Finding refuge in our practice

Dear Dhamma friends, 

We are just saying hello and keeping in touch, seeing how you are. For the time-being we are not able to meet in person or practice together. Being Dhamma practitioners however, we know that the practice isn’t dependent on external conditions though some conditions maybe more conducive than others. 

Yet, if you reflect the conditions most of us are probably finding ourselves to be in now are perhaps wonderful material for our spiritual practice or in finding inner true happiness. We are probably needing to give ourselves to the service of others in helping people through difficult times, extending our hearts to them with compassion, loving kindness, generosity and equanimity. We are likely also to be experiencing the Truth of the Buddha’s teachings, the Dhamma, the true effects of ageing, sickness, death, uncertainty and loss of control. The Dhamma has been thrown right in front of us. It is in our face! It is inescapable where ever you look, you now see it. We have been cut off of most of the usual distractions of cafes, restaurants, sporting events, cinemas, musical shows and sometimes even work and friends. What we are left with is our minds, this body and our experience. The world has suddenly fallen away from us. 

The beauty is that as those in the Dhamma practice, we know not to seek refuge in the world. We know it to be unsatisfactory. We are not surprised. We know the only true refuge is to be found within us. We know to observe experience – how we feel. We know that by being compassionate to ourselves; by bringing feelings  close in to our hearts; by looking at them closely we begin to understand them. We begin to understand pain, uncertainty, ageing, sickness, death, losing control, fear. As we understand these, we gain release from its hold on our hearts. We are freed from it. We know that by looking at these, rather than running away or trying to change it, that it will bring us closer to true freedom, true release.

We know that the world maybe the way it is but we can be at peace with it no matter how austere or bleak it maybe. We know that we can find peace, contentment and true happiness.

We are all indeed truly blessed to have these teachings which do not depend on conditions. So wherever we maybe, or under whatever circumstances, we can find refuge in our own hearts. We can find true happiness and contentment within ourselves. We have the teachings and blessings of good friends to give us the courage to do so. Let us then also spread this feeling to all other beings, wishing them happiness and true inner peace. May you all be well and happy and have the strength to continue your practice. 

With Much Metta and blessings of the Dhamma to all

18 March 2020