Understanding Renunciation (or Let Go, Let Dharma)

by Peter Carlson on February 1, 2018

This talk explored the meaning and practice of nekkhamma, renunciation, an important capability to cultivate on the path of Awakening.  Renunciation is manifest in the various “12 Step” groups as “Let Go, Let God”; this was rephrased as “Let Go, Let Dharma”, and involves the intentional turning away of attention on whatever mental process that is conditioned by greed, hatred and ignorance.  Peter talked of two “layers” of renunciation: The first involves renouncing intrusive unwholesome thoughts and impulsive reactivity, particularly involving the five hindrances, and the second involves the practice of vipassana (insight) for seeing through the misconception of an autonomous, enduring self, that is, the process of “selfing” that is the result of craving and clinging.  He emphasized the critical importance of the fundamental practice of noticing whatever interrupts mindfulness of breathing and then letting go of that distraction and redirecting attention back to the breath sensations, as this routine trains the mind in the practice of renunciation. Peter also asked participants to contemplate two issues involving renunciation: First, renouncing whatever interferes with establishing a daily meditation practice, and second, renouncing whatever interferes with the cultivation of the process of Awakening, either during meditation practice or during one’s daily life routines.  This was followed by a longer than usual discussion of the value of renunciation and ways to cultivate it.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Understanding Renunciation

Here is a worksheet that can support the contemplation the two issues involving renunciation:  RENUNCIATION WORKSHEET

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