Dealing with Fear

Refuge from Fear

In Buddhism, it is said that there are two causes of refuge or inner protection: fear and faith.

In Buddhism, it is said that there are two causes of refuge or inner protection: fear and faith. Fear here means a realistic and healthy awareness of our vulnerability and the danger we are in. The fact is that as long as we are in samsara we are never safe. Our present circumstances may seem secure and comfortable, but they will change. We will definitely be separated from all the outer conditions that make us feel safe – our home, our family, our circle of friends, the money in our bank account, our physical health. If we are not separated from these conditions before death, we will be separated from them by death. What happens after death depends on the karma we have created and the virtuous or non-virtuous states of mind we have become familiar with. If in this life or in previous lives we have performed many negative actions and have not yet purified them, there is a real danger that these ripen at the time of our death and drag us into future suffering rebirths. This is not something we like to hear and our mind will probably come up with all kinds of excuses why this cannot be the case, but it is nevertheless the truth. And the only thing that can protect us is our own inner refuge of spiritual practice.

The following paragraph is extracted from Transform Your Life:

According to Buddhism, enlightened beings are called “Buddhas”, their teachings are called “Dharma”, and the practitioners who have gained realizations of these teachings are called “Sangha”. These are known as the “Three Jewels” – Buddha Jewel, Dharma Jewel, and Sangha Jewel – and are the objects of faith and refuge. They are called “Jewels” because they are very precious. In dependence upon seeing the fears and sufferings of samsara, and developing strong faith and conviction in the power of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha to protect us, we make the determination to rely upon the Three Jewels. This is the simple way of going for refuge to Buddha Dharma, and Sangha.

To find our more about the practice of refuge, see Transform Your Life or Joyful Path of Good Fortune.

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All quotations from Geshe Kelsang Gyatso's books copyright The New Kadampa Tradition - International Buddhist Union, all rights reserved worldwide. For more information on Geshe Kelsang's books visit Tharpa Publications.