It’s beneficial for our practice to pay attention to how we use the four requisites—robe cloth, food, shelter, and medicine—and reflect on how we rely on people’s generosity and kindness when we receive these offerings. Inner qualities that arise from reflecting in this way are contentment and gratitude, which are said to be a source of the highest blessings—maṅgala. These blessings are not only beneficial for us, but beneficial for others as well. People become inspired and confident when they see we are using the requisites in a wholesome way.
While reading Paul Breiter’s book, One Monk, Many Masters, I was reminded of Ajahn Chah saying, “I have never seen any rich people in the world. I see a lot of people, a lot of visitors, but I’ve never seen any rich people in the world. All I’ve seen is people who don’t have enough.” That’s a powerful reflection for us. No matter what the external conditions of abundance are, it doesn’t actually mean one is rich or wealthy, because true wealth is not measured by the material goods one accumulates. The richness of one’s life—having true wealth within the limits of the human condition—comes from having the ability to be happy and peaceful within those conditions.
We are learning to find satisfaction with the qualities of contentment and gratitude, rather than constantly seeking something more, something different, or something other than what we have. That’s the way the mind usually works. The untrained mind is constantly seeking something else, whether it’s in the material realm, in the realm of views and opinions, or even in the realm of meditative states. It’s constantly looking for something else, not content with what it has or what it’s experiencing. The problem with the human condition is this constant seeking and, of course, not really finding. So we need to learn how to be someone who has enough and to be someone who enjoys that “enough-ness.”
This reflection is from the newly released two part collection of Dhamma Reflections: