If , by giving up a lesser happiness,
One could experience greater happiness,
A wise person would renounce the lesser
To behold the greater. (Dhammapada 290)
Reflecting on Renunciation
1. Take some time to reflect on your initial reaction to the parami of renunciation. Is there a sense of resistance? Do you notice reservations or fears about the practice?
2. What do you find desirable about the practice of renunciation? Reflect on ways in which renunciation may contribute to your sense of well being and happiness.
3. What motivations and understandings would make renunciation easier? What inner states of being support skillful letting go? What is the “felt sense” of not being attached?
4. Take some time to reflect on those things that you do regularly, especially those habitual patterns of thought and action that are colored by a sense of attachment/ tension/ discomfort/ uneasiness in body/mind. Choose ONE regular habit-pattern (NOT the hardest one to start with) to renounce for a day. During the day, pause to reflect on the experience and its benefits. Is there a way in which this renunciation practice may be benefitting others as well?
For further study:
Phillip Moffitt, www.dharmawisdom.org, /articles – talks, Need for Renunciation.
Sylvia Boorstein, Pay Attention for Goodness’ Sake: Practicing the perfections of the Heart. Ballantine: 2002.
Gil Fronsdal, www.audiodharma.org,/paramis
We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.
Speak or act with a pure mind
And happiness will follow you
As your shadow, unbreakable. Dhammapada, The Buddha
Reflecting on Wisdom
1. Please reflect on an occasion when you were struck by someone who expressed wisdom. What factors were present that made what they said or did (or refrained from saying or doing) wise? What do you understand wisdom to be?
2. What might it mean to consider wisdom as a verb rather than a noun or a quality?
3. Is wisdom something you can work to achieve? If so, what factors and practices do you think promote the growth of wisdom?
4. What factors might block the growth of wisdom? What do you think the role of stress might be with regard to wisdom? Exhaustion?
5. Can you find ways in which wisdom and compassion are connected? You might want to define compassion as the tender regard for one who is suffering.
6. Do you think distinctions can be made between wisdom and knowledge? In general, does our mainstream culture make such a distinction? If so, which does our culture hold in higher regard? Are there ways in which wisdom and knowledge overlap?
For further study:
Source- Insight Meditation Community of Charlottesville