Simplicity is the soul of wit

The word “renunciation” scares us. It is being understood as deprivation, something we would like to have but due to circumstances is out of reach for us.In the Buddhist context however we are using this word for a completely different concept. Well, we don’t speak of concepts. For us, renunciation is a basis. I see I need to explain this term a bit further.

In the Buddhadharma we are talking of view, meditation and action. This triad is our guide on the path just as much its direct instruction to our spiritual development, our own happiness. Not the samsaric, punctual happiness but lasting, encompassing contentment which if pursued with the according effort and appropriate means promotes our path to enlightenment. Our three turbo boosters sort to say.

I would like to go into view a bit. Without renouncing samsara, the ongoing imprisonment in one’s own disturbing emotions which means having firmly made up one’s mind to grow out of this pattern of never ending actions and reactions in thoughts, words and deeds, our spiritual practice, no matter how basic or advanced the methods we are using, will NEVER lead us out of this very (vicious) circle. If we intend to continue living our lives just as so far and not give up on nothing and just do a bit of practice in our spare time then we should not be astonished to realize we are moving on the spot, marking the time and do not progress at all. This is all the more true as I get to face increasingly more people involved in the practice of Mahamudra, Dzogchen and the like but simply continue as before. And I see more and more people who seem not “to be on the scent” and really start to “crack up”. Using porfound methods of transformation without their underlying renounciation well has the potential to bring to surface exactly that. It is comparable with getting a gastric band in order to lose weight but from then onwards only having cream and getting increasingly desperate about not getting any closer to our aim. This case truly exists!

Outer renunciaton is relatively simple. We let go of the things that unnecessarily complicate our lives in order to have more time and space for spiritual practice. Instead of letting our thoughts go mental about bigger second and third cars we delight in one set of wheels since a care in reality is nothing but that –  a vehicle to get us from A to B. Instead of following just any trend when it comes to fashion, nutrition, fitness, just a random list, we recognize our real needs in order for our lives to be as ethical as possible and refrain from unnecessary ballast.

Inner renuciation however gets to the root of things. We are not being seduced by outer things rather soley our disturbing emotions. As mentioned before, a car is but a set of wheels to get from A to B. But once our greed, jealousy, our pride and our attachment, etc. kick in  then the thought through pile of metal, plastic, glas and so much more turns into our object of desire. This very aim we want to achieve which, once reached is being exchanged for the next bigger one immediately. Our greed is immeasurable.

Once we renounce inwardly we firmly decide to pull the rug under our own inherent demons piece by piece. Inner renunciation however direly needs outer renunciation as a basis! It builds upon outer renunciation and we should not fool ourselves thinking it was just something for beginners.

So renunciation becomes this joyful decision to assume responsibility for one self and the own thoughts, words and deeds and to act for the benefit of all, not only humans or animals or certain groups but for all living beings, for their happiness and contentment. To really get active. Nice words won’t do. So many people read books of the greatest Buddhist masters, received instructions for the most sacred practice but pursue all that from the distanced standpoint of a reconnaissant Westerner refusing to do things from the heart, rather doing just anything exclusively with the intellect.

In order to conclude that dharma just does not work and was at best a “noble idea for idealists” where else oneself preferred to remain realist, conceding the own neurosis to actually be the better companions as being calculable entities.

If we want to practice the dharma we simply cannot without renouncing. Without recognizing that nothing is as it seems and truth is not a byable good we will continue to run in the hamster wheel like a racing mouse or simply move on the stand.

Out of renucnication whole movements were born, cities relying on bicycles and public transport instead of excessive autoways, the tiny house movement where people sell their big houses in order to live in micro ones, urban gardening and so much more. Renunciation is socially acceptable, environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Renunication is wonderfl. It is our chance for plentitude. Our fountain of youth in joy.

Simplicitiy is the soul of wit. In thoughts, words and deeds.

Chöje Lama Palmo