Guidelines for New Refuge Takers

14 May 2012 - 8:36pm Comments Off

You may have been a Buddhist all your life but do you know what taking refuge means? Or perhaps you have been reading enough Dharma books and want to go deeper? Is holding 10 refuge vows and 12 commitments really all that scary and restrictive? What does it take to become a Buddhist “refugee”?

Fret not, we are here to give you step-by-step guidance on how to take refuge.

Looking Before You Leap – Attending the Refuge Briefing Class

You may be wondering, “What’s in it for me to take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha? I already have so many commitments in life, why would I want to take on more? I am already doing very well in life, why should I do this? Do I really need to take refuge?”

Your many good questions will be answered in our Refuge Briefing Class, which is a pre-requisite to anyone who is considering of taking refuge. The Refuge Briefing Class is conducted by a Kechara Pastor and covers the following:

  • 50 Stanzas of Guru Devotion
  • One Lama, One Centre policy
  • Refuge vows and commitments
  • Biography of our Spiritual Guide

The Refuge Briefing Class is usually only open to ordinary members; however we are flexible to make exemptions for special cases.

Making offerings to the three jewels

Creating the Cause – Making Offerings to the Lama

One of the causes to receive refuge is to make offerings to the Lama. According to the practice of our lineage, refuge takers typically make the following offerings:

  • A bouquet of flowers
  • A fruit basket
  • Tsa-tsa or Buddha statue, Dharma text and a Stupa, which represents Buddha’s Body, Speech and Mind respectively

In addition, refuge takers may make personal offerings as they wish. These items will be offered up to the Lama along with the name list of refuge takers.

Entering the Path – Making Offerings to the Three Jewels

To mark their official entry into Buddhism, refuge takers also make offerings to the Three Jewels (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha) right after the refuge ceremony. The offerings consist of rice, fruit, a lotus candle and a flower which are best to be offered at the altar on the same day.

Celebrating a New YOU

Refuge takers may be given a refuge name which indicates to the refuge seeker what he or she has to accomplish in life. The manner in which this is done may vary depending on the number of refuge takers and also on what is considered most appropriate.

The Actual Refuge Ceremony

Refuge takers are advised to dress in white, smart casual clothing. Refuge takers will be directed to a special area allocated to them, where they can sit in a group. Refuged takers will be informed of the detailed procedure for the ceremony on the day itself.

The Refuge Taking Ceremony at Kechara does not happen often, and if there is one, it is usually conducted on auspicious dates such as Wesak Day or Lama Tsongkhapa Day… That is only once or twice a year! As such, we encourage everyone to register their interest to take refuge as soon as possible, so that we can inform you of the next Refuge Taking Ceremony when the time comes. Do not miss this opportunity!

For further enquiries or to register your interest, kindly contact May Ong at [email protected] or call +6012 388 8589.

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