Author Topic: Should I take refuge?  (Read 3235 times)

Offline KarmaPolice

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Should I take refuge?
« on: December 30, 2009, 08:51:47 pm »
I received a newsletter from a local Tibetan temple, saying that His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche will be staying at the temple for a few days, with a refuge-taking ceremony being held on one of them. I've wanted to take refuge formally--as I've only taken it on my own--and I am quite excited, as His Eminence is a renowned teacher. But, I also have reservations, because we've never met, and so I have no relationship with him. In some ways, it seems as though it would be better to take refuge with a teacher whom I had developed a relationship. What do you think?
Breathing in, we are born
Breathing out, we die
Our life, lasting but the space between them
A mere moment, in an infinite history


Attachment is a choice. The choice to be free of attachment has existed from the moment we first made the choice to be attached. We just get so used to making choices based on attachment that we never realize that we're actually making choices at all.

Chokyi Wangpo

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Re: Should I take refuge?
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2009, 09:17:05 pm »
I think that no one can decide that but you.

Offline KarmaPolice

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Re: Should I take refuge?
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2009, 09:29:32 pm »
I agree. Still, I would like some opinions on this situation anyway. :)
Breathing in, we are born
Breathing out, we die
Our life, lasting but the space between them
A mere moment, in an infinite history


Attachment is a choice. The choice to be free of attachment has existed from the moment we first made the choice to be attached. We just get so used to making choices based on attachment that we never realize that we're actually making choices at all.

Offline humanitas

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Re: Should I take refuge?
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2009, 09:48:04 pm »
Taking refuge is a bit like losing your virginity.  It may or may not matter whom it happens with.  I took refuge with a lama I'd never met in person, but spent time getting to know through his website, teachings, and he's an "instructor" for the sangha where I go, but he is not resident, he only visits once a year.  It is very common for people to take refuge with teachers they don't know so well, considering you can walk into a monastery and say you want to take refuge and they can do a little ceremony.  Basically taking refuge is something you do in your mind, and the formal vows or what have you are just a symbol. 

The question is do you want to embrace the Buddhist path as the one for you?  If you do, then take refuge.  Taking refuge is a bit like getting married, if you don't mean it it won't last.  And like marriage you re-commit often (as often as moment to moment), or it's empty and you'll head for divorce.  Since it's so personal, my advice is that if you mean it (following this path), then good bad ugly wonderful, you promise to never ever ever ever give up on yourself and you will keep trying to follow the path to reducing your self-importance and growing your joy till the day you are free of all the influence samsara has on you and you awaken.  If you aren't sure, take your time, what's the hurry.  I took refuge on my own in Feb 09 of this year, at home, said the refuge prayer 3 times and bowed to the Buddha.  It was informal, nondescript, and completely just my promise to myself that I'd come home to sanity and my mind and I'd do by practicing the teachings in the Dharma.   Since I've discovered my connection I've been an assiduous student.  My actual refuge ceremony with a teacher and becoming part of the rich lineage of my teachers wasn't till last month when I finally got to meet the lama I'd waited nearly a year to meet.   

If you don't have a tradition, you may or may not opt to choose one, but whichever tradition you take refuge with is where you'll get your refuge name.  So if zen, probably a Japanese name, if tibetan then a tibetan name, etc etc.  I think of traditions much like families, the ones that call to you the most are probably the ones you've had most rebirths and kinship with.  In a way you could say your previous aspirations and karmic conditions have created this affinity to this lineage/school.  This is purely my speculation, not any factual data.  While I love all traditions, Tibetan is finally where I sense my main family is.  But Zen has a special place in my heart and Theravada is developing a very very special space in my mind.  However, Tibetan is finally where my heart connection is.  So that's where I took refuge.

I'm not sure if this helps, and I'm not telling you anything about how I went about it for any other reason but to share a different experience/perspective with you in case it might benefit your progress on this path.  I think there are many ways to get to the dharmic path, any one you choose will finally be pointing in the same direction as any other, the cessation of suffering.  After all, it's all dharma.   :heart:
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Offline KarmaPolice

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Re: Should I take refuge?
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2009, 09:56:34 pm »
Thanks for the wonderful post, 0gyen. :)

Quote
The question is do you want to embrace the Buddhist path as the one for you?  If you do, then take refuge.  Taking refuge is a bit like getting married, if you don't mean it it won't last.  And like marriage you re-commit often (as often as moment to moment), or it's empty and you'll head for divorce.  Since it's so personal, my advice is that if you mean it (following this path), then good bad ugly wonderful, you promise to never ever ever ever give up on yourself and you will keep trying to follow the path to reducing your self-importance and growing your joy till the day you are free of all the influence samsara has on you and you awaken.
I can't say where I will be or what views I will hold in the future, but in this moment, I am devoted fully to the practice of Dharma.

Quote
If you don't have a tradition, you may or may not opt to choose one, but whichever tradition you take refuge with is where you'll get your refuge name.
I am not committed to any one tradition as of right now. I'd prefer to take my time and wait until I am more experienced. Still, I don't mind taking refuge in a specific tradition; it's all dharma anyway.

Thanks again. :)
Breathing in, we are born
Breathing out, we die
Our life, lasting but the space between them
A mere moment, in an infinite history


Attachment is a choice. The choice to be free of attachment has existed from the moment we first made the choice to be attached. We just get so used to making choices based on attachment that we never realize that we're actually making choices at all.

Chokyi Wangpo

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Re: Should I take refuge?
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2009, 11:48:34 pm »
Well let me ask you this then: Why do you want to take refuge?

TMingyur

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Re: Should I take refuge?
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2009, 05:07:10 am »
In some ways, it seems as though it would be better to take refuge with a teacher whom I had developed a relationship. What do you think?
That you have stated your view and that you should act accordingly.

Kind regards

Offline Pema Rigdzin

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Re: Should I take refuge?
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2010, 05:47:03 am »
I agree. Still, I would like some opinions on this situation anyway. :)
It doesn't matter what lama you take refuge with, because the lama is only performing the ceremony; you're taking refuge in the 3 Jewels no matter who performs the ceremony. One is only required to maintain a respectful view of the preceptor, not form a guru/disciple relationship. I would still recommend checking the lama out to make sure he's legit, only because Buddhism places great importance on authentic, unbroken lineage going back to the Buddha.

That said, the idea of Buddhist refuge is that it is taken when one has come to the conclusion, from deep within, that the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha are the only guides capable of leading one to liberation from samsara and complete enlightenment, and that therefore one will no longer look elsewhere for such guidance. One can turn to other sources for mundane help, and one can (and should) still respect other religious and philosophical traditions, but one must maintain paramount respect for the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha as the source, content, and companions on the path, respectively. If you're very interested in the Dharma but don't have this sort of irreversible confidence in the 3 Jewels, it's best not to take refuge and pronounce something you may just end up breaking, but instead keep learning, contemplating, and meditating on what you find beneficial in Buddhism and see where it takes you.

If you do gain this confidence in the 3 Jewels later and wish to take refuge, basically that confidence and that wish constitutes the authentic taking of refuge, not mere participation in some ceremony, even though the ceremony is good to do. Until you have that confidence in the 3 Jewels, attending the refuge ceremony alone won't mean you've taken refuge.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2010, 05:49:24 am by Pema Rigdzin »

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Should I take refuge?
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2010, 10:50:13 am »
Bhikkhu Samahita suggests we consider renewing our refuge vows each Poya day:

Quote
Friends:

How to be a Real  Buddhist through Observance?

Il Poya day is this full-moon day of November. This sacred day celebrates:
1: The Buddha Gotama's declaration of the next Buddha Metteyya.
2: The sending out in the world of the 60 missionary Arahats   
3: The passing away of the general of the Dhamma: Sariputta.
4: The Buddha's 1st explanation of Anapanasati Breathing Meditation.

More on the Significance of Il Poya Day:
http://What-Buddha-Said.net/drops/III/The_Importance_of_Il_Poya.htm


The next Buddha Metteyya: The Friendly One!

More on this last perfectly self-enlightened one in this universe: Metteyya!
The Coming Buddha: Ariya Metteyya. Sayagyi U Chit Tin: BPS Wheel 381/383
http://What-Buddha-Said.net/library/Metteyya/arimet00.htm

         

On how to meet Buddha Metteyya in the future:
http://What-Buddha-Said.net/drops/IV/How-2-Meet_Buddha_Metteyya.htm

On such Full-Moon Uposatha Poya Observance days:
Any Lay Buddhist simply joins the Three Refuges and undertakes the
Five Precepts like this: Newly bathed, shaved, white-clothed, with clean
bare feet, one kneels at a shrine with a Buddha-statue, and bows first
three times, so that feet, hands, elbows, knees & head touch the floor.
Then, with joined palms at the heart, one recites these memorized lines
in a loud, calm & steady voice:

As long as this life lasts:
I hereby take refuge in the Buddha.   
I hereby take refuge in the Dhamma.
I hereby take refuge in the Sangha.
I hereby seek shelter in the Buddha for the 2nd time.
I hereby seek shelter in the Dhamma for the 2nd time.
I hereby seek shelter in the Sangha for the 2nd time.
I hereby request protection from the Buddha for the 3rd time.
I hereby request protection from the Dhamma for the 3rd time.
I hereby request protection from the Sangha for the 3rd time.
I will hereby respect these Three Jewels the rest of my life!

I accept to respect & undertake these 5 training rules: 
I hereby accept the training rule of avoiding all Killing.
I hereby accept the training rule of avoiding all Stealing.
I hereby accept the training rule of avoiding all Sexual Abuse.
I hereby accept the training rule of avoiding all Dishonesty.
I hereby accept the training rule of avoiding all Alcohol & Drugs.
As long as this life lasts, I am thus protected by these 5 precepts...

Then, one keeps and protects these sacred vows better than one's
own eyes & children!, since they protect you & all other beings much
better than any army! They are the highest offer one can give in & to
this world! So is the start towards Nibbāna: the Deathless Element!
This is the Noble Way to Peace, to Freedom, to Ease, to Happiness,
initiated by Morality, developed further by Dhamma-Study and
fulfilled by training of Meditation...

Today indeed is Pooya or Uposatha or observance day, where any lay
Buddhist normally keeps even the Eight Precepts from sunrise until the
next dawn... If any wish an official recognition by the Bhikkhu-Sangha,
they may simply forward the lines starting with "I hereby ..." signed with
name, date, town & country to me or join here.  A public list of this new
quite rapidly growing global Saddhamma-Sangha is set up here!

The True Noble Community of Buddha's Disciples: Saddhamma Sangha:       
http://What-Buddha-Said.net/sangha/Saddhamma_Sangha.htm

Can quite advantageously be Joined Here:
http://What-Buddha-Said.net/sangha/Sangha_Entry.htm

May your journey hereby be light, swift and sweet. Never give up !!

Bhikkhu Samahita: what.buddha.said@gmail.com

For Details on The Origin of Uposatha Observance Days:     
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/uposatha.html

Have a nice Poya day!

 
Friendship is the Greatest!
Bhikkhu Samāhita _/\_ Sri Lanka ]
http://What-Buddha-Said.net

Il Poya: The coming Buddha Metteyya!

 


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May all beings become thus Happy!
Friendship is the GREATEST!
Have a Nice Day!
 
Bhikkhu Samahita
Ceylon   
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline santamonicacj

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Re: Should I take refuge?
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2010, 11:55:45 am »
My  :twocents:

You don't need to have a relationship with the person you take refuge with, but if you do that is nice. To me it is not so much as getting married as getting accepted to school. It's a start. What matters is what you do with it after that.

I don't stand firmly behind this, just sort of a perspective of the moment.
Warning: I'm enough of a fundamentalist Tibet style Buddhist to believe that for the last 1,000 years Tibet has produced a handful of enlightened masters in every generation. I do not ask that YOU believe it, but it will greatly simplify conversations if you understand that about me. Thanks.

Offline dhammaseeker51

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Re: Should I take refuge?
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2010, 12:02:12 pm »
How can you say you have no relationship to him?
You both share the dhamma, the Buddhas priceless teachings, isn't that is enough. You share an uncommon path towards enlightenment. Wonderful !
Of all the millions of people in the world, you both have this in common. Its a rare jewel.
Meeting other Buddhists I feel an affinity for them straight away, and a smile comes to my face.
If its what you want, go for it!
with Metta

Offline humanitas

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Re: Should I take refuge?
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2010, 12:31:40 pm »
Anytime someone takes refuge I rejoice for them for joining a family of people who have decided to do something really brave - start their path to liberate themselves from their suffering for the benefit of all sentient beings.
 :headbow:
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Offline santamonicacj

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Re: Should I take refuge?
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2010, 12:42:43 pm »
I hope my previous post did not give the impression that I thought Taking Refuge was an insignificant or trivial action.
Taking Refuge is an important event. I just meant to convey that your Refuge Lama may or may not be an important relationship in your Dharma career.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2010, 12:47:55 pm by santamonicacj »
Warning: I'm enough of a fundamentalist Tibet style Buddhist to believe that for the last 1,000 years Tibet has produced a handful of enlightened masters in every generation. I do not ask that YOU believe it, but it will greatly simplify conversations if you understand that about me. Thanks.

Offline Ngawang Drolma

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Re: Should I take refuge?
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2010, 01:35:47 pm »
I received a newsletter from a local Tibetan temple, saying that His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche will be staying at the temple for a few days, with a refuge-taking ceremony being held on one of them. I've wanted to take refuge formally--as I've only taken it on my own--and I am quite excited, as His Eminence is a renowned teacher. But, I also have reservations, because we've never met, and so I have no relationship with him. In some ways, it seems as though it would be better to take refuge with a teacher whom I had developed a relationship. What do you think?

You've identified that you want to take formal refuge, so that part isn't in question.  It will just be a matter of who and when.  I've taken teachings from Gar Rinpoche and I must say, this is an awesome opportunity!  Though you haven't met him before, having the chance to meet with him now and even take refuge with him could be such a blessing. 

For me, just remembering a brief moment when we bumped into each other outside the restrooms still makes me grin.  He smiled at me and bowed his head slightly, and he smiled at me like he knew me, with almost a little laugh.  I've never seen eyes and a smile like his!  Whether you go through with the ceremony or not, I'm so happy for you that this opportunity presented itself.  It's a good thing and only positive.  Please keep us posted on what you decide to do  :bow:

Offline Monkey Mind

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Re: Should I take refuge?
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2010, 03:03:03 pm »
The decision to take refuge is very personal, and the details of how to take refuge vary from one tradition to the next. My first suggestion is to seek some guidance from that specific Tibetan Sangha. Can anyone participate in the refuge ceremony, or are there prerequisites for the ceremony (e.g. participation in an orientation class first)?

My other suggestion is that maybe we can open this discussion up, and ask other members to share the story of their first triple gem refuge. That way you can witness the depth and breadth of this occasion, and how it is done in different traditions. So, on that note... I will start another thread.

 


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