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Tibetan Buddhist Meditation and Study in the Nyingma Tradition
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Tibetan Calender 2004 (Tsog Dates, etc) Beginning Meditation What Is Meditation?
Venerable Khenchen Tsewang Gyatso Rinpoche
Returns to Dallas June 3-8, 2004
2004 Dallas Meditation/Study Schedule
Khenchen Tsewang Gyatso Rinpoche has said many times that true Refuge comes from the heart.
It has to - otherwise it is just meaningless words repeated. And that when one seeks heart Refuge in the
Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, then the ceremony is just a formality anyway. But important of course.
"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." from Words of My Perfect Teacher by Patrul Rinpoche
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. Taking Refuge in the “Three Jewels”:
the Buddha, the Teachings, and the Community (Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha) is a transformative
moment in Buddhism practice. As a commitment to the Buddhist way of life, it is a simple personal vow
from the heart. Once accomplished, the vow is renewed daily.
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
A large 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]
3. Fully-Convinced Faith
4. Irreversible Faith
Attraction gives rise to Vivid Vaith, 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 place 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]. Ths 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 the Buddha, then like the ordinary
woods left in the sandal 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).
More info at palyul.org/eng_about_refuge.htm
May all beings benefit!
© Copyright 2004 by Palyul Ling.