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To the Sangha I go for refuge

vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

Yesterday was the worst day of my life. And the worst day for karma in my life. I have been despondent ever since yesterday morning when I did something bad that broke my heart. The karma began almost immediately with crying and the inability to sleep. And this afternoon I will go to the local Thai Buddhist temple -- which I only began visiting recently -- and will ask for "spiritual refuge" from a monk. It will not be an easy thing to do.

I'm not asking for sympathy. But I was wondering how many of us have ever taken the words to heart: "To the Buddha I go for refuge, to the Dhamma I go for refuge, to the Sangha I go for refuge"...and particularly that last factor, going to the Sangha for refuge.


  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    I haven't formally done refuge in a ceremony but definitely during some problem times have called out to the Buddha. I found it helpful particularly asking for the Buddha's help. I hope things get better for you and work out.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited June 27



    Doing bad is a hard path. You took refuge. Bravo.
    If it is of any consolation ... You did good in taking refuge ... May you find peace. Sincerely <3

    I do take it to heart. I do call on the Buddhas, it is my tantrika inclinations. Will call them and send blessings your way. <3

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator
    edited June 27

    @vinlyn , I'm so sorry that you feel heart-torn and distressed.
    Truly, the guilt itself is 'punishment' enough, don't add further to your load by feeling this has to be carried forever.

    The memory will remain; I know I still have glimpses of the past, and not all of those glimpses are either favourable or welcome.
    But the cause, for you, was the deed.
    The effect, for you, is the search for Refuge.

    I commend your Intention.
    I hope to bring you comfort in your sadness.
    Be well, good friend.

    I send you much metta and affection.

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    My thoughts are that everything is always moment by moment. Whether an ordinary day or the worst day. That we construct something from those moments is interesting. And that we (at least) seem to have a heart that can be torn or in distress is interesting. Although each moment is different from the next.

  • HozanHozan Veteran

    Much metta to you @vinlyn . Don't punish yourself, it serves no purpose. You are a good person. We are all human. I send every good intention your way. I am honoured that you are part of my NB Sangha. I too seek refuge here.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    'Going to the Sangha for Refuge' can mean so many things...
    You could either mean you come here to "lick your wounds" (and I mean absolutely no disrespect when I put it like that), or you can go to a Sangha to Surrender the pain and deal with whatever arises...
    Going for Refuge to a Sangha also means embracing the community and being at one with it. Being Mindful that whatever load you bear, others will help you shoulder it - but that you too, form a vital component and Safe Place to Go for others who might equally find themselves in a worrying predicament.

    Going to a Sangha for Refuge is bringing the Mind Home and resting the Heart.
    I love the Triple Gem....

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited June 27

    I take refuge in the three Jewels everyday and throughout the day...

    The Sangha (my Sangha) does not just take on human form, it extends to all sentient beings (including birds and their songs)....However the most important refuge (for me personally) is refuge in The Buddha ...the awaken mind...a mind that awakens to the true nature of things ie, "The Dharma"...

    The Sangha= Like-minded sentient beings, who (like my/this self) all want to be free from Dukkha/suffering/unsatisfactoriness .... I take refuge in knowing this...

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    Well, I did go to the temple today to talk to one of the monks (ended up with two talking to me). I do just want to say, that while what occurred yesterday caused great suffering, it was nothing illegal (I thought after I posted that it might almost sound that way).

    The monks discussed the situation with me for about 40 minutes and were quite compassionate toward me, even holding my hand at one point. It was very difficult for me to lay bare my situation, although I have to admit that there was also this sense within me that hey, this is their duty.

    They then invited me back to the temple tonight at 6:30 to join them in chanting followed by meditation, and that part of the chanting will be dedicated to my situation. They also went over for me the concept of earning merit, which they call "bun" (it is earning "good karma" which can then be dedicated specifically to a situation). I was vaguely aware of most of that, but certainly not well-versed in it.

    Thank all of you for your comments. The comments are also helping me to put the situation in perspective. I will let you know how my chanting/meditation session tonight goes, although (and they said this is fine) their meditation is more about controlled breathing, while I am free to meditate about a topic (in this case, my situation).

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    I won't wish you good 'luck' but I do wish you ongoing peace of mind.....

  • CedarTreeCedarTree Private Island Explorer

    I hope you feel better and that you are greeted well at the temple :)

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @CedarTree said:
    I hope you feel better and that you are greeted well at the temple :)

    The monks at this temple are VERY welcoming, and I actually thanked them for that today. Of course the two 30-ish monks are most welcoming, but even the 50ish abbot makes a point of greeting me and briefly chatting each time I visit.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    I am glad you got a bit of perspective and gained support you needed from the monks. We all hurt people, unfortunately. But impermanence is always a good reminder to me that no matter how crushing guilt is, no matter how awful a moment is, it is sure not to last forever. It is something I try to remind my kids as they go through the awful puberty and young adult years. Because sometimes moments feel so strongly that we can't imagine every feeling otherwise. It won't last. Breathe and move forward, indeed (I think kerome said that, I agree).

    As far as your question, I do take my refuge vows daily. But some days, and some moments, they are more sincere than others, I guess. For lack of better word. Finding peace within has been a great gift of my practice, and the 3 Jewels are a big part of that. Sometimes the Sangha, for sure. For getting perspective especially. And for support, especially the people I know in person who know when I just need to talk and when I need a kick in the pants. Here, I know the kick in the pants is always offered ;) But for me, refuge in the teachings is probably the most powerful part. I trust them, because I have found them to be true. And relying on that is such a weight off of "me." Not to give my problems to someone or something else. But to know I have the tools to manage them.

  • upekkaupekka Veteran

    @vinlyn said:
    I did something bad

    whatever it is it was in the past now
    no need to be sorry or sad
    if you believe in Buddha, He says there is a subttle hate in being sorry or sad

    @vinlyn said:
    their meditation is more about controlled breathing, while I am free to meditate about a topic (in this case, my situation).

    if you feel like you can do Insight meditation

    during your meditation, whenever a thought related to 'this case' comes into mind, try (this is effort) to remind the mind (this is the mindfulness) it is just a thought arise in this moment
    if you could success in it, you are 'Here and Now' for such moments

  • NamadaNamada Veteran
    edited June 28

    I dont know what you did or what happend, but to forgive yourself even for smaller mistakes can be hard. So Its good to go talk with friends or monks, I think they will understand and they are there for helping out laypeople. Everyone fucks things up now and then, its part of life. Better to accept it and try to continue as best we can, we are only humans :)

  • KannonKannon NAMU AMIDA BUTSU Ach-To Veteran

    I took refuge in the Buddha as a teenager albeit unknowingly. The small Dharma I internalized upon reading about Buddha helped me immensely. Now as a Pure Land Buddhist my refuge in Amida Buddha is very literal and important.

    When we stop focusing on our own actions and thoughts we become conduits for all 3 Jewels. The Dharma flows through me as does Amida Buddha.

    One day I would like to take a monastery retreat. That will be my last step in refuge. I unfortunately do not have a physical Sangha but I have taken refuge in NB!

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @Namada said:
    Better to accept it and try to continue as best we can, we are only humans :)

    Compassion arises for ourselves as we remember and forgive our actions. We are human, not self crucifiers.

    In a sense we have to coalesce around the virtue of the three jewels and intensify our resonance with the present and our capacity to practice that @eggsavior and others mention.

    Non attachment means leaving behind failings or better yet making them the inspiration for taking refuge, future efforts ... <3

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    edited June 28

    Well, I had a very interesting evening at the temple. When I arrived there were 5 Thai women there who were very welcoming, and they come from a town up in the mountains that's a 2 hour drive away. First there was the ceremony to bless the food stocks that they brought the monks, which I had participated in once before. Then there was the chanting, and fortunately they had a booklet for me with the Pali chants on the left side of the page, and the English translation on the right side. One part of the chanting was devoted directly to my situation. After that, the meditation session. I had not participated in the chanting or the meditation previously, so that was very interesting. Then there was, essentially, a chat session. The young monk sat with me and chatted, while the other two monks chatted with the women. At first I thought it was almost like a sermon, but instead it was a session for the Thai women to ask the monks questions about their lives as related to Buddhism. Finally I suggested to the young monk that we join the group, and they were just lovely toward me. Very common down to earth folks. We started at 6:30 and did not wrap up until after 9. I have a feeling the monks may have told the women about my situation in advance, because when the time came they were very sympathetic. I'm certainly not feeling back to normal. That's going to take some time, but I do feel better.

    One interesting thing, which even the monks could not answer (although I think I have found out about it now), the translation of the Pali referred to the "Silent Buddha". Have any of you heard of that?

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    Personally? No, I haven't.
    Glad you're feeling a little more relaxed and lighter, about things.

  • gracklegrackle Veteran

    A Pacceka-Buddha is often referred to as a silent or private buddha. He is an arhat who knows the entire scope of Dhamma but lacks the ability to become a teacher of gods and men. This is what I was taught long ago.

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    edited June 28

    @grackle said:
    A Pacceka-Buddha is often referred to as a silent or private buddha. He is an arhat who knows the entire scope of Dhamma but lacks the ability to become a teacher of gods and men. This is what I was taught long ago.

    Yes, I had just posted about that in a new thread. I think the reason the monks were not familiar with the term was because they are used to the Pali and perhaps Thai translation, and that it does not translate perfectly into English.

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