When you take refuge in Buddhadharma, the important point is that you have recognized your own profound potential, and from the beginning can see that, “I can do something, I can take the responsibility of liberating myself.” This is different from the attitude we normally have: “I'm hopeless, I'm hopeless; maybe God, maybe Buddha, maybe Lama can do something for me.” This sort of human attitude is wrong. From the Buddhist point of view it is wrong to think, “I'm hopeless, Buddha can do something for me." That attitude is wrong because it's not true. By believing that you are hopeless you have already decided that you are nothing, you have already put a limit on your profound quality. The important thing in taking refuge is to have the understanding that you can do something to solve the problem of everyday life by relying, with confidence and trust, on the Buddha's wisdom—or you can also call it your own activated wisdom—to liberate you from confusion and suffering. So it is really worthwhile. The real significance of taking refuge in Dharma wisdom is that it is the entrance to the path to enlightenment.
That is why, traditionally, every day people in Buddhist countries take refuge to Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. But Western people don't need to copy this, going to the temple every day, taking refuge in Buddha, Dharma and Sangha without concentration. We don't need to follow the customs of those countries. What we need to do is to recognize what brings us a liberated joyful life. Instead of relying on, taking refuge in chocolate and apples and biscuits and toys, instead of taking refuge in the beach, in movies, or in popcorn, we should understand in our hearts that the liberated joyful life does not depend on those conditions, those worldly phenomenon.
The lam-rim shows exactly, logically, scientifically that human happiness and joy do not depend on material conditions. You should understand clean clear and determine that that is reality. Then you will not be upset by not getting presents and chocolates, or by people not paying attention to you. Otherwise, small things always upset you and small things make you dissatisfied. The over-extreme expectation of getting things from the external world makes problems. So taking refuge in Buddhadharma is really worthwhile.
And some people feel that by taking refuge, “I have to remember my Lama's nose, my Lama's head.” That is not necessary. When you take refuge it is not necessary for you always to remember your Lama's nose. Or, “Every day I have to go to the temple,” or, “Every day I have to say Buddha Buddha, Dharma Dharma, Sangha Sangha, Buddha Buddha, Dharma Dharma, Sangha Sangha—if I forget to say those words, I am completely guilty, I am not acting correctly for one who has taken refuge.” It is not that way, that is a misunderstanding. We are not trying to have the Western mind copy the aspect of Buddhist culture. Westerners should understand that taking refuge is a state of mind. It doesn't matter whether you are in a plane, in the subway, in a train, in a bathroom or wherever—somehow, you recognize your buddha potential and rely on that inner wisdom to stop the problems of everyday life, and you understand that you can deal with these through meditation, through intellectual thinking, or through enacting the six paramitas. From my point of view that kind of thing is good enough, and if you are really taking refuge you don't even need to say one word “Buddha.”
And also, ordinarily, when you are depressed you can ask Buddha for help. By recognizing Buddha's unlimited wisdom and universal compassion it helps psychologically. When you remember his universal compassion, when you think of his universal wisdom, those objects, somehow on your side also you open up a little bit. In other words, you just think about the reality of the whole world, look at what's going on in the whole world: what's going on in Africa? what's going on in America? what's going on in India? what's going on? By just thinking about all the different conditions of human existence, you find, “Somehow, I'm not too bad, I'm not too bad.” So that's the way of opening up, that's what being open means. When your mind has opened to such a profound universal object, it has space. It is the same thing when you remember Buddha's unlimited compassion, unlimited wisdom and unlimited power. Thus it is easy to see that taking refuge is not something that you are just relying on words.
Even if you have kind of enormous pleasure, kind of everything coming together, you can't believe it: “How is it I have so much pleasure? I have this, I have this, I have this; I don't know how, what kind of fortune I have, everything is coming together for me.” At the same time, instead of becoming concrete inside, concrete and grasping onto this, you think, “Hmm, all this is coming together so easily, yeah, but it's good that my happiness and pleasure do not depend on this.” [Lama showing material object.] You use your wisdom. For example, perhaps you have some ambition, “I want this, I want this, I want this, I want this, I want this.” So even if somehow everything you wanted comes, whatever you thought of, all materials come together, still you are not too excited: “Well, it is true, it is there, everything has come together, it seems that I can enjoy myself. Hmm, still I hope that I can feel satisfied and together without all these things too, that my satisfaction does not depend on all this.” Thus Dharma wisdom not only liberates you when you are miserable, it also liberates you when you have tremendous pleasure.
We always need Dharma wisdom. Even when you have great pleasure you need wisdom to really make your mind stable. Normally the Western mind is up and down, up and down, up and down, twenty-four hours a day up and down—maybe up and down a hundred times a day. Westerners believe that these outside things are solid, “That makes me happy. This morning I am happy, you say that I am bad so now I feel terrible.” This is no good, no good. This up and down comes from not recognizing the inner wisdom that can be relied on and not recognizing the inner ability to liberate oneself. I think you people understand, I don't need to talk so much about this. Sometimes you can explain refuge in so many ways, I think you understand.
I think in the West, so many people are suffering incredibly; you don't realize. Especially, you are young people, you can do so many things, can't you? Now, at the moment, you can do so many things—you can travel, you can meet interesting people, you can do this, you can do that, you can do this. But when you are old you can't do things any more. Automatically, when you merely thing about those miserable conditions, you become so afraid. However, now you are training your mind to understand the profound, so when you become older I think that at that time you will have a better life.
So you understand what Buddha means. But still, it is good, when you have taken refuge, to put a Buddha image in your room, or to make a small shrine room. Then, when you just look at your Buddha image you can remember his knowledge. And also Buddha Shakyamuni's history: how many times did he give his body for mother sentient beings? Sometimes he gave his eye for sentient beings, there are many different reasons, sometimes he gave his leg, sometimes he gave his life completely. At other times he was a monk and he had to marry some lady, so he gave his life completely for that woman. Sometimes he gave his body to the tigers. All kinds of things like these he did, unbelievable things, cutting the meat from his leg and offering it to mother sentient beings. We can't do these things now. Actually, people who have studied the Madhyamaka might remember the bodhisattva who cut off his limb, piece by piece, and with respect offered it to others. Instead of his having pain, he was blissful, completely blissful. This is a good example for us. It is not that he didn't have the conditions of pain; the condition of his body is a painful situation, it is made for pain. But he had the key of mind control, and through his psychic power, the power of his consciousness, instead of pain he felt bliss.
Normally my Guru, His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, uses this example when he gives teachings. In Tibet we have a lot of beggars; in one day perhaps ten beggars come before you and say, “Hello, we need something.” Most of the time what we give is tsampa, the Tibetan national food is tsampa. It's a kind of muesli, sort of ground roasted barley. Some people give just a little and other people give quite a lot, it depends. So he says, when somebody knocks on your door to ask for a little tsampa, you become irritated, irritated. But when somebody asks a bodhisattva to give a piece of his body, he is completely blissful. The bodhisattva understands that this person is helping: “This man is helping me to complete my paramita of charity,” so he is completely blissful. That is his attitude. When somebody comes here asking for us to give something, instead of having the attitude of wanting to give, we become irritated and angry. But the bodhisattva who has really trained his mind in such a way is blissful: “Because this person is asking me, I can do something. This beggar is helping me to develop my path to enlightenment,” so cutting off his flesh he is completely blissful. Those are good examples and not just stories. Also, when Jesus was crucified, he manifested ordinary suffering, showed a horrible appearance, but actually he must have been totally blissful, giving his body in order to take the negativities of mother sentient beings. Although outwardly he appeared suffering he must have been blissful.
You can see that inner progression is so profound, so profound. Another good example in the West is the Christian missionary. It is good, those Christian people, they take refuge in God, somehow they understand that God is responsible for everything and so they go to Africa or some other terrible place. They go to serve other people. They are the same as us—do you think they don't like muesli? They like muesli, they like chocolate, they like cake, but somehow they give up that situation and because of God go to that other place and accept the suffering in order to help those poor people. I feel they are wonderful; somehow they have inside themselves the ability to cope, by taking refuge in God. I think, they are profound.
And we Buddhist people, even though we know that if we do one hour's meditation in the morning the whole day is completely blissful, each of us has the experience, we are still lazy, aren't we? Even though we know clean clear, through experience not only words, that if we have good meditation in the morning the rest of the day goes very easily, sometimes we degenerate, we don't meditate. We forget things. Maybe when you come here to Chenrezig Institute you meditate, but when you go to Melbourne or Sydney it is less and less, and when you reach the center of Melbourne, then all these things have finished. The only thing left is ice cream. I'm joking. Anyway, it is good, we should understand that there are examples in the West also, the Christian people. There are some very sincere people and they get something, they get something. So it is important that we learn to meditate and have some experience, and then continuously develop.
Actually, meditation is taking refuge. Meditation is your taking refuge, because inside you have the attitude, “If I meditate I can liberate myself.” By using Buddhist wisdom and Buddhist method. So it is really worthwhile. Otherwise, I myself feel that without recognizing the profound inner ability and having confidence in and relying on that, human beings are useless. Especially in the West, it is very dangerous—we dedicate our entire life to the pursuit of happiness but the result is misery, misery. That's the story of our lives, isn't it? So you understand, it is really worthwhile. Especially old students should try to set a good example for new students. The bodhicitta attitude is to help other sentient beings, and the Buddhist way is by just being a good example yourself, that is good enough. Not just words, just be a good example, give energy to new people. That is the way in which you help. Otherwise, perhaps you have some fantastic intellectual understanding, but if by your behavior you set a bad example it can't help, you can't help other sentient beings.
Anyway, I have no intention to talk too much, but if you have any questions before taking refuge please ask them. It is good to make it clean clear. The subject of refuge is so vast that we can never completely cover it for you, so if you have any questions please ask.
Student: What is the difference between Jesus and Buddha?
Lama: According to their appearance in this earth, each of them is relatively different but absolutely the same thing. Basically, Jesus taught by his actions of compassion and love—perhaps the Western world needed to be taught that way. When Buddha Shakyamuni came, he taught with his profound speech, through his actions showed his Enlightened realizations, and he showed the function of his omniscient wisdom.
Student: If the Buddha represents your higher self and universal wisdom and compassion, does that mean that if you are a woman you can imagine the Buddha as being female?
Lama: Yes, of course. Definitely yes. It is very important to understand that even if you are a female, the profound Buddha potential is the same as in men, even though relatively the structure of our bodies is different. This is too temporal, relative, but when one is controlled, what is the difference? Like Tara, you can see the painting of that female aspect of Buddha. And also, there is no distinction between men and women in that it takes one longer to discover enlightenment and a shorter time for the other. It depends completely upon the development of the individual. In Tantric Yoga we have the explanation that even in this life, starting from knowing nothing of the inner reality, one can reach enlightenment, equal with Shakyamuni Buddha—both men and women have equal ability to do this.
Student: I would like you to tell us a little about the benefits of taking refuge.
Lama: The benefits of taking refuge? The benefit of taking refuge is that you liberate yourself, as I said before. Taking refuge in Buddha and Dharma means—first of all, what is Dharma? Dharma is wisdom, the clean clear sharp wisdom, seeing clearly, is the Dharma. And taking refuge means you become Dharma, you become the Dharma wisdom light. Perhaps at first, at the beginning, you are a small candle light, but by meditating each day the small candle light is activated and becomes bigger, bigger, bigger, bigger—and then your Dharma wisdom is transformed into the omniscient wisdom, totality wisdom. And in the same way, by taking refuge and so on, you increase your compassionate loving-kindness attitude. When you increase your loving-kindness actions you become liberated from the self-cherishing thought, don't you? Then you have no conflict with other human beings. Even if other people are making some conflict for you, instead of getting angry you have compassion, “What can I do?” So you have control. You don't have to control yourself like this [Lama squeezing himself up into a tight ball]: “I am controlled, I am controlled”. Just control, just control, it doesn't need any effort. [Lama showing relaxed aspect]
At first, it's true, we need a lot of effort, sort of meditation and effort; but after some time you don't need this—just your being is meditation, just being is liberated, just being is loving-kindness, just being is bodhisattva, bodhicitta. It is difficult at the beginning, but also I cannot say “You are a beginner, therefore you should squeeze yourself,” Perhaps you are more advanced than I am, who knows? We never know—the thing is, in Buddhism, we don't judge, we cannot judge. For example, I cannot say “I am the wisdom man, your teacher—you have to learn from me.” No, I cannot; I can learn from you too; we are helping each other. Even though we are not yet Enlightened, each of us has different aspects of wisdom more developed—so you have certain wisdom better than mine and I can learn from you too.
Student: When you take refuge in Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, you are taking refuge in the higher pure clean clear self. Since the Guru is the embodiment of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, is the Guru like your clean clear self also?
Lama: That's right. Yes. If you understand it in such an absolute way, it is like in Christianity we have one God. Similarly, the Guru is the Buddha, the Guru is the Dharma, the Guru is the Sangha—you can understand it in that way too. Good.
Student: Could you talk a bit more about refuge in the Sangha?
Lama: OK. Good. There are two levels of Sangha: relative Sangha and absolute Sangha. We are all relative Sangha. I am learning from you people, you are helping. If I have some understanding, if I am receptive, I learn from you people. You people also give me energy. Actually we give each other energy. Let me make an example. I have the attitude that when I give my students Dorje Sempa initiation they have to retreat for three months, do a strict retreat for three months. And if they do a group retreat they are almost always successful. But some people say, “Lama, I want to retreat by myself, alone; please let me.” I say, “Alright, alright.”You know—what can I say? Baby cries, wants—what can I say? It is not my way to say, to insist that, “You have to do it with the group.” Then they would freak out, wouldn't they? Anyway, I know they would freak out and instead of becoming positive would turn out negative. So I have to say, “Yes, yes, yes.” Then I watch with my big eyes, I watch what they are going to do. The result is always disaster; they never finish a good retreat. They always break down and end up maybe neurotic, saying, “Not possible, I get much lung,” and these things. It's obvious, I understand.
But retreating with a group is always helpful. Let's say today I'm lower, I'm a little bit depressed. My negative mind is questioning, “Ooh, why is Dorje Sempa, I don't understand?” Actually, the negative mind doesn't want to understand, so, “Why, we are European people, all these Tibetan trips, Dorje Sempa and yab and yum, all these things make me really...instead of staying here and meditating I want to meet my girlfriend/boyfriend.” Anyway, all these ridiculous kinds of minds come out. So then you tell your friend, “I have this happening, I don't understand.” Then your friend, who is a bit strong, says, “Wait a minute, maybe you think this way. What, what.” Actually he is really the one who brings me up and helps me get myself together. So then I can control the one who brings me up and helps me get myself together. So then I can control my negative mind a little bit. Actually, we are learning from each other, kind of recycling each other, helping. Really, human beings are so kind, incredible. Since the time we were born up to now sentient beings have been the source of life—our growth and everything. So you can understand the idea of kindness of mother sentient beings, you can see.
So we are the Sangha: you are my Sangha and I am your Sangha too. We are all Sangha for each other, we help each other. What is the reason, why do we need this? The need is simple. If you stay at some place where you are surrounded by people drinking wine, drinking wine every day, intoxicated every night and having all kinds of activities going on, if you stay there maybe one year, every day they are giving you teachings: “Drinking wine is very nice, it brings your spirits up; whenever you are lonely, whenever you are depressed, drink wine.” “Maybe, yes, today I don't feel so good, perhaps I'll have a drink today, check it out.” So then you feel, to some extent, for a short time, it helps. For a short time you can ignore the problem; you become sort of unconscious. However, you know I know, most of our students, when they go back to their own homes, their old samsaric homes, they become a complete disaster. One day they say, “Oh, last night I talked with my friend, or my mother too late, I can't do meditation.” So they sleep too late in the morning, when they get up it is already about lunchtime, so too late for meditation. Then the next evening, the same old story, “I have to go to a party.” Two days no meditation. “Oh, really...” That is the samsaric environment—not enough Sangha vibration. So we are sick people who cannot stand by ourselves. We need some kind of stick or other help to stand. We are not yet liberated so we do need the Sangha to help. We definitely need. For that reason, relative Sangha, we are all Sangha.
Absolute Sangha, we need better Sangha actually, who understand such inner absolute quality of reality, non-duality. That is the real Sangha. We are relative Sangha but we are not perfect Sangha. We can still help each other but not in the profound way, not until we discover non-duality. So we desperately need the help of Sangha.
Also, you can see, you come here for a meditation course, you know its going to be difficult. Most of you students know its going to be difficult. “I'm sure my knees are going to hurt, and especially listening for two or three hours to this monk pumping, pumping, pumping, pumping.” A situation in which you have never been before. And then sitting for six hours every day. “Six hours sitting?”—even you can't believe that yourself, “I could not believe it.” I'm sure you could not believe it yourself. It's true, this is the human beauty, the beauty of the human quality; you could not believe it, I tell you. You cannot judge yourself, “I can do, I cannot do .” The human being can do unbelievable things. Let's say we talk about Milarepa—it seems to us that he is outrageous, doesn't it? But if we want we can do exactly the same as Milarepa did. You see, you can never make any limitation on the human potential, it is so profound.
So you can see that here we put everybody's energy together. I'm sure that Scott sometimes makes you irritated—he's the police, the Chenrezig police, so sometimes he makes you irritated. Doesn't he say to you, “Please come to meditation, please, if you don't come it's not so nice.” “Why, leave me alone. I want to be free from you, I don't want your samsara,” you say. Anyway, you understand. The thing is that when we meditate, when it's meditation time, somehow we make it a little bit exclusive. So I tell them to ask people who don't come to please come, tell them to use their wisdom and request sort of lightly, “Please you come, these people need the help of your energy.” I believe that too—so everybody is together and give energy to each other. You could not believe it. I mean, some young guy is sitting in front of you very sincerely. You're an old man like me, feeling terrible, your mind is going sort of, “Eerh,” so you learn from him, “I have to do something better.” As soon as you have decided that you want to do better you are beginning to be better. But if you say at the beginning, “I'm hopeless, I don't care, I'm jealous of these people,” then you become worse. So we do need Sangha, we do need Sangha help. I tell you. I think that most of our Western Dharma practitioners' problem is that when they go back to their own samsaric nest there is no support, spiritually no support. Everything is delusion, delusion, delusion. I mean it is obvious, we take all that garbage into our minds so then it becomes difficult for us.
Until you reach a certain level, you do need that help. If you discover the absolute truth, or the first bodhisattva bhumi, then you don't need any support. Absolutely, you don't need any external support. Then you can go anywhere,—you can go to Sydney, you can go to Melbourne—you can liberate yourself. Also, many times students come to liberate people, but instead of their liberating other people, the other people liberate them—to samsara. So even I'm afraid that if I were to stay a long time in the West, perhaps Western people would liberate me into samsara! And they would give me the chocolate initiation! I'm joking, incredibly.
Student: When we meditate, is there any structure that we should follow to remind us of the refuge that we have taken?
Lama: Normally what we do before meditation when we take refuge in Buddha, Dharma and Sangha is to recognize or recall the profound wisdom, profound compassion and profound power of the Buddha. We recognize that through having developed these three, that totality is Buddha. There is no more significance than that. That is the Buddha. So if I actualize, I can develop the totality of these three within myself. Not only me, but all universal living beings. So with this profound remembrance and compassion for all mother sentient beings, you go into the meditation. That is good enough. That is the structure of entering meditation by taking refuge. Thank you, good question. Or the formal way of taking refuge is that you visualize your father on your right side, your mother on your left, all people who irritate you in front and the people to whom you are greatly attached, who you love, behind, and all universal living beings surrounding you. Then you take refuge in the Buddha, as we do in the lam-rim. So when you take refuge you make everybody take refuge together. Then from the crown of the Buddha's head different colored light radiates to each sentient being, purifying their impure bodies, speech and mind, and transforming them into liberated beings. That way of taking refuge is also very good. And after that the Buddha dissolves into you. Thus you identify yourself with the totality of the Buddha's nature, you become completely of the nature of the Buddha rather than feeling hopeless. So this is very helpful psychologically to eliminate the low opinion and limited view of yourself. So the first one is sort of instinctive taking refuge, and the second is the formal way of taking refuge.
Student: Is it preferable to meditate at the same time every day? Before you only spoke about meditation in the morning, but could you do it at night?
Lama: Yes, sure, sure, you can do it. But what is important about the morning is that it is the beginning of the day. When you get up in the morning you have to face the day, you are beginning your activity to enter that day of life. So it is good to think, “Well, fortunately, today I'm alive. I could have died last night.” You don't want to think that you might have died last night? If you had died last night what would have happened to you? Would you be really upset? Maybe if you died last night you would be very upset today! I'm joking. Well, if you died last night then today there would be no upset being.....actually, your question is a very good question. In the Western lifestyle, it is sometimes difficult to have time to meditate in the morning. You can never predict what life is like, so at least for a short time you should think, “Today I have a human life, it is so worthwhile. I am so happy to be alive. So what I should do today is to be as happy as possible myself, control my situation, and help as much as possible those surrounding me.” You just have to think that way for a short time, it is very powerful. If you develop that determination in the morning, even if during the day somebody tries to irritate you, you still have space. And also, meditation is not necessarily sitting like this, You can meditate while you are having your morning shower, or while you are traveling by car or bus. Meditation is just thinking the words or remembering the Dharma subject, that's all.
Now we are going to take refuge, but our approach is a little different to the one I have just explained. This time you visualize the object from whom you are taking refuge in front of you. You are taking refuge from Lama, and the higher beings—buddhas and bodhisattvas—of the ten directions. In front of them you promise or determine that, “From now until the end of my life, until I reach enlightenment”—make such a powerful kind of determination—“I take refuge in Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, for my inner wisdom to progress. They are what really elevate or lead me to liberation. I have discovered that the light of wisdom is the only vehicle to liberate myself from confusion, suffering and ego conflict. So now, instead of my taking refuge in chocolate and ice cream, I will really inwardly trust, inwardly completely rely on the object of Buddha, Dharma wisdom and profound Sangha. Especially to transform myself into Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.” So you recognize profound quality.
“Also, I am really fortunate that I don't have the concrete conception that always takes refuge by relying on material objects. If I had that kind of belief it would be extremely disastrous; it would be completely stupid—I would waste my life making it worthless, absolutely useless. If I spent my life believing that ice cream is my resource of happiness I am totally stupid. How could I be happy in this life let alone the next, creating such unbelievable karma. Somehow, I am really fortunate that I can understand intellectually really clean clear, that if I develop my Dharma wisdom, through becoming relative Sangha I can transform myself into absolute Sangha aid can equal the realizations of Guru Shakyamuni. It is unbelievable. This is the right approach, it doesn't matter what kind of life I am involved in—movie star life, nightclub life, it doesn't matter what kind of life; it doesn't matter to which class I belong, I am never going to give up this profound understanding. This is the most profound and precious thing, beyond compare with any kind of Western material pleasure—this awakening totality life of Dharma wisdom is beyond compare. The Dharma is the way to eternal bliss, eternal happiness, enlightenment.”
So determine, “Not only myself.” You visualize also on your right side your father, on your left your mother, ” They are so kind, even though sometimes they are mean, telling me that I am not good enough, actually, in their way they want the best thing for me. Even though my father and mother are ignorant, they want me to become a film star or a millionaire, this kind of thing. They mean well, I cannot blame them. In fact they want me to be happy and free from miserable situations. Also, it is through their kindness that I have come in contact with Dharma wisdom, the profound wisdom and method of the Buddha, I am grateful to my mother and father for this fortune. They are very kind.” Then in front of you, you visualize your enemy. Of course, normally, we don't have enemies, but whoever has irritated you in your life, you can put there. And behind you, you put all the objects to which you are attached, at which you grasp. And then visualize all universal living beings surrounding you. And you are their leader in taking refuge, leading them to refuge. So think with much compassion, “I and all these surrounding universal beings have been confused and uncontrolled for countless lives, and through wrong conception have been taking refuge in material atoms, a completely wrong attitude. Who has really eliminated all this wrong attitude that leads to misery and dissatisfaction are the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Buddha can read our mind, sees whatever we need, and shows the method and wisdom to liberate each of us. So the real, profound liberator is Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, so from now until I have completely transformed myself and unified with the Triple Gem, I take refuge.”
The object is not only Lama, but all buddhas, bodhisattvas and arhats of the ten directions. So you determine this in front of them. From the crown of each of them white light radiates and comes into your crown; from their throats red light radiates into your throat; and from their hearts blue light radiates into your heart. The white purifies the impurity of thoughts and the blocked, unconducive nervous system so that the body can be controlled, the red light purifies the uncontrolled energy of speech, and the blue light purifies the wrong conceptions and fanatical wrong views. At the same time you repeat this...
[Lama performs the refuge ceremony.]
It is good that each time you are meditating, taking refuge, or even if you are not meditating, just remember the experience of clarity and contemplate on that. Even if you are eating, contemplate on that clean clear experience. That's good enough.