September 30 Shantideva Discussion Question

Renunciation means you have to give away all your possessions. Use verses from Chapter 5 of Shantideva to disprove this statement. What does renunciation mean to you?

— Posted by Dina Li


2 thoughts on “September 30 Shantideva Discussion Question

  1. Lisa’s $.02: In the Bodhicharyavatara (Chapter 5, verses 9 and 10), Shantideva states:

    “If the perfection of generosity
    Were the alleviation of the world’s poverty,
    Then since beings are still starving now
    In what manner did the previous Buddhas perfect it?

    The perfection of generosity is said to be
    The thought to give to all beings everything,
    Together with the fruit of such a thought;
    Hence it is simply a state of mind.”

    Geshe Chonyi explains this in detail on page 208 of the Transcript of the Oral Commentary to Shantideva’s Engaging in the Bodhisattva Deeds. Basically, the perfection of generosity is “the mind that gives without miserliness and attachment.” It’s not necessarily simply giving everything that we have, but giving without any afflictive emotions tainting the act of giving. If one were to say that the practice of generosity was dependent on what and how much we gave, then the perfection of generosity would be the elimination of all poverty in the world. That’s a wonderful thought, but could we honestly, sincerely give all that we have to help achieve that goal without any resentment, remorse, loss, attachment, anger, miserliness, etc? It’s not about what and/or how much you give. It’s about the underlying intentions and mental states that accompany the action. If you are caught up in anger or remorse over giving something, that really isn’t generous, and you really didn’t protect your mind from those afflictive emotions. So, eliminating these afflictive emotions from the act of generosity is really what it is all about. It’s about, as Geshe Chonyi states, “bringing to fulfillment this mind of giving, bringing it to its fullest state.”

  2. Food feeds hunger
    but happiness is not it aim –

    Enlightment relaves suffering
    but the relief of poverity it is not –

    To see the world as it is
    is all previous Buddhas gift –

    Discarding possessions
    illusion is dissloved –

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