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The purpose of this meditation is to generate the wish to put effort into going for refuge to the Three Jewels.
I began with the appropriate preparations for meditation.
I then thought about how I need to put effort into receiving the blessings of Buddha, put effort into practising Dharma purely, and put effort into receiving the help of Sangha friends.
At the moment I am trying to understand the difference between an inherently existent self and a self that is self supporting and substantially existent. I know that the difference is subtle. My teacher has given me all the instructions she can. It is now up to me to make effort to understand.
I need to constantly request Buddhas blessings to soften my mind, and make the meanings of the instructions clear. I need to read and re-read the instructions to become more familiar with them. I need to talk to my spiritual friends to gain their insights and to learn what these words mean.
In this way, I will make my life maningful.
Therefore, I made the determination in my meditation that I will put effort into receiving Buddha’s blessings, putting Dharma into practice and receiving the help of my spiritual friends. I repeated this determination to myself, and after a while I felt like I was receiving help from Buddha and Sangha at the same time, and this was propelling me to understand Dharma and be able to fill my life with Dharma. I focused on this feeling for the rest of the meditation.
May all living beings receive the blessings of Buddha, and the help of Sangha, and in this way, build the Dharma Jewel in their minds.
Practice in the Meditation Break
I will constantly request Buddha’s blessings, I will read and re-read the instructions on understanding the difference between the inherently existent self and the self supporting substantially existent self, and I will continue to rely upon the support and help of my dear Sangha friends.
The purpose of this meditation is to generate a deep sense of going for protection to the Three Jewels, so that we can attain permanent liberation from the sufferings of samsara.
I began the meditation by remembering my fear of lower rebirth. I tried to relive the very real sense of fear I have previously generated. I then asked myself what I was going to do about this fear. I need to do something! At the moment I have good conditions but they will not last forever. I need to do something now to avoid the catastrophe awaiting me.
I generated deep faith in Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, as the objects that can actually offer me protection from my fears. An image came to mind of a vast lightless void many miles deep. I was suspended in the middle of the void in a harness, attached to a rope. Someone was pulling the rope up through a circle of light high above me. It was the only source of light. The person pulling is Buddha, who is trying to release me from the dangers of samara. The rope is Dharma, the actual means of escape. The harness is Sangha, who keep me securely attached to the Dharma.
I understood how precarious my situation is, and how I have to put my complete trust in Buddha, Dharma and Sangha to escape samsara. I focused on this feeling of trust and reliance on the three Jewels for the rest of the meditation. It felt like I had a connection with them all; a very solid connection which will be able to lead me out of the sufferings of samsara. It felt hopeful and safe.
May all living beings take refuge in the Three Jewels, and escape samsara to become fully enlightened beings.
Practice in the Meditation Break
I will keep my mind of refuge throughout the day, and recite the prayer of going for refuge as many times as possible, concentrating on the feeling I have developed in my meditation today.
The purpose of this meditation is to enable us to achieve permanent liberation from the sufferings of lower rebirth.
I began the meditation by thinking about what my precious Spiritual Guide, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso says in his book Modern Buddhism. He says that having recognised that our present human life is only a temporary release from suffering, we should seek permanent liberation by going for refuge to Buddha, Dharma and Sangha – the Three Jewels of Buddhism.
We need to make a sincere promise to go for refuge to the Three Jewels. For as long as we keep this promise, we are inside Buddhism. If we break our promise we are outside Buddhism.
I focused my mind on this thought that by going for refuge to the Three Jewels I was ‘inside Buddhism’. I let my imagination work on the idea, and slowly developed the feeling of sincerely relying upon the Three Jewels as the answers to what I am looking for. I felt that the Three Jewels formed a triangle around me and I felt like I was receiving the pure blessings of all the Buddhas. I kept the notion of going for refuge, the Three Jewels, and being inside Buddhism in my mind. It felt very beautiful and calm, and very meaningful. I stayed in this feeling for the rest of the meditation.
Having correctly identified their true predicament, may all living beings enter Buddhism by sincerely going for refuge to the Three Jewels, and by so doing quickly attain Enlightenment for the benefit of all.
Practice in the Meditation Break
Geshe Kelsang gives the practice in the meditation break in Modern Buddhism: I will apply effort to receive the blessings of Buddha, put Dharma into practice and receive help from the Sangha.
The purpose of this meditation is to enable us to attain permanent liberation from lower rebirth.
I began the meditation by remembering that the good conditions I have at the moment are only a temporary respite from the suffering I normally experience. My experience will change and it will get far worse as I take rebirth in lower realms. I want to be free from those rebirths. I want to only take rebirth in fortunate realms, free from overwhelming suffering.
I remembered that the way to achieve this is sincerely to go for refuge to Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.
I focused on the knowledge that the only way to be free from lower rebirth is to take refuge in the Three Jewels. I generated a humble mind which sincerely went for refuge to Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. I slowly attained a very calm smooth feeling, as if I had moved into calm peaceful waters after being tossed about on stormy waves. It seemed that there was a clear smooth path all the way to liberation – a smooth straight calm stretch of water amidst a stormy ocean.
I stayed on this feeling of being on a smooth calm expanse of water and being able to move swiftly and easily to liberation in the lee of the Three Jewels.
May all living beings turn to Buddha, Dharma and Sangha for refuge, and attain liberation from lower rebirth, and ultimately may they attain Full Enlightenment for the benefit of all.
Practice in the meditation break
I will practice the twelve commitments of refuge, as given in Appendix V of The New Meditation Handbook.
The purpose of this meditation is to attain protection from lower rebirth by seeking genuine refuge in the Three Jewels: Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.
I began the meditation by thinking about the regrets that people have towards the end of their lives. Many of the old people I talk to seem to have a deep melancholy about them. When they talk, it is about their past, and along with the good times, they have many regrets: many special sorrows. Opportunities they did not take, relationships that failed, places they did not go to, things they wish they had not done or said. It seemed incredibly sad.
I do not want to be in this position, especially since I have all the means at my disposal to make my life meaningful.
At the end of the root text Training the Mind in Seven Points, Geshe Chekhawa says ‘Now, if I die, I have no regrets’. I want to be like Geshe Checkhawa. When I die, I do not want to regret not using my life for it’s ultimate purpose.
With this in mind, I turned to Buddha (the supreme doctor who understands our disease of delusions, and who reveals the cure), Dharma (the actual cure for our inner sickness) and Sangha (the spiritual friends who will help me understand Dharma and who share my wish to make our lives meaningful). I turned sincerely to the Three Jewels and prayed ‘I turn to you: please make my life meaningful, and help me to die with no regrets.’
I repeated these words and slowly a feeling of protection, stillness and certainty arose in my mind, which I focused on for the rest of the meditation.
May all living beings turn to the Three Jewels for protection and attain enlightenment for the sake of all living beings.
Practice in the Meditation Break
I will go for refuge throughout the day, and remember that nothing else can protect me from lower rebirth in my future lives.
Refuge. The definitive act of a Buddhist. I don’t go for Refuge because I am a Buddhist: I am a Buddhist because I go for Refuge.
I started the meditation by thinking about why Buddha is a suitable object of refuge. Buddha is the source of all attainments, source of all instructions and trainings, the starting point and master of it all. Other than Buddha there is no person in this world who is the source of Dharma wisdom – the source of all attainments. I thought: ‘I must go for refuge to Buddha’ for a while. Then I thought about the Dharma. The Dharma is my actual protection from the suffering of this life and the lower realms. I recalled the fear I have of lower rebirth and recognised that Dharma Jewels in my mind will protect me. I stayed with this recognition for a while. Then I thought about the Sangha, my precious spiritual friends. My non-Buddhist friends seek happiness in worldly things, but my Sangha friends recognise that only the Three Jewels are worthy of Refuge. I must honour my Dharma friends and stay with them, so they will give me a good example to follow, they will help me on the path, and I can grow by helping them. In my day to day life they are the people who represent Buddhism, so they are very precious to me. I stayed with this thought for a bit.
Then I kind of rolled up all three thoughts into one and got the image of my body holding on to a big ball of virtuous light. Arms outstretched with my whole body pressed against to ball of light, I got the feeling of making every effort to hold on tight: to never let go. The feeling that this was my protection and Refuge. I stayed with the image for a bit, then let the image go and kept the feeling of going for sincere refuge to the Three Jewels, slowly building the wish to keep this for ever. Once I had this feeling, I abided in it for the rest of the meditation.
Challenge coming up: we are going on holiday tomorrow. Eight hour drive then a week in a cottage with friends. I’ll have to work out how to keep my practice going over that time. But I know Dorje Shugden will help with that, so I will just watch out for the opportunity he will arrange, and take it when it arises. If I can get a mobile connection, I will blog from there. If not, I’ll be back in a week or so. Love Vide.