Practicing the Teaching without Sectarian Bias

Excerpt from:
A Discourse on the Importance of Practicing
with Trust and Devotion the Teachings
to which One Feels Drawn

I would like to say a few things to you, my vajra brothers and sisters, gathered here. We Tibetans are from a country where the Buddha’s teaching was deeply rooted. It may indeed be said that we were born in the buddhafield of the noble Avalokiteshvara, and we all understand, more or less, what is meant by Dharma. However, the factor that differentiates Buddhists from non-Buddhists is taking refuge in the Three Jewels of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Those who take refuge are Buddhists; those who do not are non-Buddhists. Of the Three Jewels, the Buddha revealed the sunlight of the sacred teachings in the dark abyss of this world. He is our guide and benefactor, and indeed that of all living beings. He set forth inconceivable teachings of the supreme Dharma in order to lead us to the buddhafields and to liberation. The Dharma is our path. Those who uphold the Dharma by listening to it, teaching it, and practicing it are called the Sangha. These Three Jewels possess extraordinary qualities, and it is thanks to them that liberation from the suffering of samsara and the lower destinies, and the attainment of the everlasting joy of buddhahood, are possible. We must recognize what the Three Jewels are and take refuge in them. We become Buddhists by taking refuge. Now, the root, the factor that brings us to take refuge, is faith, and this, therefore, is the very foundation of Dharma. At the outset, faith and devotion are what impel us to take refuge; they enable us to assimilate it and make it part of ourselves. If there is no faith, there is no refuge, and without refuge, we cannot absorb the blessings of the Three Jewels. Therefore, with sincere trust in the Three Jewels, and with confidence that they are our unfailing and constant guardians, we should seek their protection, relying on them totally. This is what taking refuge means. Our faith should be as solid and unwavering as a mountain, as unfathomable and boundless as the sea. It should be constant. If it is unstable and we have only the appearance of faith, if we “take refuge” only when everything is going well and we feel fine, it will be hard for the blessings of the Three Jewels to penetrate our being. …

Dudjom Rinpoche Jigdral Yeshe Dorje
Counsels from My Heart