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Creating my Own Refuge Ceremony

I have reached a point in my life where I am ready to take refuge in the 3 jewels. This is a considered decision and ive been leading up to this for many years.
I know one doesnt formally need to convert to Buddhism but I do want to create my own refuge ceremony to mark my committment to the path. I would be most grateful for peoples experiences of this or suggestions for my own refuge ceremony. I am not part of any group or sangha where I live, but I am part of this great sangha here!
Very grateful for all ideas, suggestions and shared experiences of refuge ceremony.

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Comments

  • HozanHozan Veteran

    I am choosing April 08th for my refuge ceremony.

    Bunks
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    There isn't really a right or wrong way as long as it is meaningful to you. I take my vows every day as a reminder in front of a small statue of Buddha, a picture of my teacher (obviously not necessary if you don't have one) and with my mala. You may wish to light incense or a candle, make an offering, take the precepts at the same time, etc. Before I did vows with my teacher and before I even had a statue of Buddha, I took refuge vows personally in an outdoors place that is special to me, because it helps me to feel connected.

    Hozanherberto
  • HozanHozan Veteran

    Thank you @karasti . Where would I get Mala beads?

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    You can usually find them at any spiritual shop. I got mine online because I live in a really small town with no such shops and wanted a particular type. I read a lot about them and talked to people who had them to help find what I thought would work for me. I actually have several, but I only really use one. If you have shops in your area, it's nice to be able to see and touch them. The beads are all different sizes so what you like depends what feels good in your hand.

  • HozanHozan Veteran

    Thank you. Id be grateful for your online recommendations for mala beads. Like you I live in a small area with no access to spiritual shops. Much appreciated.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran
    edited March 18

    I bought mine years ago, I'm not sure what site I used anymore. I specifically wanted a lapis lazuli mala, so that is what I searched by. Some want wooden beads or Bodhi seed beads etc. I'd look at what you want and start looking from there. i also searched only in US stores to avoid international shipping fees, so that might not help you very much since it appears you are in Europe.

    I'm fairly certain this is mine (it looks identical except my tassle is beaded not fabric)
    http://www.buddhistmala.com/store/lapis_mala.html

    There are also sites where you can order them made to size, and if you plan to wear it on your wrist you may want to consider that. Not one of my malas fit on my wrist because they are all either too big or too small to wear that way. But it didn't matter to me that I couldn't wear it that way.

    Also, consider your use of it. Mine also has counters on it, but that is because counting mantras is part of my instruction/practice so I found them helpful. If you aren't going to be doing that there is no reason to spend the extra money.

    Hozan
  • HozanHozan Veteran

    Thank you @karasti . Very much appreciated.

  • RazorRazor Oregon Explorer

    Go to a teacher and do the real ceremony!!! You can just say refuge prayers at home and it's no different than this ceremony you are going create. If you don't live close to a teacher, then travel. It's worth it.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    I disagree, @Razor. I did my own domestic ceremony. I subsequently went to a temple and took Refuge there, and if I am brutally honest, the whole experience was somewhat disappointing.
    Each to his own. There is something deeply committed and personal about going through a 'home-wrought' ceremony.
    I actually carefully prepared for quite a few days prior to my own personal Refuge, and it felt blissful, Right and wholly appropriate.

    HozanJohnMac
  • HozanHozan Veteran

    Thank you @federica . I am putting a lot of thought into the ceremony and appreciate your feedback. I dont have the option of a refuge ceremony with a sangha in my location/situation but my committment is no less

    lobster
  • RazorRazor Oregon Explorer

    @frederica I understand that your experience was different from at home and at the temple, but that's no reason to start recommending that people not formally take refuge and receive refuge vows from a master and receive a name. I don't know what happened at the temple, but it's irrelevant. It's not good to just make up dharma and worse to recommend that to others. Ultimately, you went to the temple and did the right thing. You should ask your teacher about why your experience was the way it was.

  • HozanHozan Veteran

    I am not making up dharma. I am researching this properly. I have studied buddhism for close on 20 years and meditated for a long time. Im not jumping into this making things up or without an understanding of what taking refuge means

    lobster
  • RazorRazor Oregon Explorer

    @Hozan said:
    Thank you @federica . I am putting a lot of thought into the ceremony and appreciate your feedback. I dont have the option of a refuge ceremony with a sangha in my location/situation but my committment is no less

    When you take refuge you take refuge. It's in your heart, but you must have a Buddhist center that you can travel to. I just do not believe that there are no Buddhist centers offering refuge this year. You will benefit from making the effort to go and take refuge.

  • HozanHozan Veteran

    "You must have a buddhist centre that you can travel to". I disagree. I "follow" zen. Its my understanding, my heart and my committment to the way that matter when taking refuge. I could go to a buddhist centre for refuge but if my understanding, my heart and my committment arent there then how would that be better. I respectfullly disagree with you @razor that taking refuge at a buddhist centre is essential

  • RazorRazor Oregon Explorer

    Good luck to you in this endeavor. I just do not understand. My experience is just so different. It doesn't make sense that you would even need to make this thread if you are so knowledgeable and confident in this creation. You made this thread for validation and advice, or are you proud of yourself? I just do not understand.

  • HozanHozan Veteran

    Just inviting people to share their own experiences. I neither seek validation or suffer from pride. Thank you @Razor for wishing me well in my endeavor. I appreciate your well wishes and also your shared experience and advice. I wish you every happiness and peace

  • RazorRazor Oregon Explorer

    Thank you.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited March 18

    Being nothing but trouble I was refused refuge. O.o
    On the same day I performed a personal commitment/refuge ceremony.
    I have a dharma name. A mantra. A pledge. A connection to Maitreya.

    As your commitment is to zen, I suggest you get the council of Jundo Cohen https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treeleaf_Zendo
    You can take refuge, become a zen preist, practice together etc.

    Jundo is a member here, has an online zendo and Treeleaf zen forum and is a teacher on zen forum International. You can speak with him directly through one of the google services - hangouts I think ...
    http://www.zenforuminternational.org or send a private message ...

    Hozan
  • HozanHozan Veteran

    Hey @lobster . That is awesome. Thank you. Appreciate the info!
    You are THE Lobster. Not trouble. Thank you sir.

  • HozanHozan Veteran

    P.S can you search for members on this forum e.g Jundo

  • RazorRazor Oregon Explorer

    @lobster said:
    Being nothing but trouble I was refused refuge. O.o
    On the same day I performed a personal commitment/refuge ceremony.
    I have a dharma name. A mantra. A pledge. A connection to Maitreya.

    As your commitment is to zen, I suggest you get the council of Jundo Cohen https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treeleaf_Zendo
    You can take refuge, become a zen preist, practice together etc.

    Jundo is a member here, has an online zendo and Treeleaf zen forum and is a teacher on zen forum International. You can speak with him directly through one of the google services - hangouts I think ...
    http://www.zenforuminternational.org or send a private message ...

    Oh lobster. You are such trouble. You are so much trouble that someone refused you refuge. You must be a bad ass Buddha! We should all stoke your ego now.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Yes - in the search option at the top, click on the arrow and you can search by author and then go to connect with them. I suggest you join Jundo's Treeleaf forum, as you will get speedier feedback in all likelihood.

    Hozan
  • HozanHozan Veteran

    Thank you @lobster. @razor no need to take a combative approach here. I am nobodys enemy here. I respect everybodys different views and always look to learn from others.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    everyone has to do what is right for them. I live 250 miles from the nearest Buddhist center (including my teacher) and am lucky if I get to see him more than once a year. Buddhism is a personal journey. Some do well with a guide. Some prefer to go it alone. Whatever works. Not everyone has access to teachers despite what you might believe @Razor. And there is no need to jump into a forum you are new to and insult members and assume their brand of Buddhism is the same as yours. Generally doesn't go over well. It doesn't impact your practice whatsoever if @Hozan does a private refuge ceremony. MANY teachers encourage people to do so and offer suggestions online on ways they can make it personal and meaningful to them. If masters are required in Buddhism, then who was Buddha's master?

    Hozan
  • RazorRazor Oregon Explorer
    edited March 19

    @Hozan said:
    Thank you @lobster. @razor no need to take a combative approach here. I am nobodys enemy here. I respect everybodys different views and always look to learn from others.

    I am just personally disgusted with @lobster and@satcittananda. They seem full of themselves and arrogant. Lobster was an ass to me on my first post, so he is now my enemy. You, I'm fine with. Do what you hinknis best. I'm not discouraging your ceremony as much as I'm trying to encourage you to find a teacher to give you refuge because the results will in all likelyhood be better. > @karasti said:

    everyone has to do what is right for them. I live 250 miles from the nearest Buddhist center (including my teacher) and am lucky if I get to see him more than once a year. Buddhism is a personal journey. Some do well with a guide. Some prefer to go it alone. Whatever works. Not everyone has access to teachers despite what you might believe @Razor. And there is no need to jump into a forum you are new to and insult members and assume their brand of Buddhism is the same as yours. Generally doesn't go over well. It doesn't impact your practice whatsoever if @Hozan does a private refuge ceremony. MANY teachers encourage people to do so and offer suggestions online on ways they can make it personal and meaningful to them. If masters are required in Buddhism, then who was Buddha's master?

    The buddha had many teachers and some think he was born enlightened and it was all a drama to give us hope. He turned the wheel of dharma for us and created the conditions for many great teachers to arise. How can you dismiss this and think you will be like the Buddha and turn the wheel of dharma in this lifetime?
    I will insult @lobster as long as I am on this forum. He/she insulted me after my first post in a most arrogant fashion, and I will flame him/her until they are totally broken. I outrightly stated I was looking for healthy discussion and based on everyone's responses to me I don't see how that is possible. All my responses were even tempered and very objective until I saw that the members of this forum do not appreciate that and feel the need to troll. I will not sit back and take shit from lobster, satcittananda, or anyone else. I will also argue my points however I wish. Feel free to ban me. I'm not looking to be making anymore posts anyway.

    lobster
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Different strokes for different folks @Hozan , all paths 'eventually' lead to Rome...

    Taking refuge in the three jewels means commitment to the path ie, staying on track

    However Tis the mind itself that leads the mind astray so be mindful of the mind every moment of the day!

    Online Dharma teachers/teachings are helpful tools ....

    lobster
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    @Razor You don't know the people in this forum at all. Lobster wasn't rude. You simple do not know Lobster. If you read for a while before you posted, you would understand personalities better of people who have been in this forum for 5 years and even 10 years and have much to offer. You are not simply offering your opinion. You are giving definitive answers to something that is not so definitive. It's always a good idea to get a feel for a place, online or otherwise, before you insist on your opinions and then insist you were insulted without knowing anything about the people involved. Your insistence that you are right on the need for a teacher is, simply, wrong. If it is ideal for you, then terrific, that is what you should do. But it doesn't make it right, or even possible for everyone. I'm most certainly incapable of banning anyone, as I am not a moderator on this page. I definitely never suggested I am like the Buddha :lol: But you came in like a hurricane into a group of people that largely functions like a community, or basically an online Sangha. This isn't your typical BS internet forum that you can just jump into and blast your cannons.

    Lastly, I'm pretty sure that "I will flame him/her until they are broken" is not a Buddhist ideal...not even in Trungpa's world.

    lobsterHozan
  • RazorRazor Oregon Explorer
    edited March 19

    @karasti said:
    @Razor You don't know the people in this forum at all. Lobster wasn't rude. You simple do not know Lobster. If you read for a while before you posted, you would understand personalities better of people who have been in this forum for 5 years and even 10 years and have much to offer. You are not simply offering your opinion. You are giving definitive answers to something that is not so definitive. It's always a good idea to get a feel for a place, online or otherwise, before you insist on your opinions and then insist you were insulted without knowing anything about the people involved. Your insistence that you are right on the need for a teacher is, simply, wrong. If it is ideal for you, then terrific, that is what you should do. But it doesn't make it right, or even possible for everyone. I'm most certainly incapable of banning anyone, as I am not a moderator on this page. I definitely never suggested I am like the Buddha :lol: But you came in like a hurricane into a group of people that largely functions like a community, or basically an online Sangha. This isn't your typical BS internet forum that you can just jump into and blast your cannons.

    Lastly, I'm pretty sure that "I will flame him/her until they are broken" is not a Buddhist ideal...not even in Trungpa's world.

    You are wrong. I introduced myself and lobster was an ass. I offered gentle advice and was shit on. The people here are a click that only believe their opinions. You don't have to have a teacher, no, but the Buddha had many students and they were great masters. I should rephrase. You will only get so far on your own. It's stated many times by many people. And I have no idea how Trungpa feels about me and neither do you.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Well I know how I feel, and I feel you're really not a good fit, or welcome any more. Thank you for your input @Razor, but so long, and thanks for all the fish.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited March 19

    ^^. Gate, Gate, Paragate, Para Sam gate Bodhi svaha
    Gone, Gone, Gone beyond Gone utterly beyond
    Heart Sutra

    PS. I likes fish :3

    karasti
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @lobster.....? Shaddup.

    lobsterkarasti
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited March 19

    Meanwhile? Back to topic.

    @Hozan , if you'd like to take Refuge in a DiY way, there's nothing wrong with that.
    Make sure however, that you understand why you want to Take Refuge, and how you intend to incorporate those Vows in your everyday life, from then on.
    We've had many new members ask how to incorporate the Buddha's teachings into their lives, and the response, in a nutshell, has always been the same. Life itself IS the practice. Buddhism becomes your Life, and everything you think, say and do, is or should be 'measured' and considered.

    For my part, I began adopting a Mind-set of sincere dedication, a couple of days before I planned to Take Refuge.

    It may sound foolish now, but at the time, it was of utmost importance to me, and I would dedicate my thoughts words and deeds to The Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, and consciously concentrated so hard on 'watching' my every step, I think I actually gave myself a headache.
    I visualised that as all the crap I was carrying, coming to the surface. Rather like Mara's enticing visit to the Buddha to knock him off the path, I visualised it as something to transcend.
    But I still took 2 paracetamol.
    Heck, by all means, 'suffer' but don't be an ass about it! :D

    The morning of my ceremony, my entire family had left the house.
    I showered, again, I used this opportunity for a symbolic means of washing past 'dirt' away. I told myself that this was to cleanse the old, and reinvigorate the new.

    Honestly, I must have sounded like an escaped lunatic, but then, it meant everything to me... and that's ok.

    I then dressed in clean, pure cotton clothing, and prepared my altar as I saw fit, and undertook to take Refuge.
    In my own way.
    you must contrive and do as you see suitable for yourself.

    But for me, it felt right, correct and overwhelming.
    I felt as if a weight had been lifted from my shoulders, and I wept tears of joy.

    Not for long, I wasn't slobbering or wailing, or anything remotely over the top.... Nothing like that.
    But it felt good.

    Over to you.

    Hozanlobster
  • HozanHozan Veteran

    @federica thank you so much for the support and advice and for sharing your personal experience. I fully agree with you. I have been building up to this for a long time. I see this as a committment I want to make for the way in which I will live the rest of my life. April 08th us the day and even now I am preparing for it. Joining here has been a huge help, a great source of encouragement and advice. I feel I have a Sangha here and I am grateful. In the weeks leading up to april 08th I am trying to purify my body and mind as much as possible ( hence my threads on twitter and coffee lol). I am planning a few fasting days and lots of water to flush out toxins. I see April 08th as a new beginning, shedding my old skin and leaving a "mindless" life behind.

    lobster
  • HozanHozan Veteran

    I am also working on my altar and what I will have on it. I feel very at home in nature and so will also spend part of april 08th in a special place outdoors and repeat my vows there.

  • JohnMacJohnMac Veteran

    I think it's a great idea to do ones vows at home, I did something similar in a forest near my home and repeat them regularly on a beach facing the Atlantic where I live now. Like you, I have no access to a center as I live on a remote island, and I do drop by the Treeleaf Sangha now and again, very friendly and knowledgable, the google hangout thing seems to work well and you can participate in various sittings, discussions etc.

    lobster
  • HozanHozan Veteran

    Thank you @JohnMac . Are you in Ireland too or facing the Atlantic from the east coast of US ?

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    The Buddha took refuge too. Under a tree ... and he committed himself to awakening.

    Purifying yourself AND preparing is important. It does not matter how but the intention and genuine commitment is key.
    Here is one we did earlier ...
    http://newbuddhist.com/discussion/21600/widening-or-tightening-refuge

    Shrine is a good plan. I have many, though in truth my cushion is my only true shrine as it has an ass to support :3

    Some of us will be with you in spirit @Hozan
    All will be auspicious
    http://www.ecobuddhism.org/wisdom/appendix/verses_of_the_8_noble_auspicious_ones/

    HozanJohnMac
  • HozanHozan Veteran

    Hey @lobster . Thank you for advice, support and the links. Very much appreciated. Glad you will be with me in spirit. That means a lot.

  • JohnMacJohnMac Veteran

    @Hozan said:
    Thank you @JohnMac . Are you in Ireland too or facing the Atlantic from the east coast of US ?

    I live in the Canary Islands, on the island of Fuerteventura, so from the beach near my house I look straight across to Florida!.....

    Hozanlobster
  • HozanHozan Veteran

    @JohnMac sounds like a beautiful place to live. :)

  • JohnMacJohnMac Veteran

    @Hozan said:
    @JohnMac sounds like a beautiful place to live. :)

    It is Indeed, we love it.

    Hozan
  • HozanHozan Veteran

    lobster
  • HozanHozan Veteran

    My caffeine weaning off program to take me up to my Refuge Ceremony on April 08th

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Talk about 'organised'....!

    lobsterHozan
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    ^^. Tee Hee! B)

    Here is my organiser:

    1. Yesterday - fail
    2. Today - Be good (so far so good)
    3. Tomorrow - Be good

      :3

    HozanDhammikakarastiherberto
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    ^^^ HEY!! That's MY organiser!! ^^^

    lobsterHozanherberto
  • HozanHozan Veteran

    I have to be organised on this one. I get horrible caffeine withdrawal symptoms. If I dont have a weaning off system I get bad headaches and nausea. Rest of my life is disorganised! :D

  • HozanHozan Veteran

    @lobster said:
    ^^. Tee Hee! B)

    Here is my organiser:

    1. Yesterday - fail
    2. Today - Be good (so far so good)
    3. Tomorrow - Be good

      :3

    I like it @lobster . Lots of fails for me. But I keep trying.

  • DhammikaDhammika Veteran

    For those interested in taking refuge and the precepts in the Theravada Buddhist tradition, here is the Vandana book of Bhante Gunaratana's Bhavana Society in West Virginia. The request for refuges and the precepts starts page 43 in both English and Pali: http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/vandana.pdf

    lobster
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