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With summer finally upon us, perhaps one of the most common sights here on the Island are the mosquitoes that force everyone into almsgiving. An island rich in forests and grasslands, you can only imagine their numbers. Once bitten, you’ll swell up for a couple of days, sometimes to the size of a streamed bread. They usually feed on cows, no wonder they’re so fierce. We’d helplessly chuckle amongst ourselves.

Once, we’d gone out to plant trees. Although I’d mentally prepared myself to be bitten, the bites I’d received that day still left me a little bit troubled. I yearned for a better way to repel mosquitoes.

A few days later, I overheard Venerable Janet’s mosquito repelling tip. “I guide them to take refuge in the Three Jewels whenever I see them. That way, they won’t bite me.” The very next day, I found myself swarmed by an army of mosquitoes. With no way to swat them away, Venerable Janet’s tip suddenly came to mind – guide them to take refuge in the Three Jewels! To my surprise, they left me unharmed. This is a completely new learning experience!

Lamrim Chenmo once mentioned that one of the many benefits of taking refuge in the Three Jewels is not to be harmed by humans and non-humans. Come to think of it, am I not the one who needs this the most? In Global Lamrim, Teacher Zhen-Ru also said that we can train ourselves to better understand the truth through pain. In a sense, the mosquitoes have helped me learn to take refuge in the Three Jewels.