LAMRIM CHENMO (4)



REFUGE IN THE THREE JEWELS


RELYING IN THE MEANS TO GAIN HAPPINESS IN FUTURE LIVES

This has two points: training in going for refuge, the holy gateway for entering the teachings;
and generating the faith of conviction in actions and their effects, the root of all well-being.


TRAINING IN GOING FOR REFUGE, THE HOLY GATEWAY FOR ENTERING THE TEACHINGS


This has four points:
the causes of going for refuge;
based on those, the objects to which you go to for refuge;
the way in which you go for refuge;
and the stages of training after having gone for refuge.


THE CAUSES OF GOING FOR REFUGE

Although, in general, there are many causes, here it is the fact, explained above, that we do not stay in this life but soon die and that after death we do not have control over where the force of our karma will send us to be reborn.

Regarding karma, Entering the Bodhisattva Way (1.5-6) says:

Just as lightning on a cloudy night
illuminates the darkness for a moment,
likewise, through the power of the buddhas,
a rare wholesome thought appears in the world.

Therefore virtue is perpetually weak,
while evil is very strong and quite unbearable.

Thinking about how you will fall into the lower rebirths – because the power of wholesome karma is so weak while that of unwholesome karma is extremely strong – will give rise to the two convictions: fear of the lower rebirths and faith that the Three Jewels, so rare and precious, can protect you from them. Consequently, if these two remain but words, going for refuge will be similar. But if they are strong and firm, [63] your going for refuge will come to tame your mind. Therefore put in effort into generating those two causes.


BASED ON THOSE, THE OBJECTS TO WHICH YOU GO FOR REFUGE

This has two points:
identifying the objects of refuge
and the reasons why they are worthy to be a refuge.


IDENTIFYING THE OBJECTS OF REFUGE

Praise in One Hundred and Fifty Verses (Satapancasatakastotra) says:

The one in whom all faults
are perpetually completely absent,
the one in whom, in every way,
all excellent qualities abide –
if you have good sense,
you will go to such a one for refuge.
It is right to praise and honour him
and to abide in what he teaches.

Thus if someone has the intelligence to differentiate between a refuge and what is not a refuge, it is appropriate for him or her to go for refuge to the undeceiving protector, the Blessed Buddha. This also characterises the Dharma Jewel and the Sangha Jewel.

Seventy Verses on Going for Refuge (Trisaranagamanasaptati) says:  

The Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha
are the refuge of those who want liberation.


THE REASONS WHY THEY ARE WORTHY TO BE A REFUGE

One who is worthy to be a refuge is free of all fear, skilled in the means of liberating others from fear, steeped in great compassion toward everyone without closeness or distance, and works for the welfare of all beings whether they help him or not. As only the Buddha has those qualities, while Isvara and the like do not, he is a refuge. For that reason, the Dharma taught by him as well as the Sangha of his disciples are also worthy objects of refuge.

That being so, once you have derived certainty with regard to these objects of refuge set forth in the Compendium, when you are able to rely on them with a single-pointed mind, it is impossible for you not to be protected. Therefore you should generate certainty from the depths of your heart. Of the two causes for being protected, there is no incompleteness in the external one, our Teacher having established it. However, since the internal cause, taking hold of that refuge trustingly, has not come about, we suffer.


THE WAY IN WHICH YOU GO FOR REFUGE

This has four points:
going for refuge by way of understanding their excellent qualities,
by way of understanding their distinctions,
by way of commitment,
and by way of not advocating other ones.


GOING FOR REFUGE BY WAY OF UNDERSTANDING THEIR EXCELLENT QUALITIES

Since this requires recollecting the excellent qualities of the objects of refuge: this has three points: [64] the excellent qualities of the Buddha, the excellent qualities of the Dharma, and the excellent qualities of the Sangha.


GOING FOR REFUGE BY WAY OF UNDERSTANDING THEIR EXCELLENT QUALITIES

Since this requires recollecting the excellent qualities of the objects of refuge, this has three points: [64] the excellent qualities of the Buddha,
the excellent qualities of the Dharma,
and the excellent qualities of the Sangha.


The excellent qualities of the Buddha

This has four points: the excellent qualities of the Buddha’s body, speech, mind and exalted activities.


The excellent qualities of the Buddha’s body

Recollecting the signs and marks of a buddha, Praise in Analogies (Upamastava) says:  

Your body is adorned with the signs,
so beautiful, nectar for the eyes,
like a cloudless sky in autumn
ornamented with clusters of stars.

O Sage, endowed with the color of gold,
so beautiful, dressed in monastic robes,
like a golden mountaintop
wrapped in clouds at dusk or dawn.

Protector, the sphere of your face’s splendour,
although unadorned by jewellery,
is beyond that of the full moon
in a vast and cloudless sky.

If the lotus of your mouth
and a lotus in bloom in the sun
are beheld by a bee, the bee
will have its doubts about the lotus.

Your face endowed with the colour of gold
is beautified further with your pure white teeth,
like immaculate autumn moonbeams
filtering between golden mountains.

Venerable one, your right hand,
embellished with the mark of the wheel,
gives breath to the people terrified
by the cycle of samsaric existence.

O Sage, as you walk, your feet
leave designs on the earth
like resplendent lotuses.
Could Pamini be lovelier?
You should recollect them in accordance with these verses.


THE EXCELLENT QUALITIES OF THE BUDDHA’S SPEECH

Contemplate the marvellous way in which, when many people ask different questions at the same time, the Buddha apprehends them in a single moment of intelligent awareness and answers them all in one utterance, which they understand in their respective languages. The Satyaka Chapter says:

Thus if all beings, simultaneously,
ask many questions in their specific languages,
his mind comprehends them in a single moment
and answers them all with one melodious statement.

In this way, he who guides the world
knowingly teaches with his melodious voice. [65]
He completely turns the wheel of Dharma
that puts and end to the suffering of gods and men.

Reflect along the lines of these verses.


THE EXCELLENT QUALITIES OF THE BUDDHA’S MIND

This has two points:
the excellent qualities of his exalted knowing
and the excellent qualities of his loving-kindness.


THE EXCELLENT QUALITIES OF HIS EXALTED KNOWING

Since all objects of knowledge – ultimate and conventional – are engaged by the Sage’s unobstructed exalted knowing, like a myrobalan fruit placed in the palm of his hand, the Sage’s exalted knowing covers all objects of knowledge.

However, others’ limited knowing cannot cover the vast extent of objects to be known. Regarding this, Praise of the One Worthy of Praise (Varnahavarnestotra) says:   

Only your wisdom
encompasses all objects of knowledge;
for everyone else apart from you,
some objects are yet to be known.

And:

Blessed One, all phenomena throughout time,
in every aspect and place of origin,
are objects of experience of your mind,
like a myrobalan fruit in the palm of your hand.

As regards phenomena – static or mobile,
single or various, each distinct individual –
your mind is obstructed from none of them,
like the wind moving across the sky.

Reflect in accordance with these words.


THE EXCELLENT QUALITIES OF HIS LOVING KINDNESS


Sentient beings are bound by the afflictions without any control. Likewise, the Buddha is bound by great compassion without control because great compassion continuously arises in him when he perceives suffering sentient beings.

Praise in One Hundred and Fifty Verses says:

Every one of these sentient beings
is equally bound by the afflictions,
You have long been bound by compassion.
To release them from their afflictions,
should I first prostrate to you
or to that which causes you
to stay in samsara so long, aware
of its faults – to great compassion?

The Satyaka Chapter also says

When he observes all beings with minds
constantly obscured by the darkness of ignorance,
locked up in the prison of cyclic existence, [66]
great compassion is born in the holy sage.

Recollect his loving-kindness in accordance with these statements.


THE EXCELLENT QUALITIES OF THE BUDDHA’S EXALTED ACTIVITIES

He benefits all sentient beings through both the spontaneous and the uninterrupted exalted activities of his body, and mind. Insofar as a disciple is fit for guidance, it is impossible for the Sage not to give that trainee what is excellent and pull him or her out of trouble. Thus it is stated that through his actions, he definitely does everything that is necessary.

Potowa said this:

If you reflect on the Buddha’s qualities again and again, your conviction strengthens and your mindstream becomes purer, which gives rise to more blessings. When you have gained certain knowledge about this, you will go for refuge from the depths of your heart. Then, if you merely train in the precepts, whatever you do will become a practice of the Buddhadharma.

We do not value the Buddha’s exalted knowing even as much as we value an accurate fortune teller. If an accurate fortune teller tells you, “I know there will be no bad luck for you this year,” you walk away happy and comfortable. If she says, “This year there will be great misfortune. Do this. Don’t do that!” you will try hard to accomplish it, and if you do not accomplish it, you will think, “I did not accomplish what she told me to do,” and you mind will be anxious.

If the Buddha says, “Do this and that; accomplish that and that,” do you take it on? If you do not accomplish it, does your mind become anxious? To claim “The teachings say that, but owing to present circumstances I cannot do it right now, so I must do this instead” is to ignore the Buddha’s advice and proceed on the basis of your own discernment.

Just as Potowa says here, if we turn our mind inward and examine carefully, we will recognise that it is so true that our normal attitude, one of trusting others’ mere words and being content without discernment, is nothing but delusion.

Therefore think about the Buddha’s excellent qualities again and again, and try to gain as much certainty as possible. Once that develops, you will have arrived at the main point of going for refuge. For a similar certainty will arise concerning the Dharma received from him and from the Sangha of those accomplishing that Dharma. There is no way that going for refuge, or taming the mind, let alone other paths, will occur without it.


THE EXCELLENT QUALITIES OF THE DHARMA

Out of respect for the Buddha, you should recollect as follows: “The Buddha’s limitless excellent qualities arose from his meditating on and actualising the Dharma of scriptures and realisation, true cessations and true paths, the epitome of the elimination of faults and the achievement of excellent qualities”. [67] That is the intention of the Compendium of the Teachings Sutra (Dharmasangitisutra).


THE EXCELLENT QUALITIES OF THE SANGHA

This refers mainly to persons who are aryas. Recollecting the excellent qualities of the Dharma, you are mindful of those who accomplish it correctly. That is the intention of the Compendium of the Teachings Sutra.


GOING FOR REFUGE BY WAY OF UNDERSTANDING THEIR DISTINCTIONS

As is apparent from the Compendium of Ascertainments, you go for refuge aware of the distinctions among the Three Jewels.


GOING FOR REFUGE BY WAY OF COMMITMENT

As is apparent from the Commentary on the Vinaya Sutra (Vinayasutratika), you go for refuge in terms of considering the Buddha to be the one who teaches the refuge; the Dharma to be nirvana, which is the actual refuge; and the Sangha to be the companions who help you accomplish the refuge.


GOING FOR REFUGE BY WAY OF NOT ADVOCATING OTHER ONES

Having understood the superiority and inferiority of Buddhist and non-Buddhist teachers, teachings, and students, respectively, you consider the Three Jewels alone to be a refuge and so not consider teachers and so forth who are incompatible with them to be a refuge. As for the difference between the two sets, the difference between the teachers is that the Buddha has eliminated all faults and has completed the excellent qualities while other teachers are the opposite to that.

Praise of the Exalted One (Visesastava) says:

Having abandoned the other teachers,
Blessed One, I go to you for refuge.
If they ask me why, it is because
you have excellent qualities but no faults.

And:

The more I think about the other
non-Buddhist textual traditions,
the more my faith in you, Protector,
develops in my mind.

Their mental states are ruined by faulty tenets
of those who lack omniscience;
with ruined thinking, they do not see
the faultless teachers – not even you.


THE STAGES OF TRAINING AFTER HAVING GONE FOR REFUGE

This has two points: specific precepts relating to the individual objects of refuge and common precepts relating to all three objects of refuge.


SPECIFIC PRECEPTS RELATING TO THE INDIVIDUAL OBJECTS OF REFUGE

This has two points: precepts regarding what is to be stopped and precepts regarding what is to be accomplished.


PRECEPTS REGARDING WHAT IS TO BE STOPPED


The Great Final Nirvana Sutra states:

One who goes to the three for refuge
is one who correctly attends to virtue.
Such a one will never go
for refuge to some other gods.

One who goes to the Dharma for refuge
is free from a mind to harm or kill.
One who goes to the Sangha for refuge [68]
does not mingle with the tirthikas.

In accordance with this statement, there are three precepts:
to not go for refuge to other gods,
to abandon causing harm or injury to sentient beings,
and to not associate with non-Buddhists.


NOT TO GO FOR REFUGE TO OTHER GODS

If one does not even regard worldly gods – Rudra, Visnu, and the like – as long-term refuge, there is no need to mention nagas and the local spirits who belong to the hungry ghosts.

Yet although one should not rely on them owing to a lack of conviction in the three objects of refuge, it is not inappropriate to seek their assistance for some beneficial temporary objective. It is analogous to seeking help from a benefactor for financial support or to relying on a doctor for treating an illness.


TO ABANDON CAUSING HARM OR INJURY TO SENTIENT BEINGS

The second consists in abandoning causing harm or injury to humans, animals, and so forth through thought or action like beating them, binding them, ensnaring them, piercing their noses, and burdening them unbearably.


[…RESPECTING THE BUDDHA DHARMA]

The third consists in not coming under the influence of those who are not convinced that the Three Jewels are refuges and who denigrate them.


Precepts regarding what is to be accomplished

However excellent or flawed painted pictures of the Buddha’s body may be, do not disparage them and do not put them on the ground. Having given up defaming and disrespecting them, as in the case of pawning them and so forth, regard them as fields of veneration like the Teacher himself.

Letter to a Friend (v.2) says:

Just as the wise honour any depiction
of the Sugata, however fashioned – even those made from wood…

Exegesis of the Vinaya (Vinayavibangha) states that Manavakapila abused members of the Sangha who were learners in eighteen different ways, saying things like “You elephant heads! How do you know what is Dharma and what is not?” Because of that he was born as a sea monster, a marine creature with eighteen heads, and remained an animal from the time of the teacher Kasyapa to that of the Sakya king.

Chapters on Finer Points of the Vinaya (Vinayaksudrakavastu) recounts that after the teacher Krakuchanda had passed into nirvana, [69] King Carumat had a big stupa built. A hired workman scoffed at it a couple of times, saying, “Who know when we will ever get such a huge stupa finished!” later on, once the stupa had been completed beautifully, he felt so sorry that he used his wages to have a golden bell made and attached to the stupa. On account of that, he was born as Well-Sounding One, with an ugly complexion and small body but a very pleasant voice.

Therefore do not joke about holy images, saying “It is like such and such”. Also, it is inappropriate to critique a holy image in terms of its size or whether it is made from good materials and to discourage someone from completing it through your disruptive remarks.

Naljorpa Chenpo Jangchup Rinchen showed Atisa a statue of Manjusri and asked, “What is the quality like? If it is good, I’ll take it and offer the four gold coins Rongpa Garge has given me”.

Atisa replied, “There is nothing that is not excellent about the Venerable One’s body. As for the sculptor, he is average”. Having said this, he placed the statue on the crown of his head. It is said that he used to do this with every piece of work.

Avoid showing disrespect to even as little as a four-line stanza of the Dharma. Avoid pawning volumes of scripture, trading them, putting them on the bare ground or in dishonourable places, carrying them around together with your shoes, stepping over them and so forth. Instead treat them respectfully as if they were the Dharma Jewel.

It is said that Geshe Chenngawa used to put his palms together and stand up when he saw scriptures being brought to him. Later on, when he could not stand up any more, he used to simply put his palms together.

It is said that when Atisa came to Ngari, there was a tantric practitioner who did not listen to the Dharma from him. However, when a scribe smeared plaque from his teeth on a Dharma text, Atisa saw it and, unable to bear it, exclaimed, “Oh no! Don’t do that. Don’t do that!” From this, the tantrika gained faith and listened to the Dharma.


Sharawa said, “We play around with the Dharma in all sorts of ways. Disrespect for the Dharma and for Dharma teachers is a cause for distorted wisdom. We are already confused enough now. What are we going to do if we become more confused?”

You should not abuse or despise the Sangha or even those who merely bear the signs of ordination. Nor should you look at them as some king of opponents, having made arbitrary divisions in terms of “your group” and “my group”. Instead [70] treat them with respect as if they were the Sangha Jewel. Exhortation to the Extraordinary Attitude says:

Those who, dwelling in forests, desire excellent qualities
should not look for faults in other people;
they should not produce the attitude
“I’m especially noble, I’m the best”.

This haughtiness is the root of all carelessness.
Don’t let contempt for lesser monks arise
or else you won’t reach liberation for an eon.
This is a training stage in this teaching.

Geshe Dromtonpa and Naljorpa Chenpo, instead of stepping over a piece of yellow material on the ground, would shake it and carry it to a clean place. You should train in accordance with their practice, for others will respect you as much as you respect the Three Jewels. The King of Concentrations Sutra says:

Whatever kinds of actions you have done,
those kinds of effects you will obtain.



Common precepts relating to all three objects of refuge

This has six points:
 
(1) by recollecting the distinctions and excellent qualities of the Three Jewels, go for refuge again and again;
(2) by recollecting the great kindness of the Three Jewels, always make effort to honour them, and offer them the first portion of your food and drink;
(3) by recollecting great compassion, establish other beings in this kind of practice;
(4) whatever activities you engage in and whatever your purpose, honour the Three Jewels and make requests to them, abandoning all other worldly methods;
(5) having understood its benefits, go for refuge three times a day at night; and
(6) maintain your refuge and do not forsake the Three Jewels at the cost of your life, not even in jest.


By recollecting the distinctions and excellent qualities of the Three Jewels, go for refuge again and again

As explained above, think again and again about what distinguishes Buddhist from non-Buddhist teachings as all as about the distinctions among the Three Jewels and their excellent qualities.

By recollecting the great kindness of the Three Jewels, always make effort to honour them and offer them the first portion of your food and drink

Recognise all the well-being you experience as the kindness of the Three Jewels and make offerings to them by acknowledging that. Since you constantly need to eat and drink, you will amass a great accumulation of merit with little trouble if you offer the first portion of food and drink each time. Therefore you should offer the first portion of whatever you enjoy, including water, from the depths of your heart.

Moreover [71] Sharawa said:

You shouldn’t make offerings of mouldy cheese cubes or yellowed leaves. Instead you should offer something good. The fist portion of your tea is an offering, not [something you want to get rid of] as if removing a speck of dust.

For example, a sutra says:

If seeds are not planted in a fertile field in season they cannot be established. Accordingly, the holy field from which all present and future well-being springs can be planted continuously with the seeds of well-being throughout all four seasons; may the field of merit be tilled with the plow of faith.

If that which needs to be done does not happen, it will be an extremely heavy loss.

To have less regard for the best fields [of merit] than you do for an ordinary field is not a good attitude. Therefore always make offerings to the Three Jewels with joyous effort. If you do that, then, through the power of the roots of virtue that grow in the holy field, the power of your intelligence regarding the stages of the path will increase.

As long as your intelligence is feeble – whereby you do not retain the words while listening, you do not understand their meaning while reflecting, and nothing arises in your mindstream while meditating – the quintessential instruction is to rely on the power of the holy field.

Also your offering is not determined by the thing offered, it is determined by your faith. As is stated in the scriptures, if you have faith, it is enough to offer mandalas, water, and offerings that nobody cares about. Therefore you should make offerings in this way even if your have no material things to offer.

If you have something but you are unable to give it and declare, “I am a wretched pauper without any merit; I have no other possessions to offer,” this would be, in the words of Potowa, like a blind person putting some cheap aromatic plant into a fragrant conch-shell container and trying to fool someone with eyesight by calling it “sandalwood and camphor perfume”.

Phuchungwa said:

At first I used to offer a pungent aromatic plant.
Then I had the means to offer sweet incense prepared
from four substances. Now I offer the most
exquisitely fragrant aloe wood, Chinese cypress,
and so forth.

In accordance with this statement, if out of contempt for meager offerings you do not give anything, [72] you will go on like that throughout your entire life. However, if you make effort incrementally from the start, you will get better and better. Therefore you should train following Phunchungwa’s practice. It is said that he once prepared incense worth twenty-two ounces of gold.

Great bodhisattvas, who have gained control over mundane things, emanate many hundreds of thousands of bodies – and for each body, again emanate hundreds of thousands of hands and so forth – and they appear in all the buddhafields so as to make offerings to the victors for many eons.

But when those who are satisfied with only the semblance of excellent qualities declare, “As for me, I do not hope to reach enlightenment in that way,” this is the nonsensical talk of people who know very little about the Dharma. Instead, you should act according to the instructions given in the Cloud of Jewels of Sutra (Ratnameghasutra):

Study whatever vast offerings and acts of service are explained in the sutras and, from the depths of your heart and with the supreme extraordinary attitude, dedicate them to the buddhas and bodhisattvas.


By recollecting great compassion, establish other beings in this kind of practice

Out of loving-kindness establish other sentient beings in going for refuge as much as you can.


Whatever activities you engage in and whatever your purpose, honour the Three Jewels and make requests to them, abandoning all other worldly methods

Whatever activities you engage in and whatever needful purpose you may see, rely on the Three Jewels and so what is in agreement with them, such as making offerings. But it is utterly inappropriate to rely in any way at all on what is not in agreement with them, such as certain practices in the Bon tradition. Consequently, you should trust in the Jewels at all times.


Having understood its benefits, go for refuge three times a day and three times a night

Here there are eight benefits:

(1) it is the measure of being a Buddhist,
(2) it is the basis of all vows,
(3) the karmic obstructions accumulated previously are reduced and exhausted,
(4) one accumulates vast merit,
(5) one does not fall into the lower rebirths,
(6) one is not harmed by human and nonhuman hindrances,
(7) one accomplishes everything one wishes, and
(8) one swiftly attains buddhahood.


It is the measure of being a Buddhist

Although, generally speaking, there appear to be many ways of positing what constitutes a non-Buddhist and a Buddhist [awake nature, not deluded], it is widely known that Atisha and Santipa differentiated them by their going for refuge. Therefore a Buddhist should be understood to be someone who has achieved going for refuge and has not given it up. Hence, as the standard for being a Buddhist, one must consider the Three Jewels to be one’s teacher and so forth from the depth of one’s heart. Without that, even though you do virtuous deeds, you will not be included among Buddhists.


It is the basis of all vows

The Treasury of Abhidharma Autocommentary says:

Those who go for refuge gain access to taking all
the vows correctly.

[73] And Seventy Verses on Going for Refuge also says:

Upasakas go for refuge to the three;
that is the root of the eight vows.

This means that by going for refuge, the thought of passing beyond suffering is stabilised, which gives rise to the vows.


The karmic obstructions accumulated previously are reduced and exhausted

In the context of showing that bad actions are purified by going for refuge, the Compendium of Training says:

Here, one must present the edifying story of the
pig as an illustration.

A god who was about to be reborn as a pig, by going for
refuge, was not born as one.

It further states:

Those who have gone for refuge to the Buddha [awake nature]
will not go to the lower rebirths.
They give up their human body
and obtain that of a god.

Something similar is stated regarding the Dharma and the Sangha.

One accumulates vast merit

The Compendium of the Perfections (Paramitasamasa) says:

If the merit of having gone for refuge took shape,
even these three realms would be too small a container.
The water in the great oceans
can never be measured in handfuls.

That is how vast it is.


One does not fall into the lower rebirths

You should understand this from the above.


One is not harmed by human and nonhuman hindrances

This is easy to understand.


One accomplishes everything one wishes

Whatever Dharma activity you engage in, if at the beginning you make offerings to the Three Jewels, go for refuge, and supplicate them, it will easily be accomplished.


One swiftly attains buddhahood

The Questions of a Lion Sutra (Simhapariprcchasutra) says:

Through faith you will abandon the leisureless
states.

Accordingly, you will gain the special freedoms and, having found refuge, train in the special path. Thus you will become a buddha without much delay. Recollecting these kinds of benefits, you should go for refuge three times in the day and three times at night.


Maintain your refuge and do not forsake the Three Jewels at the cost of your life, not even in jest

There is no doubt that we will be separated from this body, life, and possessions. If we give up the Three Jewels for their sake, we will undergo continuous suffering in all successive lives to come.

Therefore we should vow not to abandon our refuge, come what may, nor even utter words in jest about giving up our refuge. [74] Earlier masters spoke of a precept that you should train in going for refuge to the tathagata [awake nature] of whatever direction you are headed in, but I have not seen a source for that.

Thus the six common precepts are just as they appear in Commentary on the Difficult Points of Lamp for Path. Regarding the specific precepts, the first three are explained in the sutra collection, whereas the last three appear in Six Aspects of Going for Refuge (Sadangasarana).

As for how transgressing these precepts becomes a cause of degenerating and relinquishing your refuge,

it is the transgression of the precept – not to forsake your refuge even at the cost of your life that actually constitutes relinquishing it.

Similarly, even if you do not forsake the Three Jewels but you uphold them and another three – teachers and so forth – that are incompatible with them, then you transgress the precept of not advocating another refuge, and by not having faith in your refuge you also relinquish it. I think that if these do not occur, it is a mere transgression of the precepts but not a cause for relinquishing your refuge.

Thus going for refuge is the great gateway to the Buddha’s teachings. If your going for refuge is not mere words, you are relying on a superior power.

Therefore you will not be thwarted by external or internal hindrances, and various special excellent qualities will arise easily and be hard to diminish, thereby increasing more and more.

So it is vital that you uphold your refuge by recollecting the fear and the excellent qualities explained above and that you strive to not transgress its precepts.





(Continued on LAMRIM CHENMO 5 of this website…)