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3 Jewels or 4?

johnathanjohnathan ICBICanada Veteran

https://www.google.com/amp/s/inthewordsofbuddha.wordpress.com/2013/12/24/atta-dipa-viharatha-be-islands-unto-yourselves/amp/

Does anyone here take refuge in themselves... see any benefit or harm in doing so?

Comments

  • 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

    I've never thought of it as Refuge in myself, but now I come to think of it, I am exceeding comfortable in my own skin, and I trust my judgement.... Most of the time...

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @johnathan said:
    https://www.google.com/amp/s/inthewordsofbuddha.wordpress.com/2013/12/24/atta-dipa-viharatha-be-islands-unto-yourselves/amp/

    Does anyone here take refuge in themselves... see any benefit or harm in doing so?

    If one thinks about the Dharma....Where else can one truly take refuge, but in ones empty shell of a self....

    I take refuge in the Buddha (an awaken mind ..a mind that is open to what is) I take refuge in the Dharma (the true nature of things AKA the 4NTs 8FP & the three marks of existence ) and the Sangha ( like minded people AKA path treaders)

    To practice is to take refuge and to take refuge is to practice...and practice is a 24/7/365 thing ( 2020 is a leap year so 24/7/ 366 thing :) )

    Don't practice to become enlightened, Let your practice be the natural expression of your enlightenment

    ~Dogen~

    KeromeAlexlobsterjohnathan
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I wouldn’t add a fourth refuge myself, I think the role of whatever part of the self one chooses to reference is already clear, the phrasing after all is “I take refuge in...”

    Alex
  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    Does anyone here take refuge in themselves... see any benefit or harm in doing so?

    I never believe what I think as reliable. Something I apply to the 3 jewels, unless of course enlightened, which is unthinkable ...

    The harm is thinking one is right, logical, on firm understanding, sane etc.

    Only the empty has no opposition because it is not a stated position with an alternative.

    In other words: Build a strong raft of birds. Be prepared for them to fly or swim away ... 👼🏽🕊🦞

    Fosdickadamcrossley
  • johnathanjohnathan ICBI Canada Veteran

    I think taking refuge in yourself has more to do with trusting in yourself to do what is needed to follow the path and ensure you stay on it... this is a small you, not a big You... let's not get into no-self here. It's you who chooses to do your practice or not, it's you who chooses to be mindful or not... it's you who sits in meditation clearing your mind. Give yourself some credit... if it wasnt for your efforts you would be suffering more and showing compassion less.

    By making yourself a refuge you make yourself accountable to yourself... for you are the I that takes refuge in the Buddha, you are the I that takes refuge in the Dharma, you are the I that takes refuge in the Sangha... you are the I that could just say F*** it and not even bother.

    At some point you are going to let go of the refuges, all of them, at some point when you have reached enlightenment or even some time before that you will realize you are one with everything and nothing is seperate and taking refuge in anything you will be beyond.

    So until then, acknowledge yourself and your efforts, take refuge in yourself and when it's no longer needed you will let it go like everything else.

    Isn't to not take refuge in yourself a form of clinging... clinging to ideas of no-self, clinging to the triple gem as the only things to take refuge in...

    Now, this isn't my idea... it is being taught by a zen master, TNH and is supported in Ch'an, Dharma Drum Mountain Lineage, so...

    Not saying everyone should accept it, but for those thinking about it, you're not alone.

    Alex
  • johnathanjohnathan ICBI Canada Veteran

    Alex
  • paulysopaulyso Veteran usa Veteran

    @johnathan said:

    yea life is a 50/50 proposition of the freewill game.the choice is ours how we play the game.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited March 12

    @johnathan said:
    By making yourself a refuge you make yourself accountable to yourself... for you are the I that takes refuge in the Buddha, you are the I that takes refuge in the Dharma, you are the I that takes refuge in the Sangha... you are the I that could just say F*** it and not even bother

    The three refuges do mean something though. They are both a commitment and a supplication, a dedication to something external. Taking refuge in yourself seems to be stating that you are responsible for yourself... seems obvious?

    Now, this isn't my idea... it is being taught by a zen master, TNH and is supported in Ch'an, Dharma Drum Mountain Lineage, so...

    I wonder if it will gain many followers, although they are respected teachers.

  • 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

    @Kerome, maybe look at it this way: it's rather in the same vein as reciting Mantras to visualised Deities and personifications of 'Gods': They don't exist, but they are manifestations of particular qualities, virtues and strengths, that we inherently have, and wish to enhance, improve and grow within ourselves.

    The mantras are there to do us good, not to do the Gods good. They couldn't care less whether you devote yourself to them or not, it's you that matters...

    In the way we Take Refuge and consider the 'I' that does, we're reinforcing the strength, willpower and dedication within ourselves. We're reaffirming the Discipline we manifest, to adhere to what we're saying. We're self-encouraging to 'walk the talk'.

    johnathanlobster
  • johnathanjohnathan ICBI Canada Veteran

    @Kerome

    Do you accept or reject the notion of Buddha-Nature in all sentient Beings.

    To take refuge in oneself could also be viewed as taking refuge in ones own Buddha-Nature.

    In the most fundamental way, taking refuge in the Buddha means taking refuge in our own potential for liberation. In order to embark on a spiritual path we need faith that our own heart and mind have the potential to awaken. The true power of Buddha’s story, the power that has kept it alive for all these centuries, rests in the fact that it demonstrates what is possible for each of us.

    We so easily believe limiting stories about ourselves and forget that our very nature—our Buddha nature—is aware and loving. When we take refuge in the Buddha, we are taking refuge in the same capacity of awareness that awakened Siddhartha under the Bodhi Tree. We too can realize the blessing of freedom.

    After taking refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, I turn my attention inward, saying “I take refuge in myself (in this this awakening heart mind.)” Letting go of any notion that Buddha nature is something beyond or outside my awareness, I look towards the innate wakefulness of my being, the tender openness of my heart.

    Minutes earlier, I might have been taking myself to be the rush of emotions and thoughts moving through my mind. But by intentionally taking refuge in myself, in that awareness, that small identity dissolves.

    By directing our attention towards our deepest nature, by honoring the essence of our being, our own Buddha nature becomes to us more of a living reality. We are taking refuge in the truth of who we are.

    I add “svayam saranam gacchami”, I go to myself for refuge, as an affirmation and acknowledgement of my own Buddha-Nature, that I trust that it is there and waiting for me to clear the path to liberation.

    To take refuge in myself, in my own Buddha-Nature, is not the self of the ego, the self that is intelligence based, the grasping, clinging self. The self I take refuge in is the No-self me, the one that knows it is impermanent and does not cling and grasp, the me that is based on wisdom.

    Dakinilobster
  • johnathanjohnathan ICBI Canada Veteran
    edited March 12

    @Kerome said:

    The three refuges do mean something though. They are both a commitment and a supplication, a dedication to something external. Taking refuge in yourself seems to be stating that you are responsible for yourself... seems obvious?

    The Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha are not external... everything that we perceive goes through the mind... everything we experience is internal.

    And yes, I am responsible for myself. The Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha are only fingers pointing, they have no responsibility for me. I choose which fingers to follow. The ones pointing at liberation... but there are many other fingers pointing at many other things, like one pointing to alcohol... another to video game obsession... the one pointing at the elation of power and greed... I chose which path to walk... If I do not trust myself as a refuge than why trust that any path you take makes a difference. You obviously cannot be relied upon to choose rightly. No... I trust in myself and take refuge in that trust... that faith I have that I am on the right path, that I chose rightly to take the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha as refugees as well.

    lobster
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran Veteran
    edited March 12

    Part of the refuge is doing your part to study, contemplate, and meditate. And so forth. And part of it is realizing that if you get stuck you also have the universe to help unstuck you. In this world if you are stuck there are teachers and fellow travelers of whatever stage of the path you are at. So it's pledges your part and also having trust in the universe to help out from the side of the universe. Where there are beings there is suffering and where there is suffering there are those who work with and overcome.

    Bonus question: is coffee a part of the refuge? :P

    lobster
  • johnathanjohnathan ICBI Canada Veteran
    edited March 12

    @ Jeffery

    I am unsure if you are for or against the idea of self as a refuge. I have read your post a few times and could see it supporting either, or...

    A lot of the time we get stuck it is because we don’t look to ourselves to get unstuck. Part of my premise is saying that by our looking to ourself for refuge is to trust that we are the only one who can get ourselves unstuck. All the Buddhas, Dharma and Sanghas in the universe won’t make a hill of beans if I choose not to seek them out or to not allow what I find, when I do look, in.

    Ultimately, the mundane self, is the moving factor as to whether the other 3 gems are given the chance to help liberate us. Why should I not take refuge in my own efforts to seek liberation through the other three gems?

    Dakini
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran Veteran

    Taking refuge is saying the that you are going to practice Buddhism as you understand. That's the self part. You have the potential to discern. But refuge is also having trust in the outside universe. Or actually it's about yourself discerning what is reliable and what is not. But the mandala of awareness will help you out too though of course you will have to be there too and recognize what is valuable and so forth.

    lobster
  • johnathanjohnathan ICBI Canada Veteran
    edited March 12

    Although it may sound like I am arguing for the side of taking refuge in oneself I am really trying to decide where I even stand on the issue. I can see the rational for it but part of me keeps going back to wondering if it’s just the ego trying to supplant itself in importance in ones mind.

    One of the biggest obstacles to liberation is the ego. Perhaps by not acknowledging it openly as a refuge one puts ego aside, just like doing prostrations, or any one of the many other buddhisty things we do to let go of the ego.

    Maybe I’ve just talked myself out of the notion... I don’t know yet.

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran Veteran

    The Jewel Ornament of Liberation a Tibetan Kagyu text talks about this. Chapter one is about Buddha Nature which is a necessary part. The next chapter is about the factors that you need to have and I think that is called 'leisure' though not leisure in sense of free time. And that second chapter also talks about the factors of the world you are born in needs to have for you to practice. For example there needs to have been a teaching Buddha in that world previously. Those two are called leisure and endowment and they are the necessary factors in addition to Buddha Nature that are needed in yourself and the world. Next there is a needed factor of the spiritual teacher to show you the method of practice in case you cannot prescribe it for yourself. So there's a chapter about the teacher in addition to Buddha Nature, Leisure and Endowment. And then there is also chapters about refuge, the bodhisattva practices etc.

    johnathan
  • johnathanjohnathan ICBI Canada Veteran
    edited March 12

    Maybe it’s enough to put more emphasis on the “I” in the refuges... really take in the entire meaning of what the “I” really represents... the choices, sacrifices, determination, etc, the things that got you on the path and keeps moving you forward step by step.

    Jeffrey
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran Veteran

    Thinking about your original post I remember something my teacher said about her teacher. If I remember correctly. Someone asked him for a blessing and he said that they could bless themselves since they had Buddha Nature. I hope nobody takes that the wrong way and I just hear the story second hand and not know the 'body language'. But sounds like if you can bless yourself then I think you should be a part of the refuge like you are saying.

  • johnathanjohnathan ICBI Canada Veteran

    I have decided to make refuge to myself as well as to the Triple Gem. The Vajrapradama Mudra as described below talks about the universal self that represents the divine energy (as originally a Taoist, this divine energy is obviously the Tao, ones Buddha Nature.)

    Vajrapradama mudra emanates a glowing river of beautiful golden energy that is very healing and ever-lasting. This is not just a gesture of individual self-confidence, but of the universal Self that represents the divine energy. When this confidence is there, the heart becomes the strongest communicator.

    https://images.app.goo.gl/z8Mog7Pejp5KsbKk8

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    I take refuge in the Buddha because it is the full and complete realization of the potential for awareness.

    I take refuge in the dharma because it is the logistics of information or the way things go and paying attention to that gives way to awareness.

    I take refuge in the Sangha because it is the manifestation of cooperative effort for increasing awareness.

    I take refuge in the individual self because it is the vessel through which awareness is experienced.

    I cannot trust in the individual self alone because in reality, there is no such thing and as soon as we think there is, we are subject to delusion and the tool of duality no longer serves us. Us and "them" is a disease of the mind.

    Likewise, I cannot trust the Buddha, dharma or sangha without weighing them against my own common sense because then they lack conviction and a piece of the equation is left out.

    I think we can do either or and it should probably depend on what we need in our practice the most. If we have a tendency to brush our self off or have come to think we are nothing more than an illusion to be discarded then we could use a stern reminder that we are useful and perhaps even Integral to the process.

    On the other hand, if our ego tends to get the best of us then it could be better to leave it at the three jewels since we are there already.

    johnathanlobsterJeffrey
  • 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

    I am borrowing part of the above, @David, to help someone in need. Is that ok?

    Bunks
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    Thanks @federica, that's nice.

    Bunksfederica
  • johnathanjohnathan ICBI Canada Veteran

    In the book; Ch’an and Zen Teaching, First Series by Charles Luk
    The following phrase is found on the first couple pages by itself:

    We take refuge in Buddha,
    We take refuge in Dhartna,
    We take refuge in the Sangha,
    We take refuge in the Triple Gem within ourselves.

    I thought it was appropriate to this discussion and another way to add self into the taking of refuge.

    lobster
  • johnathanjohnathan ICBI Canada Veteran
    edited March 23

    Here is Huineng's take on taking refuge in oneself (6th Patriarch of Ch'an):

    Refuge in the threefold body of the Buddha of oneself

    From: The Transformation of the Formless Precepts in the Platform Sūtra

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://terebess.hu/zen/mesterek/Schlutter-Platform.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwi6mYDft6_oAhXSB50JHcBGDGcQFjAAegQIARAB&usg=AOvVaw3yVoy-wzQ0mfPzWdezXXxo

  • johnathanjohnathan ICBI Canada Veteran

    So, I came across this (Kshitigarbha practice):

    "I prostrate, go for refuge, and make offerings to the bodhisattva Ksitigarbha who has unbearable compassion for me and all sentient beings who are suffering and whose minds are obscured, who has qualities like the sky and liberates sentient beings from all suffering and gives every happiness. Please grant blessings! "

    It has the person practicing take refuge in Ksitigarbha. It sounds like the Three Jewels and possibly the Island unto oneself are not the only things one can take refuge in...

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