This intriguing question is answered by Ajahn Amaro in Hooked by the title of his chapter “Three Robes is Enough,” referring to the rules established by the Buddha 2500 years ago for the monastic sangha. This week we will be exploring how the basic rules for monastics might support our own practice as lay people in a consumer culture such as ours. We will also review the Buddha’s teachings for lay people regarding material possessions and wealth.
Ajahn Amaro writes, “Austere practices” and “renunciation” might seem far removed from the lives of ordinary folk holding down jobs, raising children, and engaged in the ten thousand dimensions of worldly responsibility, but they embody a spirit of contentment and voluntary simplicity that is of inestimable worth to all.”
Desire vs. contentment, simplicity vs. over-consumption – these issues come up every day of our lives and affect many of our decisions, large & small. Perhaps this week you might pay attention to moments when you feel content, not wanting anything to be different than it is. How does that affect your overall sense of well-being? Renunciation is also not a popular word in our culture, but are there ways of understanding it that make it joyful rather than grim?
I look forward to sharing an evening of meditation and Dhamma discussion with you. Many thanks for inviting me to join your group, Jean