QUESTIONThe Buddha said that we have to be satisfied with our condition. If we do that, there will be no improvement in this world, nobody will have the motivation to find new technology, science, etc. What does Bhante think?
ANSWERSatisfaction with our condition is not equivalent to being lazy. This point must be seen in the context of distinguishing between our needs and our wants. Our needs are limited and must be fulfilled. However, our wants are infinite, dynamic and keep increasing and cannot be satisfied due to the inner craving within us.
In another context, is it wrong to be ambitious? No, it is not. However, we must know when to stop wanting as it is a desire machine within us that will never be satisfied, thus never being happy nor contented. Contentment produces happiness, but contentment is not equivalent to apathy or laziness and attributing everything to kamma is not what the Buddha taught.
The Buddha did not teach fatalism, he taught us to be proactive. One needs to fulfill certain obligations to oneself and one’s family to lead the lay life, to work energetically, filled with patience and observing the precepts.
The Buddha has taught us how to lead a worldly life and how to lead a life for spiritual development. We need to differentiate this properly. We need to earn, protect and enjoy our life in a proper manner to lead a worldly life without harming others until the time where we attain realisation of the true nature of our worldly life. At this point, we will renounce our worldly life for the spiritual life, thus reducing our greed, hatred, delusion and all the other bondages.