• Sabchu Rinpoché

Impermanence and Renunciation

If we look closely at the life stories, the great teachers actually engaged fully to help anyone in need. So maybe renouncing is not just booking the retreat cabin and changing our diets. We must transform our attitudes, in an everyday way.



If we take a step back, we can see that, in a way, we do believe in impermanence.


You can see this from how we conduct our business; impermanence is actually built into our systems for dealing with one another. Insurance is a multi-billion dollar industry, an industry entirely geared towards protecting people from things that have not yet happened to them. In many developed countries, the government takes a cut from people’s income to provide medical care in case they get ill. A prenuptial agreement, a binding contract, signed prior to marriage, safeguards the wealth of individuals who vow to remain partners for life. To protect themselves from identity theft, people willingly pay money to protect something that is not yet stolen. And phones. Even your phone, when you first purchased it, may have had a built-in cost to cover it in case it breaks for some unknown reason.


These are all examples of how we DO think of impermanence in our daily lives. In our everyday lives, we actually do not fully disregard impermanence. But we still might not fully accept it, and we still might cling to certain plans and expectations. You can test it out for yourself. Whenever you decide that something needs to be your way, that you need your favourite thing to happen, then you will know that you haven’t renounced. When we don’t get what we want, it throws us off course. With true renunciation, you won’t suffer when things don’t go as planned.


If we look closely at the life stories, the great teachers actually engaged fully to help anyone in need. So maybe renouncing is not just booking the retreat cabin and changing our diets. We must transform our attitudes, in an everyday way.


First we would need to recognize that we cling. We cling to possessions, to people, to our ideas, to our plans, and to our expected outcomes. To renounce, we would have to get used to the idea of not always getting what we want. We would have to accept impermanence completely, and give up on everybody liking and respecting us, and let go of all our little preferences, and even let go of our opinions about others.