Tag Archives: Sangha

quintessence of taking refuge in everyday life

quintessence of taking refuge in everyday life

For us practitioner of motivation, practice refuge, take refuge, recite the refuge, recitation such as sang gye kyab su chi .., in pali and sanskrit, however in english, chinese, whatever language. I personally prefer that you do it with your own language. Also you know it doesn’t have to always be, you have to always recite something that is composed by the lamas of the past. Although I should recommend that you do that because it must have so much blessing. You make up your own. Like I take refuge to the buddha, dharma, sangha, please protect me from all kinds of suffering, all kinds of problems, accidents, diseases, bad news and bad dreams and all that. You also take refuge to the buddha, dharma , sangha, please protect me from my selfishness – mahayana path. Everything. You can even, so much so that you can even take refuge this way. Take refuge to the buddha, dharma, sangha, so that you will actually really take refuge to buddha, dharma, sangha. Really, everything like turning to the practice of the refuge. So that I will have right motivation, so that I will actually want to take refuge. So that I will have no doubt to the buddha, dharma, and sangha.

If you want to elaborate, you can have a statue of the buddha, if that helps you. If not necessary statue of a buddha, even a dharma text such as a Vajracchedika Sutra or a Heart Sutra, or whatever, even the text that you have, you can put it on the shrine. You can make offerings of whatever is available or whatever you can. Incense, flower, water. If you don’t have, or if you cant have it because of a certain situation such as in the aeroplane, then you visualize because you are a practitioner of motivation.Remember. It is not as if certain amount of flower will please the triple gem. You can actually offer one flower and think in billion, that it manifests into billions.

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refuge

refuge

Refuge, ???, refuge, as much refuge again in the english word refuge can be, we may have overused it again. Refuge, among many other things, refuge has a connotation of acceptance. Acceptance. Because generally refuge is like surrendering. Like if you are afraid of getting burned by the sun then you take refuge under the umbrella. But ???, or the Buddhist practice of refuge has more the connotation of acceptance. Acceptance. For instance, no matter what, no matter what, all compounded things are impermanent, ???. No matter what all compounded things are impermanent. That was spoken by the Buddha that is why it is called the teaching, the dharma. But whether it is spoken by the Buddha or not, doesn’t matter, in the Prajnaparamita Sutra Buddha said, ???, whether the Buddha have come or not, the reality of the phenomena doesn’t change. All compounded things are impermanent. This fact or this truth, if you can accept, that’s actually really, the actually sort of real or I don’t know how should I put it, that’s actually taking refuge. When you can accept that. That is on the much more profound level.

If you can accept, yes all compounded things are impermanent, I can accept that. Is it logical, that is really true, it is not going to change. Similarly all stained emotion leads you to pain. All phenomena have no inherently existing nature. Nirvana is beyond extreme. All of that. To know the suffering is important. To abandon the cause of suffering is important. There is a path to abandon the cause of suffering. There is actually a cessation of suffering. Accepting that truth is actually what taking refuge to the Dharma means.

Of course symbolically, you we can even do a Buddhist text into the shrine and do prostrations, bow down to it, make offerings of flowers and incense. That is what we can do, we deluded beings, we, those who are so light up on symbols. We have to do that way. But if you were to choose, which one is better, making offerings of flowers every day to a Buddhist text such as Prajnaparamita, every day you offer a flower. Or you think about the Prajnaparamita’s meaning for one moment. Buddha himself stated many many times, one moment of dwelling in the meaning of the Prajnaparamita is like billion times much much much better than feeding the thousands and millions of Buddhas for many many many years. You have heard this many times if you read the Vajracchedika Sutra, Avatamsaka Sutra, Lankavatara Sutra. This goes on.

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Sangha as conditioner

Sangha as conditioner

Sangha is actually the most tangible but the most important, for a spiritual follower of the Buddha, the most important condition. Conditioner, Sangha. Because it is a support, it is a friend, it is the community. And when you have that proper right condition, then the right view, the right motivation, the right action all comes through.

Outer, Inner and Secret Refuge, London 2010

self corrosive Sangha

self corrosive Sangha

So a reliable non-deceiving but self corrosive path is necessary, self corrosive system is necessary. And under that comes the so called concept of triple gem, Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. And specially Sangha, specially Sangha is the most self corrosive literally. Literally. So when people say the Sangha so tiring, all this ups and downs and people smell, their attitude and the way they talk and way they – that, you know, oh the Sangha has to be good , Sangha has to be powerful, Sangha has to be intact, Sangha has to be organized, Sangha has to registered under the society registration, act of this and that, all of this comes from materialistic approach. Actually, ya, actually the Buddha’s concept of a Sangha is a very very deep. It is one of the, I would say it is probably the most radical democratic system I would say. It is like I think – but this does not mean of course I am not saying that all the Sangha should fight each other, because our path is self corrosive, why not make it faster. Why not beat each other up? Why take time? I am not saying that. Because if you do that that actually means that you do not believe in self corrosive. That actually means that you believe in negation. You are nihilist. Now we have to be really lovey dovey hugging, we have to really meet each other every Wednesday. What is it, what is standard western Dharma Sangha schedule. Every Saturday we meet for the Avalokiteshvara meditation. Every weekend we meet for the shamata evening or something like that. This is very important, really important. And not only that, the whole structure of the Sangha, so important. But most important is the members of this Sangha must believe in the same truth. If one of the members of the Sangha believes that hey my anger is kind of permanent you know. My jealousy is not removable. Then he or she has to go somewhere else. That is very important. The view, the fundamental view.

Outer, Inner and Secret Refuge, London 2010

most common Buddhist practice

most common Buddhist practice

We are going to talk about refuge, that’s very important. It is an indispensable practice and a theory in all the Buddhist teachings. Unfortunately sometimes refuge is referred as something like a, some kind of a preliminary practice or a study which is very unfortunate because even the most seasoned practitioners really need understanding and maintaining of practice of refuge. In Tibetan there is a saying ??? which means the distinctions of whether you are a follower of Buddha or not is made by whether you have taken refuge or not. At glance it sounds like you will be referred as a Buddhist only if you ceremoniously took a refuge which is of course to the certain extend true. But refuge actually is really a very vast, it’s a, one could almost say that the fundamental teaching of the Buddha lies within the refuge, the attitude of the refuge, the motivation of the refuge and the understanding of the refuge. In fact if you ask what is the most common, because there are many Buddhist schools or lineage or tradition in this world, and if you were to ask, what is the most common mantra if you like, or something to recite that is agreed by all tradition of Buddhism, it has to be refuge. And it is basically, I take refuge to Buddha, I take refuge to Dharma, I take refuge to Sangha. So this is recited in Thailand, in Sri Lanka, Burma, Tibet, Japan, everywhere. This is properly the most common prayer, supplication, mantra people practice. It is the most fundamental also. Even the most exotic and supposedly very high teachings like the Vajrayana cannot begin their practice without the refuge. Without the refuge, there is no base or foundation for the Vajrayana practice.

Outer, Inner and Secret Refuge, London 2010

sangha in the three vehicles

sangha in the three vehicles

Again, in the Shravakayana, specially in the Shravakayana, Sangha is usually referred to ordained, ordained with either two hundred fifty different kind of vows or three hundred something vows. Someone who has renounced the worldly life, someone who has permanently or temporarily adopted the life of renunciant. Those, only those are considered members of the Sangha. In the Mahayana, anyone who has taken the Bodhisattva Vow, anyone who has actually – what did he say, Shantideva, I forgot the word, the moment you have the bodhicitta vow then this person will become a Bodhisattva, this person will become object of veneration by gods and human beings. So basically anyone who has taken the Bodhisattva becomes Sangha, Mahayana Sangha. In the Vajrayana, anyone who has taken the five different Buddha family precepts, or four abhishekas, actually even three or five, three Buddha family precepts, five Buddha family precepts, or four abhishekas. They become Vajrayana Sangha. Basically those who are following the path to become Vidyadhara, the holder of awareness. Those become Vajrayana Sangha.

Teachings on Aspirations, California 2008

pure Sangha

pure Sangha

Pure perception towards the Sangha is difficult. Very difficult. Goodness that is like, Dharma Sangha members fight more than Palestinians and Israelis. It is like for some strange reason, it is like – because do you know why? Because, I think there are several reasons. Because everyone there has come with a good intention. That’s why. Isn’t it strange. When everybody came with a good intention there is also, because you think, okay I a coming there with a good intention, I am going there, I am tired of samsaric life, I want to benefit the Dharma, I want to serve the Dharma, I want to serve this guru. And you go to a certain place. So they see you coming up with a good intention. So this good intention, our kind of good intention narrows our sight. So now everybody has good intention, all the others. You see, there are some people between Palestinians and Israelis, some soldiers are not really, they don’t have that one pointed devotion towards this. They are just there because they have to be there. So I am sure some of them are like breaking lot of samayas to save their own life. But here everybody is here in the Buddhadharma, everybody is trying hard, hard with a good intention. So that brings lots of problem. One. Two, in the Sangha, you cannot fire anyone. You cannot. They are there for ever. Until the enlightenment, you understand. You are stuck. You cannot fire anyone. So all these, good intention, the fact that you cannot fire them. Good intention basically brings pride, oh I come with a good intention. That brings a pride. This is why, I don’t know whether in the west the Sangha members are fighting as much but I have seen in the Tibetan Sangha members, the Tibetan Sangha members fight like Ninjas. Very silently. You know in the morning there are few dead bodies. I have a feeling that western Sangha fights like Khampas and Arabs. Making lots of noise and lots of – I have a feeling that right now the damage is less.

Teachings on Aspirations, California 2008

Mahayana Refuge

Mahayana Refuge

In fact, bluntly speaking, when a Mahayana bodhisattva is taking refuge, not like all the other practitioners, who will take refuge to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha to protect them from samsara only. Mahayana bodhisattvas they take refuge to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha to protect them from both, samsara and nirvana.

Parting from the four attachments, Nepal June 2009
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