Why does the Buddha come into this? Aren’t we, isn’t Buddhism supposedly, Buddha himself said, not to depend on a person but depend on the teaching. Isn’t Buddhism a path that does not believe in truly existing all mighty creator, a supreme being. Why do we have to take refuge to the Buddha? This is a very important question. Yes, for many of us, the moment we say we take refuge to the Buddha, for most of us, for most we can’t help but we think in terms of taking refuge to the Buddha who came 2500 years ago in a place called – two thousand five hundred years ago, six hundred years, two thousand six hundred years ago. India, not UK. Man, not as a woman. As a prince, not as an ordinary person. All of that, most of us we think like this. That is actually not so bad, nowadays most of the people, the moment they say I take refuge to the Buddha, their mind automatically thinks about the golden statue they bought. Not gold, many of them are bronze. Fake ones. That’s sitting on your shrine somewhere. It is terrible. But that is how lot of us think when we say we take refuge to the Buddha. Now this one, but I am not negating this, this will do for some people. Why not? If it helps that is good because indirectly it is actually not deceiving. Someone could be inspired by a statue in British Museum for instance of a Buddha, because of his serenity, because of the way he looks, I don’t know, because how the light falls on his face. And he or she may get inquiry about this person who came two thousand five hundred years ago. And then if he or she more diligent then he or she might end up finding some of his teaching and then it might indirectly lead him to a non deceiving path. So as a Buddhist I would say, relatively it is okay. But on a more profound level when we say we take refuge to the Buddha, again we are actually talking about a very very profound truth. We are not really saying we take refuge to the Buddha which is bound by time, bound by a place such as Shakyamuni Buddha, historical Buddha. But we are talking about taking refuge to the innate Buddha that we all have. Our true nature. The absolute nature of each and every individual of beings, us, animals, gods, ghosts, every one of us has this innate buddha nature. And that is what we are taking refuge to, ultimately.
Outer, Inner and Secret Refuge, London 2010