Formally Taking Refuge for the first time

Discuss your personal experience with the Dharma here. How has it enriched your life? What challenges does it present?

Formally Taking Refuge for the first time

Postby duckfiasco » Wed Nov 07, 2012 3:11 am

I'd like to formally take refuge in the Three Jewels at the local Karma Kagyu center on January 1st.

Could you wonderful people please share your personal experiences taking refuge for the first time?

And is there any advice you would share?

Thank you very much. :heart:
Namu Amida Butsu
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Re: Formally Taking Refuge for the first time

Postby Ayu » Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:24 am

Congratulation.
Take it as something wonderful in your life and be chearful.


I took refuge at a time when there was nobody else in need to take refuge. So i got a date with my lama and his translator, just we three, and i took refuge there. Later i realized how very special this was.
The lama made a very severe face during the ceremony. This confused me because he is always a very kind, friendly and laughing person. I was anxious if i was doing anything wrong.
But later i understood his attitude as a message that this was something very special. I am really his desciple, i am really willing to follow this path and this ist something severe.
But extremely good. :smile:
Metta, Karuna, Mudita, Upekha
*** om vajra krodha hayagrīva hulu hulu hūm phat**
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Re: Formally Taking Refuge for the first time

Postby alpha » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:54 am

duckfiasco wrote:And is there any advice you would share?

Thank you very much. :heart:


You dont need a refuge ceremony to enable you to take refuge in the path.
Your ability to go for refuge is present right here right now.
This understanding is the real game changer when it comes to fostering a deep trust in the teaching.

They will give you a name .Will that change anything?
I doubt it.
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Re: Formally Taking Refuge for the first time

Postby JKhedrup » Wed Nov 07, 2012 1:03 pm

I would suggest bringing some notepaper and a pen. Many lamas will an explanation of the meaning and commitments of refuge during such a ceremony, as well as some personal, individual advice if it is a private setting.
Many lamas give names but not all. I have translated a few of these ceremonies and when there is less time Geshe Sonam usually doesn't give a name, though he will if people insist.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: Formally Taking Refuge for the first time

Postby justsit » Wed Nov 07, 2012 8:16 pm

My personal experience about formally taking refuge, per your request...

My cousin from the West Coast and I (East coast) reconnected in 2006 and discovered we'd both been studying Buddhism, but neither of us had a teacher or had taken refuge. So we decided we needed to see a teacher, and one just happened to be offering a two-night teaching that weekend about 1 1/2 hour drive away. So we went. The first night was nothing spectacular, very basic, but the second night was a wowie. (We're up to 6 hours of driving so far...) At the very end of the second evening's talk, the teacher mentioned he would be giving refuge vows the next day (a Monday), at a different center, almost 2 hours away. I was very excited, and decided right then I would go. My cousin had a commitment on Monday and couldn't come, so I went by myself. When I found the place, it turned out to be a Karma Kagyu center serving an almost exclusively Chinese sangha. There were maybe three or four non-Chinese people there. I had no idea what to do, so just followed everyone else into the shrine hall, sat on a cushion, and waited. Apparently, unbeknownst to the newbie, there was also an empowerment (uh, what?) being given (who knew?) and the refuge was afterwards. The program was taught in Tibetan with Chinese translation, not one word of English.
So I sat, and just tried to open my heart, and waited to the end, when someone asked those who wanted to take refuge to come forward. I joined the line (head and shoulders above everyone else!) and went up, got a haircut and a new name, and took refuge. From that moment on, the rest of the day is a complete blur. I managed to drive home (another 2 hours), but don't remember one thing about it.
BTW, the teacher was Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche. I found out later who he is, and that the empowerment I received was Karma Pakshi. I am forever grateful to Rinpoche for the great gift he gave me, for my refuge, and for my guru whom I met the following year; I am indeed a lucky student.

So - my suggestions to you would be to just go and open your heart, go with great willingness and fearlessness and compassion - and maybe take someone with you to drive you home. Best of luck to you on your journey.
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Re: Formally Taking Refuge for the first time

Postby duckfiasco » Wed Nov 07, 2012 8:41 pm

Thank you!

I do take refuge several times a day before I meditate. I imagine a crowd of sentient beings around me whose benefit I'm taking the refuge for, and buddhas and boddhisatvas in front of me that are the refuge. Doing so formally from a lama in front of friends and family seems to be an important next step, however. I've also read that practice without this important step can be like trying to fill a bucket with water, but that there are many holes in the bottom so it's a lot harder than it needs to be.

JKhedrup wrote:I would suggest bringing some notepaper and a pen. Many lamas will an explanation of the meaning and commitments of refuge during such a ceremony, as well as some personal, individual advice if it is a private setting.
Many lamas give names but not all. I have translated a few of these ceremonies and when there is less time Geshe Sonam usually doesn't give a name, though he will if people insist.

Thank you, I wouldn't have thought of this!

The tricky part seems to be how to explain what this means to the people I invite, in terms that people with no knowledge of Buddhism can understand. I'm hoping the ceremony can plant some seeds for them, which is more likely if they have some notion of what's taking place.
Namu Amida Butsu
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Re: Formally Taking Refuge for the first time

Postby waimengwan » Mon Nov 12, 2012 7:54 pm

Hold on to your vows and commitments it will help you avoid a negative rebirth. And congratulations you are formally a Buddhist.
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Re: Formally Taking Refuge for the first time

Postby duckfiasco » Mon Nov 12, 2012 9:34 pm

Maybe a silly question, but are the lay precepts involved in taking refuge as well? It seems like you can't very well take refuge in the Three Jewels then go seek refuge in a bottle of booze or in some attractive person's body. I'm not sure if the precepts are less of a big deal in Tibetan Buddhism than they are in Zen or Theravada.

Thank you for clearing up this elementary question, and for all the wonderful encouragement! :)
Namu Amida Butsu
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Re: Formally Taking Refuge for the first time

Postby JKhedrup » Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:37 pm

This depends on the teacher giving refuge. In the Tibetan tradition, most lamas I have seen grant refuge do not include the lay precepts unless this is requested. And even then, the lama usually states that the person can take as many of the 5 as they feel capable of to begin with, and take more later on when their practice has stabilized. But of course different teachers may have different approaches.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
JKhedrup
 
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Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 8:28 am
Location: the Netherlands and India


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