Re: Learning

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Posted by Michael Pollard ( on August 27, 2000 at 12:09:46:

In Reply to: Learning posted by Tony on August 27, 2000 at 04:46:05:

Books are good, but intergrateing the Dhrma into your life is what you need most. I feel that if you practice Dharma and take refuge in your heart you are a Buddhist in my eyes. As for traveling around, you needn't travel further than yourself, although a teacher may help, and if you still need a teacher than look locally and then natinaly and then wherever you need to, provided you hadn't already found a place you like. In the suttas most people that receive a teaching from the Buddha either take refuge in the three jewels or their refuge becomes stronger. In the cases where refuge is taken it usually follows a similare pattern, but one of my favorites is the one of the young householder in the Sigalovada Sutta where he says:

I take refuge, lord, in the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha. May the Exalted One receive me as a lay follower; as one who has taken refuge from this very day to life's end.

The reason takeing refuge is important is that it is a way of affirming your `faith' in the three jewels ability to bring you to Nirvana and, when reflected on, help remove doubts and fear about life. Like a Christian who takes a refuge in God to help us, we take refuge in the Jewels to help our selves. It's important that we don't think of these three things as being able to solve our problems, but as a way to get support and strength we need to solve our own problems... understand... they are not like a God that interveins in your life but rather allows you to take control of your own life. Now, to take refuge has to be done when you honestly feel great `faith' in there abilitys to help you.. after you understand them and know that everything they embody is truth and it will set you free. After that you can recite the refuge formula when you feel down and then reflect in the Jewels strength and use that strength to help in your problems, ie use the Dhamma to help you cope with resentment or hatred;
to reflect on the Buddhas loveing example of compassion and that he became awake to enforce the beliefe that you to can be as compassionate and awake; and go to the Sangha for advice on your problems or for infoamtion (as you have done here. Yes, we are a form of Sangha or `Spirtiual friends'). Such refuge and faith in the Jewels alone will draw you along the path and, in a sense, be a tutor in Buddhism. For example, I don't read suttas and my Dharma books just cause, I do so because I feel they hold the key to release. I don't come to the forum (online Sangha) because I simply like to tell people I exist, I do because I feel everyone here is a Sangha and can help me, and maybe I can help them. These are my personal examples of the three refuges. Gee... I hope that wasn't to drug out, and that it helps you or somebody else. Also, don't feel you cannot travel because I myself am planning a trip to the east. Oh an heres the formula for refuge which I often recite:

I go to the Buddha for refuge, the enlightened teacher

I go to the Dharma for refgue, his enlightened teachings

I go to the Sangha for refuge, his enlightened community

for a second time .... the Buddha...

for a second time... the Dharma...

for a second time... the sangha...

for the third time ... the Buddha...

for the third time the ... Dharma...

for the third time the ... Sangha...

Don't forget to reflect on each line and what it means. Each go around represents a jewel... or similare to that. There's some other stuff which I may as well quote to, here's the reason for remebering the Jewels from Buddha himeself:

In wilderness, monks,
at the foot of a tree,
or in an empty dwelling,
recollect the Buddha: you will have no fear.

If you don't recall the Buddha --
Best in the world,
the bull of men --
then recollect the Dhamma,
leading outward,
well expounded.

If you don't recall the Dhamma --
leading outward,
well expounded --
then recollect the Sangha,
the field of merit

For those who have thus recalled
the Buddha,
& Sangha, monks,
there will be
no terror,
or fear.

-- SN XI.3: Dhajagga Sutta

Feel free to read the whole sutta at: Metta to you.

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