Bodhicaryāvatāra Phakchok Rinopche Refuge

What a realization can do…

While studying at RYI I learned from the beginning that there is a big difference between understanding something and realizing something. Understanding can help, but realizing a fact that one was already persuaded about before can give a whole new perspective to everything. Even if it’s only a tiny realization.

This came to me while I was in the hospital a few weeks ago. I realized something I have been taught over and over in the Bodhicharyavatara class (and many other teachings) – that clinging to the body is stupid.

The body is so fragile and also quite unreliable when it comes to working properly, regarding health and “staying alive”. Plus it defines a great part of our experience of moments in life. So much depends on the circumstances of our body, that there’s not much left that could depend on other outer circumstances. For example, when one is at one’s dream place, a beautiful beach maybe, and one is sick at the same time, the body is in between one’s ability to fully enjoy the beach. Which is not very nice.
In brief, this had been clear to me before, but actually realizing that our life (or the “continuity of our consciousness in this life”) depends so much on our physical body, scared me a lot. At least at first. But then it felt very relieving to realize the truth of a teaching that I had gotten and understood in class.

Before there was no doubt about the benefit of the dharma teachings, but this realization made me completely sure that I can trust the dharma and have faith in it. Which led me to the step of officially taking refuge and I feel very happy and fortunate about having been able to do that with the amazing Phakchok Rinpoche. Now I am curious to see if, with the help of the Three Jewels, there are some more realizations waiting for me.

~ Johanna  from Germany