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renunciation 2013

federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky...Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
This discussion was created from comments split from: Intention of Renunciation.


  • @riverflow posted an awesome quote in the Shunryu Suzuki quotes thread which states:
    "Renunciation is not giving up the things of the world, but accepting that they go away."

    ~Shunryu Suzuki
    If this is true, then is this the explanation behind as to why some monks and nuns may demonstrate that 'crazy wisdom' we sometimes see in the media (i.e. drinking, drugs, consensual sex with other adults, etc.)? Perhaps they feel that none of it matters and are trying to show us this?

    Or do you believe that once you practice renunciation you should not go back on it -- even if you claim no attachments -- because it is just an excuse to fulfill your desires?
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    edited April 2013

    The idea of renunciation has always appealed to me in some sense and I work on little things all the time. Of course the biggest things I am attached to I have the hardest time considering giving up, lol, but I hope in time to build my life (and my family's) so that we are living to live and not just to entertain ourselves or bide time and it will be easier, and more natural to renounce so many things I keep in my life now. If you think about it, simply providing for your life is very exhaustive and intense work, and as a family we are working every year on gaining our independence from society in that way and hope within 10 years to be self-sustaining as much as possible for our climate. My ancestors did it when they moved here 120 years ago so it's possible. I know people who do it to large extent, including famous arctic explorer Will Steger, who lives a short distance from me and while he travels to work on his environmental awareness projects, he lives as a hermit when he is here on a property that is mostly self sustaining.

    But, I also know that sometimes I am overly attached to wanting to live a very certain way so I try to both work towards the future goals but at the same time be content on a daily basis on smaller improvements.
  • Perhaps they feel that none of it matters and are trying to show us this?
    Perhaps . . .
    perhaps not.

    I will renounce the desire for this to be so . . . :)

    Crazy wisdom is breaking convention through specific needs and moments as they arise, not a consistent weakness or lack of character excused as profound abuse-wisdom.
    The difference is consistent, characteristic alcoholism, abuse of vulnerable or gullible people and the justification of such 'wisdom'.

    Buddhism has a code of ethics. You will notice 'crazy adepts' do not sleep with old, ugly or disabled students . . . m m m . . . They are not independent of their addictive or obsessive desires. A part of them is crazed . . . not wise . . .

    Maybe I am just crazy to believe such of these esteemed 'masters' . . .

  • SabreSabre Veteran
    Ven. Ajahn Chah, the teacher under whom we both trained for many years, similarly taught that sexual practises had to be given up if one aspired for Enlightenment. For example, I remember a Westerner coming to see Ajahn Chah once and saying that he was sexually active but without being attached to the sex. Ajahn Chah completely ridiculed the statement as an impossibility, saying something like "Bah! that's like saying there can be salt which isn't salty!" Ajahn Chah taught all who came to him, monastic and lay, that sexual desire is KILESA (defilement of the mind), it is a hindrance to success in meditation and an obstruction to Enlightenment. He taught that sexual activity should be abandoned if one wants to end suffering. He would never speak in praise of sex. He would only speak in praise of letting go.
  • Lazy_eyeLazy_eye Veteran
    edited April 2013
    The way I view renunciation, personally, is as a practice of letting go. Specifically, letting go in situations where we would normally grasp (as a response to craving). That could include all kinds of things. Letting go of the impulse to say something snarky at work. Letting go of the craving for a beer or shot of whiskey. Letting go of the impulse to buy something. Letting go of the impulse to look at someone in an inappropriately sexual way. Not giving the finger to someone who passes me on the right in traffic.

    Monks, of course, practice in a much more systematic way, with their hundreds of vinaya rules. But the basic intention is the same -- to wean ourselves off the habit of grasping. The vinaya is so austere because the habits are so hard to break.

    Being a parent to small children has really made me conscious of how grabby we are as a species. It's really amazing.

    Here are a couple talks on renunciation which I found helpful. The topic is sometimes scary to people as we're accustomed to thinking of things like restraint and renunciation in a negative sense, and indulgence in a positive sense. An automatic reaction tends to be "renunciation? I have to give everything up??" But it can be practiced in degrees, or as appropriate to one's situation and goals.

    Ajahn Sundara -- Why on Earth Renounce?

    Shaila Catherine -- The Joy of Renunciation
  • It is very difficult to be 'in the world but not of the world' as the Gnostics, Sufis and some Buddhist tantikas do. In Sufism they say, 'whatever goes in the salt mine becomes salt', meaning we are seduced or consumed by our environment unless engaged in a high degree of renunciation.

    Some Buddhist teachings explain that mundane and spiritual are the same, nothing to renounce. However we have to approach and leave each stage, in a sense renounce renunciation when ready.

    Many people are simplifying their being on a variety of levels. In a sense renouncing the impediments and hindrances. One day we may step on the 'far shore' and say, 'I renounce this base land of the enlightened, I am going back to build more rafts'. Now that is renunciation worthy of a Boddhisattva.
  • Its all barf.

    To me, that is.

    The message to me? "Simplify."
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