description: Overview of ceremony and translations of the Vow of Refuge from the Tibetan, Mahamudra, and Dzogchen traditions in Buddhism as well as other variations.
passage from article : When you practice Buddhism, you are taking refuge. Whether you formalize your commitment in the vow ceremony is your choice. Many people find that taking the vow strengthens their motivation and practice.
passage from article: The aim of Buddhist practice is to end suffering. A refuge is a place where one goes to be free from harm, fear, and suffering. In Buddhism, refuge is a metaphor for wakefulness or presence. It is reminder of the basic orientation in Buddhist practice, namely, that suffering comes to end only through being awake and present.
passage from text:
By understanding the effects of good and bad actions,whatever their importance,
May I be able to keep to the workings of seed and result.
By seeing clearly the suffering in the three realms of samsara,
May I develop the renunciation to leave samsara’s domain.
Responding to questions on longing and desire; faith and refuge; vajrayana vows; Mahamudra instructions :“no placing, no reference, no missing the point” and “no distraction, no control, no working at anything;” ending wars; martial imagery; Tao Te Ching and groundlessness.
The “five whys” of “why am I here?” as a way to explore more deeply, moving from conceptual to emotional level; discussion of Kalu Rinpoche’s “Essence of the Dharma;” refuge as setting a direction; awakening mind; four great vows from the Zen tradition; mantras: “what protects the mind”; preparatory practices (ngondro); finding your own path.
Retreat format, structure, and materials; what is the view?; error of taking refuge in specific experiences; the mistaken notion of self vs. skillful interactions; the illusion of choice.
Students’ experience with previous week’s meditation exercise on engaging in wholesome and unwholesome activities; reading behind the lines when a text references other text (using opening of Chapter 8 as an example); what is bodhicitta, what cultivates it, and what it means to be awake; a different perspective on what it means to help all sentient beings; discussion of some of the 22 similes for bodhicitta; meditation instruction for upcoming week: study similes. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 9.
Review of previous week’s discussion on outer, inner, and secret interpretations of the three jewels; participants’ experiences with meditation on trusting the three jewels; participants explain why taking a vow of refuge was important; description of refuge ceremony from text; what is meant by “realise all phenomena are nonexistent and have no form, no perception, and no characteristics…”; experience when completely present; function and importance of ritual and ceremony; discussion of various trainings in refuge; overview of pratimoksa; meditation instruction for upcoming week: contemplate doing something unwholesome. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 8.
Participants’ experience of previous week’s meditation on trust; an exercise in trust; overview of material covered to date; the importance of a foundation to spiritual practice; origin of refuge; in what can one trust; outer, inner and mystery interpretation of the three jewels; each jewel meets a different motivation; meditation instruction for the upcoming week: what needs to happen for me to take refuge seriously? The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 8.
Translation Questions: ‘forget the conventional concerns’ (practice 4) and ‘ordinary gods’ (practice 7). Reflection Questions: What is a relationship, actually? (practices 4 and 5), How do we construct a world out of thoughts, feelings, and sensations? What is the relationship between teacher and student? (practice 6), What does ‘give up bad friends’ mean? How do you work with negativity? (practice 5), What does it mean to take refuge? (practice 7). Meditation Questions: How do you work with this material in your own practice? Buddhist ethics as a description of awakened behavior vs. a prescription for how you should behave. Translated text available on the website.
Motivation for Chö: transforming our experience of disturbances and negativity as embodied in the eight demonic obsessions; outer, inner and mystical refuge: opening to the totality of experience; visualizing and inviting Machik Labdrön and the four guests.