( Based on a discussion at Dharma Wheel - http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.ph ... 261#p52261 that I thought might be worth picking up from a Theravada perspective)
LastLegend wrote:Correct! We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.
Indeed. This is likely the case for a good many people.
Even if someone is prepared to renounce fun, the 'duties' associated with the household life cannot be easily renounced.
For example, looking at the Pali Canon's Khp 9: Karaniya Metta Sutta ( http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .amar.html ) we see that learned ones should be "unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways."
Being "unburdened with duties", however, lands the householder idle and at the back of the dole queue. It leaves your children running riot and without direction. It leads to decline and deterioration of property. It leaves one's network of family or friends in tatters. "Frugal in their ways" puts limits on 'fun', and can lead to inactivity, isolation and malaise.
The majority of teachings within the Pali Canon are quite clear about whether they are directed towards bhikkhus and householders and I think it is an important distinction to be maintained. It is all too easy to earnestly lose yourself somewhere inbetween the two archetypes, and find yourself with neither the 'fun', nor the peace of renunciation... only depression.
I do believe the teachings pertaining to peace of renunciation are timeless, but I believe they involve both renunciation of duties (through becoming a monk) and the renunciation of passions and desire (which of course, include fun).
If we cannot knowingly and willingly commit to both the external and internal forms of renunciation (and the peace that is achievable through the conjunction of both forms), it is indeed quite reasonable that we search for alternatives in order to maximise happiness and reduce suffering. Do we follow the Pali teachings directed at householders? Do we follow the Mahayana bodhisattva path? Do we follow the Theravada bodhisatta path? Do we build a modern path based on the fundamentals of the Dhamma, which yield benefit here-and-now? These are all possibilities worthy of consideration, but there are no easy answers.