What Taking Refuge Means

Bradley Wong, 14

17 January 2010 - 10:36am Comments Off

When we take refuge, we take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.  There are a few ways to take refuge.  One is through a ceremony with your Guru and another is through your daily prayers.  It is good to be able to take refuge in front of a physical Guru so that you can receive his blessings and take refuge vows.

Taking vows is beneficial because you can accumulate merit as long as you hold them and they will shield you from inner and outer maras.  There are 10 refuge vows.  In total, there are 3 vows of the body, 4 of speech and 3 of the mind.

Body

  1. No Killing
  2. No Stealing
  3. No Sexual Misconduct


Speech

  1. No Lying
  2. No Idle Chatter
  3. No Divisive Speech
  4. No Harsh Words


Mind

  1. No Hatred
  2. No Covetousness
  3. No Wrong View


There are many benefits of taking refuge.  The four main ones are:

  1. It prevents you from falling into the three lower realms
  2. You become a Buddhist
  3. You can receive all the vows
  4. You can purify all your bad karma from the past and the future ones too

It is not enough to just stop where you are after taking refuge.  But in fact you should constantly get more involved in the Dharma and listen to your Guru’s advice and teachings.  It is important to keep a good samaya (relationship) with your Guru because first, breaking your samaya will result in not being able to receive another Guru for a long time. Then second, by keeping clean samaya with your Guru, your dharma practice will bear fruit.

I am very happy to have taken refuge with my Guru, H. E. Tsem Rinpoche on the 23rd of April, 2010.  I look forward to my spiritual journey as well as try my best to hold my vows.  I will try my best to learn the Dharma and lastly, I will try my best to practice what my Guru teaches.

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