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Buddha of Compassion


May All Beings Benefit!

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About Refuge

What is "Refuge?" What does it mean to take "Refuge?"

After engaging in the basic contemplative practices, students often feel the desire to do something more, 

to actually commit to a spiritual path and approach to life. When we "Take Refuge",  

we commit to turning away from our own suffering to unfold our own basic goodness, 

realize freedom and allow compassion to arise.


" Gradually, having developed our minds, we generate the wish to free ourselves from samsara,

as well as the altruistic  intention to help others. Similarly, little by little we can discover the path of truth

within ourselves with all its characteristics - seeing the nature of impermanence in objects,

the nature of selflessness in phenomena and the nature of suffering in the afflictions of sentient beings.

We create happiness and freedom from suffering by depending upon the path of cessation and of truth.

Therefore, the dharma is known by Buddhists as the True Refuge ."

'True Refuge' - His Holiness the Dalai Lama

from The Heart of Compassion: A Practical Approach to a Meaningful Life


     ...a buddha is someone who has attained full enlightenment through the cultivation of compassion and

the wisdom of no-self, the absence of self-existence. From our discussion we also saw how the Dharma jewel is

 to be understood as the path by which we can gradually accomplish the same result as the fully awakened Buddha.

 Likewise, the Sangha jewel is the community of sincere practitioners who have directly realised emptiness,

 the ultimate nature of reality. For those of us who consider ourselves to be practising Buddhists,

it is crucial to have this kind of deeper understanding of the Three Jewels 

when we go for refuge to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.

-- by The Dalai Lama, from Lighting the Way


"By simply taking Refuge, you plant the seed of liberation within yourself. You distance yourself from all the

 negative actions you have accumulated and develop more and more positive actions. 

Taking Refuge is the support for all vows, the source of all good qualities.

 Ultimately it will lead you to the state of Buddhahood." 

p. 187, Patrul Rinpoche, Words of My Perfect Teacher , Shambhala Publications, Boston, MA, USA, 1998).



What is "Refuge?" What Does It Mean To Take "Refuge?"

From Our Main Palyul Website, 


While we cannot offer a full explanation of Refuge here, we can point out some of the resources for learning

about Refuge. Refuge is, very simply put, formally making the commitment to transcend the suffering

and happiness of daily existence and taking vows and committing to achieving liberation and enlightenment

for the benefit of all sentient beings. To begin to understand Refuge, really meditate and contemplate

the Four Thoughts That Turn the Mind to Dharma. The Four Thoughts are the skillful means that inspire us

 to wish to take Refuge in the first place. These you can begin to learn a little bit about here, and we

would recommend finding teachings and written materials on this topic, studying as deeply as

y ou can when you begin the path. Fully understanding and realizing the Four Thoughts

will lend a great stability to your practice.

Some books you might consult are Great Perfection: Buddha in the Palm of the Hand

(Gyatrul Rinpoche, Yeshe Melong Publications, phone in US: (1) 916-926-0573) or

Words of My Perfect Teacher (Patrul Rinpoche, Shambhala Publications).

These books also go into detail about Refuge. The very best way to understand Refuge is by attending

the teachings of a qualified teacher.


In brief, one takes Refuge after meditating upon the Four Thoughts and realizing that one wishes

to make a commitment to obtaining liberation for oneself and all sentient beings. One takes Refuge in the

 Buddha as the teacher, the Dharma as the path and the Sangha as the companions and support

on the way to enlightenment. Part of the act of taking Refuge is to renounce the temporary sufferings,

pleasures and happiness found in daily life. His Holiness Penor Rinpoche teaches on

this method of renunciation in this article published in What is Enlightenment? magazine.


A great part of taking Refuge is the development of faith. This is not blind faith, but faith based on

 one's own observation of the truth of the teachings. From How to Follow a Spiritual Master,

(pg. 120, Ngagyur Nyingma Institute Editorial Committee, copies available for purchase by calling

India: (91) 8223-694-318 or in the US: (1) 607-656-4645):


There are traditionally four stages described in developing Faith:

1. Attraction [Vivid Faith]

2. Emulation

3. Fully-Convinced Faith

4. Irreversible Faith


Attraction gives rise to Vivid F aith, which is when the mind becomes attracted to the object.

It may be a strong joy or a great appreciation of the qualities we observe. We may have visited a holy plac

 with statues, stupas, and other representations of the Buddha's body, speech and mind. We could also

have just met with a genuinely great Master, who has inspired us through his invisible Blessings or read

about [his or her] life [story]. This is still changeable as our mind can turn to aversion as well as appreciation.


Emulation means that, going beyond the attraction, the desire to become like the object we are contemplating

 is arising within us. If we strive to become similar like supreme beings, like the ordinary woods left in the

sandalwood grove acquire sweet fragrances of sandal, we too can attain their noble qualities.


Fully-Convinced Faith and Irreversible Faith are born out of our nascent knowledge of the qualities of

 the Buddhas, bodhisattvas and our Master. The Fully-Convinced Faith becomes irreversible, when,

come what may, nothing will be able to alter our mind or our devotion. This is the faith we should constantly

try to develop through examination of the Teachings, and the Teacher, especially as neither blessings

nor accomplishment can ever occur in the secret Mantra Vehicle without Irreversible Faith in one's Master."


As mentioned by Patrul Rinpoche, taking Refuge is the foundation of all the practices. He says: "By simply

taking Refuge, you plant the seed of liberation within yourself. You distance yourself from all the negative

actions you have accumulated and develop more and more positive actions. Taking Refuge is the support for

all vows, the source of all good qualities. Ultimately it will lead you to the state of Buddhahood."

(p. 187, Words of My Perfect Teacher , Shambhala Publications, Boston, MA, USA, 1998).


May all beings benefit!






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