Author Topic: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.  (Read 10434 times)

Offline Caz

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Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
« on: July 12, 2011, 01:46:11 pm »


For one to actually enter into the paths of Liberation and enlightenment it is necessary for one to actually first take refuge as this is the entrance point into the Buddhist path, Without taking refuge in the 3 jewels we shall have no ability to actually complete the Buddhist path or gain precious realizations such as renunciation, correct view, Bodhichitta or Emptiness. For this reason it is important to rely on the 3 jewels Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.

Buddha's are the source of Dharma and by taking refuge in them we are granted their protection and we receive their blessings easier then those who have not taken refuge, By taking refuge in the Buddha's we receive their blessings that help clear mental obstructions and accomplish the realizations of the stages of the path, There are also many other profound benefits to Buddha's blessings.

The Dharma is the Buddhas teachings it is the supreme method for controlling our mind eliminating current and future suffering and it protects us from taking lower rebirth, a precious human life is so hard to find and by taking refuge in Dharma we fill our life with virtue and its practices. By practicing Dharma we can accomplish freedom from suffering and immeasurable happiness.

The Sangha are the community of spiritual practitioners who help us, If Buddha is like a doctor who prescribes the medicine of Dharma then the Sangha are like the nurses who help us apply it to our life, There are two types of Sangha the arya sangha who are the realized and accomplished ones and the normal practitioners who help us to the best of their capacity by relying on them they can help us clear up misunderstandings about Buddhadharma and guide and encourage us to practice diligently.

We take refuge in these 3 jewels as by relying on them sincerely they can change our life and we can fully accomplish liberation from suffering and full enlightenment with which to benefit all sentient beings.

Refuge can be either a formal ceremony with a group or on your own where one promises to from now on take the 3 jewels as our source of refuge, one makes the decision to rely upon the 3 jewels in order to properly practice the Buddhist path to do such one should make such vows with palms pressed together at ones heart as a sign of respect and facing a image of Buddha, one should abide by the 12 vows of having taken refuge these are morale restraints that allow us to develop correct virtue and decrease negative or misleading habits by adhering to these 12 vows we shall actually be practicing qualified refuge.

1. Not to go to refuge to teachers who contradict Buddha's views or to Samsaraic gods.
2. To regard any image of Buddha as an actual Buddha.
3.To avoid harming any being ( Through physical or verbal actions, best controlled by use of training the mind in virtue.)
4. To regard any Dharma scripture as an actual Dharma jewel.
5. Not to allow our self to be influenced by people who reject Buddhas teachings.
6. To Regard anyone who wears the robes of an ordained person as an actual sangha jewel.
7. To go for refuge to the 3 jewels again and again, remembering their good qualities and the differences between them.
8. To offer the first portion of food or drink to the Buddhas while remembering their kindness ( By use of a small prayer, Offering to the 3 jewels creates immense positive potential karma)
9. With compassion to always encourage others to go for refuge.
10. To go for refuge to the 3 jewels at least 3 times during the day and 3 times during the night, remembering the benefits of taking refuge.
11. To perform every action with complete faith in the 3 jewels.
12. To not abandon our refuge at the cost of our life or even as a joke.

We maintain our refuge by verbally or mentally reaffirming this "I go for refuge to the 3 jewels Buddha, Dharma and Sangha" this should be practiced with a heart felt reliance.
Taking refuge is the first step and it is essential if we wish to make progress in our practice of Dharma, we can only call our self a Buddhist when we have taken refuge and by maintaining refuge throughout our life we shall create the causes to enter and complete the Buddhist paths and always find Dharma in this life and future lives.
 :pray:
http://emodernbuddhism.com/

This eBook Modern Buddhism – The Path of Compassion and Wisdom, in three volumes, is being distributed freely at the request of the author Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. The author says: "Through reading and practicing the instructions given in this book, people can solve their daily problems and maintain a happy mind all the time." So that these benefits can pervade the whole world, Geshe Kelsang wishes to give this eBook freely to everyone.

We would like to request you to please respect this precious Dharma book, which functions to free living beings from suffering permanently. If you continually read and practice the advice in this book, eventually your problems caused by anger, attachment and ignorance will cease.

Please enjoy this special gift from Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, who dedicates: "May everyone who reads this book experience deep peace of mind, and accomplish the real meaning of human life."

Offline t

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Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2011, 08:30:24 pm »

Quote
Dhammapada: Buddhavagga
Driven only by fear, do men go for refuge to many places —
to hills, woods, groves, trees and shrines.
Such, indeed, is no safe refuge;
such is not the refuge supreme.
Not by resorting to such a refuge
is one released from all suffering.

He who has gone for refuge to the Buddha, the Teaching and His Order,
penetrates with transcendental wisdom the Four Noble Truths —
suffering, the cause of suffering, the cessation of suffering, and the Noble Eightfold Path
leading to the cessation of suffering.

This indeed is the safe refuge,
this the refuge supreme.
Having gone to such a refuge,
one is released from all suffering.

Quote
Dhajagga Sutta
'Indeed, the Blessed One is Worthy & Rightly Self-Awakened, consummate in knowledge & conduct, Well-Gone, an expert with regard to the world, unexcelled as a trainer for those people fit to be tamed, the Teacher of divine & human beings, Awakened, Blessed.'

'The Dhamma is well-expounded by the Blessed One, to be seen here & now, timeless, inviting verification, pertinent, to be realized by the wise for themselves.'

'The Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples who have practiced well... who have practiced straight-forwardly... who have practiced methodically... who have practiced masterfully — in other words, the four types of noble disciples when taken as pairs, the eight when taken as individual types — they are the Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples: worthy of gifts, worthy of hospitality, worthy of offerings, worthy of respect, the unexcelled field of merit for the world.'

Quote
Jivaka Sutta
Then Jivaka Komarabhacca went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down, sat to one side.

As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: "Lord, to what extent is one a lay follower?"
"Jivaka, when one has gone to the Buddha for refuge, has gone to the Dhamma for refuge, and has gone to the Sangha for refuge, then to that extent is one a lay follower."

"And to what extent, lord, is one a virtuous lay follower?"
"Jivaka, when one abstains from taking life, from stealing, from sexual misconduct, from lying, and from fermented & distilled drinks that lead to heedlessness,
then to that extent is one a virtuous lay follower."

"And to what extent, lord, is one a lay follower who practices both for his own benefit & the benefit of others?"
"Jivaka,
when a lay follower himself is consummate in conviction and encourages others in the consummation of conviction;
when he himself is consummate in virtue and encourages others in the consummation of virtue;
when he himself is consummate in generosity and encourages others in the consummation of generosity;
when he himself desires to see the monks and encourages others to see the monks;
when he himself wants to hear the true Dhamma and encourages others to hear the true Dhamma;
when he himself habitually remembers the Dhamma he has heard and encourages others to remember the Dhamma they have heard;
when he himself explores the meaning of the Dhamma he has heard and encourages others to explore the meaning of the Dhamma they have heard;
when he himself, knowing both the Dhamma & its meaning, practices the Dhamma in line with the Dhamma and encourages others to practice the Dhamma in line with the Dhamma:
then to that extent he is a lay follower who practices both for his own benefit and for the benefit of others."

Quote
Candala Sutta
"Endowed with these five qualities, a lay follower is an outcast of a lay follower, a stain of a lay follower, a dregs of a lay follower. Which five?
He/she does not have conviction [in the Buddha's Awakening];
is unvirtuous;
is eager for protective charms & ceremonies;
trusts protective charms & ceremonies, not kamma;
and searches for recipients of his/her offerings outside [of the Sangha], and gives offerings there first.
Endowed with these five qualities, a lay follower is an outcast of a lay follower, a stain of a lay follower, a dregs of a lay follower.

"Endowed with these five qualities, a lay follower is a jewel of a lay follower, a lotus of a lay follower, a fine flower of a lay follower. Which five?
He/she has conviction;
is virtuous;
is not eager for protective charms & ceremonies;
trusts kamma, not protective charms & ceremonies;
does not search for recipients of his/her offerings outside [of the Sangha], and gives offerings here first.
Endowed with these five qualities, a lay follower is a jewel of a lay follower, a lotus of a lay follower, a fine flower of a lay follower."

Offline t

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Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2011, 08:48:34 pm »

Quote
The Flower Adornment Sutra: Chapter 11: Pure Conduct
In taking refuge with the Buddha,
I vow that sentient beings
Will perpetuate the Buddhas’ lineage,
And bring forth the unsurpassed resolve.

In taking refuge with the Dharma,
I vow that sentient beings
Will deeply enter the Sutra Treasury,
And have wisdom like the sea.

In taking refuge with the Sangha,
I vow that sentient beings
Will unite and lead the Great Assembly,
All without obstruction.

Quote
The Sixth Patriarch Sutra: Chapter VI. On Repentance
Hereafter, let the Enlightened One be our teacher; on no account should we accept Mara (the personification of evil) or any heretic as our guide. This we should testify to ourselves by constantly appealing to the 'Three Gems' of our Essence of Mind, in which, Learned Audience, I advise you to take refuge. They are:--
    Buddha, which stands for Enlightenment.
    Dharma, which stands for Orthodoxy.
    Sangha, (the Order) which stands for Purity.
To let our mind take refuge in 'Enlightenment', so that evil and delusive notions do not arise, desire decreases, discontent is unknown, and lust and greed no longer bind,
this is the culmination of Punya and Prajna.

To let our mind take refuge in 'Orthodoxy' so that we are always free from wrong views (for without wrong views there would be no egotism, arrogance, or craving),
this is the best way to get rid of desire.

To let our mind take refuge in 'Purity' so that no matter in what circumstances it may be it will not be contaminated by wearisome sense-objects, craving and desire,
this is the noblest quality of mankind.

To practice the Threefold Guidance in the way above mentioned means to take refuge in oneself (i.e., in one's own Essence of Mind). Ignorant persons take the Threefold Guidance day and night but do not understand it. If they say they take refuge in Buddha, do they know where He is? Yet if they cannot see Buddha, how can they take refuge in Him?
Does not such an assertion amount to a lie?

Learned Audience, each of you should consider and examine this point for yourself, and let not your energy be misapplied. The Sutra distinctly says that we should take refuge in the Buddha within ourselves; it does not suggest that we should take refuge in other Buddhas. (Moreover), if we do not take refuge in the Buddha within ourselves,
there is no other place for us to retreat.

Having cleared up this point, let each of us take refuge in the 'Three Gems' within our mind. Within, we should control our mind; without, we should be respectful towards others -- this is the way to take refuge within ourselves.

Why take Refuge in the Three Jewels

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2011, 05:38:36 am »
1. Not to go to refuge to teachers who contradict Buddha's views or to Samsaraic gods.
2. To regard any image of Buddha as an actual Buddha.
3.To avoid harming any being ( Through physical or verbal actions, best controlled by use of training the mind in virtue.)
4. To regard any Dharma scripture as an actual Dharma jewel.
5. Not to allow our self to be influenced by people who reject Buddhas teachings.
6. To Regard anyone who wears the robes of an ordained person as an actual sangha jewel.
7. To go for refuge to the 3 jewels again and again, remembering their good qualities and the differences between them.
8. To offer the first portion of food or drink to the Buddhas while remembering their kindness ( By use of a small prayer, Offering to the 3 jewels creates immense positive potential karma)
9. With compassion to always encourage others to go for refuge.
10. To go for refuge to the 3 jewels at least 3 times during the day and 3 times during the night, remembering the benefits of taking refuge.
11. To perform every action with complete faith in the 3 jewels.
12. To not abandon our refuge at the cost of our life or even as a joke.

I don't mean to rain on anyone's parade, but are these really related to moral restraint or more toward the sociocentric thinking that governs the masses, something actually found in all institutionalized religions? Let's see...

not to go to refuge to teachers who contradict Buddha's views or to Samsaraic gods, even though it appears that entire sects have done just that, so let's just worry about individual teachers instead...

to regard any image of Buddha as an actual Buddha, but at all times declare high and low that it has nothing to do with idoltry, trying to convince ourselves and others...

Oh, and anyone who wears the robes of an ordained person is an actual sangha jewel... I could go on for days about that one  :lmfao:



« Last Edit: July 13, 2011, 05:41:32 am by incognito »

Yeshe

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Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2011, 11:07:03 am »
Oh, and anyone who wears the robes of an ordained person is an actual sangha jewel... I could go on for days about that one  :lmfao:

Sometimes I look in the mirror and see a Buddha.  Sometimes, I see a hell being.  I must get a new mirror as this one is inconsistent. ;)

Does Buddhahood, like beauty and sacredness, depend on the eye of the beholder?

I would love to train my mind to the point where I see all beings as Buddhas.  I believe these instructions are intended to train the mind to be optimistic (and deal with the odd disappointment) rather than experience the odd disappointment and be generally pessimistic.   Never mind Buddha Nature, surely this is what we need when dealing with samsaric Human Nature.

So, as well as being dependent upon my mind in terms of what I see, it also depends upon my intention, and maybe past karma ripening.

If I believe Buddha exists now and can respond to my prayers, it may help me.
If I believe Buddha existed in history and communicated Dharma, it may help me.
If I believe Buddha existed in history but taught no Dharma, it may not help me.
If I believe Buddha never existed or taught Dharma, it may help me.

Or not.  LOL :)

And are the robes of a Buddhist monk or nun really as important now as they were when the Vinaya was penned?  We have no idea what that person is like, so should we be unquestioning in our obeisance to bits of cloth wrapped around a bag of flesh and bone?

Bit like Tetralemma, or do I mean Tetragrammaton........................ ??






« Last Edit: July 13, 2011, 12:05:30 pm by Yeshe »

Offline Caz

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Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2011, 03:17:09 pm »
1. Not to go to refuge to teachers who contradict Buddha's views or to Samsaraic gods.
2. To regard any image of Buddha as an actual Buddha.
3.To avoid harming any being ( Through physical or verbal actions, best controlled by use of training the mind in virtue.)
4. To regard any Dharma scripture as an actual Dharma jewel.
5. Not to allow our self to be influenced by people who reject Buddhas teachings.
6. To Regard anyone who wears the robes of an ordained person as an actual sangha jewel.
7. To go for refuge to the 3 jewels again and again, remembering their good qualities and the differences between them.
8. To offer the first portion of food or drink to the Buddhas while remembering their kindness ( By use of a small prayer, Offering to the 3 jewels creates immense positive potential karma)
9. With compassion to always encourage others to go for refuge.
10. To go for refuge to the 3 jewels at least 3 times during the day and 3 times during the night, remembering the benefits of taking refuge.
11. To perform every action with complete faith in the 3 jewels.
12. To not abandon our refuge at the cost of our life or even as a joke.

I don't mean to rain on anyone's parade, but are these really related to moral restraint or more toward the sociocentric thinking that governs the masses, something actually found in all institutionalized religions? Let's see...

not to go to refuge to teachers who contradict Buddha's views or to Samsaraic gods, even though it appears that entire sects have done just that, so let's just worry about individual teachers instead...

to regard any image of Buddha as an actual Buddha, but at all times declare high and low that it has nothing to do with idoltry, trying to convince ourselves and others...

Oh, and anyone who wears the robes of an ordained person is an actual sangha jewel... I could go on for days about that one  :lmfao:

You should put up your photo DK so we can regard you as a Sangha jewel  ;D
http://emodernbuddhism.com/

This eBook Modern Buddhism – The Path of Compassion and Wisdom, in three volumes, is being distributed freely at the request of the author Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. The author says: "Through reading and practicing the instructions given in this book, people can solve their daily problems and maintain a happy mind all the time." So that these benefits can pervade the whole world, Geshe Kelsang wishes to give this eBook freely to everyone.

We would like to request you to please respect this precious Dharma book, which functions to free living beings from suffering permanently. If you continually read and practice the advice in this book, eventually your problems caused by anger, attachment and ignorance will cease.

Please enjoy this special gift from Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, who dedicates: "May everyone who reads this book experience deep peace of mind, and accomplish the real meaning of human life."

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2011, 10:10:02 am »
I'm not a sangha jewel, but a javamahasattva... every cup of coffee is actually a cup of coffee  :lmfao:

As a side note, it's kind of interesting that there's a saying in Sri Lanka where they respect the robe, but not the person wearing it... sometimes the two can be confused with eachother, which in turn allows for quite a bit of abuse to occur.

Laura once asked an interesting question as a subject of a thread, either here or at Dharma Wheel: "In what do you place your refuge?"

My reply was the Dharma and only the Dharma...

Atta Dipa
Viharatha
Atta Sharana
Ananna Sharana
Dhamma Dipa
Dhamma Sharana
Ananna Sharana


To be an island onto yourself, a refuge between to waters, that is the goal, that is the refuge before all other refuges.




Offline Karma Dondrup Tashi

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Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2011, 06:18:11 am »
I find it's hard to take refuge in the sangha - I had a bad experience with one sangha and had to change groups.
[size=90]what I want is a view. Hannibal Lecter[/size]

Offline Caz

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Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2011, 06:51:54 am »
I find it's hard to take refuge in the sangha - I had a bad experience with one sangha and had to change groups.

Even if you do so one doesnt have to take it asa negative.
http://emodernbuddhism.com/

This eBook Modern Buddhism – The Path of Compassion and Wisdom, in three volumes, is being distributed freely at the request of the author Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. The author says: "Through reading and practicing the instructions given in this book, people can solve their daily problems and maintain a happy mind all the time." So that these benefits can pervade the whole world, Geshe Kelsang wishes to give this eBook freely to everyone.

We would like to request you to please respect this precious Dharma book, which functions to free living beings from suffering permanently. If you continually read and practice the advice in this book, eventually your problems caused by anger, attachment and ignorance will cease.

Please enjoy this special gift from Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, who dedicates: "May everyone who reads this book experience deep peace of mind, and accomplish the real meaning of human life."

Offline lowonthetotem

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Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2011, 07:43:37 am »
Although I don't read widely in this forum, I generally don't hear much said about Sila, or confidence (moral confidence specifically). Sila is an important foundation of meditation and is very helpful in getting us past the noisy doubts that cloud our minds. I certainly felt a greater confidence in my meditation after I took refuge. As I began to precept practice, albeit rather haphazardly, I felt even more Sila and found meditation to be more and more profitable. I think it behooves many beginning practicioners to cultivate Sila through refuge, even if it may not jibe with their more rational selves.

Offline Sunya

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Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2011, 07:46:14 am »
Although I don't read widely in this forum, I generally don't hear much said about Sila, or confidence (moral confidence specifically). Sila is an important foundation of meditation and is very helpful in getting us past the noisy doubts that cloud our minds. I certainly felt a greater confidence in my meditation after I took refuge. As I began to precept practice, albeit rather haphazardly, I felt even more Sila and found meditation to be more and more profitable. I think it behooves many beginning practicioners to cultivate Sila through refuge, even if it may not jibe with their more rational selves.

Do you mean saddha/sraddha?

Offline lowonthetotem

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Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2011, 07:58:44 am »
No, I mean Sila (morality).

Offline Sunya

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Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2011, 08:01:25 am »
Sorry. It just sounded like you were looking for the word for confidence/faith.

Need morality stem from refuge-taking? In my experience, there is no necessary connection between the two.

Offline Caz

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Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2011, 08:23:25 am »
Although I don't read widely in this forum, I generally don't hear much said about Sila, or confidence (moral confidence specifically). Sila is an important foundation of meditation and is very helpful in getting us past the noisy doubts that cloud our minds. I certainly felt a greater confidence in my meditation after I took refuge. As I began to precept practice, albeit rather haphazardly, I felt even more Sila and found meditation to be more and more profitable. I think it behooves many beginning practicioners to cultivate Sila through refuge, even if it may not jibe with their more rational selves.

Sila is always implied  :blush:
Even when its not explicit.
http://emodernbuddhism.com/

This eBook Modern Buddhism – The Path of Compassion and Wisdom, in three volumes, is being distributed freely at the request of the author Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. The author says: "Through reading and practicing the instructions given in this book, people can solve their daily problems and maintain a happy mind all the time." So that these benefits can pervade the whole world, Geshe Kelsang wishes to give this eBook freely to everyone.

We would like to request you to please respect this precious Dharma book, which functions to free living beings from suffering permanently. If you continually read and practice the advice in this book, eventually your problems caused by anger, attachment and ignorance will cease.

Please enjoy this special gift from Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, who dedicates: "May everyone who reads this book experience deep peace of mind, and accomplish the real meaning of human life."

Offline lowonthetotem

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Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2011, 08:25:01 am »
You have the more correct literal translation for sure.  However, I think that a very specific kind of confidence arises out of moral action that is not faith based.  I think that aligning ourselves with the moral examples of the Triple Jewel, especially when we may have not acted so morally ourselves to date, is empowering.  At least, we can be a part of a moral organization, as it were, and aligned with moral people who support our practice. I think that saddha is important, but there is alot about refuge that is not so faith oriented, at least from a ultilitarian point of view. From my experience, moral confidence was instrumental in helping me develop more faith oriented confidence. By following the moral example of the Triple Jewel and reaping the benefits, I was more prone to accept other, less obvious, aspects of the Dharma. Sorry, for the confusion. I was taught that moral action goes hand in hand with moral confidence and a more powerful ability to quiet the mind and eliminate doubt. My teachers have never stressed the study of language itself. For me, morality seemed almost as difficult as enlightenment. When I found that it was actually something I could do, and happily at that, alot more things seemed possible.

Sorry, meant to modify, not notify.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2011, 08:26:38 am by lowonthetotem »

 


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