Taking Refuge

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Taking Refuge

Postby waimengwan » Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:22 pm

If someone says that they are afraid to take refuge, because the karma collected through breaking the refuge vows is much heavier as opposed to someone who does not hold the vows.

How can help them to overcome this fear?
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Re: Taking Refuge

Postby Caz » Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:42 pm

Tell them that the methods of purification that one can receive through taking refuge are by far greater compared to not purifying negativity at all through not entering Buddhism, No one is perfect at keeping vows at first that is why we make purification an essential practice. :namaste:
Abandoning Dharma is, in the final analysis, disparaging the Hinayana because of the Mahayana; favoring the Hinayana on account of the Mahayana; playing off sutra against tantra; playing off the four classes of the tantras against each other; favoring one of the Tibetan schools—the Sakya, Gelug, Kagyu, or Nyingma—and disparaging the rest; and so on. In other words, we abandon Dharma any time we favor our own tenets and disparage the rest.

Liberation in the Palm of your hand~Kyabje Pabongkha Rinpoche.
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Re: Taking Refuge

Postby ngodrup » Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:40 pm

The benefits are enormous, the risks are few.
The Dharma only blesses, never punishes.
Such a view is superstitious.

One may take as many vows as one likes.
Refuge is nothing other than placing trust in 3 jewels,
being respectful of them, and refraining from disrespect.

What do they think they are going to do? Join another
religion and go around destroying statues, burning texts
and temples?
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Re: Taking Refuge

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Wed Oct 10, 2012 8:23 pm

ngodrup wrote:The Dharma only blesses, never punishes.
Such a view is superstitious.


Hm - YMMV. it's a strange animal you know. It can be unpredictable. Approach with caution.

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Re: Taking Refuge

Postby PorkChop » Wed Oct 10, 2012 11:28 pm

waimengwan wrote:If someone says that they are afraid to take refuge, because the karma collected through breaking the refuge vows is much heavier as opposed to someone who does not hold the vows.

How can help them to overcome this fear?


I'm in the same boat.
I want to make vows to follow the 5 precepts & take formal refuge; but I'm scared of messing up.
I probably killed 4 bugs on my windshield this morning on my way to work and massacred many more mowing my lawn.
I'm not sure I'll be able to refrain from killing a spider if I catch it biting me with it's staph-bringing poison (though I've done okay with mosquitoes); same goes for any dangerous animal attacking my kid.
I doubt I'll ever be able to be a vegetarian for more than a month or two.
Though, I can honestly vow that I won't ever kill intentionally out of hatred or cruelty; I'm not sure that's ever going to be good enough.
The rest of the 5 I'm pretty okay with - though I may slip up with alcohol a couple times a year.

As far as the 8 fold path, Right Action & Right Livelihood are my hangups.
It's hard to make a case for Right Livelihood as a contractor on a military base; even though nothing I do directly harms anyone.
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Re: Taking Refuge

Postby ngodrup » Wed Oct 10, 2012 11:58 pm

So don't take 5 precepts. Take 1--
Or just refuge. When are you going
to have another precious human rebirth?
Looks a lot more risky not to.
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Re: Taking Refuge

Postby Konchog1 » Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:33 am

PorkChop wrote:I'm in the same boat.
I want to make vows to follow the 5 precepts & take formal refuge; but I'm scared of messing up.
I probably killed 4 bugs on my windshield this morning on my way to work and massacred many more mowing my lawn.
I'm not sure I'll be able to refrain from killing a spider if I catch it biting me with it's staph-bringing poison (though I've done okay with mosquitoes); same goes for any dangerous animal attacking my kid.
I doubt I'll ever be able to be a vegetarian for more than a month or two.
Though, I can honestly vow that I won't ever kill intentionally out of hatred or cruelty; I'm not sure that's ever going to be good enough.
The rest of the 5 I'm pretty okay with - though I may slip up with alcohol a couple times a year.

As far as the 8 fold path, Right Action & Right Livelihood are my hangups.
It's hard to make a case for Right Livelihood as a contractor on a military base; even though nothing I do directly harms anyone.
If kill without the intention to kill, it has no karmic effects.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Taking Refuge

Postby Terma » Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:59 am

waimengwan wrote:If someone says that they are afraid to take refuge, because the karma collected through breaking the refuge vows is much heavier as opposed to someone who does not hold the vows.

How can help them to overcome this fear?


When one takes refuge in the three jewels, then this very act should be a cause for overcoming fear. The merit from this very important decision is the basis for our freedom from suffering.

As was mentioned, the vows of refuge only pertain to the three jewels, and the five precepts are separate and can be taken later at some point if one wishes to do so. When taking refuge there are a few things we should not do though (things like prostrating to teacher's or images that are not a source of refuge, etc.), but most of this is reflective of having great respect for the three jewels and seeing them as our true refuge. Whenever my teacher gives the refuge vows, he gives a short teaching which includes mentioning these kinds of things.

Perhaps if the person is able to have an interview with a preceptor who gives the refuge vows, then some of their questions might be answered, and some of their fears can be eased.
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Re: Taking Refuge

Postby Konchog1 » Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:15 am

Terma wrote:When taking refuge there are a few things we should not do though (things like prostrating to teacher's or images that are not a source of refuge, etc.), but most of this is reflective of having great respect for the three jewels and seeing them as our true refuge.
1. Recall the good qualities of the Three Jewels again and again
2. Recalling their kindness, make offerings, including your meals.
3. Out of compassion, carefully promote the practice of Refuge to others
4. Always pray, worship, and make offerings to Three Jewels, instead of other gods.
5. Go for refuge three times every day and night.
6. Never give up your Refuge vow even in jest or to save your life.

-Lam Rim Chen Mo eng v1 196-197

Other traditions have others.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Taking Refuge

Postby PorkChop » Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:36 am

Konchog1 wrote:If kill without the intention to kill, it has no karmic effects.

Thing is I probably would kill an animal to protect myself or my family (not so sure about another human - because they can be reasoned with).
I'd also probably kill to eat as a last resort; though I'll freely give up sport fishing for food.
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Re: Taking Refuge

Postby zerwe » Thu Oct 11, 2012 4:40 am

Deepening our refuge offers the protection and guidance from the negative actions that ripen in this life and result in action so

we can maintain our connection to the dharma in future lives (hopefully with circumstances conducive to practice)

and continue our practice with the motivation of completing the two collections of merit and wisdom in order to liberate

all sentient beings. Take the vows that you can keep and do your best. That is all that I think most teachers can recommend.

Just do your best and do your best to love and care for all beings. If we commit an infraction, there isn't anything that we cannot purify.

However, we don't want to habitually break our vows again and again.

Shaun :namaste:
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Re: Taking Refuge

Postby Konchog1 » Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:33 am

PorkChop wrote:
Konchog1 wrote:If kill without the intention to kill, it has no karmic effects.

Thing is I probably would kill an animal to protect myself or my family (not so sure about another human - because they can be reasoned with).
The Lam Rim Chen Mo (and Jewel Ornament of Liberation I believe) defines killing as being made up of five parts. Basis, perception, motivation, affliction, and conclusion. Basis is a living being. Perception is picking a target and knowing it to be a living being. Motivation is the desire to kill. Affliction is the Three Poisons. Conclusion is death of another on account of the murder.

All five must be present or it is not killing. So if a beast attacks your family and you kill it in self defense, it is my understanding that there is no sin. This is because your motivation is to protect and the affliction is non-existent.

eng v1 pg. 218-219 tib 165-166
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Taking Refuge

Postby waimengwan » Thu Oct 11, 2012 4:39 pm

Konchog1 - Yes for the full karma to manifest is based on those five factors being present to collect the karma to kill, technically there is no karma from intentionally killing a being. One does not have the first four factors but the fifth one conclusion this is fulfilled, a being did die. You will have the karma of causing a being to die right? Though if it is not intentional and not based on a delusion it is relatively much weaker. Please share :)

In the case of Porkchop if he kills to protect his family, I would take the story of the Buddha being a ship captain who saved 499 people as the basis of my understanding. As Porkchop said he would kill other beings to protect a human being.

We all create karma whether we take refuge or not, but for people who don't take refuge negative things still happen to them as a result of karma and because they are guided by certain principles like for example the refuge vows they will be more inclined to do those non virtuous actions as well, by holding our vows we stop creating more. Plus as someone also said we slowly perfect the way we hold the vows. Of course breaking our vows habitually is not going to work at all as if we break it so often we are not really serious about holding the vows at all.
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Re: Taking Refuge

Postby Konchog1 » Thu Oct 11, 2012 7:31 pm

Ah, I rechecked the text and saw the translator commentary. Killing without some of the Five Categories does create some negative karma, just not as much, and the act is not considered killing.

But as you pointed out, pure motivation can prevent the negative karma. I need to find the citation. I'll be back.

EDIT

I hate Secured PDFs. The image is from "Nine Considerations and Criteria for Benefiting Beings" By Patrul Rinpoche. He isn't Gelugpa, but there shouldn't be any contradictions.
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Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Taking Refuge

Postby PorkChop » Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:16 pm

waimengwan wrote:In the case of Porkchop if he kills to protect his family, I would take the story of the Buddha being a ship captain who saved 499 people as the basis of my understanding. As Porkchop said he would kill other beings to protect a human being.


In that case, I don't mind atoning for the act, and "serving my time" (taking responsibility for the action).

waimengwan wrote:We all create karma whether we take refuge or not, but for people who don't take refuge negative things still happen to them as a result of karma and because they are guided by certain principles like for example the refuge vows they will be more inclined to do those non virtuous actions as well, by holding our vows we stop creating more. Plus as someone also said we slowly perfect the way we hold the vows. Of course breaking our vows habitually is not going to work at all as if we break it so often we are not really serious about holding the vows at all.


Well the worry is that not only have I performed negative karma/action; but I will have also broken something I promised not to do.
I really don't like to break promises.

I do not have a Guru yet in the sense of Tibetan Buddhism.
As I've said elsewhere on this board, I feel a particular sense of self-identification with the teachings I've encountered from the FPMT online teachings, individual FPMT-related monks, and the local Gelug-related Lam Rim group.
I know that this is probably a Guru-level question.

The monk I have been talking to, from the Vietnamese temple, told me not to bother taking refuge if I can't uphold the first precept.
So my goal in all of this is to learn & progress to the point where such an action is finally avoidable/unthinkable or find some compromise that, while not encouraging such actions, at least lets me accept personal responsibility without feeling like I've broken a promise.
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Re: Taking Refuge

Postby waimengwan » Fri Oct 12, 2012 8:22 am

@porkchop - Buddha's action led him to spent one moment in hell, but it furthered his spiritual development as he did it out of compassion. For unskilled people like me if I do do something of that nature must apply confessions to the best of our abilities.

I love the Lamrim wish I could spend more time meditating on the topics. Its a going to be a while when we do not slip at all, I personally think spiritual practice there is an iterative process in getting better at holding our vows again and again and getting better at it. You are not going to get to a perfect situation whereby you can reassure yourself you are 'Breaking vow' free state I think. Probably getting to a state of being comfortable about being uncomfortable (sorry consulting jargon creeped in).

This is more like we know the benefits of refuge outweighs the disbenefits of it, provided we do want to be sincere on the path and develop ourselves. There are risks everywhere and anything, walk down the wrong you get mugged, walk out the wrong door a a brick can fall on your head. Have confidence in oneself if you have checked it out it is time to eat the food, then one will feel full :).

Another example I can think of is money, we all know the beenfits of money hence we make it now despite risks associated with it, we don't make the money in one year or later. I hope I have benefitted you somewhat :)

Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand came from a teaching by Je Pabongka. By the way is the current Pabongka Rinpche part of FPMT?

The incomparable Je Pabongka who started teaching lay people and who gave a 24 day teaching which formed the basis for the Lamrim ..
http://blog.tsemtulku.com/tsem-tulku-ri ... pedia.html
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Re: Taking Refuge

Postby PorkChop » Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:00 pm

waimengwan wrote:I love the Lamrim wish I could spend more time meditating on the topics.


Just getting started with it myself.
Would be nice if there were more hours in the day. :reading:
Feel like I have almost no time.

waimengwan wrote:Its a going to be a while when we do not slip at all, I personally think spiritual practice there is an iterative process in getting better at holding our vows again and again and getting better at it. You are not going to get to a perfect situation whereby you can reassure yourself you are 'Breaking vow' free state I think. Probably getting to a state of being comfortable about being uncomfortable (sorry consulting jargon creeped in).


This makes a lot of sense. I just see vows like swearing an oath; which is a scarey, permanent thing given the fluctuating impermanent nature of life.

waimengwan wrote:Have confidence in oneself if you have checked it out it is time to eat the food, then one will feel full :).

Yeah, at this point I think I just need to find a good guru.
Geshe Soepa is an hour and a half away at Austin FPMT. I met him, he's a nice guy. Think I'll pay him a visit and see where it goes.

waimengwan wrote:Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand came from a teaching by Je Pabongka. By the way is the current Pabongka Rinpche part of FPMT?

I haven't seen mention of him on the FPMT website, but I'm still a noob.

You have helped me chill out a bit, thanks. :)
Hope your friend is able to chill out as well.
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Re: Taking Refuge

Postby JKhedrup » Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:05 pm

Geshe Soepa is an excellent scholar and also a very nice man, even if he isn't the lama you choose as a guru, you will learn a great deal from him in the meantime.

The current Phabongkha tulku is not associated with FPMT or Sera Mey, as both organizations require their members to sign an oath against the spirit practice and so far he has not signed. Last I heard he had a small monastery in Nepal. He has not attended His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teachings or been to Sera for many years now. I am not sure if he finished his education at the monastery before leaving for Nepal or not.
A foolish man proclaims his qualifications,
A wise man keeps them secret within.
A straw floats on the surface of water,
But a precious gem placed upon it sinks to the depths
-Sakya Pandita
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Re: Taking Refuge

Postby Caz » Sat Oct 13, 2012 11:18 am

JKhedrup wrote:Geshe Soepa is an excellent scholar and also a very nice man, even if he isn't the lama you choose as a guru, you will learn a great deal from him in the meantime.

The current Phabongkha tulku is not associated with FPMT or Sera Mey, as both organizations require their members to sign an oath against the spirit practice and so far he has not signed. Last I heard he had a small monastery in Nepal. He has not attended His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teachings or been to Sera for many years now. I am not sure if he finished his education at the monastery before leaving for Nepal or not.


The current Phabongkha Tulku is busy working in Tibet,China and nepal as far as I know I have a friend who met him a few months ago he is very much still fulfilling his Dharma activities. :namaste:
Abandoning Dharma is, in the final analysis, disparaging the Hinayana because of the Mahayana; favoring the Hinayana on account of the Mahayana; playing off sutra against tantra; playing off the four classes of the tantras against each other; favoring one of the Tibetan schools—the Sakya, Gelug, Kagyu, or Nyingma—and disparaging the rest; and so on. In other words, we abandon Dharma any time we favor our own tenets and disparage the rest.

Liberation in the Palm of your hand~Kyabje Pabongkha Rinpoche.
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Re: Taking Refuge

Postby JKhedrup » Sat Oct 13, 2012 11:54 am

This is a far cry from the opinion of the lamas and monks I have spoken to at Sera Jey and Mey monasteries, but I guess it all depends on where you get your information, and who you decide to trust.
A foolish man proclaims his qualifications,
A wise man keeps them secret within.
A straw floats on the surface of water,
But a precious gem placed upon it sinks to the depths
-Sakya Pandita
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