gregkavarnos wrote:Hello Jainarayan,
Welcome to Dharma Wheel!
Chenrezig was my main daily practice for over a year BEFORE I took refuge.
The Chenrezig and Tara practices are open to all to participate. Nowadays the sadhana are freely available on the internet. Initially you would not have had access to the written sadhana if you had not received the transmission of the text. But times have changed...
So feel free to practice Chenrezig/Avalokitesvara and Tara (who is the same Tara of Hindu fame, anyway) without having gone through the formality of refuge, etc... because, since you are reading (and being inspired by) Buddhist texts, doing Buddhist practices and associating with Buddhist sangha then (realistically) you have already gone for refuge to the Three Jewels!
That sounds about where I'd want to be, and what I feel. As I mentioned, Tārā, I came to find out, is another representation of the Divine Mother: Shakti, Kali, Durga, Lakshmi, Gayatri, et. al. I already worship them in their "special" aspects and attributes, even Guanyin (I know, the female version of Avalokiteshvara
) so Tārā fits right in. I understand that Green Tārā and White Tārā are the two most popular? Manjushri, in my understanding cuts through ignorance, which is a major aspect of Goddess Saraswati. I'm in this because I think it's something Sri Vishnu/Krishna wants me to do... become as enlightened as I can (for however many lives it takes) to help others reach enlightenment. That sounds full of myself but I think you know what I mean... sort of like Avalokiteshvara forgoing liberation out of compassion for others.
It makes sense when you said "(realistically) you have already gone for refuge to the Three Jewels!"
because I'm one of those Vaishnavas that believe Vishnu incarnated as the Buddha. He says that from age to age he incarnates when there is a decline in righteousness and dharma; it seems that was happening at the time the Buddha began teaching in order to restore dharma. I believe even the Buddha said there would come a time when he and the dharma would be forgotten. I should also mention, that while I believe in and love the deities of the Hindu and Buddhist pantheon (I'm really a henotheist), I too feel that Hinduism is not what it should be. I'd be drawn and quartered by many Hindus (if most even care) but a lot of it has become mindlessly ritualistic with superstitions galore. Many people take the Purānas as literal history and not for the morality tales and stories I believe they are.
Do make the effort to go see a real life Sangha, ignore any sectarian nonsense they may try to throw your way. I have many friends that are serious practitioners and teachers of Satyananda yoga and are very serious Buddhist practitioners too.
Thanks, I may very well visit the center that's near me. I've become dislillusioned with the Hindu temple I was attending because it is so big and grand, almost like a shopping mall with people going from puja to puja like it was trick-or-treat. I feel more peace and spirituality at my own little (which is growing out of control) home shrine!