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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  1. sweetooth78 says:

    Senor Coelho, first of all, thank you for all the books you have written. I am but one of the thousands of souls touched by your words, and words of others in your works. And also thank you for this post, for it touched a very personal chord in my heart.

    I hope you will never stop writing. May your wisdom live forever.

  2. DINO GARUBO says:

    There is a wonderful saying in “Autobiography of a Yogi” which states ” A Saint that is sad, is a sad Saint.”

    There is a well of endless joy within that is our Divine Nature. If one has not experienced it personally through experience, it’s very difficult to accept.

    Living life as a dry wind is no life. Giving up “Sin” but paying the price with having no passion for life is not true spiritual evolution in my opinioin.

    One doesn’t have to be an “either/or” person; a “both/and” approach feels much better for most. Either I am a monk with solemnity or a sinner with a laugh and drink in my hand! Why not be spiritual and have passion? Is passion not joy? Is joy not love? Is love not God?

    Thank you Paulo for your wonderful books!

  3. Kathleen says:

    This one is a bit difficult I think. If you don’t make an effort to suppress feelings of envy and hatred what is the solution – to give them free reign?

    Maybe its not so much a matter of suppressing as confronting those things about yourself. To suppress is not solving the problem, its just burying, but to realise the weaknesses you have and to realise they are wrong and potentially harmful, to understand it and feel sorry and make an effort to change is to release them I think.

    We have to realise we are not perfect and not to pretend to be, and to forgive ourselves sometimes, but I think we should, as the Buddhists say, at least be on that path.

    You can be good and still feel. Instead of envy, maybe admiration.



    i can not inmagine a life without having emotions,
    is not a sin to feel envy, hatred, desire or doubt. It is just part of our human nature. it is impossible not to feel those emotions. you could learn technique to withold them to burry them deep inside your heart but they will still be there and it will be even worse because by not accepting that you have them you wont be able to release them they will accumulate. is not a healthy way to live.