Saturday, 3 January 2009


When we stop ignoring the futility of samsara, we enter the path of liberation. Without self-reflection, we can't take this step. Habitual tendencies cause us to ignore impermanence, karma, and the suffering of samsara. We ignore the preciousness of our human birth and our potential to work with our mind. We ignore our vulnerability, which is the cause of so much suffering. When we remain in denial, even if we take refuge thousands of times, nothing will change. Denial is the first thing we must really give up.

Seeing the futility of samsara brings a sense of discenchantment, or brokenheartedness. This is the realization that everything we've ever taken refuge in, from time immemorial, has been unreliable. From this realization, feelings of tenderness and sadness* arise toward our world - along with a deep sense of renunciation. Longing to move closer to the truth, we realize there is no more genuine refuge than the Three Jewels.

This is not just Dharma "propaganda." When you take refuge, it's for your own sake. Nobody benefits but you, and nobody suffers but you when you take refuge in samsara. It is your choice: You can take refuge in samsara, or you can take refuge in waking up. But at some point, you do have to drop your doubts and make up your mind.

*Tib. skyo chad. This feeling of disenchantment or brokenheartedness is cherished by all the great masters as the root of developing genuine renunciation.

Kongtrul, Dzigar. It's Up to You: The Practice of Self-reflection on the Buddhist Path. Boston, Shambala, 2005, pp. 41-42.

Link to Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche's oganisation Mangala Shri Bhuti.

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