A. I think you have already discovered the meaning of renunciation when you noted letting go. Giving up worldly possessions, shaving the head, putting on robes and living a simple and austere life is the first stage of renunciation that a newly-ordained monk commits himself to, but that is only the beginning. With the exterior renunciation in place he then starts to work on the inner renunciation of his inner ‘possessions’. For example, his emotional attachment to likes and dislikes, his opinions of right and wrong, what should be and what shouldn’t be, etc. All those attachments that give us so much of our powerful self-identity. That grasping that sets the wheel of karma and becoming in motion. This inner surrender of our emotional attachments and habits is the real renunciation, the real ‘going forth’, and is the transforming process that is the essence for maturing the Path. Without this there is no ‘progress’ – as some like to say. Whether you are ordained or not, the ‘rules’ for renunciation are the same.

There are no particularly unique challenges that I can see for Westerners, other than learning to work with a very heavy self-view that we all seem to have.