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Readings on Renunciation

posted Mar 25, 2013, 3:21 PM by Mark Nunberg   [ updated Apr 12, 2013, 6:47 AM by Common Ground Meditation Center ]


Quotes and Suggestions on Renunciation from Ajahn Sucitto's, Paramis: Ways to Cross Life's Floods

Let go of the drive for pleasure. See how it’s peaceful to put aside worldliness: then there’s nothing you have to hold onto and nothing you have to push away. (Snp. 1098)

... the pleasure and joy that come through the five strands of sense- pleasure ... are grubby, coarse and cheap ... when, uninvolved with sense- pleasure and unskilful states, a bhikkhu enters and dwells in meditative absorption ... this is the bliss of renunciation, the bliss of non-involvement, of peace and of Enlightenment. (M. 66.19-20)

They don’t grieve over the past, Nor do they yearn for the future; They live only in the present: That’s why their face is serene.

It’s from yearning for the future,
And from grieving over the past;
This is how fools become withered:
Like a fresh reed that’s been hacked down. (S. 1.10)

Renunciation brings clarity with regards to needs and desires. It has a strengthening effect as it offers us the chance to stand free of consumer pressure and status pressure. It is also a tonic for the heart and a requirement for meditation, because it returns our attention to a here and now which is easeful because it’s not about having things or being someone special. This present is arising without our making it do so. Letting ideas and moods arise and pass in the present, in the spirit of kindly acceptance, leads to insight and a peaceful abiding.

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Imagine you had to carry with you, on your back, what you really needed. What would you take? Of all that’s left, what would you make a second trip for? If that were all you had, how would that feel?

Consider that there are things that you have now — gadgets and conveniences — that were not available ten or twenty years ago. You and others managed without them then. Similarly, there will be items for sale in a few years’ time that seem irresistible — yet now without them, life is manageable. Where’s the pressure?

Whenever you get the sense of ‘not enough,’ ask ‘When has it been “enough”? And when will it be?’

‘All that is mine, beloved and pleasing, will become otherwise, will become separated from me.’ True or false? Consider that in our dying there is nothing that we can take with us — except our own mind-set. What do you want to hold onto? What will it be like when that is gone? Can you work with lessening your attachment to it, or them, now?

Next time you go to the shops, decide what you want and just buy that. If anything else attracts your attention, step outside the store and wait for a few minutes before deciding whether to go back in and buy it. How does that feel?

Stop work when, or before, your energy runs out. Consider the sense of ‘not finished yet.’ When is it ever finished? Train yourself to work within these guidelines; be prepared to leave projects unfinished today, and rather than try to complete them, spend a


Notice something you’ve had on a mantle for years or a book in the bookshelf that you read years ago. Take it away into another room or put it in a drawer. What’s missing? How does that feel?


few minutes tidying up and making it easier to start again the next day or work period.

Consider that whatever your occupation, one day you will be unable to continue in it. What will happen then? Is it impossible that anyone else could take your place, or that what you’re doing couldn’t be done by some other system?