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Lions Roar : September 2009
SHAMBHALA SUN SepteMBer 2009 52 the endless CyCle of disContent at some point, our life can become machine-like. We find our- selves running on automatic pilot, without any clear sense of purpose—our momentum is fueled by a chronic sense of need, a vague feeling that something is missing in our life. nothing we have is enough to relieve the pressure we feel. so we keep on with our superhuman efforts to design a life that looks like the happi- ness we imagine. We’ve read all the recipes and assembled the right ingredients, but the meals we prepare don’t look like the pictures in the cookbook. When happiness depends on material things or external valuations, it has a history of being short-lived. When we are looking at failed hopes, expectations, and de- sires, that is a perfect time to see our underlying poverty men- tality, because it is so vivid. our mind of poverty and the actual condition of our pocketbook are usually not the same. our ca- pacity to experience happiness and contentment depends more on a sane mind and a kind and generous heart than on wealth. yet our discontent is like a hunger that can never be satisfied, and to relieve our sense of emptiness, we consume endlessly. We will buy, beg, or steal whatever makes us feel better, if only for a moment. stuck in discontentment, we become collectors of stuff. at some point, our garage becomes full, but we go on collecting. We don’t stop until our basement is full, our attic is full, and we are paying for public storage. then we have a garage sale. but our precious collection, which we have hung onto for years, is worth only a few bucks. Ang TSherin SherpA, whose paintings illustrate this teaching, studied traditional thangka painting with his father, Urgyen Dorje, a renowned master painter. Born in Kathmandu, nepal, he moved to the United States in 1998, where he has worked as a thangka artist and teacher at several Buddhist centers in northern California. Tsherin began painting contemporary subjects in 2008 and exhibits traditional and contemporary works at museums and galleries in the United States and europe.