When I first started reading up on Buddhism, this word, renunciation, really had me perplexed.
Defined very simply, renunciation is the act of renouncing. Renouncing something is to refuse it, or better yet, to abandon it completely. This is what frightened me. I thought being a Buddhist meant I had to give up everything, maybe this is where you are at to.
That’s far from the truth though. Buddhism isn’t asking us to give everything up, to pack it up and leave life behind. What Buddhism is asking us is to get rid of the bull, to detach from the harmful objects or states of mind that keep us stuck.
The concept behind this is, without the object of attachment, our grasping will lessen thus allowing us to offer ourselves up to things our minds wouldn’t normally be open to.
By renouncing “me” for instance, this opens us up to truly see there is a “we”. We can begin to see the the separate life we lead is not so separate after all, that our actions not only affect ourselves, but affect those around us locally and globally.
I don’t want to get to far off topic, so the “me” and “we” column will come another time. The whole point is, renunciation doesn’t mean our life is over, it means our life can finally begin! All in all, renunciation means to just let go.
My intention with these “Buddhist Buzzword” columns is to break down the words that confused me, in hopes to dispel your confusion. I am no expert, even after a few years of practice, I am still a newbie. My word is not gold, hell it’s barely iron pyrite. These are just my interpretations and I hope that, if anything, they are of some help to you.