Exact quote: "You are your own refuge..."

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Exact quote: "You are your own refuge..."

Postby philosopher » Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:49 am

Hi,

Is there a quote attributed to the Buddha that's something like, "You are your own refuge, for who else could be?" I was just wondering if that exact phrasing is correct. I have seen several quotes about "being one's own refuge," but was trying to remember the wording of this one in particular.

Thank you!

:anjali:
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Re: Exact quote: "You are your own refuge..."

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Feb 20, 2013 7:14 am

It is important to quote the full context, or there is too much room for misunderstanding by those who have scant regard for the Buddhist tradition.

This passage is from the Mahāparinibbāna Sutta, where the Buddha instructs Ānanda how the monks should conduct themselves after his death. (However, see also Dhammapada v 160
Tasmātih Ānanda, attadīpā viharatha attasaraṇā anaññasaraṇā, dhammadīpā dhammasaraṇā anaññasaraṇā. Kathañc Ānanda, bhikkhu attadīpo viharati attasaraṇo anaññasaraṇo, dhammadīpo dhammasaraṇo anaññasaraṇo? Idh Ānanda, bhikkhu kāye kāyānupassī viharati atāpī sampajāno satimā, vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṃ. Vedanāsu … … Citte.... Dhammesu dhammānupassī viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā, vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṃ. Evaṃ kho, Ānanda, bhikkhu attadīpo viharati attasaraṇo anaññasaraṇo, dhammadīpo dhammasaraṇo anaññasaraṇo.

Therefore, Ānanda, dwell with yourself as your own island (dīpa),¹ with yourself as your own refuge, take no other refuge. Take the Dhamma as your island, take the Dhamma as your refuge, take no other refuge. And how, Ānanda, does a monk dwell taking himself as his own island, taking himself as his own refuge, taking no other refuge? Here, Ānanda, a bhikkhu dwells contemplating the body in the body, ardent, clearly comprehending, and mindful, having abandoned covetousness and grief concerning the world. He dwells contemplating feelings in feelings ... thoughts in thoughts ... mind-objects in mind-objects...

So, gaining self-reliance entails practising the four foundations of mindfulness, ardently, clearly comprehending, and mindfully until the goal is reached. This is best done by following the guidance of a qualified meditation instructor, but if one cannot find one, it can also be done by careful study in conjunction with practice.

It does not mean clinging to one's own views and opinions, and failing to practise the Dhamma/Vinaya as laid down by the Buddha.

¹ Dīpa can be translated as “island” or “lamp.” I checked the Commentary, which gives the meaning of an island.
Last edited by Bhikkhu Pesala on Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:36 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Exact quote: "You are your own refuge..."

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:02 am

Sadhu, bhante!

:anjali:

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Re: Exact quote: "You are your own refuge..."

Postby Bonsai Doug » Wed Feb 20, 2013 1:21 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:It is important to quote the full context, or there is too much room for misunderstanding by those who have scant regard for the Buddhist tradition.

Or, sometimes for those with high regard. Thank you for this. :anjali:
Now having obtained a precious human body,
I do not have the luxury of remaining on a distracted path.

~ Tibetan Book of the Dead
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Re: Exact quote: "You are your own refuge..."

Postby lojong1 » Wed Feb 20, 2013 7:32 pm

Also attadipa sutta : http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .wlsh.html
""Monks, be islands unto yourselves, be your own refuge, having no other; let the Dhamma be an island and a refuge to you, having no other."
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Re: Exact quote: "You are your own refuge..."

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Feb 20, 2013 7:39 pm

Great sutta. That one also goes on to say how one should practice for that refuge...

:anjali:
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Re: Exact quote: "You are your own refuge..."

Postby Kamran » Sat Feb 23, 2013 6:59 am

Gombrich in "What the Buddha Thought" thinks this is a rebuke of "taking refuge in the Buddha". A warning against devotion and glorification of the Buddha after his death.
When this concentration is thus developed, thus well developed by you, then wherever you go, you will go in comfort. Wherever you stand, you will stand in comfort. Wherever you sit, you will sit in comfort. Wherever you lie down, you will lie down in comfort.
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Re: Exact quote: "You are your own refuge..."

Postby polarbuddha101 » Sat Feb 23, 2013 7:30 am

Kamran wrote:Gombrich in "What the Buddha Thought" thinks this is a rebuke of "taking refuge in the Buddha". A warning against devotion and glorification of the Buddha after his death.


Certainly if devotion to the Buddha or the Sangha was causing one to be complacent in their devotion to (and hence practice of) the dhamma then that would be problematic. My understanding of taking refuge in Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha is the notion of putting stock into something. One invests in the Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha under the confidence that it will provide a good return for oneself. The idea being that one puts stock into the claim that the Buddha awoke to a dhamma that leads to the end of all dukkha, that he established an order of contemplatives that have preserved the teaching and that has members who have awoken to this same dhamma and that as a result we are able to awaken to this dhamma and put an end to all dukkha for ourselves. And that is why the triple gem is a good refuge, because it allows to become islands unto ourselves, freed from the craving that binds one to the masses of fuel that lead to further dukkha.

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"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: Exact quote: "You are your own refuge..."

Postby plwk » Sat Feb 23, 2013 8:06 am

Gombrich in "What the Buddha Thought" thinks this is a rebuke of "taking refuge in the Buddha". A warning against devotion and glorification of the Buddha after his death.
I wonder if Gombrich had read this...
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .wlsh.html
Take the case of another man.
He is not even endowed with unwavering devotion to the Buddha, the Dhamma, the Sangha.
He is not joyous and swift in wisdom and has not gained release.
But he has just these things: the faculty of faith, of energy, of mindfulness, of concentration, of wisdom.
Yet if he has merely faith, merely affection for the Tathagata, that man, too, does not go to... states of woe
Bhikkhus, if you develop and make much this one thing,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.
What is it? It is recollecting the Enlightened One.
If this single thing is recollected and made much,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.

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Re: Exact quote: "You are your own refuge..."

Postby ground » Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:27 am

Whatever you are taking refuge to your refuge is your own idea of refuge. So it boils down to "You are your own refuge..." :sage:
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Re: Exact quote: "You are your own refuge..."

Postby pegembara » Sun Feb 24, 2013 12:13 pm

"You are your own refuge..."
"You are your own heaven..."
"You are your own hell..."

So the only truly reliable refuge is the Dhamma.

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Re: Exact quote: "You are your own refuge..."

Postby whynotme » Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:26 pm

ground wrote:Whatever you are taking refuge to your refuge is your own idea of refuge. So it boils down to "You are your own refuge..." :sage:

Actually all of your idea is not yours, so you are not your own refuge
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Re: Exact quote: "You are your own refuge..."

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:50 pm

whynotme wrote:
ground wrote:Whatever you are taking refuge to your refuge is your own idea of refuge. So it boils down to "You are your own refuge..." :sage:

Actually all of your idea is not yours, so you are not your own refuge


    Dhp 158. One should first establish oneself in what is proper; then only should one instruct others. Thus the wise man will not be reproached.

    160. One truly is the protector of oneself; who else could the protector be? With oneself fully controlled, one gains a mastery that is hard to gain.

    Beings are owners of their kamma, heirs of their kamma; kamma is the womb from which they have sprung, kamma is their friend and refuge. Thus kamma divides beings into the high and low. --M 135 iii 206.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Exact quote: "You are your own refuge..."

Postby ground » Mon Feb 25, 2013 5:06 am

whynotme wrote:
ground wrote:Whatever you are taking refuge to your refuge is your own idea of refuge. So it boils down to "You are your own refuge..." :sage:

Actually all of your idea is not yours, so you are not your own refuge

Yes. Realizing that all ideas are neither self nor other no need for refuge arises. However thinking this way and/or inferring is not realizing and because this is the case the idea of refuge may arise. :sage:
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Re: Exact quote: "You are your own refuge..."

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:23 am

ground wrote:
whynotme wrote:
ground wrote:Whatever you are taking refuge to your refuge is your own idea of refuge. So it boils down to "You are your own refuge..." :sage:

Actually all of your idea is not yours, so you are not your own refuge

Yes. Realizing that all ideas are neither self nor other no need for refuge arises. However thinking this way and/or inferring is not realizing and because this is the case the idea of refuge may arise.
May arise? The Buddha seemed to think that it has ultilatian value in the process of coming to awakening.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Exact quote: "You are your own refuge..."

Postby kirk5a » Mon Feb 25, 2013 3:25 pm

ground wrote:Yes. Realizing that all ideas are neither self nor other no need for refuge arises. However thinking this way and/or inferring is not realizing and because this is the case the idea of refuge may arise. :sage:

I wonder at what point along the path there is no need for refuge. Given that we've already seen the actuality of that described by the Buddha as the four foundations of mindfulness...
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: Exact quote: "You are your own refuge..."

Postby lojong1 » Mon Feb 25, 2013 5:34 pm

plwk wrote:Yet if he has merely faith, merely affection for the Tathagata, that man, too, does not go to... states of woe.

Because buddha was still alive at that time, it was appropriate.
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Re: Exact quote: "You are your own refuge..."

Postby philosopher » Wed Jun 18, 2014 3:18 am

Bhikkhu Pesala and others,

Thank you for the explanation.

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Re: Exact quote: "You are your own refuge..."

Postby Qianxi » Wed Jun 18, 2014 10:44 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Dīpa can be translated as “island” or “lamp.” I checked the Commentary, which gives the meaning of an island.


I think it's interesting that the Chinese translations of the Mahāsāṃghika Ekottarikāgama, Sarvāstivāda Madhyamāgama and the Dharmaguptaka Dīrghāgama made from 385 to 413 all translate 'dīpa' as 'lamp'. However, the 443 Chinese translation of the Mūlasarvāstivāda Saṃyuktāgama and the 703 translation of the Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya translate 'dīpa' as 'island'.

Hard to tell whether these reflect traditions of interpretation within the early schools, or whether they are just choices that the translators made for themselves.

EDIT: it may be relevant that the 385-413 'lamp' readings are thought to be translations from Prakrit, whereas the two later Mūlasarvāstivāda 'Island' readings are probably from Sanskrit. Really need more examples to trace a pattern though.
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Re: Exact quote: "You are your own refuge..."

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Sat Jun 21, 2014 4:25 pm

...Which is why I find it pointless to learn Pali, in order to 'appreciate the teachings more' and be able to understand them more profoundly.... If educate scholarly types are at odds, imagine a total inept like me getting their head round it. :rolleye:

No, I will just stick with what I read in English; accept there may be variations according to which translation I read, and glean the best possible lesson I can from it. :reading:


I have too much negative kamma to transform and eliminate, to worry about a lamp or an Island....
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



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