Refuge in the Dharma, Pagan?
Posted by Erick DuPree
People often assume that I am a practicing Buddhist, and I suppose that in many ways I am. I am certainly a buddha in a world of many! A buddha is someone who sees the way things really are. When we see the way things really are, we see that we’re all in this together, that we are all interdependent. Through this experience, I have come to learn that great surpassing love arises, and this love is what leads a buddha to wish that all beings would open to this wisdom of interconnectedness. Through this lens, we become free of the misery that arises from ignoring the way things are. This is the dharma.
However, my daily practice isn't Buddhism, and my spiritual process leans more esoteric, a lot more esoteric. This is because I am a Pagan. Like many Pagans, my quest for truth and wisdom lead me on an exploration. See, Paganism gives us the permission to dare. To create a glorious pantheon of interfaith deities that enrich and empower our lives. I happened to develop a strong relationship with the magical practices of deity yoga and Tantra, and the great stillness that comes from Zen. I met my beloved colleague Yeshe Rabbit over two years ago, and we were of like mind in seeking the balance between Buddhism and Paganism. Here we are now, Dharma Pagans.
What we do is take the esoteric teachings from Buddhism and build practices from there that offer the wisdom of the immanent, transcendent, and the immediate. There is no 'rede' or three fold law, because everything is dharma for us. Some might say that when others bring the sword of truth, we bring the dharma. Dharma is the body of wisdom teachings that inspire us to seek refuge from suffering, what the Buddha himself once said, "I teach on suffering and the way to end it".
The Dharma Pagan takes refuge in ending suffering and uses our magic, be our practices Thelema, Eclectic, Feri, Wicca or other (or many), in partnership with the lessons of the dharma. We rely on four truths in our work together:
- Rely on the teaching, not on the person;
- Rely on the meaning, not on the words;
- Rely on the definitive meaning, not on the provisional,
- Rely on the wisdom mind, not on the ordinary mind.
Dharma Paganism is not a spiritual tradition, there is no five point plan towards initiation. We are a self identified, self initiated, community of seekers who take refuge in ending suffering. We just happen to do it with a lot of magic! Welcome!
I am excited that today, YesheRabbit and I launch Dharma Pagan. This website is collection of ideas, thoughts, inspirations and more. Here we will write about topics like how and why we take refuge, what is an offering, how can we live more meaningful lives in the dharma, etc. This is not a gospel, but an invitation. Many join us on the blog, and in our Dharma Pagan Dialogues. Together we are building an online community. Our sangha is open to all who seek to liberate themselves and others from suffering. This is Goddess, what it means to be part of Her great interconnected web of human experience. Together, we are dharma and pagan, and we take refuge.