Refuge is Most Wise

Refuge is Most Wise

Date of Advice:
November 2014
Date Posted:
May 2016

Rinpoche advised a student that by relying on Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, she could achieve the fully awakened mind, sang-gye. Rinpoche also discussed the qualities of Lama Lhundrup. Although many great Tibetan lamas have now passed away, Rinpoche said new teachers are coming from the three monasteries of Sera, Drepung and Ganden. Included are letters to each of the student’s two daughters.

My most dear one,
Thank you very much for your kind letter. It is most wise that you took refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, Sangha. They have perfect power all together, not just to liberate you from lower realm sufferings, the endless hell, hungry ghost, animal realm sufferings, the most unbearable suffering. Not only that, but you need all three to be totally free from the ocean of samsaric suffering, and the cause, karma and delusions. That includes the general sufferings of samsara and the particular sufferings of human beings, asuras and suras.

All three have perfect power together to free you—for you to achieve nirvana, total liberation from the oceans of samsaric suffering and its causes. So that’s ultimate happiness, not temporary. That is unbelievable, unbelievable, unbelievable. That one is unbelievable. 

Next, by relying on the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, you can achieve the ultimate happiness, even liberation from subtle obscurations, so you can achieve the fully awakened mind, buddhahood, the full state of enlightenment. Buddha, in Tibetan, is sang-gyä, which means total cessation of obscurations, gross and subtle, and completion of all the realizations: the fully awakened mind.

That means after you have achieved full enlightenment, buddhahood, sang-gye, the total elimination of obscurations and completion of realizations, then just as one sun rises—there’s only one sun in this world, without motivation—however many oceans, water, rivers, springs, water dew, anything that doesn’t have a cover, so the reflection of this sun is received everywhere, numberless. Like that, there’s no motivation. The motivation was before, at bodhisattva time, when following the path, actualizing the path, and even before that, before bodhicitta, great compassion for sentient beings, the numberless suffering sentient beings, to free them from the oceans of samsaric suffering by oneself. So this is the motivation a long, long time before, even before actualizing the path, bodhicitta.

Like that, working for the sentient beings with numberless manifestations of the holy body, speech and mind until the numberless sentient beings of the hell, hungry ghost, animal, human being, sura, asura, intermediate stage, become fully enlightened, become buddha. So benefiting sentient beings happens without effort and with omniscient mind without the slightest mistake, having perfect power and infinite compassion to every sentient being, including you and me.

First of all, you having taken refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, Sangha is most wise, so that’s why I say this.

Second, Lama Lhundrup is Lama Yeshe’s disciple from Tibet and at Buxa. I know he’s among Lama Yeshe’s disciples. He’s the one who knew Buddhist philosophy well and was the best student, with very sharp knowledge. He had profound knowledge of Buddhist philosophy and was an excellent debater, debating Buddhist philosophy, the five major sutra texts. He didn’t get to go to Tantric College because he was invited by Lama to come to Kopan Monastery to help, to teach, to be the main person at Kopan, helping with education, teaching, discipline, the real meaning of monastery. There was another monk, Lama Pasang, invited together with him, who did more teaching of Tibetan letters and external development, building and buying food for the monks.

So it’s most worthwhile from whom you have taken refuge. Recognizing him as guru, devoting to him as guru, devoting correctly you will ultimately go to enlightenment, buddhahood, the total elimination of all obscurations and completion of all realizations, for sentient beings. And not only expert and wise in extensive Buddhist philosophy, subjects wide and deep like the Pacific Ocean. That’s very, very important to be learned, so that [the guru] can correctly lead the disciple, not only freeing from samsara but leading to buddhahood, full enlightenment, in order to guide each being correctly.

Now the second quality. Other lamas may teach and are very learned, but may not be sincere; however, he’s one hundred percent sincere. He is not teaching others something that he himself is not involved in, so not like that. He’s one hundred percent sincere and that means no cheating or misleading. That’s very, very important.

I understand so that’s why the best thing that you did is take [refuge] from Lama Lhundrup. I know you said you felt lost after he died. I know many people do feel that, mainly because they don’t know much Dharma. You don’t have to feel that, because still there are many learned lamas, though there are fewer great, great lamas from Tibet.

Two of my gurus recently passed away. Geshe Sopa Rinpoche, Lama Yeshe’s teacher from Tibet, was an outstanding teacher. For outside people there are many great, learned teachers, who are pure in morality and good heart. In Tibet there were many, many; outside Tibet, many have passed away. Also, Kyabje Denma Lochö Rinpoche passed away just two or three weeks ago. He was a great, great, learned teacher of sutra and tantra. After His Holiness, he had very, very extensive knowledge of sutra and tantra.

[The great lamas from Tibet are] becoming less, but new ones are coming from Sera, Drepung, Ganden, from Lama Tsongkhapa’s teachings, deep and wide like the Pacific Ocean, both sutra and tantra, unbelievable clear explanations and not obscured.

So please don’t worry. There are new great teachers coming from the three monasteries of Lama Tsongkhapa, Sera, Drepung, Ganden. They’ve been taught by the old ones, who’ve become less and less, and they also set a good example, they are expert ones.

Since you look at me as a guru then definitely what I know I will introduce to you; I will give you.

Even though we met at Kopan one time and didn’t see each other for ten years, as mentioned, I was very, very happy that I met you there with your two daughters.

I definitely think your daughter might be special because of the relic that she got. It didn’t increase with me. I kept the big and small one with me, but they didn’t increase with me. It didn’t happen, though sometimes it looked like they were getting bigger. With her, the relics increased. It might mean she’s special—not the body, but the mind. I think she is not an ordinary girl, with so much attachment and so many problems in the life, problems of the mind, relating with the attachment, and with jealousy and anger. It’s so unbelievable; it make the life so difficult and so expensive, building debts over debts.

So I was very happy and also you, yourself, are sincere, very clean clear, that’s very good. I came to notice that even the time I met you very briefly in my room at Kopan.

If there is anything that I can help with, we can do it. I am very happy to help you. Please give my warm regards to your two daughters, who asked many questions.

With much love and prayer...


1. Rinpoche's letter to the elder daughter (aged approx. 14 years)

My dear one,
I was very happy to meet you in London and it was a good talk, especially with your younger sister who had many intelligent questions. I enjoyed it very much. If I come to London again, I would like to spend hours with you.

Please take care. Keep yourself in the Buddha’s path, the holy beings’ path, and benefit sentient beings.

With much love and prayer...

2. Rinpoche's letter to the Younger daughter (aged approx. 7 years)

My most dear one,
How are you? I enjoyed very much seeing you in London and your asking intelligent questions. Next time I come to London, I will spend hours and hours with you, then you can talk and ask questions.

Please keep yourself on the path of the Buddha so that you can bring benefit like the Pacific Ocean to the sentient beings of each realm—hell, hungry ghost, animal, human, sura, asura—freeing them from the ocean of samsaric suffering and bringing them to the peerless happiness of full enlightenment, buddhahood.

With much love and prayer...