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Rest, Refuge, and Retreats (pt. 3) (4 min.) MP3

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Rest, Refuge, and Retreats (pt. 1) (11 min.) [transcript]

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Rest, Refuge, and Retreats
(pt. 2 / Jared Ramsburg)
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"Rest, Refuge, and Retreats" (pt. 3)
Transcript of a talk delivered by Br. ChiSing
Breath of Life (Interfaith Mindfulness Fellowship)
August 5, 2007 - Dallas, Texas

As Jared shared that story with me yesterday, it made me think about our practice of taking refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha… When he came to this beautiful place and just fully opening his heart to the beauty of this beautiful setting in nature, that's like when we first encounter the practice and the Buddha as a wonderful teacher, maybe embodied in the physical leaders that we know of here on Earth or maybe just as ideals or qualities. And we just surrender and open our hearts to that and just receive, with that… that awe and wonder. And that's really kind of like what taking refuge in the Buddha is… just really opening ourselves to the possibility that yes, awakening is possible and there are those that have awakened. Just like seeing this beautiful waterfall and beautiful setting in Yosemite.

But then after that first initial love affair with Buddha as a wonderful teacher, you start to practice and you start to realize how precarious our situation is on planet Earth and our human lives. And when we practice we start to realize how important it is. Just like when Jared was holding on for dear life and it's not easy. He broke his leg in the process, but he was still trying. I bet you he wasn't… not mindful… in every single second… I bet you he was extremely mindful… every minute detail… every second… every even half second… miniature second… So really that is kind of like our practice because we are breathing, we are getting to know this present moment, in all of its details.

We are getting to know our body, which we have neglected and suppressed for so long, all the energies of this body. We are getting to know our mind that it's not just what we thought it was. There are all these little layers. Like when we feel angry, its not just anger. There's a layer of fear underneath that and there's a layer of doubt, and a layer of low self-esteem, a layer of memories, experiences from our past. There are so many minute details to this present moment and in our practice we fully allow ourselves to be present. And it's not always easy but if we don't practice, we are killing ourselves spiritually. Not only ourselves individually but our whole planet which is right now in desperate need of mindfulness, collectively.

But the wonderful thing is not just Buddha and not just the Dharma and the teachings and the practices, there's the Sangha, our brothers and sisters, to help us. And they're not always perfect, just like his brother; he almost got killed too, in trying to help. But we need each other. We don't need to be perfect to help each other. But if we have an open heart and we are willing, that is enough. And along the way we'll find the help we need.

It's amazing when we open ourselves to the possibility that the universe is truly there for us, that awakening is truly possible and there for us… you find that things manifest. You attract that which you are open to, so you would start seeing that yes, there is help. It's not just an idea, not just some cosmic beings out there. Real people here and now, like me, like Jared. We're here right now for you; and you are here for your neighbor sitting right next to you. Buddha, Dharma, Sangha.

What more is there? That's all there is.

Thank you.

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Transcribed by Jody Whitcomb

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