HomePart 5 of Joy and Tranquillity digital guide

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo talks about contentment

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The Buddha talked about the Monkey Mind – our usual state of consciousness, which jumps from past to future, endlessly restless, and always grasping on to new sense objects.

This agitated mind is usually mixed up with greed and attachment, or anger, irritation and frustration, so we are bound by the rope of gain and loss.

Our consumer society promises happiness by getting more and more. But the Buddha said this is like drinking salty water – the more we drink, the thirstier we become. While on the contrary, spirituality advises us that true satisfaction comes from letting go and simplifying – cultivating contentment and appreciation for what we already have.

Genuine happiness does not depend on outer sensory pleasures but on the inner joy that arises from a well-tamed mind. Happiness comes with a mind that cultivates kindness and compassion both for ourselves and for others.

A healthy and well-balanced mental state sees with clarity and awareness how things really are. As we grow in insight and understanding, our hearts open in unconditional love for all beings, not just humans, not just those we are related to or whom we like, and gradually we experience an inner freedom that is not dependent on outer circumstances.

During our daily lives we try to become more aware – more mindful – of our mental and physical actions, and also cultivate more kindness towards others, recognising that just as we wish to be well and not suffer, so everyone would like to feel all right rather than be sad or anxious.

We are all very interconnected at a deeper level.

So we live our lives breathing in for our own well-being and inner cultivation, and breathing out to benefit and bring happiness to others to the best of our abilities.

Genuine happiness is a state of the heart where the Monkey transforms into a Buddha.

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About the speaker

Black and white, head and shoulder photograph of a bald woman wearing a dark robe. In the background there are various ornaments and a photo frame.

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo is a nun in the Drukpa Lineage of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, an author, teacher and founder of the Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery for Himalayan women in northern India. She spent 12 years in a remote cave in the Himalayas, three of those years in strict meditation retreat. In 2008 Tenzin Palmo received the title of Jetsunma (Reverend Lady) in recognition of her spiritual achievements as a nun and her efforts in promoting the status of female practitioners in Tibetan Buddhism. Her teachings are included in the books ‘Into the Heart of Life’ (2011), ‘Reflections On a Mountain Lake: Teachings on Practical Buddhism’ (2002) and her life was profiled in Vicki Mackenzie’s bookCave in the Snow: A Western Woman’s Quest for Enlightenment’ (1999). In 2020 she was awarded the Vaishakh Samman Prashastri Patra Citation of Honour. It is given annually on Buddha Poornima by the Indian Ministry of Culture and International Buddhist Confederation in recognition of lifelong contribution to the dissemination of Buddha Dhamma and its message of compassion and peace and bringing awareness on gender equality.