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Dharma Talks / Taking Refuge in the Island within Ourselves

Sr Chân Đức


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This talk was offered on 3rd December 2020.

Where can we go to be truly safe in the most difficult moments?
Do we know how to come back to that safe place and dwell there whenever we need?

In the “Discourse on Taking Refuge in Oneself”, the Buddha encouraged his students to “return to yourself in order to take refuge in the Dharma, and not to take refuge in any other island or thing.” (https://wkup.org/discourse-on-taking-refuge-in-oneself/)

In this clear, timely, and powerful talk, our respected elder sister Chân Đức explores how we cultivate such an island of safety within ourselves so that it is available to us whenever we need it. We often look outside ourselves to find a refuge, she says, but if we are not stable and solid in ourselves, nothing outside of us can offer that solidity to us.

Sr. Chân Đức describes how, like a turtle retracting its four limbs, its head and its tail, we can guard our six sense doors (five physical senses and mind) and come back to mindfulness of our breathing and our body. Doing this, our mind is protected and concentrated. She shares how, with concentration, we can train to see the impermanent and “signless” nature of all phenomena (everything we can perceive), including our own joy and pain. In this way we no longer take refuge in false views of ourselves and the world, and our direct contact with reality (insight) returns us to our inner island of true freedom and solidity.

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