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The purpose of this meditation is to gain actual protection from lower rebirth and then to meditate on this protection in the light of renunciation – the wish to abandon samara completely.

I began the meditation by recalling the essential points that Geshe Kelsang Gyatso makes about this meditation in his book The New Meditation Handbook. In it he says that Buddha is like a supreme doctor who diagnoses our illness of a deluded mind and prescribes our treatment. The Dharma is the supreme medicine that Buddha prescribes and the Sangha are our pure spiritual friends who are like supreme nurses who will help us get better.

As I thought about it I wondered how relying on these Three Jewels could be the actual protection from lower rebirth. I thought about this for a while and it occurred to me that if I rely completely on the Three Jewels at the time of my death it will cause positive karma to ripen which will propel me to a higher rebirth or even to a pure land. Furthermore if I rely on the Three Jewels sincerely throughout my life I will generate much positive karma, little negative karma and I will purify huge amounts of the negative karma I have already accumulated. The Three Jewels are pure and virtuous by their nature, and if I keep them in my mind constantly, then my mind will have purity too, through their power. I came to see how strong reliance upon the Three Jewels was indeed the actual protection from lower rebirth.

I focused on this understanding, I let my mind settle on the feeling of the Three Jewels being a guiding light in a dark place. I felt like they were shining pure light on me as I trod a narrow path. I felt the need to head straight for the light of the Three Jewels, not deviating or looking to the left or the right, but moving straight ahead. I felt the kind of feeling I experience when I listen to majestic stirring music – the kind of music that conjures up images of vast landscapes and the monumental forces of nature. I let these feelings fill my mind as I imagined moving directly towards the Three Jewels on the path of protection. I stayed with this for a while.

Later I decided it was time to think about what this means in the light of renunciation – the wish to abandon samsara completely. Refuge in Buddha, Dharma and Sangha is an essential component of renunciation. Without refuge in the Three Jewels there is no protection from lower or higher rebirth – there is no protection from any of the sufferings of samsara. With this understanding I put my refuge practice in context – the very foundation for all spiritual progress and the root of all spiritual paths.

I returned to feeling of moving forwards on the path of protection, directly towards the light of the Three Jewels. I promised Buddha that I would stay on this path until I reached the end and met him directly, and became inseparable from him. I stayed with this for the rest of the meditation.


I sincerely wish that all living beings shall find refuge in the Three Supreme Jewels, and follow the path of protection directly to enlightenment.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will practice the Refuge Vows and try to keep my mind of refuge alive in my mind.

Modern Buddhism

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February 2012
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