Too much renunciation

By Paulo Coelho

I met the painter Miie Tamaki during a seminar on Female Energy. I asked what her religion was.

‘I don’t have a religion any more,’ she said.

Noticing my look of surprise, she added:

‘I was brought up as a Buddhist. The monks taught me that the spiritual road was one of constant renunciation: we must overcome our feelings of envy and hatred, any doubts about our faith and any desires. I managed to free myself from all of that until one day my heart was empty; my sins had all disappeared, but so had my human nature. At first, I was very pleased, but I came to realise that I no longer shared the joys and passions of the people around me. That was when I abandoned religion. Now I have my conflicts, my moments of rage and despair, but I know that I am once more close to other people and, therefore, close to God.’

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Comments

  1. Marie-Christine says:

    This reminds me of the song:
    “that’s me in the corner, that’s me in the spotlight, loosing my religion.”

  2. Yajna says:

    Dearest paulo,

    I'm glad that you've written this story. Its really wonderful and i i hope that i helps many people to look within themselves and find strength to believe in their own feelings.
    When you look carefully around the world, you see how so many peoples lives are indoctrinated by religion.. In some instances its not all bad, where people do find their way to God, and are comfortable and at peace with themselves. Which is just fantastic.
    But at the same time, it does not work for every one and alot of people do not have the courage to stop and think for themselves, and maybe even object to what they are following, simply because they are fearful for what may happen to them, should they question it. For me personally, i can say i'm not very religious, but i certainly am one who is intimate with God. And at the end of the day, no matter what you believe in, all you need is for you to be happy and at peace with yourself and for God to reside within you comfortably.

    Thank you for being.

    *Yaj

  3. Noor says:

    I think that all of us need to understand what religion, faith, God mean to us and then we can follow reasonably our religion!

    I loved this one!! I always wondered since I am a follower -regardless the fact that I am a believer or not- would it be the same if I was taught another religion would I simply follow it and make it reasonable to me or would I question it?

  4. aditya says:

    Her story, tells me that it’s important to ‘see’ for oneself than to just act beleiving others who might have ‘seen’ e.g. Miie started feeling like a stone, emotionless, whereas Gautama – the buddha became compassion incarnate, while following the same path, which incidently he discovered. Her dilema is shared by many, spirituality tends to take away the pleasures ( & pains ) of life; unless most of it has been learnt directly from life.

    aditya

  5. bruja says:

    Religion is for people with a higher power, something sublime. We need our power to be well-administrated. When there is no religion there must be a living culture, there must be an infinite respect, so still then, there must be an infinite order. The only question is ┬┐what infinite being is to make it possible? In my case, i am inherently a potential assasin. At the same time i am profoundly religious because no man or woman in this world would stop me if i had a totally free instinct. And my only worry is not my possible victims; its me and what would do to myself, to my own spirit. I dont know about others dealing to their own strugles betwen their souls and bodies. All that i know is that religion is for people in deep need. Its not for healthy people but for we, the sick ones.

  6. Anna says:

    I am both a believer and a follower. However i think that sometimes the following takes over and suffocate the believing. Rites, church law,te internal politics of parishioners can dim faith. As well as narrow-mindedness and pettiness.
    So I have to walk between the obstacleand hold on to my inner faith, which is always here like a pilot light and ready to shine and burn high at any time.

  7. Yajna says:

    Dearest paulo,

    I’m glad that you’ve written this story. Its really wonderful and i i hope that i helps many people to look within themselves and find strength to believe in their own feelings.
    When you look carefully around the world, you see how so many peoples lives are indoctrinated by religion.. In some instances its not all bad, where people do find their way to God, and are comfortable and at peace with themselves. Which is just fantastic.
    But at the same time, it does not work for every one and alot of people do not have the courage to stop and think for themselves, and maybe even object to what they are following, simply because they are fearful for what may happen to them, should they question it. For me personally, i can say i’m not very religious, but i certainly am one who is intimate with God. And at the end of the day, no matter what you believe in, all you need is for you to be happy and at peace with yourself and for God to reside within you comfortably.

    Thank you for being.

    *Yaj

  8. Ione says:

    I have studied many religions and always come to an impass. I don’t know if the problem is that I don’t have the will to break through my doubts or that man just puts too many rules and layers over the truth. This story made a very good point. I will continue to search for truth with a questioning mind. I love that we can discuss our views here without being told we are wrong.
    Thank you Paulo

  9. Often people feel that one is not of God, unless, they hold some sort of religious affiliation. I personally am Christian and believe that Christ, while he was here did away with the ideal of being religious. He came to destroy the temple, the symbol of the religious, and establish a temple within our hearts. This temple in our hearts, or holy of the holies, is a spiritual matter. The Sacred for Christ was the human Spirit and everything that goes into making up that Spirit. We strengthen this Spirit by drawing nearer to Christ and to the Spirit of those around us. This drawing nearer to others is not dependent upon weather they are Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Taohist, Atheist, Agnostic, etc. Everyone holds a spirit within the temple of their heart, which we are called to draw nearer too. This is their sacrededness as being created in the image of the divine. This is their Spirituality, not their religiousity. All have a Spirit, some are ignited with the fire of the divine spirit, other’s are kindeling, just waiting for a spark from another,to burst them into flame. So be that spark, with every soul you meet, ignite the flame of their spirit no matter what religion. For beyond religion is spirituality, and within spirituality the divine burns with passion for all.

    Infinite Namaste my friends,
    B.B. Silver Mystic Flame

  10. i have been touched by this post in a great way … it has knocked on the doors of conflict between being a follower or a believer!!!

    between believing in god cause i want so, and i know how mighty he is … or follow god through a religion and practice every word at holly books with a chance that it might bet true or false, depends on how honest the interpretation was…

    great meanings are hidden within your words… releasing ourselves from the tight boundaries of religion will set us free and make us more and more close to god

    PS: followers and believers might contradict for some, and intersect for others… it depends on your own perspective of matters … everything is relative in this world even GOD

    Thanks dear Paolo for the inspiring lines