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03/23/21
18 -24-3-2021 LESSON 3630 Buddha-Sasana-Refuge
Filed under: General
Posted by: site admin @ 5:18 am
 18 -24-3-2021 LESSON 3630 Buddha-Sasana-Refuge

Friends

Refuge

The
flood waters were rising and some of the huts at the river’s edge were
beginning to be swept away. Villagers began to panic as they came face
to face with the foolishness of having built their village against a
sheer cliff at water’s edge. Many of them began running frantically back
and then forth along the river bank beside themselves with indecision,
some of these overloaded with small children and belongings. Others
backed away from the rushing waters up to the cliffs, looking helpless
and forlorn. Those in denial went about their normal business as if this
day had brought nothing newsworthy.
The
chief, ever courageous, emerged from his hut, assessed the situation by
scanning the length of the river with discerning eyes, grabbed up his
youngest daughter in one hand and his embellished staff of authority in
the other, and shouted,
“Follow me, villagers!”
He
had picked a point along the shore at which he plunged boldly and
confidently into the water at a right angle headed directly for the
opposite shore. He waded deeper and deeper as the water reached his
waist, then his chest, but his determination remained unaltered. Many
others followed immediately behind, holding belongings and frightened
children over their heads, leading horses and beleashed dogs a-paddle.
However,
the more timid waited at the shore and watched the chief’s progress,
while others, the even more panic stricken, continued to run up and down
the shore, and others, the flood deniers, went about their normal
business too stunned to note the chief’s actions. Gradually the chief
and his closest followers, having nearly disappeared below the waves,
began to ascend as they approached the opposite river bank. But by this
time the waters had risen even urther, many of the trailing timid were
tragically swept away in the raging waters for having hesitated,
followed soon by the panicked and by the deniers. The chief had saved
half of the villagers.
Trust
We
live in a relentlessly uncertain world yet need to make decisions in
that world. It is the rare decision indeed that comes with absolute
certitude. Trust17 is that which bridges the gap between the little we
actually know and the plenty we would need to know in order to make a
decision of guaranteed outcome. Trust belongs to the nuts and bolts of
human cognition. We may try to bring as much discernment as possible
into our trust but in the end we necessarily make a jump, big or little,
into the unknown,
“[Gulp] Well, here goes!”
In
this way we have entrusted ourselves, for better or worse, to our baby
sitters, to our teachers, to our accountant, to TV pundits, to our
dentist, to the authority of science, and for fewer and fewer of us to
our national leaders. Or we put our trust in alternatives to all of
these. We have no choice whether to trust, only who or what to trust.
In
fact, we grow up, before we know it, trusting a mass of tacit and
unexamined assumptions instilled at such a young age that we later
forget that they are tacit and unexamined, that they are products of
trust. Moreover, in this modern age of mass media and mass marketing,
values have become cheap, manufactured at will and instilled into us
electronically, planted and cultivated by the marketers one year then
overturned the next to plant something new. We worship celebrities for
no good reason other than that they are celebrities, we celebrate greed,
we obsess over hair and clothes, our cars and personal entertainment
centers are our shrines, we are taught from the youngest age that “good”
is inevitably expressed through the barrel of a gun because that is all
that the “bad” understand. In this modern age we are mired in trust,
but this trust is almost entirely implicit, unexamined and undiscerning,
and largely consciously manipulated by others to their own ends. It
requires ample blind faith.
Many
people place trust in a rational mind that can keep its options open
until certitude is realized. That is timidity. There is no more
discernment in timidity than there is in denial or in blind faith, for
in timidity we invariably fall back into our tacit unexamined
assumptions, the biases and conditioning we inevitably grew up with
before we could have recognized what they were. Timidity is in effect to
place certitude in those biases and conditioning as providing reliable
standards for interpreting what lies beyond, then to proceed in baby
steps from there. Courage is to place our trust elsewhere, even if just
as a working assumption or thought experiment to see what it feels like.
Discerning courage is to add reason to this.
There
is no getting around trust in an uncertain world. Life-altering
decisions generally arise from a sense of urgency that demand big acts
of trust and therefore enormous courage; they are way beyond the reach
of the timid or of the deniers who cling fearfully to their certitude.
This is the courage of the great explorers, of the hippies of yore on
quest in India with nothing but a backpack, and more commonly of the
betrothed or of the career bound, stirred by deep longing or by
desperation. The Buddhist Path fully embraced by one resolved to ascend
the stem toward Awakening will shake one’s life to the core and this
will demand particularly courageous trust.
And
so, trust in the Triple Gem must be great enough to overcome our tacit
and unexamined trust. We do best to embark on the exploration of the
Sasana from the vantage point of the Buddha, not from that of Madison
Avenue, John Wayne or Rupert Murdoch. We do best to replace wild and
random influences with those upheld in Buddhism from the outset. Since
trust is unavoidable, replacing unexamined trust with discerning trust
is generally a good idea. It is the alliance of trust and discernment
that reaches furthest.
Trust
in the Triple Gem is, moreover, essential for bending our minds around
Buddhism, because Buddhism includes difficult understandings and
practices to internalize. Until we understand what it is the Buddha
realized, what it is the Buddha taught and what it is the Sangha has
upheld for one hundred generations, we cannot be certain where this way
of life and Path of practice will lead us. Until we have experienced
deeply this way of life and traveled far on this Path of practice we
will not understand what the Buddha understood, taught and entrusted to
the Sangha. Therefore, until we have experienced this way of life and
traveled far on this path we require trust, ardent trust in the Triple
Gem, to nourish our Buddhist aspirations and practice, just as sun,
water and soil nourish a flower. Trust in the Triple Gem is what first
turns our heads toward virtue, wisdom and peace.
Those
born into Buddhist cultures and families commonly learn trust in the
Triple Gem from infancy, before they possess the gift of discernment. It
is the job of the Sasana to ensure that the discernment of others,
particularly of the Noble Ones, stands behind the notions and values
imparted to the little ones. For others, particularly those coming to
Buddhism as adults, the initial seed of trust is often found in little
things. Sariputta, who would one day become the Buddha’s leading
disciple in wisdom, gained his initial trust in the Buddha simply by
observing the deportment of one of the early Noble Ones on alms round.
Many of us in the West who are not born Buddhists gain the initial trust
through encounters with Buddhists, who often exhibit profound peace and
kindness, or through the profundity that shines through the Buddha’s
teachings, even before we grasp more than a hint of their import. Bold
at first, that trust will grow progressively more discerning and acquire
more confidence with experience.
There
is great drama in these great decisions, initially urgency and fear,
then reflection, then commitment, then outcome. Where trust is ongoing,
devotion or veneration might follow. The resolution to trust is
experienced as a sudden relief, carrying the taste of safety. The
uncertainty that has given rise to fear and urgency may not yet be
eliminated, but once urgency has turned to commitment, worry can be
relinquished. The sense of ease is a refuge, a sense of entrusting
oneself, much as we as children entrust our well-being to our parents.
The trust we place in the Triple Gem often arises from a sense of
urgency as great as that of the villagers in the story above. This is
called in Pali saṃvega, a kind of horror at the realization of the full
nature and depth of the human condition.18 It is said that the
Buddha-to-be experienced samvega when, as a somewhat frivolous Nepalese
playboy, he learned, to his dismay, of sickness, of old age and of
death, and in response began his quest, like the hippies of yore, to
India. Samvega arises when we lose our capacity for denial, which is a
likely outcome when frivolity ceases. The Buddha-to-be then recognized
at the sight of a wandering ascetic an option that gave rise to the bold
resolution to address his despair. It is said that he then experienced a
sense of calm relief that in Pali is called pasada, the antidote to the
distress of samvega.
Underlying
the metaphors of both Refuge and Gem is, in fact, protection or safety.
A refuge at the Buddha’s time was understood as the protection provided
by a mentor, patron or benefactor in return for a vow of allegiance.19
Gems, similarly, were generally believed to have special protective
properties. Refuge in the Triple Gem represents, particularly for those
not born Buddhist, a bold decision to entrust oneself to a way of life,
understanding and practice that will at first have all the uncertainty
and mystery that virgin territory has to the explorer or that a deep and
dark cave has to the spelunker. Just as a plan of action is a refuge to
relieve the panic of the castaway or of those buried in rubble,
entrusting oneself to a Path of practice toward Awakening provides a
refuge from samvega.
But is this a trust that arises out of wise reflection and discernment?
Discovering Buddhism Module 7 - Refuge in the three Jewels
FPMT
53.2K subscribers
Find
out what it means to take refuge in the Three Jewels and the essential
practices of refuge. Learn about the advantage of taking lay vows and
their role in enhancing our spiritual growth. Learn more about
Discovering Buddhism at
http://fpmt.org/education/programs/di…​. Study Discovering Buddhism courses on the Online Learning Center at at http://onlinelearning.fpmt.org




Discovering Buddhism Module 7 - Refuge in the three Jewels


Friends


Refuge in the Buddha
The
Blessed One is an arahant, perfectly enlightened, accomplished in true
knowledge and conduct, fortunate, knower of the world, unsurpassed
trainer of persons to be tamed, teacher of devas and humans, the
Enlightened One, the Blessed One.20
Most
religions worship some personality. Buddhism is striking in that the
role of veneration is occupied primarily by a (now deceased) human being
rather than a deity or supernatural being, albeit a person who attained
some remarkable qualities. We already tend to venerate people with
remarkable qualities, for instance, our favorite geniuses like Einstein
or Mozart. The Buddha was a three-fold genius.
First,
the Buddha became a supremely awakened one, a Buddha, worthy, exalted,
and with no one having illuminated the Path for him. He thereby attained
perfect mastery of the mind, achieving perfect wisdom, virtue and
equanimity. This was his first form of genius.
Second,
he was able to teach what he had attained, to lay out the Dharma, the
proper understanding of reality and the means to tame, drive and master
humans and whoever else wanted to travel the Path. This was his second
form of genius.
Third,
he organized the Buddhist community, in particular the institution of
the Sangha, to support, propagate and perpetuate the understanding and
practice of his teachings, the Sasana. His third form of genius is
rarely mentioned in such terms, but the reader will hopefully appreciate
the immensity of this accomplishment in a couple of chapters. In short,
the Buddha’s three-fold genius is directly tied to the Buddha, the
Dharma and the Sangha in which we take refuge.
When
we take Refuge in the Buddha we see in this towering personality the
highest qualities we might choose to emulate. Refuge in the Buddha is
nonetheless an act of trust, beginning with the trust that such a
personality is even possible, particularly that Awakening is a
possibility. It is only with deep practice and study, with our own
progress on the Path that we begin to see how his qualities of mind are
gradually starting to emerge in us, that our trust is confirmed. Trust
is necessary in the beginning, until we see for ourselves.
There
is little indication that the Buddha intended to become the center of a
personality cult. He discouraged some of the more extreme forms of
reverence he received, once telling an awe-struck follower (in the most
literal sense of follower),
“Why do you want to see this foul body? One who sees the Dhamma sees me; one who sees me sees the Dhamma.”21
Nonetheless the Buddha elsewhere endorsed the veneration of himself as a wholesome practice. The Buddha once stated:22
“One dwells in suffering if one is without reverence and deference.”
The
Buddha recommended contemplations about himself for recitation such as
the one that began this subchapter, alongside contemplations of the
Dharma and Sangha. Nearing his parinirvana he anticipated that his
relics, the remains after his cremation, would become objects of
veneration and accordingly specified, as described in the famous
Mahāparinibbāna Sutta23 that they be divvied up and distributed to
specified clans of lay devotees, so that they might build stupas over
them. This became the primary physical symbol of the Buddha for purposes
of veneration.
The Buddha also specified four significant places from his life as destinations for pilgrimage after he would be gone.
“Ananda,
there are four places the sight of which should arouse emotion in the
faithful. Which are they? ‘Here the Tathagata was born’ is the first.
‘Here the Tathagata attained supreme enlightenment’ is the second. ‘Here
the Tathagata set in motion the Wheel of Dhamma’ is the third. ‘Here
the Tathagata attained the Nibbana- element without remainder’ is the
fourth.”24
We find
veneration of the Buddha expressed in the early discourses through full
prostrations sometimes touching the Buddha’s feet, by circumambulation
while keeping the Buddha on one’s right, by covering one’s otherwise
bare shoulder with one’s robe, by sitting on a lower seat than the
Buddha, by standing when the Buddha entered the room, by walking behind
the Buddha or not turning one’s back to the Buddha and by proper forms
of address. In the early scriptures the Buddha occasionally chastised a
visitor for not showing proper respect. And this, in fact, began
immediately after his Awakening, with the Buddha’s re-encounter with the
five ascetics to whom he delivered his first Dharma talk.25
The
way the Buddha set himself up, albeit in a modest way for the times, as
an object of veneration had nothing to do with an “ego trip”; that
would contradict all we know about the personality of the Buddha, about
the doctrine and practices he espoused, which were directed
unambiguously toward selflessness. It would also contradict the
trajectory of development dedicated disciples of the Buddha have
experienced throughout history. Rather he must have seen a functional
basis in the veneration of himself. Let’s turn to that. We Westerners
sometimes find scorn more natural than veneration, so for us this
demands some examination.
“Take Refuge in the Buddha” “皈依佛陀” (Sanskrit x3)
ellison in wonderland
“Take Refuge in the Buddha” “皈依佛陀” (Sanskrit x3)
“Taking
Refuge”, “The Three Jewels”, also called the “Three Treasures”, “Three
Refuges”, “Precious Triad”, or most commonly the Triple Gem (त्रिरत्न
(triratna)) (Pali: tiratana), these three rules that Buddhists take
refuge in, and look toward for guidance, in the process known as “taking
refuge”.
The Three Orders are:
“The Buddha”
Sanskrit, Pali: The Enlightened or Awakened One; Chn: 佛陀, Fótuó, Jpn: 仏, Butsu, Tib: sangs-rgyas, Mong: burqan.
Depending
on one’s interpretation, it can mean the historical Buddha (Siddhartha
Gautama) or the Buddha nature — the ideal or highest spiritual potential
that exists within all beings;
“The Dharma”
Sanskrit: The Teaching; Pali: Dhamma, Chn: 法, Fǎ, Jpn: Hō, Tib: chos, Mong: nom.
The teachings of the Buddha, the path to Enlightenment.
“The Sangha”
Sanskrit, Pali: The Community; Chn: 僧, Sēng, Jpn: Sō, Tib: dge-’dun, Mong: quvaraɣ.
The
community of those who have attained enlightenment, who may help a
practicing Buddhist to do the same. Also used more broadly to refer to
the community of practicing Buddhists, or the community of Buddhist
monks and nuns.
__________________________________________________
I do not own any copyright of the audio track.
My purpose for up loading this on to YouTube is to
share it with the world whom look for
the enlightenment of the Buddha.
My deepest sincere Thank You
to all for allowing me to accomplish this task in life.
Amitabha
阿彌陀佛
Namasté
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“Take Refuge in the Buddha” “皈依佛陀” (Sanskrit x3)
“Take
Refuge in the Buddha” “皈依佛陀” (Sanskrit x3) “Taking Refuge”, “The Three
Jewels”, also called the “Three Treasures”, “Three Refuges”, “Precious
Triad”, …


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