Giving Up the Causes of Suffering

True renunciation is not a constraint but a freedom.

It comes from the strong desire to end the frustration inevitably created by the ordinary preoccupations of life.

Someone who renounces the world to escape from the prison of illusion is like a bird escaping from its cage to fly in the sky. It does not matter whether the cage is made of gold or base metal: it is still a prison.

Whether individuals are rich or poor, famous or unknown, whether they experience success or failure, pleasure or pain, they often end up unhappy and frustrated.

Renunciation essentially means simplifying (1) one’s mind, (2) one’s words, and (3) one’s activities, by letting go of what obstructs inner freedom. Constraint creates frustration; renunciation produces a real sense of joy.

Renunciation does not mean depriving oneself of what is truly good and useful in life but rather getting rid of unnecessary burdens.

When hermits repeat ten times the magic mantra “I need nothing,” they are not making their life insipid but trying to get rid of the endless distractions that take over the mind and leave them with the bitter taste of lost time.

They want to unclutter their life to devote themselves completely to what is truly enriching.

Source: Ricard, Matthieu. On the Path to Enlightenment: Heart Advice from the Great Tibetan Masters. Boston, Massachusetts: Shambhala Publications, Inc., 2013.