Questioner: Is it important to meet other people who are practising Dharma, and see how different sanghas work?
Ngakma Nor’dzin: It may not be essential, but I think it is useful. The Lama’s personality and their style of teaching will appeal to some and not to others. If you are fortunate enough to find a sangha where you feel at home right away, it still might be useful to see how other groups function before committing yourself to one. However, it must be stressed that it is important—eventually—to settle down and commit to one group, and to form a relationship with one Lama or Lama-couple… or else what is achievable is severely limited.
Water from a small stream can be channelled into a spout of such force that it can cut through rock. If you are always dodging from group to group, teacher to teacher, you will not be able to focus your practice. Eventually you have to make a commitment and focus your practice in one lineage in order to progress.
Q: Is taking refuge something that is a continual process?
NN: Yes indeed. In the context of our lives as practitioners ‘refuge’ is a verb, not a noun.
Q: Is refuge the rejection of a psychological state of escapism?
NN: Yes, you could describe refuge in that way. Refuge is facing the reality of our self-created dualism.