Last Saturday was the anniversary day (lunar calendar) commemorating the renunciation of Avalokitesvara (kuanyin) in Chinese Buddhism.
In buddhism, renunciation is importamt for spiritual development because we reposition our focus towards inner happiness instead of mindless pursuit for external stimuli.
It marks the point in time when we realised that all the mundane stuff that we are fighting for is going to be impermanent; ULTIMATELY.
For a lay person, I guess it means taking stock of life and deciding how we want to live and spend our time.
Renunciation means to let go. This practice is relevant and useful in our daily life.
In a world where we are taught to grasp, to fight for mundane stuff, renunciation becomes a good cure when we find ourselves trapped in a corner.
I find the practice of renunciation useful in the following situation.
When I have trouble falling asleep due to anxiety or simply an overactive mind, renunciation helps.
I remind myself that all the worries and exciting situations in life is impermanent. There is no point getting too worked up. I imagine giving it all up. Just like letting go of all the shopping bags! Time to rest. Since renunciation is a noble virtue, there is no shame in letting go. Should be proud that I can let it go. Then I am at peace and can fall asleep.
During our day, relationships are the stuff that has most impact on my mental state. What people say or do to me, affects me. It can be our colleagues, friends, family or lover. In Buddhism, the practice of renunciation regarding a relationship is foremost focused on renouncing our ego. We learn to not take ourselves too seriously. Let go of our self centred approach to life.
We learn to be accommodating and flexible. Especially not to take things to heart with our love ones. Nevermind , let it be.
Next is the walking out part.
Buddha never say we should mindlessly submit ourselves to a toxic relation. Or worse still, an abusive one (Unless we are trying to be a saint of tolerance or patience)
Being an ordinary guy next door, I know my limit. When nothing works out, it is fine to walk away. Renounce it. No shame.
But remember, renunciation is without hatred. The love is still there, maybe an altruistic love. We just let go of the situation. Renunciation.
we should never never never renounce life by committing suicide. That is ignorance because death is not the end of sufferings. We only make our situation worse in our next rebirth. The correct way to renounce life is to gain enlightenment. That way, we gain an exit from the craziness of samsara. Therefore renunciation requires wisdom. We have to differentiate what is good renunciation and bad escapism.
We can also train to let go of unwholesome deeds and habits. Behaviour that harm us. We have to rewire our belief and understand that we are a constant evolving entity. Not only in this life, but since many lifetimes past. With conscious determination, we can gradually build up courage to let go of bad habits. When we build up strength in letting go, we become flexible to changes. Let go of the attachment in who we believe we are. That opens up a vast field of opportunity.
Let go of our attachment to past situations. What is past is past. By grasping on to the past we are imprisoned by our past. So we have to let go our our habit to think about the past.
Next we have to let go of fantasizing the future. A mind that is trapped in fantasy is living in illusion. Likewise we have to let go of such bad mental habit.
So letting go is like cutting lose a kite string. That is the 1st step towards freedom.
It needs a ton of courage.
If we can’t do it immediately, we can start small.
For me, I guess I need to start by letting go of my attachment to a cup of coffee after lunch. Starting small…..