Author Topic: Tell us about the first time (or best time) that you took triple gem refuge.  (Read 2620 times)

Offline Monkey Mind

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In another thread, someone was wondering about whether or not to participate in a refuge ceremony. The details of triple gem refuge vary from one tradition to the next, and the decision to accept refuge is a personal one. I thought it might be helpful if we share, as a group, what triple gem refuge was like for each of us, so that we can benefit from the diversity of this auspicious occasion.

Was there a ceremony? Was it a private occasion, or did you take refuge as part of a group? How did you come to the conclusion that you wanted to take refuge? Did your Sangha require anything in the form of a prerequisite? For those who have not taken refuge: why not?

Chaz

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Ok, I'll bite.

I took Refuge with the Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche as preceptor at the Nalandabodhi sangha house in Boulder.

I had taken a series of classes at the Shambhala center in preparation for a ceremony where Acharya Dale Asrael was to be preceptor a couple years earlier, but backed out at pretty much the last minute.

Anyway, the experience was pretty low-key.  There was no classes to take nor any recommended reading.  The instruction was "be there at 6:30 pm for practice, the cushions up front are for those taking vows.  Rinpoche will arrive around 7:00 and the ceremony will commence.".  I got there at 6:30 and DPR arrived at 7:00. First he gave a short talk on the meaning of Refuge. Then we took our vows as a group, 3 times.  At the end of the third recitation DPR snapped his fingers marking the moment we actually became Buddhists.  Then we were instructed to come forward for a hair-cutting and our Dharma name.  I was called on first.  My right leg had fallen asleep and I couldn't get up and walk to Rinpoche.  It never occurred to me to crawl.  Rinpoche was understanding and left me to work with the others while the feeling came back into my leg.  I finally was able to go up.  Rinpoche, using a scissors, cut a single hair from my head, signifying the cutting of ties to Samsara.  He then handed me a document with my Dharma name - Ösal Chöden - and taught me how to pronounce it correctly.  We then dedicated the merit and were done.  I was "offically" a Buddhist.

This also marked my first face-to-face meeting with Ponlop Rinpoche.  I had been reading some of his teaching off the Nalandabodhi web site and felt that there was a real connection there.  When he entered the room I felt a certain sense of intimate familiarity although we had never met let alone spoken to one another (at least in this life).  I knew in that moment that this man was my Guru - a relationship that was formalized a year later.

I had a second meeting with him a few days later, taking my part in a group interview.  I had two questions for him.  The second was the meaning of the name he had given me.  He replied that it means "Luminosity Dharma Bearer".  In retrospect, that name is a lot to live up to.  I don't feel particularly luminous.  I don't think I qualify as a bearer of Dharma right now.  In spite of that, it's still a worthy aspiration.

All-in-all it was both an auspicious occaision and a true blessing.  May all beings benefit.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2010, 05:02:56 pm by Chaz »

Offline humanitas

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The first time I took refuge in the triple gem was February 2009.  I had come to a place where I just broke down, what I'd been trying to do wasn't working, I needed a correct method.  So I finally bit my pride and took refuge from the deepest sincerity in my heart.  I was finally admitting I needed help.  I was deeply moved by the simple experience of bowing 3 times in front of my little tiny laughing buddha statue, and repeating the refuge prayer three times and bowing again at the end while burning a stick of sandalwood incense with lotus mala beads that someone had given to me ages ago (it was symbolic of the first time I received a symbol of such holy purity and I didn't know it for the longest time...)

it was a rather uneventful happening, it lasted a few minutes at most, and I meditated afterwards.  I began to honor my practice by sitting for real for the first time.  I really meant it.

Then in November I took refuge with Lama Dawa, and there's more on that here.

 :headbow:
« Last Edit: January 04, 2010, 05:42:26 pm by 0gyen Chodzom »
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Offline Monkey Mind

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I just cannot do anything othodox, and this was no different.
The first time I took refuge: I had claimed to be a Buddhist since I was 14, because I had read some books about Buddhism. When I was 18, I was living for a year in a foreign country. On December 25 I had an all around crappy Christmas, and I walked into town at 9 pm to see if they local village had any special celebrations for Christmas. (I was looking for a pub that was open, actually.) To my surprise, there was an "all ages" party at one pub, with live bands. I joined the merriment, and discovered a friend/ acquaintance of mine was the one who organized the party. He was a total do-gooder, volunteered for all kinds of "save the world" causes. He explained that over the last few years youth crime had gone up dramatically on Christmas night, many young people would spend that night vandalizing, stealing, causing havoc. He was hoping to create an event that would give the youth something else to do. He had approached local churches to fund the event, but all said no. Instead he receive his funding from a local Buddhist group. "Their only request was that we could not serve alcohol at the event." I asked him, "You said there were Buddhist monks here?" They were not actually monks but laity, and they were not in the bar but were gathered around an outdoor heater on a covered patio, behind the pub. I asked them how to become "a real Buddhist", and they taught me the verses of triple gem refuge. So that was my first refuge ceremony, behind a bar on Christmas night to a soundtrack of punk rock music. It never occurred to me to ask them what lineage they followed, and I have wondered that to this day. I am thinking they followed Thich Nhat Hanh and the Plum Villiage? (This was in Europe.)

When I was 23, I told that story to a friend of mine, and she said, "That simply won't do!" She was from Nepal, and apparently her family maintained a temple. She set up her alter and lit candles and incense, had me wash my feet, she wrapped a white silk scarf around my neck and body, and led me in a formal ceremony.

In the Theravada tradition, I repeat refuge almost every week.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2010, 07:53:35 pm by Monkey Mind »

TMingyur

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I wanted to take refuge and called a local center to schedule it.

Kind regards

Offline santamonicacj

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This isn't my story but I was there:

A woman took refuge with our local lama. Evidently as it was being given to her she had the impression (vision?) that all the people that had ever taken refuge were there witnessing the event. She told the lama about it. He gave her some blessing pills and she got somewhat, umm, well, err, uh, high off the blessing pills. I know those pills. They are nothing but herbs.

I'd never heard of anything like that before, or since. Pretty weird.
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 Monkey Mind

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Okay, now I am wondering... Blessing pills?   :confuzed:

Offline humanitas

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 :cheesy: I just call them happy pills...  :chill:

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TMingyur

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seems like an overdose of blessings  :namaste:

Chokyi Wangpo

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like the karmapa's pills?

Offline santamonicacj

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Okay, now I am wondering... Blessing pills?   :confuzed:
I've had them. Herbs. They do nothing discernable to me. Like blessing chords or strings.
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 santamonicacj

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like the karmapa's pills?
What kind of pills did the Karmapa have?
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.


 


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