FreeSangha - Buddhist Forum

A Mosaic of Traditions - One Virtual Sangha => Buddha Basics - Beginner Zone => Topic started by: Caz on July 12, 2011, 01:46:11 pm

Title: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: Caz on July 12, 2011, 01:46:11 pm
(http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_Nc7pFO7CIuE/TC52RV0rqJI/AAAAAAAAAaE/LvvN-IlDRnw/s1600/19241_106122012740814_100000290460216_150930_7192857_nn.jpg)

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:
Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: t on July 12, 2011, 08:30:24 pm
(http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2054/2463885007_3c28b72b7a.jpg)
Quote
Dhammapada: Buddhavagga ([url]http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/dhp/dhp.14.budd.html[/url])
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 ([url]http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn11/sn11.003.than.html[/url])
'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 ([url]http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an08/an08.026.than.html[/url])
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 ([url]http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an05/an05.175.than.html[/url])
"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."
Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: t on July 12, 2011, 08:48:34 pm
(http://losu.org/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/Buddha%20Ling%20Shan.jpg)
Quote
The Flower Adornment Sutra: Chapter 11: Pure Conduct ([url]http://cttbusa.org/avatamsaka/avatamsaka11.asp[/url])
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 ([url]http://www.sinc.sunysb.edu/Clubs/buddhism/huineng/huineng6.html[/url])
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 (http://www.dharmadrum.org/content/chan_garden/chan_garden2.aspx?sn=40)
Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: Dharmakara 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:



Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: Yeshe 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........................ ??






Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: Caz 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
Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: Dharmakara 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.



Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: Karma Dondrup Tashi 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.
Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: Caz 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.
Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: lowonthetotem 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.
Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: Sunya 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?
Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: lowonthetotem on July 21, 2011, 07:58:44 am
No, I mean Sila (morality).
Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: Sunya 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.
Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: Caz 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.
Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: lowonthetotem 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.
Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: Sunya on July 21, 2011, 08:38:47 am
Moral action that is not faith based is a source of confidence, for sure. I can personally attest to this as well. Although I don't take refuge, I practice what the Buddha taught (sila, prajna, samadhi). My question is: is refuge truly necessary for morality?
Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: Dharmakara on July 21, 2011, 09:40:16 am
The general concensus is that Refuge is required for one to consider themselves a "Buddhist", but moral action is by no means the exclusive property of Buddhism... it's the foundation of any practice or tradition that is inclusive and life-affirming, just like the spirit of the Bodhisattva ideal in general.

For example, even the Jainist triple gem mirrors the Buddhist version, with the exception that their's emphasises that ratnatraya is the right vision or view (Samyak Darshana), right knowledge (Samyak Gyana) and right conduct (Samyak Charitra), that this is their refuge.

My reply isn't related to what came first, the chicken or the egg, but the existence of a common theme.
Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: lowonthetotem on July 22, 2011, 06:39:30 am
Moral action that is not faith based is a source of confidence, for sure. I can personally attest to this as well. Although I don't take refuge, I practice what the Buddha taught (sila, prajna, samadhi). My question is: is refuge truly necessary for morality?
My response would be that you actually have taken refuge, at least in the Dharma and maybe the Buddha, but you just may not have gone through a ceremony or sought refuge in the Sangha. Buddhist and non-Buddhist are just labels. Whether it is necessary to formally take refuge really depends on the individual, just as different practices are more appropriate to some based on where they are in their life. It was necessary for me. It felt like a concrete starting point at a time when there wasn't much stability in my life, or even in my mind. Understanding that there was compassion in the world was difficult, and the compassion I felt during meditation by myself (in myself as well as for myself) and in a group that I found took on a very concrete characteristic that did not require any blind devotion. I don't think everyone needs that, but I don't think that nobody needs it either. I am not a fan of painting these issues with a broad brush or becoming "stern" or wrathful when people question them (although I have in the past). But, considering my own situation, I can see why people seek to defend these conventions passionately and emotionally. It was likely an important turning point for them as well. I think that the individuality and nuance of the Dharma is often painted over when we seek to reduce it to logic, reason, or universal necessity. It is here for everyone, so obviously there will be differing opinions about it all. Compassion is useful in understanding the roots of these differing opinions.
Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: Sunya on July 22, 2011, 03:02:06 pm
In the meditation group I attend, we'll occasionally recite the refuge vows (Buddham saranam gacchami, Dhammam saranam gacchami, Sangham saranam gacchami), but simply saying them does not mean I invest my full and undying trust in any of the above. As alluded to elsewhere on this forum, it would be inappropriate for someone like me to take refuge or claim to be a Buddhist. I do, however, take a deep interest in both practice and study.
Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: lowonthetotem on July 24, 2011, 01:44:29 am
Quote
simply saying them does not mean I invest my full and undying trust in any of the above.

Quote
I practice what the Buddha taught

Seems clear to me.
Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: Sunya on July 24, 2011, 07:27:27 am
Practice differs from belief.
Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: lowonthetotem on July 25, 2011, 06:15:33 am
Which is why I sought to stress the less faith/belief oriented aspect of Refuge, that is seeing an example of practice and wisdom within the Triple Jewel, or in one or more aspects of it. We take refuge in the Dharma, which is an instruction for for practice, not simply a philosophical exercise.

Still, a more basic question would be why would you practice what the Buddha taught if you did not believe in it, that is think it was worth practicing?

If calling it refuge bothers you somehow, then you don't have to call it that. I just think it happens to be a distinction without a difference. There are many other examples of morality that you could use; Christ, Zoroaster, the law of the land. But you did specifically say that you practiced what the Buddha taught. Just saying.
Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: Sunya on July 25, 2011, 07:58:09 am
Which is why I sought to stress the less faith/belief oriented aspect of Refuge, that is seeing an example of practice and wisdom within the Triple Jewel, or in one or more aspects of it. We take refuge in the Dharma, which is an instruction for for practice, not simply a philosophical exercise.

Still, a more basic question would be why would you practice what the Buddha taught if you did not believe in it, that is think it was worth practicing?

If calling it refuge bothers you somehow, then you don't have to call it that. I just think it happens to be a distinction without a difference. There are many other examples of morality that you could use; Christ, Zoroaster, the law of the land. But you did specifically say that you practiced what the Buddha taught. Just saying.

You do understand that there are teachings the Buddha gave which can't be practiced as much as they can be believed?

I find immense value in the practical aspects of the Buddha's teachings, which I've observed to have a positive impact in my own life. I find the Buddha's ethics stronger than those of other religious teachers. I am fond of most of what he taught, while very little of what many others have taught interests me as much.

Yet there remain those who claim the Buddha taught the existence of cosmological realms and other things I believe have no utility for me. In my reading of the Sutta Pitaka and Mahayana Sutras, the textual evidence in support of this abounds. I don't believe there are heavens such as Tushita, Purelands such as Sukhavati, hells such as Avici, devas, asuras, pretas, or that rebirth is an irrefutable fact of life. I take the above to be metaphorical (except for rebirth, which I find considerably more plausible, yet still unnecessary as a belief). These things may very well exist, but I find no reason to believe in them.

I do not believe the Buddha was omniscient and infallible. I do not take every word he is said to have spoken as Truth (capital "T"). I do not believe that simply because the Buddha said something, it must be so.

In another thread, it was suggested that it wouldn't make sense to take refuge and then refute that refuge. I refute the idea that the Buddha was perfect in every possible way. Would it be reasonable to take refuge in teachings, which taken as a whole, I do not accept? I believe that would make me a hypocrite of sorts. This is why I don't take refuge.
Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: Spiny Norman on July 25, 2011, 08:06:48 am
... we'll occasionally recite the refuge vows (Buddham saranam gacchami, Dhammam saranam gacchami, Sangham saranam gacchami).

I've been chanting those every day for many years...hopefully it will eventually sink in. :wink1:

Spiny
Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: lowonthetotem on July 25, 2011, 09:42:27 am
Which is why I sought to stress the less faith/belief oriented aspect of Refuge, that is seeing an example of practice and wisdom within the Triple Jewel, or in one or more aspects of it. We take refuge in the Dharma, which is an instruction for for practice, not simply a philosophical exercise.

Still, a more basic question would be why would you practice what the Buddha taught if you did not believe in it, that is think it was worth practicing?

If calling it refuge bothers you somehow, then you don't have to call it that. I just think it happens to be a distinction without a difference. There are many other examples of morality that you could use; Christ, Zoroaster, the law of the land. But you did specifically say that you practiced what the Buddha taught. Just saying.

You do understand that there are teachings the Buddha gave which can't be practiced as much as they can be believed?

I find immense value in the practical aspects of the Buddha's teachings, which I've observed to have a positive impact in my own life. I find the Buddha's ethics stronger than those of other religious teachers. I am fond of most of what he taught, while very little of what many others have taught interests me as much.

Yet there remain those who claim the Buddha taught the existence of cosmological realms and other things I believe have no utility for me. In my reading of the Sutta Pitaka and Mahayana Sutras, the textual evidence in support of this abounds. I don't believe there are heavens such as Tushita, Purelands such as Sukhavati, hells such as Avici, devas, asuras, pretas, or that rebirth is an irrefutable fact of life. I take the above to be metaphorical (except for rebirth, which I find considerably more plausible, yet still unnecessary as a belief). These things may very well exist, but I find no reason to believe in them.

I do not believe the Buddha was omniscient and infallible. I do not take every word he is said to have spoken as Truth (capital "T"). I do not believe that simply because the Buddha said something, it must be so.

In another thread, it was suggested that it wouldn't make sense to take refuge and then refute that refuge. I refute the idea that the Buddha was perfect in every possible way. Would it be reasonable to take refuge in teachings, which taken as a whole, I do not accept? I believe that would make me a hypocrite of sorts. This is why I don't take refuge.
I think that there are schools of Buddhism that would agree with you on most if not all of that. As far as taking Refuge and then refuting it, I think that this happens more when people enjoy the idea of Buddhism, take refuge, and then don't really put it into practice. As I also mentioned in another thread, I tend to think people have reasons for beleiving what they believe and what they don't, even if it is in conflict with what I believe. I think many people approach Buddhism with an absolutism that runs counter to what the teachings intended. In my logical mind, I think the only real teachings we can ascribe to the Buddha, or as being entirely necessary to Buddhist practice, are the 4NT's, which necessarily include the 8FP. It is clear to me that even the Pali cannon had multiple contributors. However, my own practice requires that I take a much less of a logical approach, since my logic never really helped me with the many problems that I have. I my case logic often becomes an obstacle to practice, whereas belief and faith has become a way of removing the obstacles. I understand that is not necessary for everyone.
Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: Will on July 25, 2011, 02:35:06 pm
I find it's hard to take refuge in the sangha - I had a bad experience with one sangha and had to change groups.

Refuge is taken in the Arya Sangha of the 8 Mahasattvas like Avalokita, Vajrapani, Manjushri, Samantabhadra et al; not in the monastic sangha.  See the Uttaratantra section 4 on the "irreversible Bodhisattvas" that are worthy to take Refuge in.
Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: Will on July 25, 2011, 02:54:13 pm
For a much deeper view of the Three Jewels, ponder on this text:  http://bibleoteca.narod.ru/uttaratantra.pdf (http://bibleoteca.narod.ru/uttaratantra.pdf)
Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: t on July 25, 2011, 07:35:04 pm
Quote
I find it's hard to take refuge in the sangha - I had a bad experience with one sangha and had to change groups.
Quote
[url]http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn11/sn11.003.than.html[/url] ([url]http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn11/sn11.003.than.html[/url])
'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 [1] — 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.'

[1]
The four pairs are
(1) the person on the path to stream-entry, the person experiencing the fruit of Stream-entry;
(2) the person on the path to once-returning, the person experiencing the fruit of Once-returning;
(3) the person on the path to non-returning, the person experiencing the fruit of Non-returning;
(4) the person on the path to arahantship, the person experiencing the fruit of Arahantship.
The eight individuals are the eight types forming these four pairs.

In the Mahayana scheme, I guess you could also add in those on & experiencing the fruit of the Bodhisattva Path...
Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: Gesar on July 25, 2011, 09:51:29 pm
Who did the Buddha take refuge in?
I've never been to a sangha that offered refuge vows. That hasn't stopped me from practicing and learning.  :hmmm:
Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: t on July 26, 2011, 12:32:32 am
Quote
Who did the Buddha take refuge in?

Garava Sutta (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn06/sn06.002.than.html)
Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: t 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
[url]http://www.dharmadrum.org/content/chan_garden/chan_garden2.aspx?sn=40[/url] ([url]http://www.dharmadrum.org/content/chan_garden/chan_garden2.aspx?sn=40[/url])
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.
   
Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: Dharmakara on July 26, 2011, 01:24:30 am
Also these:

Different Levels of the Three Jewels
http://www.dharmadrum.org/content/chan_garden/chan_garden3.aspx?sn=32 (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 (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 (http://www.dharmadrum.org/content/chan_garden/chan_garden3.aspx?sn=34)

Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: Will 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
Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: Will on July 26, 2011, 09:15:42 am
Master Hua on The True Meaning of Taking Refuge:

http://dharmaflower.net/_collection/3g-hsuhua.pdf (http://dharmaflower.net/_collection/3g-hsuhua.pdf)
Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: ChangYuan on July 26, 2011, 12:45:27 pm
Also these:

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

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

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


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.
Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: Will on July 27, 2011, 04:42:49 pm
Master Hua on The True Meaning of Taking Refuge:

[url]http://dharmaflower.net/_collection/3g-hsuhua.pdf[/url] ([url]http://dharmaflower.net/_collection/3g-hsuhua.pdf[/url])


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.
Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: ChangYuan on July 28, 2011, 09:25:08 am
Here is the refuge card from Dharma Drum mountain.

(http://img694.imageshack.us/img694/682/img20110727185748.th.jpg) (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/694/img20110727185748.jpg/)(http://img851.imageshack.us/img851/6554/img20110727185756.th.jpg) (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/851/img20110727185756.jpg/)
Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: Lobster 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:
Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: hanuman38 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!
Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: ECS 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 .
Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: Rahul 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.
Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: Rahul 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.
Title: Re: Taking Refuge: The way to become a Buddhist.
Post by: Samana Johann 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 (http://zugangzureinsicht.org/html/lib/authors/piyadassi/protection_en.html#s9) 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 (http://zugangzureinsicht.org/html/tipitaka/mn/mn.117.than_en.html#s1).

Quote
from Upaddha Sutta ([url]http://zugangzureinsicht.org/html/tipitaka/sn/sn45/sn45.002.than_en.html[/url])

- Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammā-sambuddhassa - ([url]http://zugangzureinsicht.org/html/homage_en.html[/url])
...

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.


SimplePortal 2.3.3 © 2008-2010, SimplePortal