The Merits of Taking Refuge (20 Dec 2012)

meritsrefuge-1Gyalwai Nyugu’s teaching during morning practice session on 20th December 2012

Tashi Delek. Hello everyone! For the last few days, many members of the Path of Clear Light groups have been participating in animal liberation activities. I rejoice in everyone’s virtue and pray for world peace.

Recently, we have some new disciples who have just become Buddhists. I will speak simply about the merits of taking refuge.

Taking refuge in the three jewels means to take refuge in the Buddha – Buddha Shakyamuni. Taking refuge in the Dharma refers to all the scriptures and vinaya precepts. Taking refuge in the Sangha refers to the holy and virtuous Sangha members who are practising according to the scriptures and precepts. The meaning of refuge is to tame or transform our minds.

Taking refuge is the difference between a Buddhist and a non-Buddhist. It is symbolic of having formally become a Buddhist and having entered the path of Buddhism.

Refuge is the foundation of all true Dharma. Without refuge, there is no way to practise the Dharma. Refuge is the root of all Dharma precepts, it is the source of all accomplishments and virtuous qualities.

All the virtuous qualities mentioned in the Buddhadharma have arisen from taking refuge.

When one has truly taken refuge in the three jewels, all these qualities can emerge in our continuous mind stream.

In the ‘Stainless Sutra’, Buddha said, “The merits of taking refuge, if it takes a form, will pervade the entire expanse of space, and (this form) will even exceed that of space.” The merits of refuge, should it be quantified in some kind of form, cannot be contained even within the entirety of space. As long as one takes refuge in the three jewels in a correct and proper manner, then all of the worldly virtues will naturally be present.

meritsrefuge-2Before taking refuge, even though doing positive deeds and eliminating negative deeds has huge merit, it is not truly the seed for future liberation, it is merely a worldly virtue that will not enable one to free oneself from Samsara.

After taking refuge, when we do positive deeds and Dharma practice, these become the merits that will enable us to be liberated from Samsara. We should gradually cease all negative deeds and increase positive deeds, purifying our negative karma and obscurations.

(In this way), after we die, we will not fall into the lower realms and we will be able to obtain a human rebirth, meet with the Dharma and eventually be able to attain Buddhahood.

We will always be able to receive the blessings of the three jewels and all our wishes will be accomplished.

The Budddhist students here today are able to practise the Dzogchen meditation together due to their merits accumulated over countless eons.

As for those disciples who have recently taken refuge, the group leaders and Venerables should make suitable arrangements for these students’ practice according to their current circumstances, this is very important.

Today is Thursday, we will practice the Dharma protectors. Focus and visualise King Gesar, which will help to eliminate our outer, inner and secret obstacles. Finally, our lives will be transformed into the enlightened wisdom of King Gesar in order to benefit countless sentient beings.

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