, and many have poor relations with other people. Some individuals are disturbed the moment they hear even the slightest comment they do not like, or they become Read more
Meditation is not about sitting quietly with your eyes closed—this is just one method for developing meditative concentration. What matters in meditation is being able to contemplate and focus the mind.  Read more
Human beings are social animals; we cannot live apart from community. As Buddhists, we are told to seek the Dharma among the people, for the Dharma does not exist in some other world or far away place; the Dharma is here among us, embodied in each and every being. When Read more
If we want to understand what the Dharma teaches us about building affinity and living in harmony with others, we must first understand the four great all-embracing virtues. The Buddha teaches that for us to realize our true capacity of connecting with and serving our fellow citizens, we have to Read more
The Buddha often explained emptiness and impermanence by getting people to think about how phenomena arise, change, and decline. Read more
In the past, during the feudal period of Chinese history, men were respected while women were thought of as being rather contemptible. The birth of a son was compared to fashioning an ornament as precious as jade, which not only made everyone happy, but also raised the status of his Read more
If you keep your practice steady,morning and night, summer and winter,there is nothing you can not doand nothing that can harm you.— Upasakasila SutraThe Importance of Being SteadyLaziness and fear of work will get you into trouble no matter where they appear. Laziness is a basic animal tendency that must Read more
One of the biggest weaknesses in today’s society is that we have developed the habit of not saying we are sorry. Once we grow up and rise in status and knowledge, apologizing becomes harder and harder. But human beings are not perfect sages and we all make mistakes. Being able Read more