Author Topic: Living a renounced life in a modern world  (Read 21204 times)

Q

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Re: Living a renounced life in a modern world
« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2012, 08:03:21 PM »
Very nice article. I enjoyed reading it, and more importantly understood a little more about renounciation.

The first few paragrahs of Lama Yeshe's article reminded me how the Buddha found the Middle Path... I believe at that point, the Buddha understood that renounciation is the path to liberation. However, the Buddha's effort in rejecting food has led him to realize that it would only lead to the destruction of the body which is needed to bring him to enlightenment.

I believe we can take this example to apply into our daily life. As we all know, times and circumstances has changed since the Buddha's time. There are many things that we need to sustain our life, even if we compare to a mere 100 years back, life has gotten more complicated... need i mention if we compare it to the time of the Buddha?

Certain things that we may think is a luxury, yeah it probably is, but if we use it with the main motive and purpose as a vehicle to spread the Dharma or to further our knowledge in Dharma... then it is no longer a luxury but a necessity. For example, there are millions of people in the world that do not own a computer and still surviving... so technically, computers are a luxury and not a necessity for life to go on... however, in our situation it is a necessity as we obtain much knowledge through using a computer than to not have one.

Basically, we need to be mindful when it comes to renounciation... and always check our mind if we are acquiring things for pleasure or for a higher purpose. No one can truly tell us if we've truly renounced or not by looking at our possessions, but they can by looking at our attitude towards our possessions.

Of course renounciation does not only target material possessions, but also attitude. For example, being vegetarian is also a form of renunciation... similar to fasting.


yontenjamyang

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Re: Living a renounced life in a modern world
« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2012, 10:40:13 AM »
In a modern world it is very difficult to avoid worldly pleasures as we do not live in caves. Even monks have to live in this degenerate age and that is why that it is said that to be a monk for 1 day in this age is equivalent in the merits collected to the merits collected during Buddha Sakyamuni's time.

Renunciation does not means giving up everything and just be a monk even though that is one very good way to do that but many does not have the merits to be monks as we may be carried by our karma to meet the Dharma late or have other obstacles in preventing us to be able to do that.

Renunciation in a modern world really means being able to take all that the modern life gives us, the pleasures, the pain and the suffering and know that it is not permanent and not be attached to it. It includes everything that is attached to the word "self" including, family, friends, possessions and most importantly ourselves ie our body and form. It include us realizing it and apply it every moment of the day. It doesn't mean that we do not "enjoy" as joy is also important to sustain our spiritual path. Beyond breaking our vows; "joy" is a good thing. We need to know it is not permanent and get on with live. Renunciation in this way brings us more lasting happiness.

Lastly, we need to renounce being too conscious of renouncing and just live our life to benefit others knowing that we are all ultimately the same. We are just temporary waves is an ocean.



negra orquida

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Re: Living a renounced life in a modern world
« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2012, 12:30:25 PM »
Thanks for sharing the article.  I still don't know what renunciation really means... from what I read from the article.. it seems to be about... letting go with our fixed/ingrained view of things/situations which we perceive as nice and not nice?  Some points from the article which I think are key:

Quote
Renunciation of samsara does not mean you throw samsara away, because your body and your nose are samsara... renunciation means less craving; it means being more reasonable instead of putting too much psychological pressure on yourself and acting crazy...

Quote
The opposite of renunciation of samsara... is the extreme mind that we have most of the time: the grasping, craving mind that gives us an overestimated projection of objects, which has nothing to with the reality of those objects.

hope rainbow

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Re: Living a renounced life in a modern world
« Reply #18 on: February 08, 2012, 04:20:15 PM »
Hehehe....  Lama Thubten Yeshe told the story of Birwapa the great mahasidda.

He used it to demonstrate that the object of the renunciation is not the object of our attachment, but the mind of attachment we have created.
The cause for our attachment is the object or renunciation.
The object of our attachment is not, yet sometimes the focus on the object can assist in the process of getting rid of the cause.

I am attached to women, I see a woman and lust overpowers me.
What can be done? I can veil the woman so that her simple sight does not make lust arise in me, does this solve the problem? Yes it does but only partially, for it has not removed the cause of lust, it has done nothing to prepare me to react virtuously if ever I see an attractive woman that is not covered.

This is touching on Islam obviously, and many muslim scholars would agree that the veiling of the woman exposes the weakness of men and there is deeper teaching in veiling the woman than just that action.

What is to be renounced is the cause of suffering, nothing else.
What is to be renounced is anger, attachment and best of all: ignorance.

IF what was to be renounced was sex, money, food, TV, cars, parties, holidays, careers, friends, even our body, then renunciation would actually be very easy to achieve.
So easy that we could achieve it within a couple of weeks.
Then what would we have achieved? A mind that suffers from not having what it is attached to? (sounds like an existence as a preta...)

I think what must be renounced is the ignorance that makes us "like things thinking they will provide us with happiness" or "dislike things because we think they will make us un-happy".
Then we can like things wisely and dislike things wisely, free from ignorance, thus Birwapa can drink wine and teach us about renunciation, contradictory? Not at all!

Midakpa

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Re: Living a renounced life in a modern world
« Reply #19 on: February 13, 2012, 11:46:11 PM »
Renunciation is one of the three aspects of the Path as taught by Lama Tsongkhapa. The other two are Bodhicitta and Sunyata.

What is renunciation? It is the "complete intention definitely to leave cyclic existence". It is the determination to be free. So what are we renouncing when we talk about renunciation? We are talking  about the renunciation of cyclic existence.

Next what is the reason for renunciation? Just take the Buddha as an example. He had been criticized for leaving his home and kingdom. It must have been difficult. But it was the boldest step that a man could have ever taken. The Buddha renounced the world not for his own sake but for the sake of suffering humanity. To him the whole of mankind is one family.

All our unhappiness is due to attachment. Had the Buddha developed attachment towards his wife, child, kingdom and worldly pleasures, he would never have discovered the remedy for suffering mankind.

A poet, Dwight Goddard wrote this of the Buddha:

"Twas not through hatred of children sweet,
Twas not through hatred of his lovely wife,
Thriller of hearts - not that he loved them less,
But Buddhahood more, that he renounced them all."

Klein

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Re: Living a renounced life in a modern world
« Reply #20 on: February 26, 2012, 03:38:00 PM »
Hehehe....  Lama Thubten Yeshe told the story of Birwapa the great mahasidda.

He used it to demonstrate that the object of the renunciation is not the object of our attachment, but the mind of attachment we have created.
The cause for our attachment is the object or renunciation.
The object of our attachment is not, yet sometimes the focus on the object can assist in the process of getting rid of the cause.

I am attached to women, I see a woman and lust overpowers me.
What can be done? I can veil the woman so that her simple sight does not make lust arise in me, does this solve the problem? Yes it does but only partially, for it has not removed the cause of lust, it has done nothing to prepare me to react virtuously if ever I see an attractive woman that is not covered.

This is touching on Islam obviously, and many muslim scholars would agree that the veiling of the woman exposes the weakness of men and there is deeper teaching in veiling the woman than just that action.

What is to be renounced is the cause of suffering, nothing else.
What is to be renounced is anger, attachment and best of all: ignorance.

IF what was to be renounced was sex, money, food, TV, cars, parties, holidays, careers, friends, even our body, then renunciation would actually be very easy to achieve.
So easy that we could achieve it within a couple of weeks.
Then what would we have achieved? A mind that suffers from not having what it is attached to? (sounds like an existence as a preta...)

I think what must be renounced is the ignorance that makes us "like things thinking they will provide us with happiness" or "dislike things because we think they will make us un-happy".
Then we can like things wisely and dislike things wisely, free from ignorance, thus Birwapa can drink wine and teach us about renunciation, contradictory? Not at all!


What you stated is so true, "What is to be renounced is the cause of suffering". This will vary from person to person. Many people think that there are fixed ways of renunciation and there are other ways of gaining attainments without sacrificing.

What many people do not understand is that renunciation is a natural choice and not a loss or sacrifice because the practitioner knows that it is beneficial. For example, when we find out that eating animal fat is extremely bad for our health, we stop eating it. Is this a loss or sacrifice or is it a wise choice? We are more than happy to stop eating the fat.

With this same logic, we learn to renounce. It is very difficult during modern times like now because there are many distractions. If we choose to take some time off at least once a week to study the dharma, we will learn to make the right choices and renunciation will be one of the choices.

dondrup

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Re: Living a renounced life in a modern world
« Reply #21 on: March 03, 2012, 08:38:47 PM »
What is and why live a renounced life?  Well, renunciation is the strong desire to free ourselves from the process of uncontrolled and continuous cyclic rebirth.  To free ourselves of this uncontrolled and continuous cycle of rebirth means that we have accomplished freedom from sufferings.  We can be part of the modern world and yet live a renounced life by following the principles of Dharma.  If we practise mindfulness and awareness of the actions of our body, speech and mind moment to moment, we could reduce the creation of further karma.  Every single moment of mindfulness purifies the karma that has ripened.  Our spiritual goal is to eventually purify all of our karma. In a nutshell, outwardly we may appear to be preoccupied with samsaric activities, but inwardly, we are completely focused in transforming our mind to the ultimate state of full enlightenment!

Midakpa

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Re: Living a renounced life in a modern world
« Reply #22 on: March 04, 2012, 04:52:15 PM »
Buddha's teaching is timeless. What the Buddha taught 2600 years ago still applies to the modern world.  If we think living a renounced life in the modern world is different from Buddha's time, we are deluding ourselves. It is not about the external aspects. The physical environment has changed but the nature of samsara is the same.

 Lama Tsongkhapa explains the three aspects of the Path in the following manner:

"The essential meaning of the Conqueror's scriptures,
The path praised by the excellent Conqueror's children,
The port for the fortunate wishing liberation."

The first line refers to liberation. This is the essence of the Buddha's teachings.  Renunciation is the determination to be free. How do we achieve liberation? The answer is in the next two lines. The second line refers to Bodhicitta. It is the path praised by the Buddha's children, that is, the Bodhisattvas. The third line refers to sunyata or rather "the wisdom realising the way things are". Thus right view is the entrance or door for those who desire liberation. And what is liberation if not renunciation from cyclic existence?

I think in the modern world, it is harder to live a renounced life. The best way is still to become a monk or a nun unless we are mahasiddhas already.

triesa

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Re: Living a renounced life in a modern world
« Reply #23 on: March 14, 2012, 02:12:34 PM »

With this same logic, we learn to renounce. It is very difficult during modern times like now because there are many distractions. If we choose to take some time off at least once a week to study the dharma, we will learn to make the right choices and renunciation will be one of the choices.

Renounciation is a process........I like what Klein said here....we or I definitely cannot renounce everything and become a nun right now, but that does not mean I can not in the near future.

So the first step to start living a renounced life is to "get knowledge" and "collect merits", so attending dharma classes and volunteering/doing dharma work in a center would be greatly beneficial. For any lay person, I think this is the best way to start, as the hours you will spend in a dharma center, either attending dharma classes or doing some kind of dharma work, you are in actual fact, cutting down the time you would have spent on self gratification activities. Slowly and surely, those self gratification activities would bear no significance to you even if you do them less.

pgdharma

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Re: Living a renounced life in a modern world
« Reply #24 on: March 14, 2012, 03:14:46 PM »


With this same logic, we learn to renounce. It is very difficult during modern times like now because there are many distractions. If we choose to take some time off at least once a week to study the dharma, we will learn to make the right choices and renunciation will be one of the choices.

Yes in this modern age where there are so many distractions and worldly pleasures it is difficult to renounce but that doesn't mean it is not possible. Putting the first step in letting go of our attachments to worldly desires may be difficult but through practice, knowledge, understanding the dharma and putting in the effort it can be achieved. Knowing that all things are impermanent we will not want to grasp on to them. Step by step and consistency in our practice will eventually bear results when we realized the benefits of non-grasping.

ratanasutra

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Re: Living a renounced life in a modern world
« Reply #25 on: March 17, 2012, 07:49:22 PM »
"Is renunciation possible for a person in the modern world? How would someone attempt to go about achieving some form of renunciation."

i would say that in this modern world its not so easy for someone to completely have a renunciation to become a monk or nun for their whole life as there are so many distractions, different of culture, thought and believe. but that doesn't mean it impossible. 

Since it is not so easy to really completely have a renunciation so we can start step by step ie be a vegetarian, spend time to participate in virtuous activities which benefit other ie volunteer in different activities, attend class to gain some knowledge instead of spend time with normal activities for fun and our own happiness with bring no benefit. Or we can start on what we are attached to the most, to slowly cut it down until you feel nothing even you don't have it etc   

DS Star

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Re: Living a renounced life in a modern world
« Reply #26 on: March 21, 2012, 04:40:24 AM »
Basically, we need to be mindful when it comes to renounciation... and always check our mind if we are acquiring things for pleasure or for a higher purpose. No one can truly tell us if we've truly renounced or not by looking at our possessions, but they can by looking at our attitude towards our possessions.

Of course renounciation does not only target material possessions, but also attitude. For example, being vegetarian is also a form of renunciation... similar to fasting.

Q has put it very clearly that renunciation is not to be 'measured' by how much we let go of physical possessions but to check the most important part of it i.e. our motivation and how much we attach to our possessions. Rightly mentioned also that being vegetarian is renunciation as we have to let go of our attachment to meat.

Renunciation on the basic is to let go of comfortable life because that is what make us attach. When we have nothing, no nice clothe or even hairs, we have nothing to attach to. However, in modern day, certain possessions that deem luxury had became necessary tools to help us to spread dharma like big centre and big statues. Time has changed, we need to change to adapt to the need of today's people.