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We welcome you to join us in our annual meditation retreat on the practice of going for refuge. This practice helps us find true happiness, frees us from problems, and is the foundation of the Buddhist path to enlightenment.
We all want a solution to our problems and spend much of our time and energy seeking refuge outside of ourselves – in our social life, our work, or simply time-wasting and indulging in meaningless activities. This is a fruitless search since none of these has true power to help us.
In Modern Buddhism Geshe Kelsang writes:
“When our life is in danger or we are threatened by someone, we usually seek refuge in the police. Of course, sometimes the police can protect us from a particular danger, but they cannot give us permanent liberation from death. When we are seriously ill we seek refuge in doctors. Sometimes doctors can cure a particular illness, but no doctor can give us permanent liberation from sickness. What we really need is permanent liberation from all sufferings, and as human beings we can achieve this by seeking refuge in Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.”
We can find true refuge within ourselves by cultivating love, compassion, and wisdom. This inner experience is the Dharma – a Sanskrit word meaning “protection.” Deep experience of these minds has complete power to protect us from suffering and give rise to deep inner happiness. We cultivate this inner refuge by relying on Enlightened Beings (Buddhas) and our spiritual friends and companions (the Sangha).