Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 04/25/2010

Nekkhamma

If, by forsaking
a limited ease,
he would see
an abundance of ease,
the enlightened man
would forsake
the limited ease
for the sake
of the abundant.

-Dhammapada 290

I’m not entirely sure why but I find myself attracted to renunciation time and again in my practice. Perhaps it’s a misplaced machismo but I do find that I draw inspiration and energy from making aditthana to renounce certain sense pleasures. As such, this is probably the reason why I have such an affinity for the uposatha precepts. Time and again I am brought face to face with the tragic absurdity of my attachments to myriad sense pleasures simply through the practice of renunciation. And it can be as simple as taking up a practice of eating two meals a day which is what I’ve recently begun to do. It’s not incredibly difficult but it does help to clarify those instances when I would reach for a taste simply to distract myself or for intoxication. It has been tremendously interesting to see the way the mind rebels at the imposition of such a comparatively easy practice and seems to me to be a great way to train skillfully before making larger commitments to renunciation. And here is a nice piece mentioned by my friend at our weekly sutta discussion group:

, together with Tapussa the householder, went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: “Tapussa the householder, here, has said to me, ‘Venerable Ananda, sir, we are householders who indulge in sensuality, delight in sensuality, enjoy sensuality, rejoice in sensuality. For us — indulging in sensuality, delighting in sensuality, enjoying sensuality, rejoicing in sensuality — renunciation seems like a sheer drop-off. Yet I’ve heard that in this doctrine & discipline the hearts of the very young monks leap up at renunciation, grow confident, steadfast, & firm, seeing it as peace. So right here is where this doctrine & discipline is contrary to the great mass of people: i.e., [this issue of] renunciation.'”

“So it is, Ananda. So it is. Even I myself, before my Awakening, when I was still an unawakened Bodhisatta, thought: ‘Renunciation is good. Seclusion is good.’ But my heart didn’t leap up at renunciation, didn’t grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace. The thought occurred to me: ‘What is the cause, what is the reason, why my heart doesn’t leap up at renunciation, doesn’t grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace?’ Then the thought occurred to me: ‘I haven’t seen the drawback of sensual pleasures; I haven’t pursued [that theme]. I haven’t understood the reward of renunciation; I haven’t familiarized myself with it. That’s why my heart doesn’t leap up at renunciation, doesn’t grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace.’

“Then the thought occurred to me: ‘If, having seen the drawback of sensual pleasures, I were to pursue that theme; and if, having understood the reward of renunciation, I were to familiarize myself with it, there’s the possibility that my heart would leap up at renunciation, grow confident, steadfast, & firm, seeing it as peace.’

“So at a later time, having seen the drawback of sensual pleasures, I pursued that theme; having understood the reward of renunciation, I familiarized myself with it. My heart leaped up at renunciation, grew confident, steadfast, & firm, seeing it as peace. Then, quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities, I entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation…”

-Anguttara Nikaya 9.4

Source:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/nekkhamma/index.html


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