Taking Refuge… The First Step

14 May 2012 - 8:22pm Comments Off

In celebration of Shakyamuni Buddha turning the Dharma wheel in this aeon, 93 Kecharians took refuge on this auspicious Wesak Day with H.E. Tsem Rinpoche. Taking refuge is a significant milestone for any person wishing to seriously engage in Dharma practice, as it marks the day they are committed in transforming themselves into better people to live happier lives.

The event began with the President of Kechara, Datuk May, welcoming everyone with a short opening speech. She highlighted how the refuge vows will help everyone progress in life.

Datuk May also spoke about H.E. Tsem Rinpoche’s vision about having a piece of land in the Malaysian forest to allow students to practice Dharma in the serenity of nature, which led to the start of Kechara Forest Reserve (KFR).

A video on KFR was shown and Dato’ May encouraged everyone present to participate in the progress of KFR.

This is the second video following up from this video, both produced by our very own film & video production house.

H.E. Tsem Rinpoche’s arrival at the Gompa was preceded by the deep melodious sounds of long horns. Upon arrival, Rinpoche gave a talk on two subjects to everyone present: Choices and Stupas.

During the talk on choices, Rinpoche reminded the congregation on the importance of transforming the mind and the study and application of Dharma. Rinpoche said that true religion, when used and followed correctly, can only be of benefit to the practitioners as the practice will transform our negative qualities to positive qualities.

One of the points he made was that accepting a religion is the first rudimentary step one takes when embarking on their spiritual journey. The next step is to read and learn what one has accepted, and applying such knowledge to oneself. One should not study or take up a religion for the purpose of judging others.

It was a full house!

Rinpoche went on to explain the importance of stupas and elaborated on the planned construction of a Vajrayogini Stupa in KFR. Rinpoche revealed the plans to also build a Manjushri and Medicine Buddha Stupa. Rinpoche said that a stupa preserves the energy of great masters after they have passed away, and in a way the stupa takes the place of the guru to bless those within its vicinity. The construction of the stupas at KFR will be undertaken by a 2-tiered committee, including 3 to 4 monks from Gaden Monastery in India where one of which is Kyabje Zong Rinpoche’s debate partner.

Rinpoche briefly explained the process of building a stupa, which begins with the consecration of the land with a fire puja to bless the site; next is to commence the digging works on an auspicious date and time; a mandala is then drawn on the site; body, speech and mind of the relevant deity and other holy relics such as wealth vases are put into the stupa; and finally the stupa is completed and sealed with a puja.

Kechara is currently inviting the public to send in their own or loved one’s or pets’ hair or nail cuttings to be inserted into the Vajrayogini Stupa.

His Eminence said to the refuge seekers that after taking refuge, there are two things they should do: meditative contemplation to transform the mind or to take action. Rinpoche reminded everyone to develop themselves so that they can be of service to others and yet not think that they have lost their freedom after taking refuge.

Taking refuge is accepting that we need to transform, and our responsibility after taking refuge is to transform into someone better, more compassionate and less selfish. Taking refuge and keeping our refuge vows actually frees us from performing more bad actions and collecting negative karma.

Following that, H.E. Tsem Rinpoche, out of great compassion, gave refuge to the refuge seekers and gave an oral transmission of the Guru Yoga and Manjushri’s mantra (OM AH RA BA TSA NA DHI). Rinpoche instructed the refuge takers to every day recite the Migtsema mantra 21 times, followed by Manjushri’s Gangloma Prayer, 3 malas of Manjushri’s mantra and 1 mala of the last syllable of the mantra “Dhi”.

The night’s event concluded with the refuge takers making offerings at Rinpoche’s throne and at Lama Tsongkhapa’s altar, ending with completion dedication prayers led by Pastor Chia. The energy in the hall was very positive and happy.

Making khata offerings at Rinpoche's throne

Click here for more information on the steps for taking refuge. Please note that this is a general guideline only and may be subject to change.

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