Becoming a Buddhist: Refuge in the Three Jewels

TAKING REFUGE IS THE FIRST STEP on the Buddhist Path. It is conducted as a formal ceremony during which a person officially becomes a Buddhist. It occurs for most of us as a natural outgrowth of learning about Buddhism and reflecting on what the teachings really mean to us in light of our human condition. It represents our first turning away from our own suffering in the world, and turning toward a genuine spiritual path that can be of benefit not only to ourselves but to others as well.
We take refuge in the Buddha by seeing him as the example of the sort of life we should lead in order to unfold our basic goodness and to realize freedom. We take refuge in the Dharma (the teachings of the Buddha and the experiences of truth that accompany them) by seeing them as the path that leads us to freedom. We take refuge in the Sangha (the community of practitioners) by seeing them as our companions who give us direction, feedback, friendship, and support. Refuge establishes the proper foundation for receiving teachings on and entering into practices of the Buddhist path.
Refuge teachings have been given many times at Karma Triyana Dharmachakra, by many distinguished Kagyu masters. The following excerpts of actual teachings present the essence and details of refuge.
The Meaning
of Refuge
Ven. Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche
Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche explains the meaning of taking refuge, describes the shortcomings of not taking refuge, elaborates on the benefits of taking refuge, and describes the proper objects of refuge, the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha, by comparing them to examples of good health, physicians, and medicine.
Taking Refuge:
Destination Buddhahood
H.E. Tai Situ Rinpoche
His Eminence Situ Rinpoche describes refuge in terms of "taking comfort in our own basic goodness," and emphasizes the importance of the lineage in making it possible to establish a real connection to the Buddha and his teachings. He also explains the commitments that go along with the Refuge Vow.
A Teaching
on Refuge
Ven. Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche
Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche goes into detail on the meaning of refuge, and elaborates on the proper motivation for taking it. He also describes the refuge ceremony. This is an important transcript if you are thinking seriously about going for refuge.
Taking Refuge Very Ven. Kalu Rinpoche
The Very Venerable Kalu Rinpoche explains that without faith in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, taking Refuge and claiming to have become a Buddhist will be like playing the games of children. To awaken faith, Rinpoche explains the difference between wisdom and mere consciousness, and introduces us to the extraordinary qualities that manifest when the nature of the mind becomes fully recognized.
Seven Shrine
Ven. Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche
Making offerings is part of the practice of Buddhism, and certain offerings are apparent on every shrine that is set up in the traditional way. However, these offerings are much more than a ritualistic system and form, they are a manifest extension of the commitment to serve all beings.
Q and A Questions and answers about Becoming a Buddhist


Karmapa & Kagyu Lineage*Tibetan Buddhism*Special Interests
Introduction*Monastery*Practice Centers*Schedule*Home

Copyright ©1998, Karma Triyana Dharmachakra. All rights reserved.