Benefits of Contentment
The Buddha cave a beautiful answer.
"My disciples do not regret what they might have done in the past but continue to do more and more meritorious deeds. My disciples do not worry about their future. They are satisfied with whatever they receive, and thereby keep contentment. able to maintain a state of serenity, cheerfulness, and a good complexion as a result of that contentment. "
Anyone can also try to maintain this cheerfulness by being contented. Should anyone ask why we can not be satisfied in our lives although we have more than enough things, what would be the correct answer? The correct answer to give is: "We have no contentment." If there is indeed coontenment, we would never say that we are not satisfied with this or that. We can not satisfy ourselves due to conflict between our insatiable selfish desire and the law of impermanence (anicca).
One of the best advice given by the Buddha for us to practice as a principle is 'Contention is the highest wealth.' A wealthy man is not necessarily a rich man. A wealthy man is in perpetual fear of his life. He is always in a state of suspicion and fear, thinking people are waiting to kidnap him. A wealthy man can not go out without a security guard, and in spite of the many iron gates and locks in his house, he can not sleep without fear and worry.
In comparison, a contented man is indeed a very lucky man because his mind is free from all those disturbances. He indeed is rich. What then is contentment? When a person thinks, "this much is enough for me and for my family and I do not want anything beyond that," then that is contentment. If everyone could think in this way, then there can not be any problems. When we maintain this contentment, jealousy can never cloud our mind and thereby we allow others also to enjoy their lives. If there is no jealousy, anger also can not arise. If there is no anger, there will be no violence and bloodshed and everyone can then live peacefully.
A contented life always gives one hope and confidence. This is not idealistics.
For more than twenty-five centuries, men and women in the community of Buddhists monks and nuns have lived such peaceful lives. They had only four requisites: food, shelter, clothing and medicine. No one really needs anything else for survival. And many Buddhist households too, have lived contentedly not allowing their greed to overtake their basic needs. It is surprising, how little we really need to be contented. Think about it.