Memorable Quote: In renunciation, I am not “forcing” myself to do something, but “adding” more mindfulness and awareness to my life.
Synopsis: Renunciation is out of style these days, Aya Santacitta tells us. Renunciation, in a way, is the opposite of pursuing sensual desire. Being free from addiction and desire is very important to our practice. When we are driven by desire, this is a difficult way to live, as it brings a lot of fear and restlessness into our lives. We cannot bring about the end of desire through fulfilling them; we can only tame our desires from stepping away from them. We need to find safety, under the ground of our feet, not continually go towards things we want and fight against those things that we don’t.
At root, these desires and aversions build up our notion of “me,” and “mine.” When we have enough courage, we can start to open up and get to be good friends with our selves, get to know it well, and help it to dissolve. At that point, the ups and downs of life can start to be seen as an impersonal process, a process of conditions and causes. Sometimes our biggest obstacle can be our addiction to having desires, as that gives us solidity, and makes us feel like we have something to do and that we are “somebody.” Maybe the most difficult thing to renounce is our attachment to having desires in the first place.
I like: I deeply appreciate her emphasis on the freedom that comes with renunciation, and freeing ourselves from the shackle of desire.
I wish: I wish she said more about exactly what we need to renounce. I imagine she has pretty particular things in mind.
More about the speaker: Ayya Santacittā has practiced meditation since 1988. Her first teacher was Ajahn Buddhadasa, who sparked her interest in Buddhist monastic life. She has trained as a nun in both the East and West since 1993, primarily in the lineage of Ajahn Chah. Since 2002, she also integrates Dzogchen teachings into her practice. Listen to more of her talks at www.audiodharma.org/teacher/128/