Dalai Lama Quote from Snow Lion Publications

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Dalai Lama Quote of the Week

Seeking a Place of Refuge.
A spiritual aspirant requires a model, something he or she can look up to as an ideal and thus find guidance and inspiration. In Buddhism this is the Triple Gem, or the Three Jewels of Refuge: the Buddhas, Dharma and Sangha.

When we think of the fully enlightened Buddhas–the beings who have purified their minds of all stains and obscurations and who have expanded their wisdom to the limits of existence–we feel very attracted and awed; but somehow there always seems to be a great distance between the Buddhas and us. Therefore, there is the refuge of Sangha, the community of spiritual aspirants, the assembly of practitioners dwelling in the various stages of practice and attainment.

These beings provide us with a perspective on the path. We have to look up to the Sangha, but not as far as to the Buddhas. The Sangha make us think, “This person is not that far ahead of me. If I just make a bit more effort….” They give us confidence for spiritual practice. Sometimes they make us feel like we can even race them to enlightenment. These are the Sangha of spiritual friends.

Thoughts of the Buddhas make us numb with admiration; thoughts of the Sangha cause us to jump to it and to apply ourselves with zeal to the spiritual path. This path and the methods for traversing it are the third Jewel of Refuge, the Dharma. This is the collection of teachings to be practiced and the realizations to be attained. (p.97)

–from The Path to Enlightenment by H.H. the Dalai Lama, edited and translated by Glenn H. Mullin, published by Snow Lion Publications

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