In tibetan buddhism, renunciation is best translated as “emergence from false refuge”. Now as you may know, when you commit to buddhism you also commit to taking refuge in The Three Treasures: the Buddha, the Dharma, the Sangha. 

So what does it mean to take refuge in anything? What does emergence mean?

Life has many demands, many trials, and many issues. Refuge is where we go to relax, be ourselves, and be happy. This could be eating a home-cooked meal, watching your favorite TV show, or smoking some herb. However, these are all always temporary relief from the storm of life. Sooner or later all the food is eaten, the show ends, and the bowl gets kicked. 

That is false refuge. False refuge is any sort of relief from life that is only temporary. But there are eternal refuges that are at your disposal. Buddhism’s Three Jewels are an example. If you let them, the Buddha, his teachings, and the spiritual community can become permanent sources of refuge that you carry at every moment. 

Renunciation, therefore, is not the cessation or condemnation of the activities of false refuge. By all means, enjoy a good TV show or your favorite poison. But don’t depend on them for true happiness and freedom. If permanent freedom is of your liking, then you must emerge from false refuge. 

Seek shelter in the permanent. As the old hindu prayer goes:

Lead me from the unreal to the Real
Lead me from the darkness to the Light 
Lead me from the temporary to the Eternal 

Find your true refuge, and then depend on nothing else.

Namaste. :)

2 years ago
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