Akalikadhamma means that Dhamma is not bound by any time condition. Our conceptual mind cant conceive of anything that is timeless, because our conceptions and perceptions are time-based conditions, but what we can say is that Dhamma is akala, not bound by time. We suddenly realize that no matter what anyone else has done, or how unjust the society might be or what our parents might have been like, we can in no way spend the rest of our lives blaming anyone else that is a complete waste of time. They wanted something made out of bronze and clay, stamped and blessed. And that journey starts with taking refuge in Buddha Dhamma Sangha. Five minutes alone with themselves without any dope or drink or anything would seem to them like eternal hell, because the kammic result of evil is so appalling, mentally.
I remember one time, a French Catholic missionary came to stay in our monastery and practise meditation. One cannot have a personal relationship with Dhamma, one cannot say Love the Dhamma! The main part of his teaching was to not just mechanically repeat Buddho, but to reflect and investigate, to awaken the mind to really look into the Buddho, the one who knows really investigate its beginning, its end, above and below, so that ones whole attention was stuck onto it. I take refuge in the Sangha, wishing all sentient beings to lead the congregation in friendship and harmony, entirely without obstruction. This is being supatipanno , one who practises well. We dont take refuge in those things in our minds that are mean, nasty, cruel, selfish, jealous, hateful, angry even though admittedly that is what we often tend to do out of heedlessness, out of not reflecting, not being awake, but just reacting to conditions.
When we say, I take refuge in the Buddha, what do we mean by that? Dhamma doesnt take us into fascination, into excitement, romance and adventure, but leads to Nibbana, to calm, to silence. It means to look, to be aware. I will take the Three Refuges in order to become a Buddhist. Because our conceiving mind tends always to delude us, it takes us into becoming. Though the image is made of brass and we have these flesh-and-blood bodies and it is much more difficult for us, still it is a reminder. Teachings refer to Buddhist teachings Pali , and Dharmic teachings Sanskrit. Taking refuge in the Buddha, in wisdom, means that we have a place of safety.
Opanayiko means leading inwards, towards the peace within the mind. or The Dhamma loves me! When we chant in Pali the verse on Dhamma, we say it is sanditthiko akaliko ehipassiko opanayiko paccattam veditabbo vinnuhi. We can use the word Buddha to refer to Gotama, the founder of what is now known as Buddhism, the historical sage who attained Parinibbana in India 2,500 years ago, the teacher of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, teachings from which we still benefit today. Even if theyre never caught by the police or sent to prison, dont think theyre going to get away with anything. So when we describe Dhamma or give an impression of it, we do it through words such as sanditthiko , which means immanent, here-and-now. I take refuge in the Dharma, wishing for all sentient beings to deeply delve into an ocean of knowledge. Buddhha, Dhamma, Sangha When people ask, What do you have to do to become a Buddhist? So may you reflect on this and really see Buddha Dhamma Sangha as a refuge.
The meaning of this mantra is as follows. A refuge is a place of safety, and so when superstitious people would come to my teacher Ajahn Chah, wanting charmed medallions or little talismans to protect them from bullets and knives, ghosts and so on, he would say, Why do you want things like that? Before I started to meditate I used to blame people and society: If only my parents had been completely wise, enlightened arahants, I would be all right. The future remains unknown and mysterious, but in the present, by taking refuge in the Buddha we have that presence of mind now to reflect on and learn from life as we live it. Everything is going to be all right, and pat us on the head. The word akala means timeless. Ehipassikadhamma means to come and see, to turn towards or go to the Dhamma. ; there is no need for that.
I was never a criminal, but I have managed to tell a few lies and do a few mean and nasty things in my lifetime, and the results were always unpleasant. We have to be that truth, here and now. Many forest bhikkhus in the North-East of Thailand use the word Buddho as their meditation object. But their faith in Buddha usually wasnt quite as much as their faith in those silly little medallions. We cant guarantee what will happen to the material standard of living, or that the Westminster Bank will survive the decade. Ajahn Fun was a much-loved and deeply respected monk, the teacher of the Royal Family, and he was so popular that he was constantly receiving guests. We have to accept complete responsibility for our life, and live it.
We dont need to be loved or protected by anyone any more, because we can love and protect others, and that is all that is important. If everyone around me was perfect, if the society was perfect, if the world was wise and perfect, then I wouldnt have any of these problems. He could make it into a really profound meditation, whether for an illiterate farmer or an elegant, western-educated Thai aristocrat. We happen to use the words of our tradition. We forgive, we let go of those memories, because taking refuge in Sangha means, here and now, doing good and refraining from doing evil with bodily action and speech. When we take this refuge we do not act in any way that causes division, disharmony, cruelty, meanness or unkindness to any living being, including ourself, our own body and mind. Wisdom means knowing the nature of conditions as were experiencing them.
This is the conceiving mind, the desire mind, the mind that always deludes us. It is the knowing of that change that we call Buddha and in which we take refuge. In fact sometimes that is the kindest thing, to put them in prison and punish them; it makes them feel better. I go to the Buddha Inner-Enlightenment for refuge. It doesnt take any great powers of observation to see that.