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Is there..... always a refuge?

JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
edited June 2013 in Buddhism Basics
Buddha. Dharma. Sangha.

Is there always a refuge? I mean in reason I can say that an ant on a blade of grass, does the ant have a refuge? Is this why we create merit? But how fearsome is it that we not have a refuge?

I suppose this is a koan.

If we use our faculties of reasoning to find the refuge then is our refuge in the faculties? Is reason our refuge? What would be the consequences of a refuge in reasoning?

Comments

  • I think our refuge is in our faculties, based on my understanding. I have no answer to the question of what would be the consequences of a refuge in reasoning. This is something everyone must work out for himself or herself.
    Jeffreyriverflow
  • howhow Veteran
    My refuge is the letting go of self.
    (For me) Mentality as a skandha born line of self oriented conditioning is too scary a choice to take refuge in while other clearer options exist.

    I think your teacher is the best one to answer this particular question.
    Jeffrey
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    Yes, that's a good direction to ask my teacher. She is in retreat for awhile now though. Thanks.
  • This is, in my mind, a great question! Awesome one!
    I will begin my ranting with a memory. Some years ago, when I was only months old in Dharma (well, in this life, you know what I mean, oki?) I saw a nun in the Dharma Centre, and she was radiantly happy, perfect bliss and stainless steel joy. She was like this icon of compassion and wisdom for everyone there, not just for a newbie like me.

    ...long story made short. She left her robes and headed to the other side of the planet. She is a happy mom now, last thing I heard.

    I won't deny it, it made a shock on me, green as I was back in the day. And I thought that if she quit, what chances could I have to reach the peace I was looking for?

    Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. The Three Precious Jewels that are true refuge. This I was kindly taught by my (very patient) Teachers; but we should take a closer look, just to be sure! (Giggles, if Buddha coukd hear me she/he would....wait, he/she can! Oh dear...)

    What is the Jewel of the Buddha? This seems to be an easy one, allow me to answer it: it is any and all of the Awakened Ones, those who have completed the path and abide in perfect bliss, their minds filled with wisdom and compassion, helping the rest of us out of our samsaric ignorance (or maybe everyone else is already "out" and I am the only one left in good ol' samsara!).

    What is the Jewel of Dharma? The first answer is: the word of the Buddha, the written teachings that we have been so fortunate to find in this life.

    What is the Jewel of the Sangha? All our spiritual friends, ordained or not, who encourage us to advance us to keep on the path to liberation, who provide the means for our spiritual development.



    Yes ...But....
    (Hides face under a paper bag)


    If so, why did my nun friend disrobed herself? I honestly can say that my faith took a powerful hit that day!
    Reality, that merciless teacher, teaches that if I could learn and recite all the Sutras and the Tantras, the very word of Buddha, that would make me a scholar, but hardly something more.
    I can cry for help to all the Buddhas in my most desperate moment of need, but if I have negative karma (as we all have) then I will live it.
    Finally, I can have a million spiritual friends, which is good! But if my mind is defermined to go astray, not even all my friends will convince me otherwise.


    SO ? where is this perfect refuge then if they exist?
    As per usual, within.
    The Three Jewels, in each one of us.

    What is the perfect Jewel of the Buddha? The Buddha I shall become (one day!)
    What is the perfect Jewel of the Sangha? Again, myself, and the spiritual friend I become for others, Buddhists or not. How is this possible? Because I can never control what others do with their lives, so I can't put ultimate refuge on what appears to be samsaric, deluded beings. But I can practice patience, wisdom, concentration, etc, in me. Thus, becoming a better qualified Sangha for others.
    What is the perfect Jewel of the Dharma? The internal REALIZATIONS of the steps on the path. Once a realization is acquired by means of meditation, it can't be lost, not even when reborn in samsara. For example: If I have realized love, I am perfectly protected against hate and its suffering, as an example.
    Simply, as each Dharma oposes a particular type of samsaric cause, hence by integrating Dharma into our minds one can be protected from sufering. That is refuge.

    In other words, with the blessings, inspiration, and teachings of Buddha, we can, and must, create our own refuge.


    (Bows)


    Jeffreyperson
  • howhow Veteran
    @AKane
    Was your "realization can't be lost" statement a typo?

    In my universe a realization only carries as far as or is as real as your practise presently is.
    If a realization gained by meditation can't be lost, then there must be a lot of teachers (including the one you mentioned from your memory) that never meditated.
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    Jeffrey said:

    What would be the consequences of a refuge in reasoning?

    It would be a limiting and ultimately limited refuge.

    Taking refuge has aspects or levels of possibility.
    Initially we aspire to the three idealisations of the three jewels
    Then we attune and resonate to the three jewels as a basis of practice.
    Then we exemplify or express the three jewels
    We in effect start to become the means of the unfolding of the eight fold path.

    Eventually we become the object of refuge.

    The Buddha takes refuge in us.
    The Dharma becomes our expression.
    The Sangha is our field of communication.

    . . . m m m . . . might just have to start all over again . . .
    http://www.spiritualityandpractice.com/books/excerpts.php?id=19423
    Lucy_Begood
  • CittaCitta Veteran
    @Akane your nun friend didn't quit. She swapped roles. Some people would say that she picked up a much tougher one.
    Buddhist nuns and monks don't take life vows.
    There are many teachers in all Buddhist traditions who spent time in the robe and then left it but did not cease to be fully engaged with the Dharma/Dhamma.
    Including Jack Kornfield, Dhiravamsa, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Akong Ronpoche.

    " Being our own Refuge " taken out of context can be highly misleading.
    The fact is we are all interdependent and sturdy independence is not a sustainable position.

    In the end the only Refuge is seeing what is arising, clearly..and being mindful of our response.
    Lucy_BegoodJeffrey
  • FlorianFlorian Veteran
    I wouldn't think that it would be a good idea to treat ones reason as a refuge, but I think we can trust it entirely as a guide to where to seek refuge.
  • @How
    Exactly, in my view, a function of meditating is to bring the object of meditation closer to the mind that focuses on it. The smaller the "distance", the more permanent the impact on a being's life, this is a way to create familiarity with the object of meditation, until this "distance" is none, and the mind blends with its object of meditation, like two drops of water. This is actual realization of a stage of the path, and this affects the mind from then on, and it is the reason why we see some kids that are much more familiar with Dharma than some adults.
    So no...not a typo. :)

    @Citta
    Very true! She didn't quit Dharma. And in my mind, when I finally digested the situation, I came to my peace by thinking that differnt persons bave different ways to follow their own path.
    And I totally agree, "being your own refuge", if used out out context can be dangerously misleading! Because it sounds like: "do as you want, you are always right"; but if we were so smarty, how come we are still bound by delusion? Very good point, dear!

    Hugs!
  • CittaCitta Veteran
    Hugs back...well anyway English type ones... :)
    Invincible_summer
  • @Citta
    Oh.... I plead guilty of those typos...typoes...whathever! :o
  • Jeffrey said:

    Buddha. Dharma. Sangha.

    Is there always a refuge? I mean in reason I can say that an ant on a blade of grass, does the ant have a refuge? Is this why we create merit? But how fearsome is it that we not have a refuge?

    I suppose this is a koan.

    If we use our faculties of reasoning to find the refuge then is our refuge in the faculties? Is reason our refuge? What would be the consequences of a refuge in reasoning?

    What are you taking refuge from?
  • CittaCitta Veteran
    Akane said:

    @Citta
    Oh.... I plead guilty of those typos...typoes...whathever! :o

    No sorry ,I meant English-type hugs...
    :)
    Invincible_summer
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    @Cinorjer,

    Let me think.. I take refuge in my Guru, Lama Shenpen. I take refuge in the Buddha that is revealed in the minds of people including myself. I also take refuge in the assurance that there was an enlightened being, Buddha. I take refuge in the dharma which is the books and course that I have. I take refuge in the sangha here and in my sangha with Lama Shenpen (though they are remotely active on the sanghas forum :( )
  • Jeffrey said:

    @Cinorjer,

    Let me think.. I take refuge in my Guru, Lama Shenpen. I take refuge in the Buddha that is revealed in the minds of people including myself. I also take refuge in the assurance that there was an enlightened being, Buddha. I take refuge in the dharma which is the books and course that I have. I take refuge in the sangha here and in my sangha with Lama Shenpen (though they are remotely active on the sanghas forum :( )

    That's wonderful! So all of these are important in your life. They help you make decisions, or deal with frustrations? When faced with a dilemma in life or frustrated by the problems it throws at us, do you ever stop to ask yourself, "What would my Lama say about this?"
  • aMattaMatt Veteran
    edited June 2013
    Jeffrey said:

    Buddha. Dharma. Sangha.

    Is there always a refuge? I mean in reason I can say that an ant on a blade of grass, does the ant have a refuge? Is this why we create merit? But how fearsome is it that we not have a refuge?

    If we use our faculties of reasoning to find the refuge then is our refuge in the faculties? Is reason our refuge? What would be the consequences of a refuge in reasoning?

    Refuge into reason can be slippery, because we can reason ourselves into afflictive mental states. "He punched me, therefore the karmic scale is balanced when I punch him." Rational but unskillful.

    For me, refuge in the three jewels is about accepting that between those three pegs of the chair, we can cultivate a stable mind and body. The Buddha in us is awakened by the dharma, and nourished by the sangha. Working together we walk the path that erodes our grasping... refuge, for me, is an indestructible truth that the process, the jewels are robust and enlivened by our steadfast commitment to metta, compassion, and clarity.

    Our relationship to the ant, in all of its delusions and clarities, is transformed into refuge through our intentions moving us through the process.

    With warmth,
    Matt
    EvenThirdlobsterInvincible_summer
  • TheswingisyellowTheswingisyellow Trying to be open to existence Samsara Veteran
    There is always refuge in right now.
    Refuge in concepts is really no refuge at all.
    All the best,
    Todd.
    lobster
  • One will find the refuge, where one lost it.
    lobster
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