Relevance of Refuge Trees

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Relevance of Refuge Trees

Post by montana » Wed Oct 30, 2013 6:07 am

Do you consolidate your refuge trees into one if you have multiple lineages?
Since any given lineage of transmission only has a single line of holders, would it be efficacious to simply gather a list of all the lineages of your particular empowerments and combine them into a single tree?
How many of you actually spend the time to go through all the individuals in the refuge tree?
To what degree do you visualize them? Does the effort put into the refuge tree correspond positively to the amount of benefit?
What kinds of benefit?

Looking forward to replies,

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Re: Relevance of Refuge Trees

Post by Konchog1 » Wed Oct 30, 2013 6:13 am

I think it's fine to just practice the tree of the lineage of your main practice or the practice you're currently doing while thinking that all the trees are the same in essence.

I personally haven't reached the point where I can visualize the whole tree. So I just picture the main figure and imagine the rest there but out of sight.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

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Re: Relevance of Refuge Trees

Post by ClearblueSky » Wed Oct 30, 2013 6:35 pm

Sometimes if it's related specifically to a practice I'll picture different refuge trees, since there are 2 totally different lineages which not much in common in the refuge field. But in the general sense, when you're taking refuge and prostrating before the enlightened field, I think it makes sense to combine them. You're supposed to be visualizing it representing all enlightened beings anyway for the most part, and if it's part of your lineage of teachings, it is part of your field of refuge.

There are practices that go through the individuals one by one, such as the guru yoga. There it makes sense to visualize what it's saying to the degree you can. And even though you may not be able to picture every individual clearly at one time, that way you at least have an idea of who is there.

And yes, I'd say the amount of effort does correspond positively. But the key word is effort, not visualization skill. Someone that can only picture the refuge tree as one being, but does so with utmost faith, receives more benefit than someone who can picture all the beings clearly, but with little faith.

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Re: Relevance of Refuge Trees

Post by conebeckham » Wed Oct 30, 2013 6:39 pm

Kyabje Kalu Rinpoche gave specific instructions --if one is practicing Kamtsang Ngondro, for example, that is the refuge tree in front of oneself. But it's good to imagine various refuge fields of other lineages, in the various directions around one.....

So, if you're doing prostrations to the Dudjom Tersar refuge field following the Ngondro from that tradition, but you have some connection to Palyul, Kamtsang, whatnot, those "refuge trees" or assemblies could be off to one's left and right, slightly in front of oneself, for example....

"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

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Re: Relevance of Refuge Trees

Post by Palzang Jangchub » Mon Nov 04, 2013 12:58 am


"The Sutras, Tantras, and Philosophical Scriptures are great in number. However life is short, and intelligence is limited, so it's hard to cover them completely. You may know a lot, but if you don't put it into practice, it's like dying of thirst on the shore of a great lake. Likewise, a common corpse is found in the bed of a great scholar." ~ Karma Chagme

རྗེ་བཙུན་བླ་མ་མཁས་གྲུབ་ཀརྨ་ཆགས་མེད་མཁྱེན་ནོ། ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོཿ

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