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Renouncing: is it a good thing?

JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matterNetherlands Veteran

“If you renounce something, it imprisons you for the rest of your life.”
— Anthony de Mello

In the book I was reading, called Awareness by Anthony de Mello, he goes on to say that the only way to be rid of negative impulses is to see through them, to look deeply into their causes and effects and understand their lack of benefits. I have found this to be true as well in my life, for example in my approach to letting go of computer games, that it’s only when you deeply understand it that it finally disappears.

Renouncing on the other hand creates strongly held opinions which absorb a lot of your energy. You become invested in these things and will have to confront at another time why you choose to make these things guidelines in your life.


  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran

    Renunciation is a useful tool, but not, I think, something to cling to indefinitely. Renouncing some negative thing completely for a few days can often enable you to see more clearly into its nature, what it is, what drives it, why it persists. At that point, perhaps, you can see more intelligent ways to deal with it than by simple-minded denial.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think The liminal space Veteran

    I think ideally renunciation is a tool to help you more fully devote yourself to spiritual practice. But I think like Anthony de Mello says truly letting go of those things comes about by seeing through them for what they are.

    The thought that comes to me is how fighting something gives it strength just as much as embracing it. To my way of thinking healing and letting go come about through acceptance and insight.

  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran

    I tend to think that looking deeply into our behavior and why we do something would be a precursor to renunciation.

    Of course, there could be times in our lives when we are forced to stop doing something we enjoy but when I think of renunciation, there is usually reasoning behind it already.

  • pegembarapegembara Veteran
    edited July 12

    Stop clinging.

    How do you renounce something when you are not clinging to it?
    The idea is to understand that the thing you cling to carries the seed of suffering or dukkha.

    So, don't cling to the very idea of renouncing everything.

  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    For folks interested in walking directly along the path towards suffering's cessation....

    renunciation can simply be that steadfast effort to not keep acquiescing to our attachment's directions.

    What do you think about a renunciation of one's greed, hate, or delusion?

    A committed renunciation of a specific attachment can address the suffering that arises from that particular attachment.
    A committed renunciation of all of one's attachments can address the suffering that arises from all of one's attachments.

    The main difficulty in transitioning from the first state of renunciation to the second stated state, is that renunciation in itself can also be an attachment in need of being addressed.
    Here one needs to be wary that they've not just swapped out one base attachment for a spiritual version of the same.

    So renouncing can either be helpful or not, depending on whether it results in the dissolving of attachments or morphs into the solidification of another.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited July 12

    What do you think about a renunciation of one's greed, hate, or delusion?

    Without those, I would end up being Nothing. So inhuman. :3
    I am greedy for others enlightenment. It is a Bodhisattva thing. I hate ignorance, especially my own. I am so deluded I think that the Buddhas will shave or save me. o:)

    Namo Amitabha
    as I might say before renunciation of mantras... :mrgreen:

    ... mmm ... does I haz to give up Buddhism now? ...

    Meanwhile... something to renounce

  • LionduckLionduck Veteran

    The point is not to renounce anger.
    Anger is one of ten basic life states
    We do not renounce anger, we recognize it and "Rise above the anger".
    We use our anger, direct it to create positive change.
    If we let anger control us, we create negative causes and generate negative karma.
    By controlling/directing our anger, we can overcome the anger and change it from a negative cause to a source of positive karma, elevating our life condition and bettering our relation to our environment.

    Peace to all

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