Author Topic: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.  (Read 10439 times)

Offline t

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Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
« Reply #30 on: July 26, 2011, 12:47:25 am »
Quote
I've never been to a sangha that offered refuge vows. That hasn't stopped me from practicing and learning.

One perspective from the late Ch'an Master, Ven Dr Sheng-yen, in the booklet, 'Why Take Refuge in the Three Jewels?'
Quote
http://www.dharmadrum.org/content/chan_garden/chan_garden2.aspx?sn=40
In the West, many people are increasingly attracted to Buddhism, even though they have not participated in the formal ceremony of taking refuge in the Three Jewels. They fear taking refuge will bind them to the institution of Buddhism, so they maintain a window-shopping attitude. Or perhaps they view taking refuge as analogous to rushing into marriage without sufficient knowledge of the future spouse and worry that personalities may clash, interests differ, and divorce ensue.

But taking refuge in the Three Jewels is completely different from marriage! It is about committing one's life towards a path to awakening, which is, in fact, freeing not binding. It is a relationship that includes all sentient beings, not just two people. If we realize that the Buddhist teaching is beneficial or meaningful in our lives, then the next step is to take refuge in the Three Jewels. When we become Buddhists, we commit ourselves to bringing genuine liberation to ourselves and to everyone around us. This is the Buddhist path.

Trying to learn Buddhism without taking refuge is to be a bystander and not a participant. If we feel constrained by taking refuge, then Buddhism is no path to liberation. It may happen that you ultimately embrace a set of principles or develop a line of reasoning that leads you away from the teachings.

Those who believe that having a pure, sincere heart is enough to qualify them as Buddhist practitioners and who see no need to go through the formal refuge ceremony, are not really Buddhists. If you want to get an education, you must first register and then proceed through elementary, middle, and high school until you reach college—perhaps reaching as far as a Ph.D. It is impossible to progress in one's education without taking these successive steps.

Similarly, self-proclaimed Buddhists are not real Buddhists. They are like people who are fond of another country, emigrate there, pretend to be citizens, but never apply for citizenship. Those who refrain from taking refuge, but insist upon calling themselves Buddhists, may glean some benefit from the teachings, but the essence of Buddhism will always elude him. Taking refuge is a required process, not an option. The sutras or Buddhist scriptures tell us that even people who perform good deeds will not be able to eradicate bad karma unless they take refuge in the Three Jewels.

Some people believe that their comprehension of the Buddhist sutras, which they take to be one and the same as the Dharma, is sufficient to enable them to advance directly to full enlightenment. They see no need to practice meditation or receive the Three Refuges. While this may have its appeal, it is a serious mistake.

The Buddhist sutras were taught by the Buddha and his disciples, and later collected and written down by members of the Sangha. Concentrating on these texts only yields a limited understanding of the Dharma Jewel. This would lead us to disregard the Buddha, who gave these teachings, and the Sangha, who spread the Dharma. Buddhism stresses the Dharma—the path which leads to the ending of suffering—only in conjunction with the Buddha and the Sangha. The three are inseparable. It is true that taking refuge requires investigation of the Buddha's teachings, but it also necessitates participation in the refuge ceremony, which must be conducted by a precept master, who is usually a member of the Sangha. This confers the formal recognition that you are a Buddhist.

Precept masters also began their practice by taking refuge in the Three Jewels. Each consecutive precept master represents the continuity of the transmission of the Dharma. No one can take refuge without a master; you cannot do it by yourself. In this sense, the ceremony is a testimony to the unity of the Three Jewels. In taking refuge in the Three Jewels, we recognize the Buddha for discovering the Dharma and our own Buddha within—our potential to liberation. We also recognize the transmitters of Dharma, the Sangha members throughout the ages. Through them we realize the Dharma.
   
« Last Edit: July 26, 2011, 01:07:40 am by t »

Offline Dharmakara

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Offline Will

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Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
« Reply #32 on: July 26, 2011, 08:28:23 am »
It is much to be preferred to take refuge from an experienced monastic, but if one cannot be found nearby, then Atisha gives a way to take refuge by oneself.  However, as soon as one finds a monastic refuge Master, one should go through the formal ceremony.

Quote
7
Facing a painted image of the Perfect Buddha,
Or in front of holy reliquaries and the like,
Give worship with flowers and incense
And whatever objects may be at hand.

8
Then with the Sevenfold Worship expressed
In the Deeds of Samantabhadra,
And a mind that does not turn back until
The Heart of Enlightenment is reached,

9
With great faith in the Three Jewels,
Bending knee to the ground,
And folding the hands
First take the Three Refuges thrice.

10
Then, because the Thought of Love for
All creatures is the prerequisite,
One looks out on all the world,
Suffering in death, transmigration,
And rebirth in the three bad destinies:

11
At sight of that suffering, one suffers;
And he who wants to free the world
From the very cause of such suffering,
Must beget this Thought of Enlightenment
That is pledged never to turn back.
From Lamp of the Path
The bodhi resolve is like empty space, this because its marvelous qualities are boundlessly vast.  Avatamsaka Sutra, ch. 39

Offline Will

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Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
« Reply #33 on: July 26, 2011, 09:15:42 am »
Master Hua on The True Meaning of Taking Refuge:

http://dharmaflower.net/_collection/3g-hsuhua.pdf
The bodhi resolve is like empty space, this because its marvelous qualities are boundlessly vast.  Avatamsaka Sutra, ch. 39

Offline ChangYuan

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Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
« Reply #34 on: July 26, 2011, 12:45:27 pm »
Also these:

Different Levels of the Three Jewels
http://www.dharmadrum.org/content/chan_garden/chan_garden3.aspx?sn=32

How to Take Refuge in the Three Jewels
http://www.dharmadrum.org/content/chan_garden/chan_garden3.aspx?sn=33

The Benefits to Taking Refuge
http://www.dharmadrum.org/content/chan_garden/chan_garden3.aspx?sn=34


Hey, thats my folks! When I get a chance, I,m going to take a picture of the card that Dharma Drum gave me after taking refuge. It shows the vows that we took.
地藏菩萨灭定业真言
OM BA LA MO LING TO NING SVAHA

Offline Will

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Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
« Reply #35 on: July 27, 2011, 04:42:49 pm »
Master Hua on The True Meaning of Taking Refuge:

http://dharmaflower.net/_collection/3g-hsuhua.pdf


An excerpt:

Quote
Those who have taken refuge before should not take refuge again. Why not?
1. This is to avoid the situation in Buddhism where people compete for disciples and harbor bad feelings toward one another. Because they compete for profit, people get very resentful and antagonistic. 2. If the people who take refuge are all people who have taken refuge before. Buddhism will not have any new blood. Buddhists who go "temple-hopping" can hardly be considered disciples of the Buddha. 3. I don't even have enough virtue to be able to accept as disciples those beginners who are taking refuge with the Triple Jewel for the first time, how much the less those who have already taken refuge. However, if someone who has already taken refuge has permission from his original teacher, or if his teacher has passed away, disappeared, or returned to lay-life, then I will accept him.

Each of you must be a true Buddhist. Don't be muddled in your practice of Buddhism. What's the point of taking refuge with so many teachers, if you don't have real faith in any of them? Use your Dharma-Selecting Vision. Don't just follow along blindly. Buddhists should not look for bargains. They should take more losses and not act exclusively in their own interests. The world is getting worse and worse because people are only concerned about themselves. Driven by desire for profit, people are constantly at each other's throats.
The bodhi resolve is like empty space, this because its marvelous qualities are boundlessly vast.  Avatamsaka Sutra, ch. 39

Offline ChangYuan

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Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
« Reply #36 on: July 28, 2011, 09:25:08 am »
Here is the refuge card from Dharma Drum mountain.

地藏菩萨灭定业真言
OM BA LA MO LING TO NING SVAHA

Offline Lobster

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Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
« Reply #37 on: September 01, 2012, 07:51:51 pm »
wonderful pointers made . . .

I am a buddhist and take refuge in the 3 jewels.

The Buddha. Which would be my own future self.  The wisdom inherent in those of integrity, which on occasion might include me . . . :D
The Dharma. Sutra, mantra, books, my study, your knowledge. Experience.
The Sangha. The company of the virtuous, the company of practitioners. Here. Through words. through presence. The representation of ideals.

how many more facets . . .  :buddha:

Offline hanuman38

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Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
« Reply #38 on: February 27, 2014, 05:58:46 pm »
I'll have an opportunity to take refuge vows soon and am really looking forward to it.  Thanks to all for the great information!

Offline ECS

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Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
« Reply #39 on: July 19, 2016, 06:17:32 pm »
Perhaps as one awaken to own existence and the natural process of Buddhism , one realize that every existence regardless living or non-living is all travelling in this natural process ......so regardless human / animal/ plant or Coca-Cola can is all Buddhist travelling in the natural process of Buddhism into the original state before existence - The Buddha ... so everything / anyone is Buddhist . The only one is not Buddhist is Buddha ... only Buddha is not Buddhist as in the state of Buddha no longer travelling in Buddhism process .

Offline Rahul

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Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
« Reply #40 on: June 11, 2017, 08:58:30 pm »
No rite or ritual matters. What matters is one's own resolve. Taking refuge by one's mental resolve is all that matters.

In what should one take refuge? If Buddha himself took refuge in Dharma, it is utmost important to consider the Dharma as the supreme refuge. Company of the like-minded people is another greatly beneficial thing. People are more disciplined and sincere in their efforts when in company of a like-minded group. Sincere, like-minded, and honest people practicing dharma - is what I call respectable sangha. Thus, taking refuge in sangha is second best thing. Buddha was a medium, he conveyed Dharma to us. Besides, Buddha is no longer among us. After such a long passage of time since Buddha's departure, Buddha has more or less become a myth, a mystery, a concept. And thus, Buddha comes third in this three jewels.

It might not be possible to find a sangha, or a good sangha, always. It is not really needed to take refuge in Buddha because he himself took refuge in Dharma. The only thing that always available to us, is understandable, and is highly beneficial of the three jewels is Dharma. Take refuge in Dharma, friends. Strive to realize Dharma.

Offline Rahul

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Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
« Reply #41 on: June 11, 2017, 09:03:07 pm »
Let us not indulge in myths that taking refuge confers special blessings and benefits. It is through one's own karma - efforts - that one acquires benefits, knowledge, freedom from suffering. If others could free us from our suffering, why didn't Buddha, with his supreme powers, set all the sentient beings free from all sufferings?

Let us refrain from consoling ourselves that we are secure or privileged just because we have taken refuge in jewels. Let us earn our own nirvana. Strive with mindfulness.

Offline Samana Johann

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Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
« Reply #42 on: June 11, 2017, 10:26:57 pm »
Its of course also one effort and kamma to be not in dependency of the juwels and if many beings would not be so "smart" they could have benefited from the Buddhas gift. Yet being smarter as the Buddha, of what refuge and support do they need and what they have been given and learnd, they think that they found it by them self... Rahul does good to be mindful enough not to become or be Rahu, since thats how Rahu have been also in the past.

Its not out of reason that a unshakeable refuge and virtue are sighns of the Noble Ones. All that is a matter of right view and not strpng wrong view.

Quote
from Upaddha Sutta

- Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammā-sambuddhassa -
...

It is in dependence on me as an admirable friend that beings subject to birth have gained release from birth, that beings subject to aging have gained release from aging, that beings subject to death have gained release from death, that beings subject to sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair have gained release from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. It is through this line of reasoning that one may know how admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life.


« Last Edit: June 11, 2017, 10:39:49 pm by Samana Johann »
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