The purpose of this meditation is to generate a strong feeling of reliance upon the Three Jewels of Buddhism: Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, and then to meditate on this reliance in light of the kindness of living beings.

I began as usual with some breathing meditation, calming and softening my body and mind. After a while I moved on to the next stage.

I wanted to generate a very special feeling of going for refuge to the Three Jewels. I remember listening to a monk talking some time ago about how central refuge was to his spiritual life. It was THE step. Before sincere refuge, all our study and practice is superficial. After we sincerely go for refuge with our open heart, everything becomes the path to freedom – our path becomes real.

I thought briefly about how there is no protection from the problems of our lives. There is no worldly refuge to turn to and nowhere we can rest where we are completely and permanently free from sufferings. Living beings are wandering in a hellish cycle of suffering.

Only the Three Jewels provide a path to protection. I felt myself softening and opening towards the Three Jewels, and Buddha in particular. I thought ‘I go completely to refuge to you. I abandon any other methods and sources. I abandon my own self and my own ideas about how to solve my problems. I abandon everything else, and I turn to you. Please protect me and show me the path to freedom’. I felt a very intimate surrender of my normal intentions. I felt like I was giving everything up to turn to the Three Jewels exclusively.

It was an exquisite feeling of intense intimacy with the sources of refuge – like the Three Jewels were mixing with something so deep within me that it is never seen by others, and normally unseen even by myself. I felt like I was sharing something so personal and vulnerable with the Three Jewels – like they were reaching into me and becoming  part of me, deep inside.

I stayed with this feeling for a while.

I then thought about what this means in terms of the kindness of other living beings.

This is surely the kindest act of all – that of Buddha and Sangha to show me the path to enlightenment and help me along it. This kindness is the kindness that all my mothers would show if they could. I returned to my previous feeling, with the recognition that my relationship with the Three Jewels was intimate and based on unconditional love. How lovely.

Dedication

May all living beings develop a deep personal relationship with the Three Jewels and through this relationship grow towards the path of no more learning for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to maintain my deep intimacy with the Three Jewels, and see all my relationships as manifestations of my refuge in the three perfect Jewels.

Meditation 8/4