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Widening or tightening Refuge?

lobsterlobster Veteran
edited July 2014 in Faith & Religion

Most of us take refuge primarily if not exclusively in the three jewels. However some are still narrowing their certainty and others find 'The Buddha' is an emblem of the Perfect Woman, Christ figure, Guru or prime initiator. In a similar way the Sangha is the companionship of the reputedly wise and the dharma the perennial philosophy. Are you excluding the peripheral visions? Widening the base or perhaps still not sure?

Comments

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    Lobster, I think it is broad because any problem we just take to the path. Sangha has different meanings and I am not sure what the 'real' one is. For example it could be our group of people who hang out and meditate with us. Another definition restricts the meaning to Bodhisattvas who have seen the essence of the dharma.

  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran

    Isn't 'sangha' the collection of like-minded people seeking awakening? Is there a fairly cut and dried 'definition' of sangha in the Pali canon? If not, or even if there is, a community of folks who have the common purpose of seeking enlightenment could include the whole human race (very Mahayana of me) who seek enlightenment whether they know it or not, call it enlightenment or not.

    If'ns you prefer to distinguish yourself from other humans by distinguishing your search for enlightenment as 'better' or 'more accurate' those are illusionary distinctions in the great scheme of things -- no matter what we think we all end up subject to the truth, whatever that is.

    The Dharma is the way things are, right? Not a specific 'way things are' or subject to an exclusive religious or secular definition. The Perennial Philosophy (read some on it years ago) asserts it covers the gamut, which isn't different than the Dharma covering the gamut.

    The Buddha . . . I don't/haven't put that through my Play Dough machine yet, I can't come up with a thing! Good to know, anyway :)

  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran

    This just hit me. I take refuge in homemade macaroni and cheese (my own recipe, infrequently made). Maybe that is approaching a beginning definition of refuge in the Buddha. I need sit with this for a while and NO I am not joking, not really.

    anataman
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited July 2014

    If everyone was the sangha why wouldn't we take refuge in beings rather than in the sangha?

    Trungpa said everyone has a 'soft spot' that they want to protect. But the soft spot is the start to bodhicitta. He said it was an uncomfortable soft spot like a pimple we don't want to get touched. He said everyone has that spot even if it is a love of tortillas. He said at least we have a chink in our armor that we could have tenderness. I forget what exact words he used, but it was in his book Training the Mind which is about the lojong and tonglen practice.

    On macaroni and cheese I have a love of Kraft macaroni and cheese with extra cheese added and Bacos artificial bacon bits added. But it's not good for me. We need to compare notes and write a book like Zen and the Art of Motorcycle maintenance. :crazy:

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    Oh and in Theravada in the dhammapada Buddha says not to hang out with people who are fools, but I am not sure how to interpret that!

  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran
    edited July 2014

    Don't hang out with people who offer to help you commit fraud or have a fondness for naughty pictures of minors. Or anyone that manipulates you, threatens you, or communicates in any way you are inferior. Those are on the top of my Foolishness radar, they all involve an attempt to deeply harm another being's sense of self-worth.

    If everyone was the sangha why wouldn't we take refuge in beings rather than in the sangha?

    I'm not sure how you made the logical jump 'if everyone is sangha then it means refuge in beings, not sangha'. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    I see it (my own personal seeing) as sanghas within sanghas within sanghas. Your sangha of people learning with your Teacher within the greater Mahayana sangha within the general Buddhist 'sangha' of Buddhists within the sangha of humanity seeking relief from suffering. My mind is way too small for it to mean much unless I use a smaller 'sangha' when I do active refuge taking/reminding. I don't think this makes sense going beyond human beings, although anything with a reasonably complex central nervous system seeks relief from suffering.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Thanks guys appreciate your response,

    My refuge/confidence/trust is with the three jewels as the primary focus and source. Buddhism I find has the right spiritual technology to allow for growth in a way benefitting the individual, social environment and wider society.

    Even though I accept samsaric existence (including demonically tasty macaroni Buddha) is potentially part of nirvana, this is normally an obstacle. So I consider any form of compulsive behaviour as usually detrimental.

    So I am not interested in including divisive diversions but find no reason why for example mindful cooking, offering food (Dana) to oneself or others can not be part of informal practice . . .

    As we know some Christians ingest their God. Is the Buddha up to the sacramental?

    The Body of Buddha?

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Kia Ora,

    I take refuge in an Awaken Mind (Buddha) - which sees the True Nature of things (Dharma) and being in the company of Like-Minded people (Sangha) ....

    With no frills attached...

    Metta Shoshin . :) ..

  • @Jeffrey said:
    Oh and in Theravada in the dhammapada Buddha says not to hang out with people who are fools, but I am not sure how to interpret that!

    Fools are people who don't agree with you...only joking!

    Jeffrey
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran
    edited July 2014

    @lobster said:

    Are you excluding the peripheral visions? Widening the base or perhaps still not sure?

    I think the widening the base too far can lead to a "jack of all trades, master of none" situation.
    Or even worse, to new-age thinking. :p

    lobsterHamsakaEarthninja
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited July 2014

    I think widening the base too far can lead to a "jack of all trades, master of none" situation.
    Or even worse, to new-age thinking.

    That is an important consideration. Partially digested dharma, like pop-science, lazy journalism, simplistic politics etc is a disservice to reality and our potential. Perhaps I would suggest going a little to either side of the path . . . and finding ways of incorporating more of our experience into enhancing, rather than distracting from our journey . . .

    BuddhadragonJeffrey
  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    Or even worse, to new-age thinking. :p

    True, though I think that line is crossed where common sense loses out to egotism and probably other things.

  • cook99cook99 Explorer

    Reminds me of my waistline. lol.

  • My practice is from the non-monastic school of Tibetan Budism in the lineage of Yeshe Tsogyal. The words my teacher gave me when I took shelter of the three jewels:
    "I recognize the actuality of complete open wakefulness.
    I recognize the actuality of transmission of realization.
    I recognize the actuality of those who practice limitlessness or the sake of everyone everywhere."

    Davidhow
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    @Hamsaka said:
    Don't hang out with people who offer to help you commit fraud or have a fondness for naughty pictures of minors. Or anyone that manipulates you, threatens you, or communicates in any way you are inferior. Those are on the top of my Foolishness radar, they all involve an attempt to deeply harm another being's sense of self-worth.

    I see it (my own personal seeing) as sanghas within sanghas within sanghas. Your sangha of people learning with your Teacher within the greater Mahayana sangha within the general Buddhist 'sangha' of Buddhists within the sangha of humanity seeking relief from suffering. My mind is way too small for it to mean much unless I use a smaller 'sangha' when I do active refuge taking/reminding. I don't think this makes sense going beyond human beings, although anything with a reasonably complex central nervous system seeks relief from suffering.

    Sanghas within Sanghas within Sanghas. I like that. It reminds me of that quote attributed to Einstein about widening our circle of compassion. I belong to no sangha exclusively but absolutely the universe is my sangha.

    lobsterHamsakaBuddhadragonmmo
  • BuddhadragonBuddhadragon Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran
    edited July 2014

    On being asked for the secret on how he led what seemed to be a fairly contented and self-fulfilled life, a very wise acquaintance of mine said "Loosening what is too tight, tightening what is too loose."
    I'll have to ask him what he thinks about "widening."
    But in any circumstance, my guess is, widening the scope of our refuge to include ever more people in our congenial sangha and ever more wisdom in our personal vision of Dharma can never be too bad.

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    So Hitler is part of our sangha? Had to say it lol.

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    @Jeffrey said:
    So Hitler is part of our sangha? Had to say it lol.

    The claws of Mara were deep in that one... But if even Mara had the benefit of Buddha's compassion...

  • BuddhadragonBuddhadragon Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran

    Well, Hitler would not be my first choice to include in the sangha.
    Remember your line about the fools?
    I guess eventually one should work hard enough on one's bodhicitta to be able to feel compassion for such a character.
    But personally, I'm not quite there yet...

  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran

    If Hitler showed convincing remorse and demonstrated repentance, I'd let him sit in the back row. If he was really sorry, he'd be grateful to be allowed in the building.

  • @Hamsaka said:
    If Hitler showed convincing remorse and demonstrated repentance, I'd let him sit in the back row. If he was really sorry, he'd be grateful to be allowed in the building.

    I'd leave it up to the victims of the Holocaust.

    Hamsaka
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    Having compassion for the worst of us isn't condoning their actions. If it is possible for their aspects of being to awaken then it would likely be better for all of us.

  • gracklegrackle Veteran

    If my Bodhisattva vows are worth anything at all then all sentient beings are to be included. So Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong are there.

    lobsterDavid
  • howhow Veteran
    edited July 2014

    Ahhh Hitler for breakfast?

    A worldly mind depends on drawing boundaries between the self and the universe,
    whereas a spiritual mind sees the illusory nature of such delineations.
    Hopefully our path is a transition from one towards the other but nothing acts so much like a GPS locater of where we are on that path like watching our responses to the
    mentioning of the boogie man.

    Those who rely of keeping the boogie man at bay by drawing imaginary lines to protect themselves should remember that the boogie man only accomplished what he did by convincing so many others to do just that.

    Trying to figure out who belongs in a Sangha and who doesn't, sounds like a worldly mind at play to me.

    Davidlobster
  • 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
    edited July 2014

    @SpinyNorman said: I'd leave it up to the victims of the Holocaust.

    >

    Quite a few "Boogie-Men" we know about. The list is not exhaustive, because there are countless others we DON'T know about - yet we don't exempt them, or decide that - "...Hang on, statistically speaking, a sizeable proportion of the people on this planet, are 'boogie-men' so I couldn't possibly include them!" of course we don't. They are nameless and numberless. So we include them in our expression of Metta to all beings. And that, therefore, in fairness, should not discriminate against those whose names we just happen to have.

    how
  • zenffzenff Veteran

    I bow in compassion for the Tomb of the Unknown Asshole Boogie-man.

  • howhow Veteran

    @zenff

    It is a little known fact that with a bit of flexibility, bending far enough in a bow, will present you face to face with that boogie mans namesake.

    zenff
  • zenffzenff Veteran

    @how‌
    I suspect there's a metaphor in that. :)

  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran

    @ourself said:
    Having compassion for the worst of us isn't condoning their actions. If it is possible for their aspects of being to awaken then it would likely be better for all of us.

    In the seventh Harry Potter book Hermione is discussing horcruxes and the damage done to the wizard's soul who creates one. She tells Ron and Harry that there is only one possible remedy for the soul so damaged (by the murders done to create the horcrux); remorse. In the book she mentions how incredibly difficult achieving the necessary amount of remorse is.

    It's quite true. Imagine feeling genuine remorse for ordering the torture and deaths of six million Jews and/or however many gays, Roma and handicapped. It's bad enough to withstand the guilt of hurting someone else's feelings, or not being around for your child as much as they needed you. Imagine that. It seems as though surviving that kind of remorse is unlikely. If a person does, that's something. That's more than the rest of us would ever be challenged to do in our practice no matter how devoted.

    I have met very few people who have shared some genuine remorse with me, and many many more of the blamers.

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    I don't think feeling the proper amount of remorse would be a problem for one who has awakened.

  • @Hamsaka said:
    This just hit me. I take refuge in homemade macaroni and cheese (my own recipe, infrequently made). Maybe that is approaching a beginning definition of refuge in the Buddha. I need sit with this for a while and NO I am not joking, not really.

    Thanks guys (including eventual Buddha A Hitler),
    Who amongst the Mahayana vows to save that one? Any other preferences!

    How big is your Heart? Metta to everyone but no sunshine for de wikid? Oh this dharma is so . . . hard . . .

    Ah well . . . buddhanet.net/ans91.htm

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