Defining conventional and ultimate refuge in terms of each of the three jewels

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prsvrnc
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Defining conventional and ultimate refuge in terms of each of the three jewels

Post by prsvrnc » Thu Aug 17, 2017 5:23 am

Hi, I am trying to define (for study purposes) conventional and ultimate refuge in terms of each of the three jewels. This has become more difficult than I was expecting.

I think what I might be confusing is the fact that each object of refuge possesses both a conventional and ultimate ASPECT. << And I think I am confusing this fact with the presentation in the Uttaratantra where it is said that the Buddha jewel endowed with the three keys is the only ultimate refuge:

Because [the Dharma] is to be abandoned, deceptive,
And an absence, and because [the Sangha] has fear,
The two types of Dharma and the Arya Assembly
Do not represent stable, foremost refuges.

(It goes on to talk about the Buddha jewel as the only ultimate refuge.)

However, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t still an ULTIMATE ASPECT of the dharma and sangha jewels…
For example, also in the Uttaratantra, it is said that the ultimate dharma jewel is the wisdom that directly realizes emptiness in the mind of an arya being. The cessation in their minds << that is the ultimate dharma jewel.

So, these jewels have an ultimate aspect and a conventional aspect... Can we say that the ultimate aspect of these three jewels consist of the ultimate refuge rather that just saying that the three kayas of the Buddha are the only ultimate refuge? Or maybe the buddha jewel consists of the ultimate aspect of the other two jewels as well? (Which does fit... the cessation could be likened to the dharmakaya....)
I don't know.. confused. Any help is appreciated.

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smcj
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Re: Defining conventional and ultimate refuge in terms of each of the three jewels

Post by smcj » Thu Aug 17, 2017 1:48 pm

A khenpo is teaching the last chapter of the Uttaratantra in about 10 days at KTD Monastery in Woodstock, NY. I'll try to ask him for you.

However, it seems to me that the only ultimate safety is to go beyond causes and conditions, beyond appearances and manifestations. The teaching on the 1st noble truth says that everything is compounded, and therefore everything is impermanent, and everything impermanent is unreliable and unsatisfactory (dukkha). I don't think the Uttaratantra contradicts that. I could be wrong.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
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Tsongkhapafan
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Re: Defining conventional and ultimate refuge in terms of each of the three jewels

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Thu Aug 17, 2017 6:00 pm

The ultimate refuge can only be the realisation of ultimate truth in our own mental continuum that leads to different levels of true cessation until we attain the final true cessation of very subtle obstructions to omniscience. This is the Union of no more learning or Buddhahood. Therefore I would say that the Dharma Jewel is our ultimate refuge and the Buddha Jewel is source of all refuge, ably assisted by the Sangha Jewel. The Dharma Jewel in this context is actual true cessations, not scriptural Dharma (teachings). The Buddha Jewel that is the Dharmakaya cannot be our actual refuge at the moment because it can be perceived only by other Buddhas so we need to take refuge by relying upon Buddha's emanation body, a spiritual guide, and the visualised assembly of holy beings which are Buddha's enjoyment bodies.

Bristollad
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Re: Defining conventional and ultimate refuge in terms of each of the three jewels

Post by Bristollad » Fri Aug 18, 2017 10:13 am

From the Sublime Continuum,

The definition of a Buddha Jewel is a final object of refuge that possesses the eight excellent qualities, “uncompounded” and so forth.
Uncompounded, spontaneous, Not realized by others’ conditions,
Possessing knowledge, mercy and ability
Is the very Buddha possessing the two welfares. [1.5]


The definition of a Dharma Jewel is a truth of the completely pure class in an arya’s continuum that possesses any of the eight excellent qualities, “inconceivable” and so forth.
That which is inconceivable, without the two, without conception,
Pure, clear, and of the antidote class,
That which is and that by which there is separation from attachment;
That bearer of the characteristics of the two truths is the Dharma. [1.10]


The definition of a Sangha Jewel is an arya person who possesses any of the eight excellent qualities of knowledges and freedoms.
Because of pure inner exalted wisdoms
Seeing modes and varieties,
The assembly of the intelligent irreversible ones
Just possesses unsurpassable excellent qualities. [1.14]


Among the Three Jewels there are those that are ultimate refuges and those that are conventional refuges.

The definition of a conventional refuge is (i) that which is not the final refuge and is not one of the final refuges, (ii) that is a refuge that has not completed the traversing of the path in actuality.

The definition of an ultimate refuge is a refuge that has completed the traversing of the path in actuality.

Here's a simplification:

Type of Jewel....................Actual Jewels.....................Conventional Refuge....................Ultimate Refuge
Conventional Buddha Jewel..............Yes...............................................................................Yes
(two form bodies)

Ultimate Buddha Jewel....................Yes..............................................................................Yes
(two truth bodies)

Conventional Dharma Jewel......................................................Yes
(scriptures etc.)

Ultimate Dharma Jewel...................Yes.....................................Yes.....................................Yes
(true cessations and paths)...................................(except those on the Buddha ground).....(only those on the Buddha ground)

Conventional Sangha Jewel..............Yes.....................................Yes......................................Yes
(Arya beings)...................................................(except those on the Buddha ground)......(only those on the Buddha ground)

Ultimate Sangha Jewel...................Yes.....................................Yes......................................Yes
(true cessations and paths)...................................(except those on the Buddha ground).....(only those on the Buddha ground)


In the verse the OP quotes from the Sublime Continuum it explains which refuges are not ultimate, or final, refuges:
• Scriptural Dharmas are not final refuges because they will be abandoned like a boat, once the final clear realization of the meaning has been attained.
• An arya’s true path is not a final refuge because it is fallible, due to not being free of all stains.
• A nirvana without remainder is not a final refuge because it is a mere absence of sufferings and origins.
• Tenth-grounders and hearer and solitary realizer foe-destroyers are not final refuges because they still have knowledge obscurations.

Another verse from this text says that only the Buddha is the ultimate refuge. Is there anything which is all three objects of refuge? Svatantrika-Madhyamika says yes, and gives the illustration of a mental consciousness existing in the continuum of an arya buddha. This mental consciousness itself is a Buddha refuge; it is also a Dharma refuge because it is omniscient mind; and it is also a Sangha refuge because it is an arya being. When we become a buddha our mental consciousness will become the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha refuges. This follows from their assertion that the illustration of the person is the mental consciousness. According to Prasangika, however, there is nothing which is all three objects of refuge.

This presentation is in accord with that taught at Sera Je - other monasteries and colleges may present it differently.

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jkarlins
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Re: Defining conventional and ultimate refuge in terms of each of the three jewels

Post by jkarlins » Fri Aug 18, 2017 1:30 pm

Absolutely good posts here, then the question is how to apply this.

Fortyeightvows
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Re: Defining conventional and ultimate refuge in terms of each of the three jewels

Post by Fortyeightvows » Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:36 pm

Lama Zopa at a recent teaching defined the third jewel of the sangha in two ways.

The ultimate sangha jewel which can be one person, monk or not who has realization.
Relative sangha jewel as being four monastics living purely in their vows.

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prsvrnc
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Re: Defining conventional and ultimate refuge in terms of each of the three jewels

Post by prsvrnc » Wed Aug 23, 2017 6:19 am

This was amazingly helpful, wow... Thank you so much! Maybe I'll post my own summarized answer in a few days. THANK YOU.

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