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Fundamentals of the Dharma: Renunciation

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Teacher: Rodney Smith
Date: 2012-06-26
Venue: Seattle Insight Meditation Center



Our culture has made renunciation into an austerity rather than a virtue, a contraction rather than openness. The word has the negative connotation of self-deprivation when it really means releasing ourselves from what binds us. We are usually willing to release any constraints that do not serve our greater intentions. Simplicity is the natural result of renunciation, but simplicity is not an austerity. It is not forced, but rather is the natural clearing away when everything in excess has been eliminated. Ultimately we simply renounce our separation and live life from that view and intention.


Practice letting go (renouncing) this week. Instead of figuring out, reflecting on, thinking about, projecting out, indulging in, or dwelling on, simply release and renounce the thoughts as unnecessary. Start by practicing this for one hour a day.  Say to yourself, “There is nothing more valuable than awareness for this hour.” Relax, ground yourself in your body, release the need to indulge in thinking, and welcome in awareness. Make it a formal practice outside of your sitting meditation, and as the week goes on expand the time. As the practice becomes more natural notice the qualitative difference between this time being aware and the time you spend thinking. Nothing will change until we see the benefit of living in awareness.


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