The master Padmakara of Uddiyana who appeared as a nirmanakaya in person, was asked by Lady Tsogyal, the princess of Kharchen: “Great Master, please be kind and teach the basis for all Dharma practice, the means by which to end birth and death, a little cause which has immense benefit, a method which is easy to apply and has little hardship.”
The nirmanakaya master replied: “Tsogyal, taking refuge is the basis for all Dharma practice. The Three Jewels are the support for all Dharma practice. The means which brings an end to birth and death is to take refuge along with its subsidiary aspects.”
Lady Tsogyal asked: “What is the essential meaning of taking refuge? What is its definition? When divided, how many types are there?”
The master replied: “The essential meaning of taking refuge is to accept the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha as your teacher, path and companions for practicing the path and, then to pledge that they are the fruition you will attain. Thus taking refuge means a pledge or acceptance. Why is such an acceptance called ‘taking ‘refuge?’ It is because of accepting the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha as the support, refuge and protector or rescuer for being freed from the great fear of the sufferings and obscurations. That was the essential meaning of taking refuge.
The definition of taking refuge is to seek protection from the terrors of the three lower realms and from the inferior view of believing in a self within the transitory collection1 as is held by non-Buddhist philosophers.
When divided, there are the three types: the outer way of taking refuge, the inner way of taking refuge, and the secret way of taking refuge.”
The Outer Way of Taking Refuge
Lady Tsogyal asked: “Concerning the outer way of taking refuge, what is the cause of wanting to take refuge? In what object does one takes refuge? What kind of person takes refuge? What are the manners or methods though which one takes refuge? With what particular attitude does one take refuge?”
Master Padma replied: “The cause of wanting to take refuge is fear of the miseries of samsara, trusting in the Three Jewels as the place of refuge, and moreover, accepting the Three Jewels to be the objects of refuge and the protectors of refuge. Through these three you give rise to the intention of taking refuge. In general, one wants to take refuge due to fear of death.
There are many people who do not even notice that half of their life has passed and who do not think of their future lives for even an instant. They have no refuge. If you were not going to die or if you were certain of a human rebirth, you would not need to take refuge. However, after dying and transmigrating, there are the overwhelming miseries of the lower realms.
In what object does one take refuge? You should take refuge in the Three Jewels. Who can bring an end to birth and death? It is exclusively the omniscient Buddha who is free from all defects and who has perfected all virtues. Therefore, only the Dharma he has taught, and the sangha who uphold his doctrine, are able to bring an end to the cycle of birth and death of self and others. Since these are the sole objects of refuge, you should take refuge in them.
In general, there are many people who consider the teachings of the truly and perfectly enlightened one as no more than the words of a fortune teller, and who when pressed, go to spirits for refuge. It is difficult for such people to have refuge.
What kind of person takes refuge? The one who possesses interest, devotion and faith, and who thinks of the virtues of the Three Jewels. One should possess these three particular attitudes:
Since samsara is without beginning and end, I must turn away from it this very moment!
The gods of the non-Buddhists and so forth are not my objects of refuge!
The omniscient state of buddhahood alone is my true object of refuge!
This is how the special taking refuge takes place.
When taking refuge, mere lip-service is useless. This is like empty muttering. It is uncertain where it will lead you.
What is the manner in which one takes refuge? You should take refuge with respectful body, speech and mind. You should take refuge with three thoughts: fear of the lower realms and samsara, trust in the blessings of the Three Jewels, and steadfast faith and compassion.
The person who believes that this life is perfect and that the next one will also be perfect, will simply die while still about to practice the Dharma. That is not enough.
In this context, you should know the rituals of taking refuge.
With what particular attitude does one take refuge? You should take refuge with a sense of responsibility for the welfare of others. You should take refuge with this attitude, as you will not attain the true and complete enlightenment simply by renouncing samsara and desiring the result of nirvana:
In order to free all sentient beings from the miseries of samsara, I will take refuge until I and all the sentient beings of the three realms have achieved supreme enlightenment!
In general, all wishing is dualistic wishing. Taking refuge without being free from dualistic fixation is not sufficient.”
Lady Tsogyal then asked the master: “How many kinds of training does the outer way of taking refuge entail?”
The master replied: “As soon as you have taken refuge you must skillfully practice the eight trainings, in order to prevent your commitment from degenerating.”
“What are these eight trainings?”, she asked.
“First, there are the three special trainings: having taken refuge in the Buddha, you should not bow down to other gods; having taken refuge in the Dharma, you should give up causing harm to sentient beings; having taken refuge in the Sangha, you should not associate with heretical people. These are the three special trainings.
To explain that further: first, having taken refuge in the Buddha, ‘not to bow down to other gods’ means that if you bow down to mundane gods such as Mahadeva, Vishnu, Maheshvara or others, your refuge vow is damaged. If you go to such gods for refuge, your refuge vow is destroyed.
Secondly, having taken refuge in the Dharma, to ‘give up causing harm to sentient beings’ means that your refuge vow is definitely destroyed if you engage in killing. It is damaged even if you just beat other beings out of anger, enslave them, make holes in their noses, imprison them in a cattle-shack, pluck out their hair, take their wool, and so forth.
Thirdly, having taken refuge in the Sangha, ‘to refrain from associating with heretical people’ means that your vow is damaged if you keep company with people who hold the view and conduct of eternalism or nihilism. If your view and conduct are in conformity with theirs, your refuge vow is destroyed.
In any case, all Dharma practice is included within taking refuge. People with wrong views do not have this understanding.
The five general trainings:
1. When beginning your practice, make an extensive offering with a vast amount of the best kinds of food and drink. Present the offerings before the Precious Ones on the fourteenth day and beseech them to arrive for the offering. Following that, make offerings on the fifteenth day. These offerings are of four kinds; the offering of prostrations, the offerings of material objects, the offering of praise and the offering of practice.
First, the offering of prostration: stand up straight and join your palms. Thinking of the virtues of the buddhas and bodhisattvas, imagine that you are touching their feet adorned with the design of the wheel as you make prostrations.
Next is the offering of material objects: present offerings such as flowers which are entirely unowned by anyone and visualized offerings, as well as your own body. Make praises with melodious tunes.
The offering of practice is to make the aspiration that the roots of your virtue resulting from having cultivated the bodhichitta of undivided emptiness and compassion, may be for the attainment of enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings.”
Master Padma said: “The Three Precious Ones have not even an atom of need for a bowl of water or respect. The purpose of making the offering is to enable you to receive the light rays of the buddhas.
Concerning the offering of the best kinds of food and drink, make three heaps of the best type of food, and utter om ah hung three times. Imagine that your offerings thereby become an ocean of nectar. Following that, envision your yidam deity surrounded by an infinite gathering of the Three Precious Ones and imagine that you present this nectar offering, requesting them all to accept it. If you are unable to offer in that way, simply make an offering while saying, Precious Ones, accept this!
If you do not have anything to offer, you should at least present bowls of water every day. If you do not do that, your refuge vow will degenerate.
The Precious Ones do not need these offerings of material nourishment in the same way as sentient beings. The food torma is for you to gather the accumulations without noticing.
2. The second training is to not abandon the sublime Precious Ones even for the sake of your body, your life, or a valuable gift.
Regarding not abandoning the refuge even for the sake of your body: even if someone threatens to cut your eyes out, cut off your legs, your ears, your nose or your arms, you should let him do so rather than abandoning the Precious Ones.
Regarding not abandoning the refuge even at the cost of your life: even if someone threatens to kill you, you should let him do so rather than abandoning the Precious Ones.
Regarding not abandoning the refuge for the sake a valuable gift: even if you are promised the whole world filled with precious stones in return for giving up the refuge, you should not renounce the refuge.
3. The third training is that no matter what happens to you, whether you are sick, under hardship, at ease, happy or sad, you should lay out a mandala and the five kinds of offerings and offer them to the Three Jewels. Then take refuge and make this supplication:
Sacred master, great vajra-holder, all buddhas and bodhisattvas, please listen to me! May all my sickness and whatever is caused by spirits and negative forces not occur. Please create peace, auspiciousness and goodness.
Aside from this it is also appropriate to gather merit by reading the scriptures aloud, chanting, and offering tormas since such practices belong to the basics for taking refuge. If nothing helps, do not give rise to wrong views thinking, “The Precious Ones have no blessings! The Dharma is untrue!” Think instead, “I shall feel better when my evil karma has become exhausted!” Without pursuing other ways such as sooth-saying and shamanistic rituals, engage only in taking refuge.
4. In whichever direction you travel, remember the buddhas and bodhisattvas, make offerings and take refuge. For instance, if tomorrow you are going towards the east, lay out a mandala and make offerings today, taking refuge in the buddhas and bodhisattvas of that direction.
Which supplication should you make? You should supplicate as follows before taking leave:
Master, vajra-holder, all buddhas and bodhisattvas, please listen to me! Please prevent obstacles caused by humans and nonhumans and make everything auspicious from the time of leaving this place until I arrive at my destination.
If you do not do that the day before departure you should do it at the time of departure. At the time of leaving, if you do not remember to take refuge within ten or seven steps of crossing your threshold, your refuge vow is damaged. Once you entrust your mind to the refuge, it is impossible that you will be deceived.
5. Think of the good qualities of taking refuge and train in that again and again. Having taken refuge in the Three Precious Ones, regard them as your place of hope and look up to them as your place of trust. Keep the Precious Ones as your only source of refuge and make supplications to them. Pray to the Precious Ones for blessings.
Think that your present representations of the Three Jewels, whether a cast image, carved relief, a painting, a stupa, a volume of a book or so forth, are the dharmakaya. It is possible that the essence of dharmakaya will be suddenly realized when making prostrations, offerings or supplications. Even if that does not happen, by prostrating and making offering to the Three Jewels and creating a karmic connection, one will become a disciple of a buddha in the future.”
Master Padma said: “No matter what arises in you such as the virtues and happiness of the enlightened ones, regard these to be the blessings of your master and the Precious Ones. By thinking in that way, you will receive the blessings. No matter what problems and misery you may meet, regard them as your own evil karma. That will bring an end to all your negative karmas. In general, if you do not entrust your mind to the Precious Ones, but hold the wrong view of thinking “The Precious Ones have no blessings!”, it is possible that you will not escape from the lowest hells.”
Lady Tsogyal asked the master: “What good qualities result from taking refuge?”
The master replied: “Taking refuge has eight good qualities:
1. You enter the group of Buddhists. Having taken refuge in the Three Jewels, you are called a Buddhist. Without having taken refuge, you are not included among the Buddhist group, even though you may claim to be a holy person, a great meditator or the Buddha in person.
2. You become a suitable vessel for all the vows such as the Individual Liberation. Correspondingly, if you lose your refuge vow, it is said that all the vows based thereon are also destroyed.
In order to restore them, restoring the refuge vow will be sufficient. That is to say, it is sufficient that you make an offering to the Three Jewels and take the vow in their presence.
You also need to have taken refuge prior to any vow; from the one-day precepts and so forth up to the vows of Secret Mantra. Taking refuge is therefore known as that which causes you to become a suitable basis for all types of vows.
3. The vow of taking refuge in the Three Jewels diminishes and brings to an end all karmic obscurations accumulated throughout all your past lives. That is to say, your obscurations will be totally exhausted through the special taking refuge, while through the general taking refuge the karmic obscurations will diminish.
Again, when a genuine feeling of taking refuge has arisen in your being, karmic obscurations are utterly brought to an end, while by the mere words of taking refuge the will diminish.
Furthermore, if you take refuge at all times, while walking, moving about, lying down and sitting, the karmic obscurations will be completely exhausted, while by just taking refuge from time to time they will diminish.
4. You will possess vast merit. The mundane merits of long life, good health, splendor and majestic dignity, great wealth and so forth, result from taking refuge. The supramundane unexcelled enlightenment also results from taking refuge.
5. You will be immune to attack by humans and nonhumans, and immune to the obstacles of this life. It is said that as soon as the genuine taking refuge has arisen in your being, you cannot be harmed by human obstacles in this life. Also you cannot be harmed by nonhumans such as nagas and malicious spirits.
6. You will achieve the fulfillment of whatever you may wish for. When the genuine taking refuge has arisen in your being, it is impossible not to accomplish whatever you intend. In short, it is said that placing your trust in the objects of refuge, you will receive whatever you desire, just as when supplicating a wishfulfilling gem.
7. You will not fall into the lower realms, evil destinies or mistaken paths. The ‘three lower realms’ refers to the hells, hungry ghost and animal realms. ‘Evil destinies’ refers to being reborn in places devoid of the Dharma such as among primitive border tribes. ‘Mistaken paths’ refers to non-Buddhist philosophies. So in order to avoid falling into these, it is said that one should simply take refuge.
8. The final benefit is that of swiftly attaining the true and complete enlightenment. What need is there to mention other benefits!
It is said in the Mahayana teachings of Secret Mantra that one can attain enlightenment within this single body and lifetime. This means that without a doubt you will swiftly attain enlightenment. So it is necessary to cut the misconception of thinking that it is enough to take refuge just once in a while. You should take refuge again and again both day and night. Then you will definitely swiftly attain true and complete enlightenment.”
Master Padma said: “If you exert yourself in taking refuge, you do not need to practice many other teachings. There is no doubt that you will attain the fruition of enlightenment.”
Lady Tsogyal again asked the master: “What is the actual practice of taking refuge?”
The master replied: “The actual application of taking refuge is as follows. First, form the aspiration of thinking:
I will establish all sentient beings in complete enlightenment. In order to do that I will gather the accumulations, purify the obscurations, and clear away the hindrances. For this purpose I will take refuge from this very moment until reaching enlightenment!
Then without being distracted, say three times:
In the supreme of all humans, all the buddhas of the ten directions, I and all the infinite sentient beings take refuge from this very moment until reaching supreme enlightenment.
In the supreme of all peace, devoid of attachment, the Dharma teachings of the ten directions, I and all the infinite sentient beings take refuge from this very moment until reaching supreme enlightenment.
In the supreme of all assemblies, the members of the noble sangha who are beyond falling back and who dwell in the ten directions, I and all infinite sentient beings take refuge from this very moment until reaching supreme enlightenment.
Following that, repeat many times without being distracted:
I take refuge in the Buddha.
I take refuge in the Dharma.
I take refuge in the Sangha.
Then make this supplication three times:
Three Precious Ones, please protect me from the fears of this life. Please protect me from the fears of the lower realms. Please protect me from entering mistaken paths!
When you are about to finish, say:
Through this, my roots of virtue, may I attain buddhahood in order to benefit beings!
You should make the dedication in this way.”
Lady Tsogyal asked the nirmanakaya master Padmakara: “What is the method of taking the refuge vow?”
The master replied: “One should prostrate to and circumambulate a master who possesses the refuge vow, present him with flowers and say as follows:
Master, please listen to me. Buddhas and bodhisattvas in the ten directions, please listen to me. From this very moment until attaining supreme enlightenment, I, (name), take refuge in the supreme of all humans, the billion truly perfected dharmakaya buddhas.
I take refuge in the supreme of all peace, devoid of attachment, the teachings of Mahayana.
I take refuge in the supreme of all assemblies, the sangha of noble bodhisattvas who are beyond falling back.
At the third repetition of this you will have obtained the vow. Make prostrations and scatter flowers. Then practice the trainings explained above and exert yourself in taking refuge.
This was the explanation of the outer way of taking refuge along with its application.”
Lady Tsogyal asked the master: “How is one protected by having taken refuge?”
The master replied: “Whoever practices the trainings correctly, having taken refuge as explained above, will definitely be protected by the Three Jewels. Since this is so, if you fear straying into an errant path and pray to meet a genuine path, you will surely meet it. You will definitely also be protected from the fears of this life.
When all the qualities of taking refuge have arisen in your being, you should not be content to stop. Increase more and more the qualities that have arisen within you. You should use all the qualities that arise in your mind to gather the accumulations and purify the obscurations. When such exertion is generated, the full measure of ability has been produced.
All people who do not feel inclined to give rise to profound qualities such as (insight into) emptiness or the mandala of deities within their being, can still purify their obscurations and gather the accumulations simply by taking refuge.
You may then argue, “If one is protected by taking refuge in such a way, does that mean that the buddhas appear and lead all sentient beings?” The reply is that the buddhas cannot take all sentient beings out of samsara with their hands. If they were able to do that, the buddhas with their great compassion and skillful means, would have already freed all beings without a single exception.
“Well then,” you may ask, “by what is one protected?” The answer is that one is protected by the (practice of the) Dharma.
When taking refuge has arisen within your being, you do not need to practice other teachings. It is impossible that you will not be protected by the compassion of the Three Jewels. It is similar to the fact that you will definitely be fearless when you have an excellent escort.”
Thus Master Padma explained the outer way of taking refuge to Lady Tsogyal.
The Inner Way of Taking Refuge
The nirmanakaya master Padmakara was asked by Lady Tsogyal, the princess of Kharchen: “To which inner objects does one take refuge? What kind of person takes refuge? Through which manner or method does one take refuge? Which particular attitude and what duration of time does it entail? What particular circumstance is required? What is the purpose and what are the qualities?”
The master replied: “Regarding the objects of refuge, you should take refuge in the guru, yidam and dakini.
The person who takes refuge should be someone who has entered the gate of Secret Mantra.
The manner or method is to take refuge with devoted and respectful body, speech and mind.
Regarding the particular attitude of taking refuge, you should take refuge by perceiving the guru as a buddha, not abandoning the yidam even at the cost of your life, and continuously making offerings to the dakini.
Regarding the duration of time, you should take refuge from the time of having generated bodhicitta in the empowerment ceremony until attaining the state of a vajra holder.
Regarding the circumstance, you should take refuge by feeling devotion to the Secret Mantra.
As for the purpose or virtues of taking refuge, it has the purpose of making you a suitable vessel for the Secret Mantra and for receiving extraordinary blessings.”
Lady Tsogyal asked the master: “Concerning the inner way of taking refuge, which trainings does one need to practice?”
The master replied: “There are eight trainings. First there are the three special trainings:
1. Having taken refuge in the guru, you should not feel ill-will toward him or even the intention to deride him.
2. Having taken refuge in the yidam, you should not interrupt the meditation of the yidam’s form or its recitation.
3. Having taken refuge in the dakini, you should not break the periodical offering days.
The five general trainings are:
1. Consecrate as nectar, the first part of whatever you eat or drink. Offer it visualizing the guru above your head. Offer it, visualizing the yidam in your heart center and the dakini in your navel center. You should train in partaking of food in this way.
2. In whichever direction you go, supplicate the guru, yidam and dakini. Visualize the guru above the crown of your head. Visualize yourself as the yidam and visualize the dakini and the Dharma protectors as your escorts. This is the training in walking.
3. Even at the cost of your life or limb, you should train in regarding the guru to be as dear as your heart, the yidam as dear as your eyes and the dakini as dear as your body.
4. No matter what happens, such as sickness, difficulty or ease, joy or sorrow, you should train in supplicating the guru, making offerings to the yidam, and giving feasts and torma to the dakini. Other than that, you should not pursue other means such as sooth-saying and shamanistic rituals.
5. Recollecting the virtues of the guru, yidam and dakini, you should take refuge again and again. By taking refuge in the guru, obstacles are cleared away. By taking refuge in the yidam, the body of mahamudra2 will be attained. By taking refuge in the dakini, you will receive the siddhis.”
Lady Tsogyal asked Master Padma: “With which virtues is the inner way of taking refuge endowed?”
Master Padma replied: “By taking refuge in the guru, you are protected from the fetters of conceptual mind. The hindrance of ignorance and stupidity are cleared away. The accumulation of insight and awareness is perfected, and you will receive the accomplishment of spontaneous realization.
By taking refuge in the yidam, you are protected from ordinary perception, the accumulation of self-existing wisdom will be gathered, and the accomplishment of mahamudra will be attained.
By taking refuge in the dakini, you will be protected from obstacles and evil spirits. The impediment of the poverty of hungry ghosts is cleared away, the accumulation of detachment and freedom from clinging will be perfected, and the accomplishment of the sambhogakaya of great bliss will be attained.”
Lady Tsogyal asked Master Padma: “What is the actual practice of the inner way of taking refuge?”
The master replied: “You should first arouse the aspiration toward unexcelled enlightenment. Then visualize the guru, yidam and dakini upon seats of sun, moon and lotus in the sky before you and say three times:
Root of the lineage, lord guru,
Source of the siddhis, yidam deity,
Bestower of excellent blessings, dakini,
I pay homage to the three roots.
Following that, focus your mind undistractedly upon the guru, yidam and dakini and repeatedly say:
I take refuge in the guru, yidam and dakini.
Then supplicate as follows:
All gurus, yidams and dakinis, please bestow upon me the blessings of your body, speech and mind!
Please confer the empowerments upon me! Please grant me the supreme and common siddhis! Please extend your kindness to me, your devoted child!
Following that, dissolve the guru into the top of your head, the yidam into your heart center and the dakini into your navel center.”
Lady Tsogyal asked the master: “What is the method of taking the inner refuge vow?”
The master replied: “The ceremony of first taking the refuge vow is as follows. It is important to have received empowerment. Obtaining the empowerment itself is the receiving of refuge. If you do take refuge without receiving empowerment, then make prostrations to and circumambulate the guru, present him with flowers and say:
Master, please listen to me. Assembly of yidam deities, gathering of mandala deities, dakinis and retinue, please listen to me. From this very moment until attaining the supreme vidyadhara level of mahamudra, I, (name), take refuge in the root of the lineage, all the sublime and holy gurus.
I take refuge in the source of accomplishment, all the assemblies of yidam deities.
I take refuge in the bestowers of excellent blessings, all the dakinis.
The refuge vow is obtained after repeating this three times.
That was the ceremony of taking the vow. I have explained the inner way of taking refuge.”
The Secret way of taking Refuge
Lady Tsogyal, the Princess of Kharchen, asked the master: “Concerning the secret way of taking refuge, in what object does one take refuge? What type of person takes refuge? Through which manner or method does one take refuge? With what particular attitude does one take refuge? For what duration of time does one take refuge? By which circumstance does one take refuge? What purpose or virtue is entailed?
The master replied: “As to the objects of the secret way of taking refuge, you should take refuge in the view, meditation and action.
The type of person who takes this refuge should be someone of the highest faculties who desires to attain enlightenment.
As to the manner or method, you should take refuge by means of the view, meditation, action and fruition. That is to say, you take refuge with the view possessing confidence, the meditation possessing experience, and the action possessing equal taste.
As to the particular attitude, the view free from craving means not to desire either to attain buddhahood or to cast away samsara. The meditation free from fixation on concreteness and without falling into partiality cannot be described by any ordinary words. The conduct free from accepting and rejecting is devoid of falling into any category whatsoever.
The duration of time is to take refuge until attaining enlightenment.
The circumstance is to take refuge without desiring further rebirth.
The purpose or virtue is to attain complete enlightenment within this very lifetime.”
Lady Tsogyal asked: “Concerning the secret way of taking refuge, in which trainings does one need to practice?”
Master Padma replied: “First there are the three special trainings:
1. Concerning the view possessing realization: you should train in gaining the confidence that there is no buddhahood elsewhere to achieve, since all sentient beings and buddhas have the same basis. You should train in gaining the confidence that appearance and emptiness are inseparable, through realizing that appearances and mind are without difference.
Concerning training in the meditation possessing experience: do not place your mind facing outward, do not concentrate it inward, but train in letting it rest naturally, freely and free from reference point.
As to the action: train in uninterrupted experience. Although at all times of walking, moving around, lying down and sitting there is nothing to be meditated upon, train in not being distracted for even an instant.
The following are the seven general trainings:
1. Do not abandon your master even though you realize your mind to be the buddha.
2. Do not interrupt conditioned roots of virtue even though you realize appearances to be mind.
3. Shun even the most subtle misdeed, even though you have no fear for the hells.
4. Do not denigrate any of the teachings, even though you do not entertain any hope for enlightenment.
5. Do not be conceited or boastful even though you realize superior samadhis.
6. Do not cease feeling compassion for sentient beings, even though you understand self and other to be nondual.
7. Train by practicing in retreat places, even though you realize samsara and nirvana to be nondual.”
Lady Tsogyal asked the nirmanakaya master: “Concerning the secret way of taking refuge, in what manner does it protect and with what virtues is it endowed?”
Master Padma replied: “Having taken refuge in the view, you are protected from both eternalism and nihilism. The hindrances of wrong views and fixation are cleared away, the accumulation of the luminous dharmata is perfected, and the unceasing siddhis of body, speech and mind will be attained.
Having taken refuge in the meditation, the view will also protect the meditation. The obstacles of deep clinging and habitual tendencies are cleared away, the accumulation of nondual unity gathered, and the siddhis of confidence and primordial liberation will be attained.
Having taken refuge in the action, you are protected from mistaken conduct and the view of nihilism. The obstacles of hypocrisy and foolishness are cleared away, the accumulation of nonattachment during bustle is perfected, and the siddhi of turning whatever is experienced into realization will be attained.”
Lady Tsogyal asked Master Padma: “What is the actual practice of the secret way of taking refuge?”
The master replied: “The view, in natural ease, should be free from craving and devoid of partiality and extremes.
The meditation should be free from fixating on concreteness and reference points. It cannot be expressed by any ordinary words whatsoever.
That is to say, do not place your mind facing outward, do not concentrate it inward, rest in naturalness free from reference point.
Rest undistractedly in the state of unceasing experience at the time of walking, moving around, lying or sitting.
The feelings of fulfillment or exhilaration, feeling void, blissful or clear, are all temporary experiences. They should never be regarded as marvelous.
When states of mind which are agitated, obscured or drowsy occur, use these experiences as training. Whatever occurs, such as these, do not regard them as defects.”
Lady Tsogyal asked: “How is the method of taking the vow of the secret way of taking refuge?”
The master replied, “Prostrating to and circumambulating the master, present him with flowers. The disciple should assume the cross-legged posture and with compassion take the vow of cultivating bodhicitta for the benefit of self and others.
Then, placing the gaze firmly in the sky and without moving the eye-balls, rest your awareness — vivid, awake, bright and all-pervasive — free from fixation on perceiver or the perceived. That itself is the view possessing confidence, the meditation possessing experience and the action possessing companionship! Thus it should be pointed out. Meditate then as mentioned above.
This was the explanation of the secret way of taking refuge.”
o – o – o
The nirmanakaya master Padma said: “This was my oral instruction in which the outer, inner and secret teachings, the higher and lower views, and the vehicles of Mantra and Philosophy3 are condensed into a single root within the outer, inner and secret way of taking refuge.
When you apply it accordingly, you will turn towards Dharma practice, your Dharma practice will become the path, and your path will ripen into fruition. Princess of Kharchen, you should understand this to be so.”
This completes the teachings on practicing the taking of refuge as one’s path.
Samaya. Seal, seal, seal.
Translated by Erik Pema Kunsang, Dakini Teachings.
1. The transitory collection refers to the continuity of the five aggregates.
2. The ‘body of mahamudra’ refers to the rainbow-like form of one’s personal yidam. See the chapter on the four vidyadhara levels.
3. ‘Mantra’ means Vajrayana while the ‘Vehicle of Philosophy’ includes both Hinayana and Mahayana.