"When understood, the Buddha’s universe..is anything but alien and inhibiting. It is a world full of hope, where everything we need to do can be done and everything that matters is within human reach. It is a world where kindness, unselfishness, non-violence, and compassion achieve what self-interest and arrogance cannot. It is a world where any human can be happy in goodness and the fullness of giving." ❦ Eknath Easwara

November 20, 2011

Renunication - It Really Isn't Medieval Self-Torture

"The Buddha taught that as conditioned beings living in a conditioned existence (Samsara) we can never be completely free of all sorts of unpleasantness, stress, and suffering. All conditioned phenomena are flawed, and that inevitably gives rise to unsatisfactoriness.

This is the First Noble Truth of the Buddha’s teaching, and far from being a vague philosophical speculation, it is something that each of us experiences first hand for him-or-herself in daily life. While true and permanent freedom (Nibbana) comes about as a result of the insight gained through Vipassana meditation, we can eliminate a great deal of unnecessary suffering in the meantime by applying the principle of renunciation.

Unfortunately, the very word “renunciation” has a strange medieval ring to it in this modern, Western-dominated, supposedly hedonistic age. For most, it carries the smell of sack-cloth and ashes, an image of penance, self-denial, self-deprivation, even self-torture. It is thought of as a negative, dejected turning away from the world, a gloomy giving up on life, the last refuge of spurned lovers and aging old maids.

It is none of those things. Genuine renunciation, as the Buddha teaches it, is akin to throwing open the windows of the mind to morning sunshine and crisp, cool air. Renunciation is “cleaning house,” getting rid of trash and useless clutter, both figurative and literal. It is recognizing that when we become attached to things, we do not own them, instead they own us. It is putting things in proper perspective, simplifying our lives, and being satisfied with 'enough.'”

Petr Karel Ontl
"Of Mindsets and Moneypots"

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