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Are the three jewels the best available spiritual bling?

lobsterlobster Veteran
edited June 2013 in Buddhism Today

The word 'refuge', when we take refuge in the three jewels is not quite right in my mistranslation process.
Is it more like 'sanctuary', or 'I give confidence and trust'?

To me it is like I know these three things are precious ideals or archetypes . . . however I feel them less of a resource and more of something to be served than to have serve us . . .

What does 'refuge' mean for us?


  • howhow Veteran
    edited June 2013
    The mistranslation process is understandable!
    My relationship & understanding of taking "refuge" in the 3 jewels seems entirely dependent on where on the "self" to "selflessnss" scale I find myself.
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    I guess to me it has multiple meanings. Every day when I sit, I say the refuge vow/prayer as a reminder and to center myself and bring my mind to my body, it helps me reel in my mind. Sometimes when I'm having a really hard time with a situation, I saw the refuge vow, too. Not in the same sense as how prayer worked when I went to church, not in a "please Buddha take away my fear and confusion" but as a way to remind me that Buddha's wisdom, the Dharma's content and the support an love of the Sangha are what I can use to get through the problem. That I don't just have to suffer with what I am feeling. The second example is more a refuge, or a safety net or a sanctuary-somewhat of a safe place. Not a place to hide under the covers, but a place to face it and know what to do with it. The first, where I recite the vow before I meditate, refuge doesn't quite seem the right word, but I'm not sure right now what word I'd use to describe it.
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    Thanks guys.

    You will notice how some of us cling to certain forms of emptiness.
    'This is what is meant'. 'This is how it is' . . . that sort of thing. We all do it.

    We might call that the exoteric form of the three jewels.

    However just as in the diagram, we find the Buddha is us,
    the dharma is our way of connecting to us.
    The sangha too is us reflected in our internal processes or reflected in virtual or actual sangha . . .

    . . . anyway that is my form of emptiness . . . any more?
  • No

    A gold Jesus on a cross made of diamonds with rubies for the blood, dripping from his crown of thorns. This is the best spiritual bling, Get you right into heaven without any questions. Go an buy one.
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    Some sects of Buddhism like their bling as much as the 'Dead Son' Cult. However outer form is not good form, which is good enough for me . . .

    Maybe we evoke or invoke the three jewels? Maybe we just need a flower like the zennists or the guru 3+ of the dorjeyanists?

    Taking refuge in the Buddha -
    Awakening without delusion;
    Taking refuge in the Dharma -
    Proper understanding without deviation;
    Taking refuge in the Sangha -
    Purity without pollution.

  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran
    edited June 2013
    Ok...you had me at the color bubble graph....hahaha
    No really...this was a real thread for me....made me think
    my thoughts, And it was for the chewing after
    an internet purge/break.....Gratitude for the insight
    I got from this thread....

    What does refuge mean for me?

    Giving it my all dammit! Don't get me wrong...
    I know there is no 'single me'....I'm empty of
    that, but let's talk in terms....It takes a form to
    take care of the garden. I need a me to do the
    work, for now....yes, I'm still using the raft....so sue
    me....hahaha. I have to put the effort up. Thats
    where I'm at....anyway.....take it or leave it. The Temple
    and @riverflow and the others there have my support,
    metta, time, and love every minute I'm there and beyond. I am
    practicing to the best of my understanding and
    wisdom right now(which is forever changing)...and well...
    May I continue to learn and
    find wonderful experiences
    with this religion. Yes, religion....I have faith in this....If i
    didn't...I wouldn't take refuge....right? Formal refuge or

    What does refuge mean for us?

    Seems to depend. On who I 'align' with.
    different strokes for different folks....u know?
    Like Sangha refuge, yes? Refuge in whatever
    methods/practices/teachings, and their enforcement
    that you are doing.

    *reaches inside a pretend coat pocket and
    pulls out a jewel*
  • howhow Veteran
    refuge is
    the abandoning of self
    before Buddha, Dharma & Sangha.

  • TheswingisyellowTheswingisyellow Trying to be open to existence Samsara Veteran
    edited June 2013
    My refuge, when I make it so is the present moment. What else do we have?
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    My relationship & understanding of taking "refuge" in the 3 jewels seems entirely dependent on where on the "self" to "selflessnss" scale I find myself.
    Exactly so.

    It is important at the start of our mountain scaling, to work within the conventions of the three jewels. To give them our best intentions, to 'give it our all' as @Vastmind reminds us. This outer refuge remains our stabilising, just as some meditation returns to the breath . . .
    We too must fulfil our Buddhist lay duty, to support and empower the three jewels. In a sense we do not 'take refuge', we give refuge/placement to the three jewels.

    We are the light that makes them sparkle . . . or in my case, the windowlene . . .
  • Suiseki7Suiseki7 Pennsylvania, USA Explorer

    "No Bling and All Bling is Spiritual.....and NOT!" "Now drink your tea!" A Rinzai master might say this while possibly whacking you up-alongside your head.

    Having said this I prefer my S-Class Mercedes and Falcon 900EX.........


  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited October 2016

    Bling... hmmm... my spiritual bling is my new Buddha statue, my incense burner, and my iPhone on which I am listening to a series of Ajahn Amaro dhamma talks.

    The refuge for me is something that's still in front of me. Back in the Osho communes in 1985 we used to do the gacchami's, which is the refuge chant in Pali, so I have some history with it, perhaps it makes me formally a Buddhist. But I was young. To truly take refuge is something of the heart, it has to come at the right time.

    At the moment my thing is self exploration, finding the places where I cling onto existence, or where I have built up repositories of the three poisons. I keep exploring the Buddhist lore, and things still reveal themselves, slowly, and I'm finding levers to move things deep within. To let go of old attitudes for a new, less certain future. I find it a tremendously liberating process.

  • Suiseki7Suiseki7 Pennsylvania, USA Explorer

    Hopefully our refuge is always "in front" of us.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    And on that note.....

This discussion has been closed.