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Renunciation is the act of renouncing or rejecting something, especially if it is something that the renouncer has previously enjoyed or endorsed.

In religion, renunciation often indicates an abandonment of pursuit of material comforts, in the interests of achieving spiritual enlightenment. In Hinduism, the renounced order of life is sannyāsa; in Buddhism, the Pali word for "renunciation" is nekkhamma, conveying more specifically "giving up the world and leading a holy life" or "freedom from lust, craving and desires."[1] See Sangha, Bhikshu, Bhikshuni, Shramana.

Legally, renunciation arises in nationality law with the renunciation of citizenship, a formal process by which the renouncer ceases to hold citizenship with a specific country. A person can also renounce property, as when a person submits a disclaimer of interest in property that has been left to them in a will.


It is widely believed in India that voluntary renunciation is how one gains power, for whatever purpose. In South Africa (1893-1915) Gandhi tried many spiritual practices and experiments, almost all of them including a component of renunciation, based in the practice of Sannyasi. After reading “Unto this Last” By John Ruskin in 1904 he redoubled his commitment to gain greater control over self, increasing his capacity to work for the common welfare and find a greater sense of oneness with others. The ultimate renunciation is of self, one's separateness from others and the world.


Negative parts are celibacy, renunciation, ascetism and fasting.

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  1. ^ Rhys Davids & Stede (1921-25), p. 377, entry for "Nekkhamma" (retrieved 2008-04-12). Rhys Davids & Stede speculate that the Sanskrit term with which nekkhamma is associated is either:

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