refuge

Vajrayana establishes a distinction among outer, inner, and secret levels of taking refuge.

1- the outer level refers to taking refuge in the Three Jewels and the Three Roots as they are usually conceived.

2- the inner level means taking refuge in the source lama considered only as the union of all places of refuge. In this case, the lama’s body represents the Sangha, the lama’s speech, the Dharma, and the lama’s mind, the Buddha. Or, the body represents the lamas, speech represents the protectors and dakinis, and the mind represents the yidams.

3- the secret level refers to taking refuge in our own mind. This implies that we experience our mind’s emptiness as the Absolute body (Sanskrit, dharmakaya), its clarity as the body of perfect experience (Sanskrit, sambhogakaya), and the union of emptiness and clarity as the body of emanation (Sanskrit,
nirmanakaya).

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