About renouncing and contentment

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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mjaviem
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About renouncing and contentment

Post by mjaviem »

Hi. I'd like to ask you about what is renouncing and what is contentment.

Because I can understand it's beneficial to renounce to things that make damage or hurt like cigarettes, or alcohol, or overeating, or acting selfishly, etc.

I also believe I can see the benefit of renouncing to having things that are not really necessary. If you can not get them this is a source of suffering and it's better to abandon that desire for them. And if you can get them they won't give you the lasting satisfaction you are after. In both cases there's no point in pursuing them. The example could be desiring exotic meals, or wishing to have trendy gadgets and garments, etc. Unnecessary things are not worth pursuing them when reflecting a little on it. Same for waiting for a movie, or a book or a videogame. That waiting is only suffering and on the opening or launch day, the movie, book, or videogame are not going to be as complete and fullfiling as one was expecting them to be.

The same goes for going after things that are hard to achieve (like willing to be the governor, willing to get your own TV show or to play for the national football team, or to get a yacht, etc.). If you don't get them you'll suffer and if you do get them you'll probably still suffer because it might be painful to get there and painful to keep there and painful to lose that hard to achieve things.

But what about things you do need but can not get? I can imagine someone living in a bad part of town who can not leave the place, or an elder living in a depressing elderly nursing home not being able to move to a better place, or someone with no means to get quality education in an area of their interest, or someone doing a job not of their liking and not being able to get a better one, or someone that can not give their children useful things for their welfare (e.g., good clothing, quality food, education, or a car when it happens to be necessary). How to be content on these situations? What about keep at looking for a change when it seems it is not possible?

I'm trying to understand the teaching about not getting and not becoming. How should this path of letting go be developed, because I do believe it's the right path but I don't get the full meaning of renouncing and contentment.
Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammā Sambuddhassa
befriend
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Re: About renouncing and contentment

Post by befriend »

Speaking on contentment, one monk said one should be content with good mind body and speech. Renunciation is the view that hedonism or addictiveness to sense pleasures is not a valid path to happiness nor is its opposite self mortification. Renunciation can also mean non clinging to anything meaning in meditation we watch everything come and go it hurts to try and make things last longer or push them away. Also renunciation is about acceptance of whatever arises The acronym RAIN recognize or label what has arisen "unpleasant sensation" "pain" "greed" accepting it as opposed to aversion pushing it away and investigating it, being with it with curiosity and compassion and then Non identifying happens naturally as a result of the prior three methods.
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.
sunnat
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Post by sunnat »

When one clings to the intellect as a route to wisdom, true knowledge, insight, understanding, and the like, anicca as 'constant change' is less desirable than anicca as 'impermanence'.


It's easy to think up examples of things being impermanent.


To perceive, to actually see by meditating in the present moment, moment to moment, the constant decomposition of all composed things, including thought, the training is to maintain continuous awareness of truth.


Thus, renunciation is not about giving up things but it is about becoming aware of the feelings, sensations, that arise in relation to things considered mine, me, my self.


Abandoning things, generosity, renunciating things is a vehicle that expedites the awareness in relation to clinging.


As a result there is contentment.
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mjaviem
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Re: About renouncing and contentment

Post by mjaviem »

befriend wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 5:52 pm Speaking on contentment, one monk said one should be content with good mind body and speech...
That's a good way to see contentment! Thank you.
befriend wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 5:52 pm ... Renunciation is the view that hedonism or addictiveness to sense pleasures is not a valid path to happiness nor is its opposite self mortification...
So one renounces to seek pleasure (or pain) as a mean to happiness. Good. But I wonder what about bad situations one can't change. How to find contentment in those situations and whether one should renounce to the aspiration of a change as a mean to find peace.
befriend wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 5:52 pm ... Renunciation can also mean non clinging to anything meaning in meditation we watch everything come and go it hurts to try and make things last longer or push them away. Also renunciation is about acceptance of whatever arises The acronym RAIN recognize or label what has arisen "unpleasant sensation" "pain" "greed" accepting it as opposed to aversion pushing it away and investigating it, being with it with curiosity and compassion and then Non identifying happens naturally as a result of the prior three methods.
I see. But this time I'm more interested about renunciation as an attitude rather than as a part of meditation practice. In meditation means to me that you are developing tranquillity and insight but I wonder what about life challenges.
Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammā Sambuddhassa
pegembara
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Re: About renouncing and contentment

Post by pegembara »

mjaviem wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 3:36 pm Hi. I'd like to ask you about what is renouncing and what is contentment.

Because I can understand it's beneficial to renounce to things that make damage or hurt like cigarettes, or alcohol, or overeating, or acting selfishly, etc.

I also believe I can see the benefit of renouncing to having things that are not really necessary. If you can not get them this is a source of suffering and it's better to abandon that desire for them. And if you can get them they won't give you the lasting satisfaction you are after. In both cases there's no point in pursuing them. The example could be desiring exotic meals, or wishing to have trendy gadgets and garments, etc. Unnecessary things are not worth pursuing them when reflecting a little on it. Same for waiting for a movie, or a book or a videogame. That waiting is only suffering and on the opening or launch day, the movie, book, or videogame are not going to be as complete and fullfiling as one was expecting them to be.

The same goes for going after things that are hard to achieve (like willing to be the governor, willing to get your own TV show or to play for the national football team, or to get a yacht, etc.). If you don't get them you'll suffer and if you do get them you'll probably still suffer because it might be painful to get there and painful to keep there and painful to lose that hard to achieve things.

But what about things you do need but can not get? I can imagine someone living in a bad part of town who can not leave the place, or an elder living in a depressing elderly nursing home not being able to move to a better place, or someone with no means to get quality education in an area of their interest, or someone doing a job not of their liking and not being able to get a better one, or someone that can not give their children useful things for their welfare (e.g., good clothing, quality food, education, or a car when it happens to be necessary). How to be content on these situations? What about keep at looking for a change when it seems it is not possible?

I'm trying to understand the teaching about not getting and not becoming. How should this path of letting go be developed, because I do believe it's the right path but I don't get the full meaning of renouncing and contentment.
For laypeople, what you can renounce are things that you don't need, things that are harmful and things that causes unnecessary stress.

Poverty, lack of opportunities, being sick are also stressful. Better to be rich and depressed than being poor and depressed!
No one owes you a living especially in Western countries. Each individual has to struggle in the pursuit of "happiness".
In Buddhist countries, one can renounce the household life and enter the monastic life with support from the laypeople.
The one is living on alms food, shelter, clothing and medicines, the four requisites of a bhikkhu.
In return one is required to keep the 227 vinaya rules.

In my opinion the ultimate renouncing comes when one is either terminally ill or very old. Your health, education, position, family are all going to be taken away. That is the fate of kings and beggars alike. When anicca, dukkha, and anatta are clearly seen, the job of giving up these things becomes easier. There is more contentment or as Ajahn Chah would say ... the cup that you hold in your hand is already broken. You can use it and enjoy it with that understanding.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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mjaviem
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Re: About renouncing and contentment

Post by mjaviem »

pegembara wrote: Fri Jun 04, 2021 1:37 am ...
Poverty, lack of opportunities, being sick are also stressful... Each individual has to struggle in the pursuit of "happiness".
...
But how to diminish that stress. Is it possible to be poor but happy? To be ccntent having no opportunities? To be sick without the stress? What is the right way to struggle for happiness? What is worth doing and what is better left aside?
Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammā Sambuddhassa
pegembara
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Re: About renouncing and contentment

Post by pegembara »

mjaviem wrote: Fri Jun 04, 2021 3:55 am
pegembara wrote: Fri Jun 04, 2021 1:37 am ...
Poverty, lack of opportunities, being sick are also stressful... Each individual has to struggle in the pursuit of "happiness".
...
But how to diminish that stress. Is it possible to be poor but happy? To be ccntent having no opportunities? To be sick without the stress? What is the right way to struggle for happiness? What is worth doing and what is better left aside?
There are definitely individuals who are contented with little. It all depends on their circumstances and they don't even have to be "Buddhists".
To each their own depending on their own levels.
Many deities and men, yearning after good,
have pondered on Blessings.
Pray, tell me the Supreme Blessing.
Not to associate with fools,
to associate with the wise,
and honour those who are worthy of honour;
this is Blessing Supreme.
To live in a suitable locality,
to have done meritorious actions in the past,
and to have set oneself on the right course (towards emancipation);
this is Blessing Supreme.
Vast-learning, perfect handicraft,
a highly trained discipline
and pleasant speech;
this is Blessing Supreme.


To be respectful,[13] humble, contented and grateful; and to listen to the Dhamma on due occasions[14] — this is the greatest blessing.

To be patient and obedient, to associate with monks and to have religious discussions on due occasions — this is the greatest blessing.

Self-restraint,[15] a holy and chaste life, the perception of the Noble Truths and the realisation of Nibbana — this is the greatest blessing.

A mind unruffled by the vagaries of fortune,[16] from sorrow freed, from defilements cleansed, from fear liberated[17] — this is the greatest blessing.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .nara.html
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
SarathW
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Re: About renouncing and contentment

Post by SarathW »

It appears that the renouncing is a gradual practice from gross to subtle.
Observing five precepts, Eight and Ten precepts, Practicing Brhama Vihara Practicing Dana etc are at more grosser level.
Subtle renouncing seems the giving up self identity.
It is also important to note that rules for monks and lay people are different.
It appears that OP mixed up these two.
If you are a lay person live like a lay person enjoying the life with right lively hood.

In the practice of renunciation, three stages may be distinguished. First of all, there is outward renunciation, as when a man or woman leaves the household life to become a monk or a nun. Outward renunciation has no intrinsic value, and may theoretically be dispensed with, but there is no doubt that it makes true renunciation very much easier. True renunciation is a matter of the heart and mind rather than the body. It is renunciation of the world of desires and aversions within, rather than of the world of "objects" without. Finally, there is the ultimate renunciation, which is the renunciation of one's "self" in its entirety, and the consequent destruction of all ill.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... bl036.html
Last edited by SarathW on Fri Jun 04, 2021 5:41 am, edited 2 times in total.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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Tennok
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Re: About renouncing and contentment

Post by Tennok »

But how to diminish that stress. Is it possible to be poor but happy? To be ccntent having no opportunities? To be sick without the stress? What is the right way to struggle for happiness? What is worth doing and what is better left aside?
I often struggled with this paradox...that I have to pursue so many unwholesome things, just in order to survive and provide to others. I think that' where the topic of right livehood comes in. It's easier to be happy with little things and have little tanha, if your daily life&profession is humble and decent. For example, i used to work for the media, entertainment. Very stresfull, narcistic and competetive einvorment. And it was very difficult for me to be serious about Dhamma in such crazy place, where we were actually supposed to generate more and more tanha nad dukha. The passions. I even stopped meditating for a while. That's a main problem with a world, it's so busy with creating more dukkha.

Right now I try to be happy with less...doing more wholesome jobs...but generating dukkha was much better paid :shrug:

Ultimately Damma is about renouncing and letting go of everything. All pleasures, desires and longings. All attachments toward those you love, that's hard for a lay person, almost impossible. All identifications, especially atta. Even the Damma itself. You don't carry the raft with you, once you ve reached the other side. I seriosly recommend you "Heartwood of the Bodhi Tree" by Ven. Buddhadasa, it's a great book about those things. Real hardcore.

http://www.buddhadasa.org/files/pdf/Hea ... hadasa.pdf
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Re: About renouncing and contentment

Post by confusedlayman »

SarathW wrote: Fri Jun 04, 2021 5:15 am It appears that the renouncing is a gradual practice from gross to subtle.
Observing five precepts, Eight and Ten precepts, Practicing Brhama Vihara Practicing Dana etc are at more grosser level.
Subtle renouncing seems the giving up self identity.
It is also important to note that rules for monks and lay people are different.
It appears that OP mixed up these two.
If you are a lay person live like a lay person enjoying the life with right lively hood.

In the practice of renunciation, three stages may be distinguished. First of all, there is outward renunciation, as when a man or woman leaves the household life to become a monk or a nun. Outward renunciation has no intrinsic value, and may theoretically be dispensed with, but there is no doubt that it makes true renunciation very much easier. True renunciation is a matter of the heart and mind rather than the body. It is renunciation of the world of desires and aversions within, rather than of the world of "objects" without. Finally, there is the ultimate renunciation, which is the renunciation of one's "self" in its entirety, and the consequent destruction of all ill.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... bl036.html
if lay people give up self view, can they work hard and be top in world competition of racing to be top ?
I may be slow learner but im at least learning...
SarathW
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Re: About renouncing and contentment

Post by SarathW »

confusedlayman wrote: Fri Jun 04, 2021 6:19 am
SarathW wrote: Fri Jun 04, 2021 5:15 am It appears that the renouncing is a gradual practice from gross to subtle.
Observing five precepts, Eight and Ten precepts, Practicing Brhama Vihara Practicing Dana etc are at more grosser level.
Subtle renouncing seems the giving up self identity.
It is also important to note that rules for monks and lay people are different.
It appears that OP mixed up these two.
If you are a lay person live like a lay person enjoying the life with right lively hood.

In the practice of renunciation, three stages may be distinguished. First of all, there is outward renunciation, as when a man or woman leaves the household life to become a monk or a nun. Outward renunciation has no intrinsic value, and may theoretically be dispensed with, but there is no doubt that it makes true renunciation very much easier. True renunciation is a matter of the heart and mind rather than the body. It is renunciation of the world of desires and aversions within, rather than of the world of "objects" without. Finally, there is the ultimate renunciation, which is the renunciation of one's "self" in its entirety, and the consequent destruction of all ill.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... bl036.html
if lay people give up self view, can they work hard and be top in world competition of racing to be top ?
In my opinion, when you eliminate self-view ( say Sotapanna) you will act more profitable and efficient way.
You will be naturally pushed to the top.
I can recall many instances that people asked me to contest for the local council and student union seen that I just work selflessly to benefit the local community and students' affairs even though I did not accept those invitations.
You are walking to the top, not over others' dead bodies but you are walking along with others.
For instance, say Nelson Mandella or Abraham Lincoln. (they are not even Sotapanna)
If you are a Sotapanna, you will be very successful in your job.


I understand that your concern with the modern world that people are using drugs etc to win competitive sports. But at the same time, they destroy the life of themselves and others.
The top of the world for the Sotapanna is not the same as the top of the world for Puthujana.
Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about Buddhism.
Many think that Buddhism is a very negative religion but it is one of the most positive thinking religions.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
asahi
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Re: About renouncing and contentment

Post by asahi »

SarathW wrote: Fri Jun 04, 2021 7:10 am Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about Buddhism.
Many think that Buddhism is a very negative religion but it is one of the most positive thinking religions.
This we cant blame the peoples , buddhism discourage peoples from pursuing worldly things instead encourage them to let go and renounce . Both path are in opposite direction .
SarathW
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Re: About renouncing and contentment

Post by SarathW »

asahi wrote: Fri Jun 04, 2021 7:22 am
SarathW wrote: Fri Jun 04, 2021 7:10 am Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about Buddhism.
Many think that Buddhism is a very negative religion but it is one of the most positive thinking religions.
This we cant blame the peoples , buddhism discourage peoples from pursuing worldly things instead encourage them to let go and renounce . Both path are in opposite direction .
You are mistaken. People are mixing up the advice given to monks with lay people.
The biggest problem is people do not understand the true Buddist teaching.
she asked the king to have a grand pavilion built. Next, she asked for five hundred white umbrellas and five hundred tame elephants; those five hundred elephants were to hold the five hundred white umbrellas over the five hundred bhikkhus. In the middle of the pavilion, they kept ten boats which were filled with perfumes and incense. There were also two hundred and fifty princesses, who kept fanning the five hundred bhikkhus.
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=24377&p=350409&hilit=
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
asahi
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Re: About renouncing and contentment

Post by asahi »

SarathW wrote: Fri Jun 04, 2021 7:32 am
You are mistaken. People are mixing up the advice given to monks with lay people.
The biggest problem is people do not understand the true Buddist teaching.
Well , all the teachings advise buddhist to practice sila samadhi panna in gradual order . Generosity means letting go . If your aims is to let go why accumulate more and more wealth ? At the end of the day , buddhists are suppose to strive for liberation , not in this life , but maybe in some future life .

:roll:
SarathW
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Re: About renouncing and contentment

Post by SarathW »

asahi wrote: Fri Jun 04, 2021 10:21 am
SarathW wrote: Fri Jun 04, 2021 7:32 am
You are mistaken. People are mixing up the advice given to monks with lay people.
The biggest problem is people do not understand the true Buddist teaching.
Well , all the teachings advise buddhist to practice sila samadhi panna in gradual order . Generosity means letting go . If your aims is to let go why accumulate more and more wealth ? At the end of the day , buddhists are suppose to strive for liberation , not in this life , but maybe in some future life .

:roll:
You give up wealth only when you want to become a monk.
Buddha encourages people to create wealth and be rich.
If you are poor how can you give?
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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