Does Renunciation Mean Letting Go of Attachment or Consumption Itself, How to Navigate Social Relationships When Practicing the Path and more… (Q&A Session December’19)

Duration 57:44

Questions answered during our Q&A session:

4:53 What is the difference between pure awareness and conditioned awareness and how are these related to the Third Noble Truth?

17:06 My question is around meditation. My general way is when something is bothering, I can meditate my way through it, as I have some control of the thought. What I haven’t been able to do, and it is presently causing stress, is dealing with a thought where the problem is out of my control. This scenario could also be when you may have a close family member that possibly has a poor diagnosis.

29:31 I’m trying to figure out how to evaluate renunciation. From things I’ve read, this has to do more with letting go of attachments than with letting go of consumption itself, but I get confused in trying to differentiate these in practice. Can you share some thoughts on how a Western layperson can begin to understand renunciation and how to work on applying it in daily life?

38:27 I am working on progressing through the stages and don’t really know how to deal with subtle distractions. I do naming with gross distractions but they don’t occur too often anymore. Doing it with subtle distractions would be an endless process and probably distract me from my breath as there are always thoughts lingering around in the background of my mind. I therefore wonder: am I supposed to be aware of their content? Should I try to really see them. Or is it ok to be aware that there is a thought of whatever nature without reading the content and then go back to the breath?

44:57 The Buddha was a tree in a past life, so did he choose that? Or can trees be sentient beings?

49:18 After becoming a Buddhist I have lost interest in maintaining many of my friendships (or maintaining a relationship with many in my extended family). I feel bored and annoyed whenever my friends talk about sports teams, politics, TV shows, movies, music, dating, drinking, and gossip. Or sometimes there isn’t anything to talk about at all. I see that in the end, in the grand scheme of things, these subjects are not adequate nor sufficient to build a strong relationship. I want to share my enthusiasm about the Dharma with them, but they aren’t interested in such moral or spiritual matters. Nevertheless, I feel guilty about ending these friendships, as if I’m obligated to put more time and energy into maintaining them. How much effort is too much? How do we navigate this samsaric web of relationships in our daily life?