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Wanting to take vows to become a Buddhist...

JohnCobbJohnCobb Hot Springs Arkansas Explorer

Hello all!
I have been reading up on Tibetan Buddhism and feel that Mahayana path is where I need to be. I want to take refuge, but I live in central Arkansas and don't know of any Mahayana temples anywhere near me. Does anyone have any suggestions for me? Can I just recite the vows to myself, or do I have to go to a temple and talk to a priest?
Thank you for your guidance and please forgive me if I've worded some of this wrong. I'm on a break at work and have had to hurry to write this.

Shoshin1

Comments

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @JohnCobb said:
    Hello all!
    I have been reading up on Tibetan Buddhism and feel that Mahayana path is where I need to be. I want to take refuge, but I live in central Arkansas and don't know of any Mahayana temples anywhere near me. Does anyone have any suggestions for me? Can I just recite the vows to myself, or do I have to go to a temple and talk to a priest?
    Thank you for your guidance and please forgive me if I've worded some of this wrong. I'm on a break at work and have had to hurry to write this.

    Hey @JohnCobb - welcome!

    Definitely no need to go to a temple etc. Ideally you would but, like a lot of us on here, you live too far away from any temple or monastery for this to be practical.

    Just Google or use YouTube and you're sure to find plenty of online offerings of refuge you can take.

    Good luck!

    Shoshin1lobsterJohnCobb
  • Shoshin1Shoshin1 Veteran

    @JohnCobb

    This may be of help,,,

    Taking Refuge Becoming a Buddhist

    The formal ceremony of Ti Samana Gamana (Pali), or "taking the three refuges," is performed in nearly all schools of Buddhism. However, anyone who sincerely wants to follow the Buddha's path may begin that commitment by reciting these lines

    I take refuge in the Buddha.
    I take refuge in the Dharma.
    I take refuge in the Sangha.

    The English word refuge refers to a place of shelter and protection from danger. What danger? We seek shelter from the passions that jerk us around, from feeling distressed and broken, from pain and suffering, from the fear of death. We seek shelter from the wheel of samsara, the cycle of death and rebirth.

    lobsterJohnCobbBunks
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    … I want to take refuge, but I live in central Arkansas and don't know of any Mahayana temples anywhere near me. Does anyone have any suggestions for me?

    You can join a Buddhist Cult we are starting.
    You are now a Buddhist. Yes we are very liberal …

    Remember:

    • If joining a cult or taking online refuge is not to your taste, you can take refuge again, when circumstances allow.
    • Intent and practice is more relevant
    • Commit to the triple gem as @Shoshin1 suggests
    BunksShoshin1JohnCobb
  • Hi John, welcome!

    While the ceremony, visit to the temple, and local sangha in physical terms can be quite an experience and help you with your practice, you can still do it online following what has already been shared here. I'm personally looking forward the day I can go to Birken Monastery or any Thai Forest temple as I personally feel more inclined towards their teaching / sect / cult. :smile:

    Buddham, dhammam, sangham :+1:

    BunksShoshin1JohnCobblobster
  • Shoshin1Shoshin1 Veteran
    edited May 29

    Buddham, dhammam, sangham

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    I'll happily join your Buddhist cult! I've never been in a cult before. When does the brainwashing start? Mine will likely need extra soap 🤣

    You are our new leader. Our previous leader @yagr is not taking the brainwashing seriously. After all 'cleanliness is next to Buddliness'.

    Any self respecting cult needs to wash "body, speech and mind"
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Vajras

    JohnCobbKeromeyagr
  • KeromeKerome Lovingness is the way The Continent Veteran

    Yes, @lobster… I have always thought beginners are the best leaders, we must make optimal use of their beginners mind.

    JohnCobblobster
  • 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

    Yo, @JohnCobb , welcome!
    Ace Mod and Grammar Queen here.
    Behave yourself.

    'Nuff said.

    JohnCobb
  • JohnCobbJohnCobb Hot Springs Arkansas Explorer

    @federica thank you! I will behave myself 🙂

  • Steve_BSteve_B Veteran

    @JohnCobb said:
    Hello all!
    I have been reading up on Tibetan Buddhism and feel that Mahayana path is where I need to be. I want to take refuge, but I live in central Arkansas and don't know of any Mahayana temples anywhere near me. Does anyone have any suggestions for me? Can I just recite the vows to myself, or do I have to go to a temple and talk to a priest?
    Thank you for your guidance and please forgive me if I've worded some of this wrong. I'm on a break at work and have had to hurry to write this.

    You don't have to go to a temple. You don't HAVE to do anything. There is no Buddhabase central command keeping track of who has taken vows. I know that may sound flippant, but the larger point is that Buddhism is a collection of ideas, a philosophy, a perspective. You can read, ponder, use or not use any aspects, profit or not profit from any of the teachings. A vast collection is available for you, partaking or not partaking is totally up to you.

    On the other hand, Buddhism can ALSO be an organized religion, with a local temple, and with members who sign up.

    When I look back at the changes I've made in my life, mostly they've been gradual assimilations, progressive discoveries/journeys, gradual reflective assimilations. Maybe that's because I'm dense and stubborn, and change comes slowly. Or maybe that's just the way I'm wired. Other people find it helpful to make a decision, then declare a demarkation "As of this day, I will . . . ." There isn't a "right" way to make the transition. Do whatever works for you, and whatever you choose there'll be plenty of others who are similar. Because you phased it "I want to take refuge" I suspect this may be the right way for you. But if so, it's because YOU require it, not because Buddhism does. Buddhism has been waiting for centuries for you to find it, and will quietly wait for centuries more for others to find it as well. How you respond to your discovery, the best way for you to profit from the teachings, is best judged by you. We can tell you what worked for each of us as individuals (and as individuals we are quite a varied lot) but what works for you is known best by you. We're your cheerleaders.

    BunksJohnCobb
  • FoibleFullFoibleFull Canada Veteran

    The whole idea of refuge stems from YOU having learned over time that the techniques of Buddhism DO change you. Excluding the initial temporary "honeymoon" excitement which always dies out, expect change to start anywhere from 5 to 15 years into your practices. So once you HAVE learned that you DO change from the practices, you can confidently state that the Buddha-Dharma-Sangha IS your refuge in life.

    Until then, you just go through the motions, saying refuge, and there is no harm in that. It does help a bit. dpes je;[ set tje rogjt attitudes into our mind.

    As for Tibetan Buddhism, Vajrayana, do not practice it unless you can connect in person regularly, with a Lama. Tibetans (all of them, even the Tibetan medical doctors) all say that the Vajrayana practices will "drive you crazy" if you do them without a teacher to guide you .. to keep you in the rigth headspace and away from becoming delusional or unstable.

    Zen says it is a waste of time to practice Zen without a qualified in-person teacher.

    THERAVADAN Buddhism is designed for the solitary practitioner. It is as effective as the other two traditions. So if you have no live teacher to work with, do Theravadan Buddhism. I recommend a small book called "Mindfulness in Plain English" by Bhante Gunaratana (look for it on amazon. It is about as close to having a teacher as you can get without actually having a teacher.

    But remember that in Buddhism WE are the ones who gain the skill that leads to wisdom and compassion. NO teacher can do this for us.. But they show us how to use the techniques, they answer our questions and advise us when we run into snags, and by their example we more-quickly gain any understanding of where Buddhism takes us.

    I lived in the Ozarks for 3 years. It is more Baptist territory than Buddhism territory. But you might be able to commute to one of these centers for lessons and guidance:
    http://www.buddhanet.info/wbd/province.php?province_id=25

    BunksJohnCobb
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