(8.85) Thus, having become disillusioned with worldly desires,
We should generate the wish to abide in solitude.
Fortunate ones stroll in quiet and peaceful places,
Far away from all conflict and objects of delusion.
(8.86) Cooled by flower-scented moonlight
And fanned by peaceful, silent breezes,
They abide joyfully without distraction,
With their minds focused on benefiting others.
(8.87) They dwell for as long as they wish
In empty houses, beneath trees, or in remote caves.
Having abandoned the pain of clinging to and guarding possessions,
They live independently, free from all cares.
(8.88) They live freely without attachment
And unbound by any relationships.
Even the most powerful humans and gods
Cannot find a life as contented and happy as this!
Shantideva was of course writing 1,300 years ago. Perhaps we won’t go wander in the forest or remote caves, but there is nothing stopping us from doing the modern day equivalent of that. Why do we chase after so much wealth, so much pleasure, so much worldly success? Will any of it bring us any happiness? Maybe we will have a few good experiences, but as long as we are chasing rainbows, we will never truly be happy.
Compare that to somebody who has the mind of contentment. They are genuinely happy with whatever they have, and feel like they don’t “need” anything. They are content to be nobody professionally. They are content to simply have enough. They are content with a stroll in the park. They are content with their partner and the friends they have. They are content with how their kids are doing. Imagine that! That is happiness, that is peace. No more chasing, no more discontent. In truth, contentment is the real wealth. Whoever has a contented mind is truly wealthy, no matter how physically poor they might be; and whoever lacks contentment is truly poor, no matter how much wealth they might have.