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The qualities of the Three Jewels

The qualities of the Three Jewels

The text now turns to relying on the method for happiness in future lives. Part of a series of teachings on the Gomchen Lamrim by Gomchen Ngawang Drakpa. Visit Gomchen Lamrim Study Guide for a full list of contemplation points for the series.

  • What it means to take refuge when we face difficulties
  • Why the Three Jewels are suitable objects of refuge
    • Buddhas are free from all fears of samsara and self-complacent peace
    • They have skillful and effective means to free others from fear
    • The Buddhas have equal compassion for all beings
    • The Buddhas fulfill the aims of all beings
  • The qualities of the Buddha’s body, speech, and mind
  • The good qualities of the Dharma and Sangha Jewels
  • The qualities of the Buddha’s enlightened influence and how to contemplate them

Gomchen Lamrim 16: The qualities of the Three Jewels (download)

Contemplation points

  1. The text says, “Those who are worthy of refuge are entirely free of all personal fears, skilled in the methods to free others from their fear, and whose compassion encompasses all.” Consider these qualities of the Buddha and why they make him a reliable object of refuge.
  2. Venerable Chodron said that the Buddhas have more compassion for us than we have for ourselves. Spend some time thinking about this. Why is this? What prevents us from having great compassion even for ourselves?
  3. Venerable Chodron read a number of quotations on the qualities of the Buddha. Thinking about these qualities, what does it inspire in your own mind? How does it deepen your refuge?
  4. Venerable Chodron said we have to do more than be inspired. We need to consider: How did the Buddha get these qualities? How do I need to practice to develop these qualities? What is the use of having these kind of qualities? How can I use whatever level of these qualities I have now to benefit others? How have I benefitted from these qualities myself?
  5. The King of Concentration sutra says:

    I instruct you and you should understand, people’s minds become absorbed in something to the degree that they reflect on it. Therefore recollect the master of the sages as having a conqueror’s physical posture and limitless sublime wisdom. If you constantly familiarize yourself with such recollection, your mind will become absorbed in it. You will desire the sublime wisdom of a holy being whether you walk, sit, stand, or recline because you yourself will want to become a sublime conqueror in the world. You will also make prayers aspiring to enlightenment.

    Reflect on this. Venerable said, “We’re the ones who have to choose what we reflect on.” How might you go about redirecting your thoughts so that it leads you to aspiring to become a Buddha and practicing the path?

  6. The Buddha is effortlessly and continuously guiding us, but we’re not always receptive to this, and as a result we can often feel stuck. Venerable Chodron said we have to be aware of our own mind and be able to tell when we’re feeling sluggish. She suggested that creating merit and purification practice can help make us more receptive. Why do these practices help and how can you go about incorporating these practices into your day?
Venerable Thubten Chodron

Venerable Chodron emphasizes the practical application of Buddha’s teachings in our daily lives and is especially skilled at explaining them in ways easily understood and practiced by Westerners. She is well known for her warm, humorous, and lucid teachings. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in 1977 by Kyabje Ling Rinpoche in Dharamsala, India, and in 1986 she received bhikshuni (full) ordination in Taiwan. Read her full bio.