Practice 7 of The 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva:
The gods of this world are not yet free from sorrow
For caught in samsara, some day they must fall.
If they’re bound as we are, how can they protect us? How can someone in prison free anyone else?
But Buddha, his teachings and those who live by them are free to give comfort —they’ll not let us down.
Go to the Three Jewels of Refuge for shelter —
The Sons of the Buddhas all practice this way.
The first time I read this seventh practice I was SO PISSED.
I hate being told who or what to believe in and am allergic to anyone or thing that says, “This is the way”.
I went to a monk for help. “Monk, this is bullshit.. What happened to the Buddha’s own philosophy of “come and see, but not come and believe”.. That’s the only reason I started to hang out with you and learn about all this stuff to begin with. Are you saying that was just a rouse to get me in?”
He was quiet a moment… ( this is never good. ) “Don’t be stupid. I’m leaving for 2 months. When I come back, tell me what the Three Jewels really are. Explore each one, form a relationship with them, tell me how it goes and if your life gets better as a result. I don’t want you to believe anything you’ve not tried so go try. Go explore. Go learn. See what happens. At all costs, keep your mind open”
I reluctantly agreed and the next day got a text of a quote from our mutual friend Venerable Rahula: “Buddhism is always a question of knowing and seeing, and not that of believing. The teaching of the Buddha inviting you to come and see, but not to come and believe”