A Naked Wise Man & Contentment


“A wise man lived the simplest kind of life in a little hut at the foot of a mountain.
One evening, while he was away, a thief snuck into the hut only to find there was nothing to steal.
The wise man returned and found the thief searching in vain for something to pilfer. ‘You have come a long way,’ he told the prowler, ‘and you should not return empty-handed. Please take my clothes as a gift.’ The thief was bewildered, but he took the clothes and ran away.
The wise man sat naked, watching the moon. ‘Poor needy, fellow,’ he thought, ‘ I wish I could give him this beautiful moon as well.'”

My reading this morning from The Rule of Saint Benedict, chapter 34;

31o1HiXjoML._SL500_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-34,22_AA300_SH20_OU02_“‘…Giving should be done according to need.’ By this we do not mean that there should be favoritism but consideration for those lacking. The one who needs less should be thankful and content; the one who needs more should be humbled and content to receive the kindness shown to them. In this all will be at peace.”


Would we be content to give the thief our clothes? Are we at peace when others receive?

There is an unpleasant place in most of us that is bothered when others are given more… more recognition, praise, opportunities, money, family, friends, etc. This discontentment comes from many places, the cultural disease of entitlement, a need for love and approval, or plain ol’ jealousy.

Contentment is not just being at peace with what we have received but also with what others have been given. Oftentimes it is the latter which proves more difficult.



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Posted on November 11, 2013, in Mindfulness and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. This is so true…..being open hearted and relaxed about giving to those more in need can stir up all sorts of feelings of discontent….just think of welfare payments 🙂


    • it is as if we fear when other have we are robbed. it is the root of jealousy, this fear of others getting what we believe is rightfully ours. it permeates our society.

      thank you for posting! greatly appreciated.



  2. The moon cannot be stolen, I love that short story from the koan. Well said.


  3. “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” Superb post.


  4. For me, being content means when someone else seemingly gets ‘more’ than me, it is because they need it more. I have everything I need and try never to begrudge, but be grateful I am not needy. Thank you for your kind reminders.


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