This collection of classes is for the purpose of having a regular daily practice. It’s different than many of the other courses here on The Knowledge Base which are meant to teach the philosophy, or intellectual background, of Buddhism. These classes were on monday nights and were taught in a completely different style, focusing on all the most practical and essential elements that should be done each day to really get the most out of all the other intellectual study.
The presentations of emptiness found in these textbooks are some of the most thorough and usable ever written. Students of Buddhism who avail themselves of these texts gain incredible insight into the every detail of this most profound and important teaching.
TThere is a very famous idea in Buddhism, and also in the yoga traditions, which means to go for refuge—to go for shelter or to seek protection. In this short talk Geshe Michael Roach discusses this idea of real, or ultimate protection, specifically in the context of the deeper goals of Yoga.
The subject of this talk is what’s called The Four Infinite Thoughts. This is a very interesting teaching because these Four Infinite Thoughts are one of the important links between the ancient yoga traditions of India, and the yoga traditions of Tibet. They are the footprints which give us a clue that these two lineages were once one.
We regularly go for refuge during our normal lives. We take refuge in food, money, sex, government, the police, a job, friends, family, etc. We routinely take refuge in ordinary things or people, thinking that they will be able to protect us or shield us from unhappiness and suffering. Those types of refuge can only help us temporarily, and we are eventually disappointed by their inability to bring us a lasting, permanent happiness. Spiritual refuge is very different. It is to rely upon things which are infallible and provide true happiness, without fail. This practice teaches what it really means to take ultimate refuge, and why one must pursue infallible, extraordinary objects of refuge to reach a complete, lasting happiness.
Topics include: what is the perfection of wisdom, what is refuge, the objects of refuge, the reasons for taking Buddhist refuge, the qualities of a Buddha, the different types of bodhichitta, what is nirvana, the divisions of nirvana, five different proofs that emptiness is the ultimate nature of reality, and the five paths which lead to full enlightenment.