I have learned that refuge in the three jewels will mean different things in different vehicles - outer, inner, secret, etc. So they are also roots, kayas, vajras and seed syllables.
On the Path of spontaneous liberation the source of the teachings, blessings and realization is our own state of rigpa, which is not in any sense or to any degree different from the dharmakaya Samantabhadra, root of the transmission of these teachings, so that it is this state that constitutes the true Refuge.
On the Path of spontaneous liberation the teacher, in the most genuine and profound sense of the term, is the practitioner’s own Vision or tawa. This does not mean, however, that in it there is no place for the Master as an external individual in human form. In fact, since the time of Garab Dorje, no individual has been born who could derive the complete system of teachings and practices making up Ati Dzogpa Chenpo from his own Vision or tawa ... Not even those tertöns who obtain the first unveiling of primordial gnosis on their own and without the instructions and empowering of an external teacher, can do without the transmission and the teachings that are received from the external teacher in human form, who is of primordial importance on this Path.
In the Path of spontaneous liberation disciples must be conscious that Garab Dorje is the supreme Master who introduced in our world the teachings that they practice, and when they do an external guru-yoga practice in the Tantric manner they must represent the source of the transmission by his image, or by that of Padmasambhava, who is the source of this transmission in Tibet. Likewise, they must firmly adhere to the instructions of the external teacher—who, just as in the Path of transformation, has the rank of guru or vajracharya—and offer him or her the utmost respect.
... All this allows us to understand why it is said that the principle of the Path of spontaneous liberation is self-responsibility rather than putting ourselves totally under the authority of others: while in the state of rigpa (Awake Awareness or Truth), pure spontaneity is the guide of Behavior; when the state of rigpa is not manifest, the practitioner must keep in all circumstances the "presence (or mindfulness) of responsible awareness".