Tag Archives: ataraxia


In the old days, when my students asked me how to tackle a one-word abstract essay title like ‘Contentment’, I used to tell them to use a tin-opener, by which I meant questions which began with interrogatives like Who? When? What? Why? How? That was in the days before the internet was universally available and Wikipedia took the hard work out of research, to the dismay of some teachers who became adept at spotting plagiarism.

However I am not averse to using modern tools, so of course I googled ‘contentment’ like the rest. And what a plethora of useful quotations and references appeared before my dazzled eyes, including an article by a Zen Buddhist which resonated with me. I found that sages throughout the ages from the prophets to Socrates and Gandhi were in favour of contentment. Indeed they exhorted their audience to pursue it as one of the highest virtues.

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