Taking refuge is to become a Buddhist, not a refugee

24 November 2010 - 2:03am Comments Off

Entering refuge is only the first step. Our vows, practice, rituals, meditations, Dharma work and pujas serve as a POWERFUL BASIS to purify our current problems and future ones. Therefore, even having taken refuge, and not following superstition, negativities can still harm us during our practice. So we shouldn’t sit idle and just say I’ve taken refuge…

H.E. Tsem Rinpoche

Entering refuge means seeking shelter or protection. It is not like going into a cave and waiting for the storm outside to pass. It is not like a refugee in a camp waiting for help to arrive. If we have taken refuge and go about our daily life doing the same things we have been doing, the process of taking refuge will not change our life for the better.

The storm is in our mind but our sick mind cannot be reached or trained by anyone other than ourselves. However, we can be taught to train our mind. Who can teach us how to train and heal our mind? The Three Jewels – the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Until we can perceive the Enlightened ones directly, the best teacher is our spiritual guide, the source of all good.

Taking refuge is our gateway to the Buddhadharma. This means the same methods accomplished by those who have attained Enlightenment are now available to us to follow and practise. However, before we can plant good seeds in our garden, we have to remove the weeds first.

In the same way, our mind at present is full of negativities. These negativities, also known as afflictive emotions, are agents of suffering. How? They influence us into engaging in negative actions which are the causes of our suffering now and in future.

Rinpoche has given us a simple but effective practice to do daily. The moment we wake up, or just before we go to bed, generate a good thought. A kind thought concerned with the welfare of others is a pretty good one to trigger positive thoughts and actions for the rest of our day to make it a happy one. When we are happy with virtuous thoughts, negativities cannot harm us easily. Why? Virtue is the cause of happiness while evil produces misery. With our thoughts, we can create anything and become whoever we wish with certainty. Without fail, Mr Karma produces the results in accordance to our actions, for better or for worse. The choice is ours.

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