Practice

Value your self, look after your self

Be watchful throughout your life.

You are your own refuge;

There is no other refuge.

This refuge is hard to achieve.

One’s self is the lord of oneself;

There is no other lord.

This lord is difficult to conquer.

You cannot save another, you can

only save yourself.

Better your own Dhamma,

however weak,

Than the Dhamma of another,

however noble.

Look after your self,

and be firm in your goal.

His mind is restless

after many flowers,

before he can have them

death is upon him.

Attributed to The Buddha

in The Dhammapada

Translated from the Pali by P. Lal

(Farrar, Straus, & Girous, 1970)

Taking Refuge by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

To be able to free us from the whirlpool of samsara, the basis of the refuge we seek must be something itself already totally free. There is only one source of refuge free from all the limitations of samsara, complete with all the qualities of ultimate realization, and possessing the limitless compassion that can respond universally to the needs of sentient beings and lead them all the way to enlightenment: the Three Jewels.

The Three Jewels are the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. The Buddha is the teacher, who displays the four kayas [embodiments] and five wisdoms. The Dharma is the path, the teachings that are transmitted and realized. The Sangha are the companions on the path, those who understand the meaning of the teachings and who as a result are liberated.

Taking refuge is the gateway to the Dharma. It is common to all three vehicles and is the foundation on which all practice depends. The attitude to samsara that motivates people to take refuge, however, is not always the same. To be afraid of suffering in samsara and therefore to take refuge for one’s own sake would be an inferior motivation. The best motivation would be the wish to liberate all sentient beings completely from the suffering of samsara and to establish them in the state of enlightenment. To take refuge with that thought is the attitude of the Mahayana.

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche was one of the principal lamas in the Nyingmapa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. “Taking Refuge” is adapted from The Heart Treasure of the Enlightened Ones (Shambhala).

They go to many a refuge,

to mountains, forests,

parks, trees, & shrines:

people threatened with danger.

That’s not the secure refuge,

that’s not the highest refuge,

that’s not the refuge,

having gone to which,

one gains release

from all suffering & stress.

But a person who, having gone

to the Buddha, Dhamma, & Sangha for refuge,

sees the four Noble Truths

with right discernment -

stress,

the cause of stress,

the transcending of stress,

and the Noble Eightfold Path,

the way to the stilling of stress;

That is the secure refuge,

that is the highest refuge,

that is the refuge,

having gone to which,

one gains release

from all suffering & stress.

- Dhammapada, 188-192

�Indeed, the Blessed One [the Buddha] is pure and rightly self-awakened, consummate in knowledge and conduct, well-gone, an expert with regard to the cosmos, unexcelled as a trainer for those people fit to be tamed, the Teacher of divine and human beings, awakened, blessed.’

�The Dhamma is well-expounded by the Blessed One, to be seen here and now, timeless, inviting verification, pertinent, to be realized by the wise for themselves.’

�The Sangha of the Blessed One’s disciples who have practiced well...who have practiced straight-forwardly...who have practiced methodically...who have practiced masterfully - in other words, the four types of noble disciples when taken as pairs, the eight when taken as individual types - they are the Sangha of the Blessed One’s disciples: worthy of gifts, worthy of hospitality, worthy of offerings, worthy of respect, the incomparable field of merit for the world.’

- Anguttara Nikaya, X.92

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