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Buddhadharma : Spring 2017
spring 2 0 1 7 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 61 T here is a meme I often see these days, at times attributed to Suzuki Roshi or to Aitken Roshi, that runs something like this: “Renunciation is not get- ting rid of the things of the world but accepting that they pass away.” This points to a view of renunciation whereby things are understood to be empty, without self-definition, and hence with- out hindrance. In its cultural expression, it speaks, perhaps in a more sentimental way, to the fact that things change. While the English word “renunciation” conveys a sense of rejection—perhaps a rejection of the world in favor of a divine alternative—in Bud- dhism, renunciation derives from the Pali word nekkhamma, which involves a letting go of grasp- ing or rejecting. Renunciation in this sense is about living in freedom in the world, rather than reject- ing worldly things. The eleventh-century ancestor Atisha points us in the right direction, observing, “The greatest generosity is nonattachment”; here, renunciation means relinquishing self-concept and notions of permanence so that we may embody generosity. How might we express such generosity in these times of uncertainty and change? For many of us, this question lies at the heart of our practice. As we move into a new political horizon defined by Students protest the election of Donald Trump at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., November 15, 2016 The Path of Solidarity doshin nathan Woods considers what it means to stand arm in arm as part of our Buddhist practice.