(From Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand by Pabongka Rinpoche, advice on the Graduated Stages of the Path to Enlightenment). I am now dealing with this section, Taking Refuge in the Three Jewels.
(199) Advice on what to do after taking refuge in the Three Jewels
(200) Advice concerning each of the three jewels in turn
(201) Advice on what not to do.
As I am a Buddhist with a considerable amount of wisdom and compassion, in dealing with others a number of pieces of advice come to mind on what I believe modern day Buddhists in the east and the west struggle with when looking at what to do having become a Buddhist, a Tibetan Buddhist.
(From What is the Meaning of Enlightenment by Lharampa Geshe Vanessa Pollock Rinpoche.)
This advice concerns how to stop harming others when viewing and approaching others in your daily practice of Buddhism. Some of the precepts on taking refuge, what advice to live by and follow having become a Buddhist concerns not taking refuge in worldly objects and also not burdening others with unfair taxes and so forth. Learning how to be kind to others, respecting them and not being harmful to oneself or others. Furthermore, one should avoid associating with those who have wrong view, an incorrect perception and understanding of the selflessness of persons and of phenomena.
So, in light of this, I have written the following to help others understand what to do and what not to do when taking refuge in the Three Jewels.
I, for one, have been subjected to many racist attitudes in my time. Australian’s have shown a racist attitude towards me because I am not Tibetan and a sexist attitude toward me because I’m female. They have favored less knowledgeable, less realized, less devoted Tibetans over me simply because they were Tibetan and because I’m female.
Equally however, Tibetans have displayed a racist attitude not just towards me, but towards many westerners, based purely on the fact we were born in the west and not in Tibet.
The point of this post however, is not really to aire any grievances I have with respect to this matter, but to show how critically important it is that we look beyond a person’s ethnicity, sex, skin colour, social status, and title before we formulate an opinion of just how good or bad that person is, or how suitable they are to perform a specific task. First and foremost we should analyse with a clear, unbiased mind the type of actions they perform, the words that they speak, and their mental outlook before trying to determine just how true or false their actions are, before we form some judgment about them in our minds. Ideally again however, we would live with a mind free from judgment per se, but rather be directed by a clear, insightful and penetrating wisdom and compassion that understands clearly the true nature of one’s own and other’s situation.
I don’t want to rave on when it comes to this matter. Anyone with a clear perception will understand what I am referring to. I am merely bringing it to mind here as a reminder that we only cut ourselves down and limit our options when we are deluded into some form of judgment based upon some superficial marker of success or attainment.
Then, on how to remember the kindness of the Three Jewels, the Buddha, his Teachings or Medicinal Advice and Methods and Wisdom and the Sangha, those practicing this advice, I have said the following.
When it’s All or Nothing
Once in a lifetime perhaps, if you are really lucky, you meet a person or being, who turns your world around. After you meet such a person, it is impossible for things ever to be the same again. If you have ever encountered real, deep and lasting love, you know there is no going back to the mundane way life used to be. When you meet the Buddha, for example, you know, for sure, that he has a real understanding of what makes a person happy, of what causes suffering and of how to escape the endless cycle of misery and sadness.
I know of such a person. From the moment I met him, my whole world was spun on its head. In an instant, he was able to seek out what was good, what was useful and beneficial, and what needed to be abandoned and left behind for good. From that time forward, my life has only gone in an upward direction. Sure, there have been tough times, sad and desperate times, but even in this knowledge, one has always been held with a loving arm, a beneficial gaze, and a wisdom that transcends even the most difficult of circumstances.
It is a sad fact that perhaps I was not able to meet Shakyamuni Buddha when he turned the Wheel of Dharma some two and a half thousand years ago. However, the Buddha that has appeared to me now is even kinder than he. He has accepted and nurtured me through an endless array of difficulties, never becoming impatient or fed up with my flaws and weaknesses. Always insightful, compassionate and gracious, he has found the ability to smile and to laugh when really life presented nothing but problems and inadequacies.
To such beings, I can only offer the deepest thanks and gratitude. I am forever transformed by such care and kindness. May all beings come to know and be familiar with such loving care, compassionate kindness and satisfaction. Truly, there is nothing higher or more uplifting than this. We may shower ourselves with material comforts, but nothing compares to the loving kindness, wisdom and compassion shown by a Buddha. Always directed at the welfare of all, one can only hope and pray to be protected and cared for by the perfect wisdom and profound love of the enlightened beings who make it possible for all of us to find even the smallest amount of happiness in this tumultuous world.
What is the Meaning of Enlightenment by Geshe Vanessa Pollock Rinpoche.
Copyright © Lharampa Geshe Vanessa Pollock Rinpoche.