Author Archives: Jobst Schmalenbach

About Jobst Schmalenbach

I code, therefor I am.

Jobst Schmalenbach

Take Refuge and Generate Bodhicitta

We take refuge for example when it starts to rain, we like to find a shelter. The Buddhist’s shelter from the rain of problems and pain of life is threefold: the Buddha, his teachings (the Dharma) and the spiritual community (the Sangha). So to take refuge means that we have some understanding about suffering, and we have confidence that the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha (the “Three Jewels”) can help us helping ourself. However never take refuge in Buddhism to avoid problems in this very life, there are many non-religious (and religious) organisations you could join to do so, but we should take refuge to avoid problems in future lives, or even better, to avoid future uncontrolled rebirths, by dealing with it here and now.
By taking refuge in the Buddha is you letting go of holding back just as Buddha has done (remember everyone can be a Buddha). By taking refuge in the spiritual community you are joining a group of people who are letting go of holding back, but the help you get is a set of tools, you still need to do it, however you are able to join a group of people taking refuge and working hard, which in itself is comfort.

By doing it yourself you will grow, enabling you to do better next time around.
The Prayer(3 times):

To the Buddha, the Dharma and the sublime community, I go for refuge until I am enlightened. From the virtuous merits I collect by practicing giving and other perfections, may I quickly attain buddha-hood in order to lead each and every sentient being into that unsurpassable state.

Two of my favorite teachers of Meditation and Buddhism (Alice and Rob) use this as the introduction to the evening, I just love to listen to them say it.

A Funny Story about Compassion.

This happened on during “Introduction to Buddhism and Meditation” at our local Tara Institute.

At the end of the session the teacher asked whether anybody had some questions about the topics just covered. A couple of people asked a question each, which were answered quickly. Then a person started hogging the question time boasting with knowledge about a number of unrelated issues, going on and on about things. Looking through the room after 10 minutes or so one could observe that a fair amount of people had started an “ad hoc meditation session” looking for their internal OM and trying to fetch their Compassion for the person. Looking at the people one could also observe that their faces had a rather strained look and one could come to the conclusion there were a number of people wanting to have a go”. It was quite funny to see how people were trying to do the “compassion thing” but had “other strategies” in their mind. The person was advised by a number of people, including Sue, that this was not good etiquette.

The next week the person was there, but stayed quiet during the question time.
The week after the question time began, a couple of people asked questions which were, once again, answered quickly. And then it happened again; the same person started hogging the question time. This time looking through the room one could quite easily observe that more people had gone into an “ad hoc meditation session” trying to find their inner OM and trying to stay calm and compassionate … which when looking at their strained faces wasn’t happening all that good. Again, it was quite funny to see how people were trying to do the “compassion thing” but had “other strategies” in their mind.

I admire Sue who went afterwards to her to explain that this wasnt the best etiquette (again), nobody else said anything, they all seem to think that they had to show compassion, yet lots of people came to Sue afterwards to tell her she had done a good thing.

Wroth is a hard thing to learn when you also trying to learn compassion.