Taking Refuge in the Three Jewels
Teachings on the Inner Preliminaries of Kalachakra
By Khentrul Rinpoché Jamphel Lodrö
In this three-part series, Rinpoché presents the outer, inner and secret objects of refuge which act as supports for a Dharma practitioner at different stages of the spiritual path.
The Internal Three Jewels
These teachings were recorded at the Rimé Institute in Belgrave, Australia on April 09, 2015
Ok. The subject refuge, when we practice the refuge, we have to think about more deeply. Quite deep. Even external three jewels. Such like Buddha and not many people thinking that much deep. How Buddha appear in this world. How Buddha survive for this world, and what he live for, what he stand for. Probably some people think like, “oh that is his way, his way of living his way of survival”. But if you think more deeply, the Buddha is not live for himself. He didn’t do all this sacrifice and all many things for himself. Is quite clear. Because he doesn’t have to that for himself. If interest only himself he doesn’t have to do these things. So even external refuge, like Buddha, basically you know like protection. We seeking the protection the way of taking refuge in the three jewels is much more deeper than usually human beings how to take refuge. How to seeking protection. Is much more deeper. And then if we thinking internal three jewels, even more deeper and even more comfort, and even more good quality, you know, to try to understand this three jewels is your own quality, which is you gradually uncover, unveiling your own quality. That’s even more deeper.
So today we going to talk about, sometimes known as the root three jewels. Or you can call the internal three jewels or you can say the root of three jewels. Which means lama, yiddim, and kind of means dakini remember we explain details last week. The dakini. So that’s even more deeper. So why we think is more deeper? In one way maybe is not deeper than we thinking internal three jewels, you know your own quality of three jewels. One way is not more deeper than that, but one way, the connection way is even more deeper. Even more skilful, even more wise way of looking. Why? Because first you not just thinking as Buddha and a few thousand years ago appear in this earth. We only have the story, we not talking about that and we instead we are looking your Dharma guide or Dharma teacher, or Dharma guide or you can say your best Dharma friends. You know, standing on, in front of you and with your…born like you, born like yourself, survive like yourself. Senses and the perceptions, everything very similar of yourself. It meant to be emanation of Buddha himself. Born like yourself, survive like yourself and working/walking (? 14.25) with you and do activity with you. So you should have much better connection than something mystery like Christian god, who you never seen, don’t know anything about. You only read story, so should be much more easier to connect. It is not hidden. It is not mystery. Maybe the qualities mystery because of our perception, our karmic arrangement is too small maybe, but there is so many other qualities you can relate with. The same time every single Buddha’s teachings saying this kind of being is most important for you. Not just saying but it is proved by many other fortunate beings. So it should be much more deeper way of think.
Deeper doesn’t mean mystery, you know, and hidden. So deeper is sometimes more simple things is more deeper. Very simple things you made much more deeper. That is deeper. That is deeper of perception, deeper of capacity. So this is very unique you know kind of like unique. More in general, more Buddhist way and even more Mahayana way and even much more way of Tantrayana way. How you connect with you own good quality you know. Your own good quality and your own best friend and known as Buddha, everything interconnected.
That’s why we call root or we call, you can say root Buddha, because we never, texts never say Buddha is separate, your teacher is separate, your own quality is separate. Not saying this. Always is same quality. Different appearances. So you are appear as normal sentient being, your teacher is appear very similar of you and the little difference enough to guide to you and then your own Buddha quality appears as samsaric ordinary of you. So everything is different manifestation and same root, same quality, same truth, same nature. So that’s very very deep way of thinking, deep way of understanding. That’s why is the root.
But if your teacher is manifestation of Buddha, so you expect something very miracle and absolutely unusual and much capacity . If you expect that way, I believe that is not the best way. You expect, rather you expect as like your own Buddha nature. You have no doubt you have the Buddha nature, so you have no doubt you can unveiling your sacred truth. But the same time you know exactly how I’m fragile, how I am dirty, you know, how I am embarrassing, you now. I mean how many afflictions and how much under the control of the affliction, you know this way. You may not be embarrassing person compared to ordinary people but you may embarrassing compare your own quality, your own true quality, your own Buddha quality. So if you…these two things can see, how to say, non contradictory and then how you can’t see your teacher, also that way. So for this reason people have big expectations of the teacher, big miracle performance. Everything. It is maybe better than you have zero respect and complete and judgment, of course, better than that but probably may not the best perception and may not the best way of how I understand the Buddhist path.
So, second root, yidam. So why yidam is more root than Buddha? So when we say Buddha we not talking about historical Buddha only. So not only talking Buddha Amitabha, not just talking about specific Buddha. We talking about the Buddha quality. Whether the manifestation or the hidden quality, either way. Either way is quality. Either way is the phenomenon. But a little bit nonspecific and not so much your personal connection but when we talking about yidam, your yidam could be Buddha, your yidam could be dakini, your yidam could be protector. Whatever level your yidam, does not matter so much. But the matter is your yidam is a specific deity and has specific connection with you. Then you may think “how, what, what I have to do, what needs to be done, what way I should approach?”. But the answer doesn’t matter. Doesn’t matter, whatever way you can approach. Whatever things you have been done or haven’t been done. Usually people think “ohhh, I have to have initiation, this ceremony bah bah bah bah. Otherwise I shouldn’t even look at a picture. And if now have initiation. So I should have very spiritual transformation straight away and huge expectation”. But doesn’t matter how you connected, what is make you connected, whether is initiation, whether is ceremony or non ceremony, casual occurrences, formal occurrences, could be your dream, could be your different state of mind. Even you could be drunk or anything. Anything, any, any of. I think we should think is a little bit border, any of possibility. Whatever makes you connected as specific deity, yidam, which means specific Buddha, bodhisattva, daka, dakini, whatever. That’s not so much.
So that means you have to know, what is yidam really is. What is the yid means, what is dam means? Ok. Yid means your consciousness. Dam means is abandoning your consciousness. Which means you more closer your consciousness. Which means your perception, your feeling, anything, your intuition, anything, closer whether human or god, god form, human form, another form, whatever form. As long as connecting you. That is your yidam. So again, may you think “oh, oh do I have to do something”, you now usually we do “oh this is your yidam because we say these things. This is your initiation, this is your mantra, this is your sadhana, this is your yidam”. Yes. All these things, it is only conditions make you your yidam. But if you have another conditions already existing within you, you may not need to go through this conditions. Ok? So that’s why you could have any yidam
And also don’t think if you have one yidam I can’t have other yidam. You can have multiple yidams for multiple purpose and for multiple ways, you could have. Or you can have many yidams you see as one yidam. You can see as aspect of one yidam. Many aspects of yidams. They are just one aspect of your main yidam. You could think that as well. This is very important.
Also think about yidam. Usually people think what yidam. So we say…(@ 29.58 uses Tib term) which means the yidams belong to the four classes of tantra. So what is they are? There’s so many, so many, so don’t worry which one belong to which one. If you really want to be an academic or scholar then you should really understand precisely which kind of deities belong to, you know, the first class, what you call, kriya, in Sanskrit? Sanskrit called kriya. Which one belong there, action, yes kriya tantra, action tantra. Which deities belong to that? Which deities belong to, the second, upa tantra. Which yidams belong to yoga tantra and which yidam deities belong to the highest yoga tantra? And then insider, higher yoga tantra, which belong to the father tantra, which belong to mother tantra, which belong to the neutral tantra? You have to know all of them if you really want to be an academic scholar teacher. But according to practise, and you unveiling your Buddha nature, those you understand those, I wouldn’t say you would need to know, I wouldn’t say that but, knowing this every single details is secondary not the primary.
So the primary important, all these deities, what are they? They are generally usually, usually consider as category of yidams. Which means they are categorise yidam deity. Doesn’t mean your yidam is must be one of them ok. (laughs). They are just categorise as yidam. Why categorise? Because when we talking about the root three jewels, lama yidam, khandro, that’s more tantrayana language so when you practise tantrayana then you must practise in doing this, some of this four classes of tantrayana. For this reason, there must be some deities who belong to them. That is why categorise as yidams ok? That’s one way of categorise
The other way categorise, your personal. Your personal doesn’t have to be one of them. Usually yes because for us we try to connect with Kalachakra, so we practising preliminaries of Kalachakra and we belong to our deity, yidam belong to highest yoga tantra. Within the highest yoga tantra, meant to be belong to neutral tantra, ok. Or the king of tantra. However, your yidam deity, may appear, you try to connect with Kalachakra, but you may, how you say, connecting something else. But something else also you may could understand one aspect of Kalachakra. So Kalachakra is very special you know because is aspect of everything. So that’s why if you had Kalachakra connection and then you kind of like, you could have easy to connect any other tantrayana, any other tantric deity, yidam. That’s meant to be doing. So even you feels something else for your yidam, that doesn’t mean is not aspect of Kalachakra, especially for Kalachakra. That is one aspect of Kalachakra and you connect this way, such and such way. And that is more comfortable for you, that is more effective, beneficial for you. But just remember that could be one aspect of Kalachakra ok.
So, to connecting with your specific, your yidam, specific binding in your mind, these being, you know, whatever you see, whatever you feel. That is yidam. So that is your practising with this connection is more specific dharma than in general dharma. So that’s why is root. So your small book and small recitation or your memorising small recitation. With the simple commentary is the root of the 84,000 dharma, connecting with you. So that’s why yidam is more like the root of dharma ok. Your teacher, your dharma teacher is root of all Buddhas and bodhisattvas and your yidam deity is more the root of the 84,000 dharma.
And then dakini. So when we say dakini, should be root of the sangha. Remember when we say sangha, a little bit in general. There is extraordinary sangha which means you never met and you don’t know what look like, what feel like. And there is ordinary sangha is too ordinary for you, so hard for you to have great respect. So hard for you to appreciate, honour, and kind of like a little bit nonspecific but, when we say dakini, the dakini’s appear for your own, how to say, your own experience. When we say dakini, we talking in general. So there’s two reasons. One way, divine feminine, dakini is divine feminine. So the, the feminine has feminine quality. The feminine qualities is gentle, in general is gentle, is nurturing, is loving. For this reason I’m sure if you have human sangha, you would like have loving, caring, nurturing, compassionate, kind. I’m sure everybody like that sangha. So that is feminine quality.
So when we say dakini, that is the divine feminine quality. So whether appears to you as human being or as non human being or as not even a being, something else appear, but encourages you, comfort you, encourages you and secure you and feeling beloved you, that kind of nature. Not love like when two people and each other, not like that. You know that feeling, kind of similar feeling, whatever get from being or not being, whatever. Let’s say pretend environment, in this environment you feeling beloved, cared, secure, everything, comfort. If that you have feeling that means your dakini. That is your dakini you should interpret that as dakini. Dakini, how you say, quality, affecting you, benefiting you, taking care of you, supporting your practise. That’s why we say dakini. That’s the one reason. That’s in general, that is one reason, that is in general
But exceptionally, don’t have to divine, doesn’t have to be feminine quality. If the practitioner is female, and if you need like masculine quality, and then the dakini, your dakini is daka. You could be appears daka. Let’s say if you stay in the cave, you are female, you are staying in a cave and liked your practise, something you are really, how you say, even physically you are the safe place but just the feeling or many things you kind of a little bit scary and if you need like great male energy protection, you will get from your root sangha. Which means we usually refer the dakini, but you feels daka, ok. So that is dakini in general.
You could, even if you are female practitioner you could feel like dakini, female companion, or you could feel male companion. Either way. Either way, companion way of just feeling, just environment feeling way, environment, whatever, whatever feelings you care, love, secure, comfortable, have feeling of support, feeling of encouraging that is your root sangha. So similar, any similar qualities, human sangah, ordinary sangha, you know. Or you just reading a Asanga’s story, Nagarjuna’s story, any like extraordinary sangha’s. Padmasambhava’s story, Machig Labdron’s story, Yeshe Tsogyal story, whatever you read. If that story give similar of perception, similar of feeling give you, that is your Sangha. Similarly the dakini, the daka and dakini feeling and perception is your root of the sangha. So this three lama, yidam and the dakini kind of, in tibetan we call kandro. Lama, yidam, khandro, these three is the root of three jewels ok. In tantrayana language. In tantrayana language doesn’t mean the sutrayana you cannot ever mention. You cannot ever feel that, doesn’t mean like that, but in general that is tantrayana language, the way of tantrayana ok.
Question from student. ……how are these practiced these three….(difficult to hear)
How practise? How practise you have, every single practise of course. First you need openness, open mind. Then you need a little bit effort and then you need receptive and then you need perceptive and then you need inspiration, then you need diligent and then you need perseverance. And then you need mindfulness, then you need vigilance, then you need conscientiousness. Then you need know what is really adopt, what is really should abandon. Which means you need precepts.
So according to this practise, taking refuge practise, you need know what should things, what things you abandon. If you take refuge, take refuge, Buddha, that means you not take refuge from worldly beings. But you have to understand this very clear. You not take any refuge from worldly beings to purpose of reach Buddhahood, to purpose of reach nirvana, to purpose of liberate from samsara. You must take refuge from Buddha who is already liberate from samsara. If you take refuge from samsaric beings, you are taking refuge… you carried by a river and you seeking protection somebody already carried by river just like yourself. So you should not do that, so you have to abandon this, how you say, you abandon. And if you taken refuge in the dharma that means you abandon harming all sentient beings (laughs), that’s not easy ok.
So, harming all sentient beings, because the dharma, the root of the dharma, the root action of the dharma, is not harming sentient beings. On the top of this, you develop loving kindness and compassion for all sentient beings. For this reason, the minimum practise, you cannot harm sentient beings. Which means purposefully, intentionally, you don’t want to harm any sentient beings, which really means selfishly. Selfish we also not talking about the extreme selfishness, we not talking about that, but we talking about the general selfish. With the general selfish you cannot harm sentient beings, so we have to abandon this harming sentient beings, as much as we can. Which means you have to have intention, you have to have 100% intention, with action not maybe not sometimes, come us like your intention but you intention have to be 100%.
If you practise with…if you take refuge from Sangha, you have to abandon non sangha friend. That’s hard huh! (laughs). But you have to think very carefully this, there is a little bit of way off (? 53.30) Which means you can make friends for different purpose but not for purpose of dharma, right? That is a little bit easier, but also, probably you cannot make the best friend the non-sangah, non-dharma practitioner, you put the number one friends and dharma practitioner’s, second friend, third friend, probably not right (laughs). But think about this, what do you mean? You may have friends, friends mean you include your family, everything ok. Your children your husband, your wife, your parents, everything, or your best friend. Your best non-dharma practitioner, your best friend, all of them. I said you cannot make them your best friend, even you know they are not dharma practitioner (laughs), but still you can make them friends, for different purpose remember. But you can make them friends with different purpose but you cannot make the is the best friend in total (laughs).
So what we can do now? Maybe if you are really skilful enough, you maybe can make them the best friend but for purpose of practise dharma. But some maybe argue say “how can you make them the best friend. Firstly they are non-dharma practitioner. Secondly you not just making friends but you making the best friends, then how can you do this for purpose of practise dharma?” And you say ”yes I can” why? “Because this non-dharma practitioners, I sympathetic them I have compassion to them. So that’s why I practise patience with them, tolerance with them, taking care of them, diligent, compassionate. Everything I do with, for them because that is my dharma practise. They are very bad to obstacle my practise dharma. But if I am willing to practise dharma, if I didn’t fail their obstacle, that means, also they argue for me. Because they challenge me so I can make more stronger and then I am win. Is much higher winner than no challenges at all”. You thinks you win. For this reason, you may, maybe you can make the best friend, but very very hard ok. Have to be very skilful.
So dharma practitioner make your friend is much easier because if they are really dharma practitioner, that means everything is supporting you and encourage you, and leading you, so that’s why easier and maybe more fast. Non-dharma practitioner your friends, risk. You may successful, very successful from the challenge and you, your practise dharma even more stronger, if you did very well. But that’s just if, so that means risk (laughs). So that’s why usually, that’s why in general saying, you cannot make the best friend for purpose of practise dharma. You cannot make the best friend the non-dharma practitioner. That’s in general. But is too simple if we think that way, it’s too simple, so for this reason you have to go through all of them what I said, right?
Another way, another way your non dharma practitioner, hopefully they are dharma practitioner (laughs). Hopefully. They are not exactly in our way, but hopefully they are dharma practitioner. Hopefully they have good heart and hopefully they have good potential. They have Buddha nature, there is no doubt ok but that is…(@1.00.37 uses Tib term), everybody have… (uses same Tib term) Buddha nature, that is no problem, but….(@ 1.00.44 uses Tib term) means you know, more the interdependent potential. In the relative level. We think they don’t have but maybe they have. So hopefully they are your sangha. So hopefully they are encourage you in hidden way (laughs) hopefully! They supporting you, your dharma practise in tricky way. Hopefully. So we hope that, so that’s why specifically, if you understand, it’s is not that simple. But in simple way say, if you take refuge, sangha, you abandon the non sangha, it’s too simple. That takes say.
Ok so and then if you go root, three root all these things, and then even you can go secret level of three jewels, ok. But maybe not going there tonight. But also you can have adopt things. If you take refuge in Buddha, which means you always develop great trust, respect to the Buddha and not only…is great respect and trust to the Buddha. For this reason even Buddha image, picture, anything you always see as sacred, holy, so you treat as holy, never treat as normal object. If you take refuge in dharma, then you taking any dharma object, dharma book, anything to do with dharma, you always consider holy, sacred and you never treat as normal book ok or anything.
So that’s why dharma teacher come here and pay homage. Usually I come here and I too make prostrations. You may think I am prostrate the Buddha image. Yes, I include maybe Buddha image, but mainly I’m prostrating my throne. Why? Because this throne for teacher, for dharma teaching. For dharma teaching I need to seat higher than you. Why? Because we respect, show respect of the dharma. Monks of vinaya rules, usually you cannot seat higher than this, you cannot not sleep bed higher than this, usually. But if you teaching dharma no problem, how much high, exception.
Similarly, every single teaching, remember, the realisation, the attainments and the teaching, meaning of the teaching. That is the real dharma, of course you really should respect, but that is in your mind. You cannot do too much by physical, but even not real teaching, but teaching objects, teaching sound. Even if you have dvd of teachings or anything, you should treat as much as possible respect way, rather than normal dvd. So let’s say, if you have teaching dvd, ten teaching dvd’s and you have movies, hundred or let’s say ten, let’s say twenty, you have twenty other dvd’s, you may put everything together. That’s ok, not too bad, but if somebody treat the teaching ones, special box, better box, more prettier box, put even high, the other dvd’s go in ordinary draw. If somebody doing this, that means this person doing the right thing, if not showing off. Then this person have, is kind like of indication you really have respect of dharma. Ok. Same as any other object.
So for us, little bit strange when, this is culturally, not in the mind, but when I visit Buddhist people, they have Buddhist images but where they have? In front door, in the garden. You know the house is much higher and the garden is much lower, and Buddha is there, outside in the rain and lower, and in the rock and everywhere. So even we put there here. I’m not saying is wrong. Anything you doing in the mind but cultural habituation for me is ohhh, is strange. Why they put there? Because we don’t put this. In culturally we always put high, in nice place possible, highest place possible. Even the Buddha is just image you may not cold or you may not too hot in the sun. But we treat like a nice human, treat nicely to human, we try to do like that. That’s why always put food in there, and drink and change them and clean water. So kind of cultural. Cultural but also reason behind. Indication of respect ok. So some people even have in the toilet. So I just thought “oh my god”, first I thought like that. But then I think carefully, oh, maybe in their mind is really pure because they think I’m too busy the most I have a little bit time contemplate in the toilet, so I should put that my holy image should put in the toilet. Maybe the best place to put for them. Because other time always busy busy busy busy. No time to think. (laughs) ok.
So if you take refuge in sangha and then you respect the sangha which means your dharma friends visiting you, you make the best cake. And your non-dharma friend, wasting you, you just make ordinary cake. So which means indicating, you know your respect in the sangha. So as you present you giving present, or anything you should try to your Sangha you treat better. Treat better, remember, not necessarily too polite, but more honest, more honest and direct and open, maybe the best attitude ok. For other people maybe that’s bad attitude, so maybe you change. So we have only 15 minutes so I think we stop here today. Ok. There are other things we can discuss in the refuge chapter, so next week we talk or not, depending. But you guys already know anyway, we practice now.
- July 17, 2016
Raw transcripts created by Vanessa Mason