Friday, January 4, 2013

A Tradition of Christmas Trees

"Did you grow up with a Christmas tree?" i asked my Jewish neighbor.

Lynn shook her head and frowned, as if to say, "No way!"

"So when did you start having a Christmas tree?" i asked.

"When our daughter was in kindergarten. She brought home Christmas tree ornaments."

Lynn's daughter is 31 now, but the Christmas tree is still adorned with elementary school style decorations.

Another Jewish friend said, "Christmas tree? Naw," and shook his head.

How do we feel about adopting a new tradition? Sometimes it slides in easily. Sometimes, it just doesn't fit.

We can try on the possibility of taking refuge, finding a sanctuary in our meditation practice. Formally, we could consider saying:
I go for refuge in the Buddha.
I go for refuge in the Dharma.
I go for refuge in the Sangha.

"I go for refuge in the Buddha" means considering the possibility of awakening. "Buddha" means "awakened." Do we have faith that awakening is possible, maybe just for one split-second at a time?

"I go for refuge in the Dharma" means going for refuge in the teaching of the Buddha. As a Christian neighbor says, "I prefer Jesus because he seems more compassionate. But i like the teachings of the Buddha because they are so internally consistent."

"I go for refuge to the Sangha" means our group of meditating friends. Sometimes that group is just 2 people, me and one other person. That's enough.

Try on this new tradition. See if it fits. Be a refugee from your busy life, and take refuge in the safety of the present moment.

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