The Renunciate (The Monk)

Ever wonder why people on religious or spiritual paths consider renouncing their worldly belongings and positions to become monks? As a child, I never really questioned it. The way I see things now, the reasons behind it are a little more clear.

The general idea of becoming a renunciate is for a person to give up their identity and give up their desires. In doing this the person hopes to give up their pain and suffering. This is perfectly logical when you consider many spiritual and philosophical teachings. Buddha says that desire is the root of suffering. Naturally, if you eliminate your desires, you should eliminate suffering. Desires are rooted in ego identity. To eliminate your identity should also be a big help.

On the other hand, it can be said that the person is really only leaving their old identity behind for the new identity of a monk. The same can be said of their new desire to have no desires. So where does that leave a well intentioned renunciate?

Truth be told, whether or not you are a renunciate or a monk has nothing to do with how you dress and what you own. It has more to do with what's in your mind and heart. Corny as that may sound, it really does depend on how attached you are to the less important details in life. You could be a monk for fifteen years and not have learned how to really renounce and transcend the attachment to something. You could be a man living worldly existence and be unattached to anything and everything you deal with.

To become focused and one pointed on experiencing the true Self is to be free of attachment. At the same time you may enjoy what there is to enjoy and not be attached to it, and you may move through more difficult experiences knowing that, "this too shall pass." There is a middle ground to be attained. This is where true enlightenment takes hold.

Related posts:

2 comments:

Ta-Wan said...

indeed ;)

Doug McMillan said...

I'm with you 100% my friend; excellent post as always and straight to the heart of the matter :)