We all take refuge in something. Too often such refuge is hedonic and materialistic. The engaged Buddhist practitioner takes refuge in something far more powerful. The Buddhist three refuge sources are the precious Three Jewels: 1) the living Master as the Buddha; 2) the Dharma, the teaching of the Buddha; 3) the Sangha, the spiritual community that includes the luminous rigzin sangha, the vidyadhara lineage of all the Buddhas and mahasiddhas  of all the Buddhist vehicles of the three times—past, present, future.

These Three Jewels have four refuges, each with its own understanding or meaning dimension: 1) an exoteric “outer” refuge (Buddha, Dharma, Sangha); 2) an esoteric “inner” refuge (The Three Roots); 3) a “secret refuge” (nadi, prana, bindu); and 4) an “innermost secret” nondual  refuge (Essence OM Dharmakaya, Nature AH Sambhogakaya, Energy-compassion HUM Nirmanakaya—all together Svabhavakakaya, the Trikaya of the Base. These four refuges are in no way separate, but a prior and present  knowing/feeling unity.

Taking refuge generates the la/energy that nourishes, holds and protects the practitioner on this difficult path. This stabilizes the understanding , or The View, which then motivates the commitment to The Path (The Meditation), resulting in The Conduct that bears The Fruit of enlightenment, compassionate ultimate happiness itself (mahasuka, paramananda). Such happiness lies not in the future. We cannot become happy, we can only be happy. Thus do we “make the goal the path”.  Our selfless, indwelling, liberated Buddha mind already knows this. And that (tat, sat) is who we actually are, without a single exception.

According to H.H. The Dalai Lama, all states of consciousness—negative or positive—indeed all phenomena are pervaded by this luminous clear light wisdom of emptiness- dharmakaya, this “wish fulfilling jewel”, reflexive primordial awareness wisdom (gnosis/jnana/yeshe), “supreme source” of reality itself. From emptiness this all arises, abides, and into emptiness it all returns, with no essential separation, ever. The dynamic intrinsic awareness wisdom (gzhi rigpa) presence (vidya) of that primordial “groundless ground” is our always present Buddha heart-mind, the very nature of mind.

The limbs of the Buddha’s teaching have this one purpose—to lead us to the nondual primordial wisdom—Buddha mind. This wisdom participates in and pervades all views and paths for one who is capable of accessing it.   —Adzom Rinpoche

Let us remember, moment to moment, the great truth that this already present wisdom presence is the very heart essence of refuge, our “supreme identity” arising each breath. Who is it that I am? Tat Tvam Asi. That I Am! In that we take refuge. It’s like coming home.

David Paul Boaz Dechen Wangdu     www.coppermount.org     www.davidpaulboaz.org       11.16

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