A question on renunciation

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Post Reply
User avatar
Dharmasherab
Posts: 122
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:53 pm

A question on renunciation

Post by Dharmasherab »

A friend of mine wanted to me to ask this question to get answers which would be helpful for him.

"I wanted to know how dispassion is best generated? What the right and wrong method is?
Whether exposure to the source of attachment combined with contemplation is just a trick or a legitimate process,
or if
renunciation is the only true path?"
User avatar
Dharmasherab
Posts: 122
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:53 pm

Re: A question on renunciation

Post by Dharmasherab »

Sorry for some reason this post is appearing on DhammaWheel 3 times, but please answer here.
JohnK
Posts: 1199
Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2016 11:06 pm
Location: Tetons, Wyoming, USA

Re: A question on renunciation

Post by JohnK »

Dharmasherab wrote: Mon Apr 27, 2020 1:39 pm
"I wanted to know how dispassion is best generated? What the right and wrong method is?
The Upanisa Sutta shows Dispassion as the stage right before Emancipation in Transcendent Dependent Origination:
Faith (saddha)
Joy (pamojja)
Rapture (piti)
Tranquillity (passaddhi)
Happiness (sukha)
Concentration (samadhi)
Knowledge and vision of things as they are (yathabhutañanadassana)
Disenchantment (nibbida)
Dispassion (viraga)
Emancipation (vimutti)
Knowledge of destruction of the cankers (asavakkhaye ñana)
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... el277.html

This suggests a method with many aspects (not just how to deal with a specific source of attachment).
It is also safe to say, especially given Dispassion's place near the end of the list, that the true method is to follow the Noble Eightfold Path in its entirety, again a method with many aspects -- mutually supporting. For example, without beginning to know the gratifications of the path (generosity, the non-remorse of sila, the joy of meditation), it will be difficult to let go of the coarser pleasure associated with the source of attachment.
Whether exposure to the source of attachment combined with contemplation is just a trick or a legitimate process,
or if renunciation is the only true path?"
One can certainly contemplate the "source of attachment" while one is not exposed to it -- contemplating the gratification, danger, and escape. It seems that mindful exposure might be a "test" of how well one has progressed. Mindfulness seems to be a key -- being able to sense whether desire for exposure is merely a trick of the defilements to get what they want or a sincere effort to investigate. It is hard to say w/o knowing your friend's "source of attachment" -- it may well be that any exposure would be unskillful (ice cream or heroin?).
Last edited by JohnK on Mon Apr 27, 2020 3:14 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Those who grasp at perceptions & views wander the internet creating friction. [based on Sn4:9,v.847]
SteRo
Posts: 3859
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:27 am
Location: अ धीः

Re: A question on renunciation

Post by SteRo »

Dharmasherab wrote: Mon Apr 27, 2020 1:39 pm A friend of mine wanted to me to ask this question to get answers which would be helpful for him.

"I wanted to know how dispassion is best generated? What the right and wrong method is?
See here: viewtopic.php?p=545940#p545940

"equanimity towards formations" (saṅkhārupekkhā) is dispassion
Exhaling अ and inhaling धीः amounts to བྷྲཱུཾ་བི་ཤྭ་བི་ཤུད་དྷེ It's definitely not science but science may provide guidelines nevertheless.
JohnK
Posts: 1199
Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2016 11:06 pm
Location: Tetons, Wyoming, USA

Re: A question on renunciation

Post by JohnK »

SteRo wrote: Mon Apr 27, 2020 3:09 pm ..."equanimity towards formations" (saṅkhārupekkhā) is dispassion
As Bhikkhu Bodhi translates viraga as dispassion, is there something in the Canon that suggests/explains the relationship between viraga and sankharupekkha? Synonyms? Cause/effect? Something else?
Thanks.
Those who grasp at perceptions & views wander the internet creating friction. [based on Sn4:9,v.847]
SteRo
Posts: 3859
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:27 am
Location: अ धीः

Re: A question on renunciation

Post by SteRo »

JohnK wrote: Mon Apr 27, 2020 3:29 pm
SteRo wrote: Mon Apr 27, 2020 3:09 pm ..."equanimity towards formations" (saṅkhārupekkhā) is dispassion
As Bhikkhu Bodhi translates viraga as dispassion, is there something in the Canon that suggests/explains the relationship between viraga and sankharupekkha? Synonyms? Cause/effect? Something else?
Thanks.
You see the source I've been referring to? Bhikkhu Anālayo in the quote refers to Abhidhammatthasaṅgaha.
Exhaling अ and inhaling धीः amounts to བྷྲཱུཾ་བི་ཤྭ་བི་ཤུད་དྷེ It's definitely not science but science may provide guidelines nevertheless.
User avatar
SDC
Posts: 6579
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:08 pm

Re: A question on renunciation

Post by SDC »

Dharmasherab wrote: Mon Apr 27, 2020 1:39 pm A friend of mine wanted to me to ask this question to get answers which would be helpful for him.

"I wanted to know how dispassion is best generated? What the right and wrong method is?
Whether exposure to the source of attachment combined with contemplation is just a trick or a legitimate process,
or if
renunciation is the only true path?"
I think it is normal for people to think of preferences as part of "who they are", but when you start to look at "who you are" as something that shackles, you can appreciate the prospect of choosing to not maintain those preferences. But even before that, I think a person has to recognize a sense of dissatisfaction with having to maintain who they are. What are you setting up for? Death? Heaven? Why do you live the way you live? Are you a good person? If so, why? If you don't know or are dissatisfied with the answer, that would be a good place to start. To be honest, I think most of grow up not even knowing this answer and then we just continue through life trying to get by.

So yeah, I think figuring out what your reasons are for trying to lead a good life will take you down a slippery slope and you may eventually get to something you don't like, but at least you'll have a more accurate understanding of what motivates you.
2600htz
Posts: 590
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 11:37 pm

Re: A question on renunciation

Post by 2600htz »

Hello:

Dispassion is lack of passion :juggling: .

Its not good when dispassion is conjoined with aversion ( example: "i feel depressed, so im gonna excuse myself saying im just practicing dispassion", or "i dont want to work, i dont know how to make a good income, so im just gonna say i feel dispassion towards money".

But its good when dispassion is developed towards the things that bind us ( example: "i used to hate this person and think about him a lot, but now its not a big deal, i dont feel passion towards that subject, i have more important things going on".

Renunciation its the only path?, it depends on how do you see that renunciation. For example, the Buddha praised right livelihood and being successful in your profession. Someone could say: that is not renunciation, that is acquisition... there is the wholesome and the unwholesome.

The highest form of dispassion comes from doing the meditation and seeing dependent origination.

Regards.
chownah
Posts: 9067
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: A question on renunciation

Post by chownah »

Dharmasherab wrote: Mon Apr 27, 2020 1:39 pm A friend of mine wanted to me to ask this question to get answers which would be helpful for him.

"I wanted to know how dispassion is best generated? What the right and wrong method is?
Whether exposure to the source of attachment combined with contemplation is just a trick or a legitimate process,
or if
renunciation is the only true path?"
I think that renunciation means that you have examined something and have discerned that that something does not help in your progress on your path so you have decided to not pursue it.....

I think that dispassion means the having discerned that that something does not help in your progress on your path you lose interest in it....you lose interest in pursuing that something.....

....so....I guess that renunciation and dispassion work together and that both are dependent on discerning........on discerning that something is not helping to attain a goal and that the goal is more important than whatever role that that something plays in your life.....of course the icing on the cake is when discernment shows that not only is that something not helping but when you also discern that it is working AGAINST attaining your goals....
chownah
beanyan
Posts: 288
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2020 12:21 am

Re: A question on renunciation

Post by beanyan »

Dharmasherab wrote: Mon Apr 27, 2020 1:39 pm A friend of mine wanted to me to ask this question to get answers which would be helpful for him.

"I wanted to know how dispassion is best generated? What the right and wrong method is?
Whether exposure to the source of attachment combined with contemplation is just a trick or a legitimate process,
or if
renunciation is the only true path?"
Doing a search for a sutta I half remembered, I found this instead:
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... el241.html

According to the commentary quoted by us, the snake feels disgust towards its old skin when the sloughing is not yet complete and parts of the old skin still adhere to its body. Similarly, the disgust felt towards residual attachments and defilements will give to the disciple an additional urgency in his struggle for final liberation. Such disgust is a symptom of his growing detachment. It is strengthened by an increasing awareness of the perils inherent in the uneliminated defilements — perils to oneself and to others. On seeing these perils, the whole misery of man's situation, the samsaric predicament, will gain for him increasing poignancy; and the more he progresses in mental training and moral refinement, the stronger his distaste will become for what is still unamenable in him to that training and refinement. Therefore the Buddha advised his son Rahula: "Make disgust strong in you" (Sutta Nipata, v.340). This disgust (nibbida) is often mentioned in the Buddhist scriptures as an aid as well as a phase on the road to full detachment. Thus among the eight insight knowledges the contemplation of disgust (nibbidanupassana) follows upon the awareness of the peril and misery in samsara, when formations of existence have become tasteless and insipid to the meditator. And in innumerable sutta passages the Buddha says that when the disciple sees the constituents of body and mind as impermanent, suffering and not self, he becomes disgusted with them; through his disgust he becomes dispassionate, and through dispassion he is liberated. The Noble Eightfold Path itself is extolled because it leads to complete disgust with worldliness, to dispassion, cessation, peace, direct[3] knowledge, enlightenment and Nibbana.

When insight is deepened and strengthened, what has been called here "disgust" (in rendering the Pali nibbida) loses the strong emotional tinge of aversion and revulsion. It manifests itself instead as a withdrawal, estrangement and turning away from worldliness and from the residue of one's own defilements. 4. Just as the snake, in its effort to throw off its old skin, uses as support a stone or the root of a tree, similarly, the teachers of old say that the striving disciple should make full use of the support of noble friendship in his efforts towards full liberation. A friend's watchful concern, his wise counsel and his inspiring example may well be of decisive help in the arduous work of freeing oneself from the burdensome encumbrance of passions, frailties and tenacious habits.
JohnK
Posts: 1199
Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2016 11:06 pm
Location: Tetons, Wyoming, USA

Re: A question on renunciation

Post by JohnK »

Perhaps what Bhikkhu Bodhi says about renunciation will be helpful.
This is from https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... toend.html
The Intention of Renunciation

The Buddha describes his teaching as running contrary to the way of the world. The way of the world is the way of desire, and the unenlightened who follow this way flow with the current of desire, seeking happiness by pursuing the objects in which they imagine they will find fulfillment. The Buddha's message of renunciation states exactly the opposite: the pull of desire is to be resisted and eventually abandoned. Desire is to be abandoned not because it is morally evil but because it is a root of suffering.[17] Thus renunciation, turning away from craving and its drive for gratification, becomes the key to happiness, to freedom from the hold of attachment.

The Buddha does not demand that everyone leave the household life for the monastery or ask his followers to discard all sense enjoyments on the spot. The degree to which a person renounces depends on his or her disposition and situation. But what remains as a guiding principle is this: that the attainment of deliverance requires the complete eradication of craving, and progress along the path is accelerated to the extent that one overcomes craving. Breaking free from domination by desire may not be easy, but the difficulty does not abrogate the necessity. Since craving is the origin of dukkha, putting an end to dukkha depends on eliminating craving, and that involves directing the mind to renunciation.

But it is just at this point, when one tries to let go of attachment, that one encounters a powerful inner resistance. The mind does not want to relinquish its hold on the objects to which it has become attached. For such a long time it has been accustomed to gaining, grasping, and holding, that it seems impossible to break these habits by an act of will. One might agree to the need for renunciation, might want to leave attachment behind, but when the call is actually sounded the mind recoils and continues to move in the grip of its desires.

So the problem arises of how to break the shackles of desire. The Buddha does not offer as a solution the method of repression — the attempt to drive desire away with a mind full of fear and loathing. This approach does not resolve the problem but only pushes it below the surface, where it continues to thrive. The tool the Buddha holds out to free the mind from desire is understanding. Real renunciation is not a matter of compelling ourselves to give up things still inwardly cherished, but of changing our perspective on them so that they no longer bind us. When we understand the nature of desire, when we investigate it closely with keen attention, desire falls away by itself, without need for struggle.

To understand desire in such a way that we can loosen its hold, we need to see that desire is invariably bound up with dukkha. The whole phenomenon of desire, with its cycle of wanting and gratification, hangs on our way of seeing things. We remain in bondage to desire because we see it as our means to happiness. If we can look at desire from a different angle, its force will be abated, resulting in the move towards renunciation. What is needed to alter perception is something called "wise consideration" (yoniso manasikara). Just as perception influences thought, so thought can influence perception. Our usual perceptions are tinged with "unwise consideration" (ayoniso manasikara). We ordinarily look only at the surfaces of things, scan them in terms of our immediate interests and wants; only rarely do we dig into the roots of our involvements or explore their long-range consequences. To set this straight calls for wise consideration: looking into the hidden undertones to our actions, exploring their results, evaluating the worthiness of our goals. In this investigation our concern must not be with what is pleasant but with what is true. We have to be prepared and willing to discover what is true even at the cost of our comfort. For real security always lies on the side of truth, not on the side of comfort.

When desire is scrutinized closely, we find that it is constantly shadowed by dukkha. Sometimes dukkha appears as pain or irritation; often it lies low as a constant strain of discontent. But the two — desire and dukkha — are inseparable concomitants. We can confirm this for ourselves by considering the whole cycle of desire. At the moment desire springs up it creates in us a sense of lack, the pain of want. To end this pain we struggle to fulfill the desire. If our effort fails, we experience frustration, disappointment, sometimes despair. But even the pleasure of success is not unqualified. We worry that we might lose the ground we have gained. We feel driven to secure our position, to safeguard our territory, to gain more, to rise higher, to establish tighter controls. The demands of desire seem endless, and each desire demands the eternal: it wants the things we get to last forever. But all the objects of desire are impermanent. Whether it be wealth, power, position, or other persons, separation is inevitable, and the pain that accompanies separation is proportional to the force of attachment: strong attachment brings much suffering; little attachment brings little suffering; no attachment brings no suffering.[18]

Contemplating the dukkha inherent in desire is one way to incline the mind to renunciation. Another way is to contemplate directly the benefits flowing from renunciation. To move from desire to renunciation is not, as might be imagined, to move from happiness to grief, from abundance to destitution. It is to pass from gross, entangling pleasures to an exalted happiness and peace, from a condition of servitude to one of self-mastery. Desire ultimately breeds fear and sorrow, but renunciation gives fearlessness and joy. It promotes the accomplishment of all three stages of the threefold training: it purifies conduct, aids concentration, and nourishes the seed of wisdom. The entire course of practice from start to finish can in fact be seen as an evolving process of renunciation culminating in Nibbana as the ultimate stage of relinquishment, "the relinquishing of all foundations of existence" (sabb'upadhipatinissagga).

When we methodically contemplate the dangers of desire and the benefits of renunciation, gradually we steer our mind away from the domination of desire. Attachments are shed like the leaves of a tree, naturally and spontaneously. The changes do not come suddenly, but when there is persistent practice, there is no doubt that they will come. Through repeated contemplation one thought knocks away another, the intention of renunciation dislodges the intention of desire.
Those who grasp at perceptions & views wander the internet creating friction. [based on Sn4:9,v.847]
befriend
Posts: 1716
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:39 am

Re: A question on renunciation

Post by befriend »

Seeing impermanence of everything you see the Dukkha of everything and your mind sees clinging or wanting as hellish. Cultivating spiritual pleasure reduces greed, charity is also considered non greed also contemplating the drawbacks of sense pleasures leads to dispassion and reflection on asubha contemplating the 32 parts of your body reduces lust for sexuality.
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.
Post Reply