In this episode of Healing at the Edge, Dale talks about the joy of taking refuge.
When we take refuge, we are seeking sanctuary in awareness, truth, and connectedness. Dale reminds us to let go and illuminates for us the possibility of finding joy in taking refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha.
Taking Refuge (Opening) – In Buddhism, there is a practice called taking refuge. Taking refuge means finding a place where you feel safe, protected, and secure.
In this practice, refuge is taken in three things: the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.
Refuge in the Buddha (4:45) – In taking refuge in the Buddha comes from the awakeness and awareness that the Buddha represents. We are all intrinsically awake. Refuge in the Buddha is a reminder that this is something for us all to find within.
“What you are looking for is what is looking.”
– Wei Wu Wei
Practice is about realizing this awareness. However, this can be difficult and frightening, because it means that who we thought we were has to die.
Refuge in the Dharma (12:20) – The Dharma, on the outer level, is the body of the Buddha’s teaching. We can take refuge in this path. This path which so many people have trod upon and where they have been able to find freedom. Dharma is truth, which means we are not just taking refuge in teachings, but the truth.
On a deeper level, we are also taking refuge in the fact that we live in a lawful universe. Things are unfolding in a way that can be talked about in terms of dukkha, impermanence, and Dharma in just the way they are meant to unfold. This tells us that life is exactly the way it should be for us to reach our awakening and allows us to let go of our grasping to change everything.
“That is the Dharma, that there is this teaching, this perfection, that we can trust awareness itself. Just by being present in this moment, this simple moment of being together is absolutely all that we need to move toward full awakening.”
Refuge in Sangha (18:45) – The Sangha can also be called connectedness or love. On the surface, Sangha is the spiritual group, or family, that practices together. This can be limited to a local meditation group or extend to every person in the world that is engaged in a personal practice. Refuge is found in this connectedness and the love that comes from it.
Faith in Refuge (21:10) – The Buddha encourages us to investigate all of his claims, but also to keep our heart open with faith. That faith is not put in something outside ourselves. It is faith that comes from this quality of awareness, truth, and love that we each have.
When we begin to deepen our faith, next comes joyfulness in practice. We are not on the path of practice because we are trying to make suffering go away. Instead, there is a certain joyfulness in quietness and being with others on the path that allows us to exist with suffering.
Many of us focus on solving problems. The mind gets itself in ruts and patterns rather than resting the joy that is possible in each moment. Dale reminds us to stop our obsession with fixing things and bring ourselves back with the joy of taking refuge.
For more on taking refuge, check out these podcasts from Sharon Salzberg and Lama Surya Das. If you are interested in learning more about Sangha, visit the Awakened Heart Blog.
Photo via Aloha from 808