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Refuge Ceremony and Prayers

The Refuge Series: Understanding Refuge | Taking The Vow of Refuge | Refuge Ceremony and Prayers
 

The ceremony begins with the establishment of
an inspirational setting and goes through the following steps:

Prostrations
The student is directed to offer three prostrations to the Three Jewels with a feeling of faith, confidence and trust, seeking refuge in them. He or she is then directed to sit with the right knee on the ground and the hands joined together. The joined hands connote respect, the bent knee sincerity.

Repetition of vow
The vow is repeated three times. Each repetition has a different intention. The student is directed to foster the appropriate intention during each repetition:

  1. first repetition: request for refuge
  2. second repetition: intention to observe the vow
  3. third repetition: acceptance of vow

Request for the support of the teacher
The student formally requests the support of the teacher in the intention of refuge.

Acknowledgement of the commitment
The student formally acknowledges having made this commitment.

Confirmation of commitment
The vow is confirmed by the giving of a new name and by the cutting of a lock of hair. The new name signifies a new life, acts as a reminder of having taken refuge, and serves as an inspiration. The cutting of the hair symbolizes Buddha Shakyamuni’s determination in turning away from the distractions of ordinary life. It derives from his cutting his hair near a stupa shortly after he left the palace and entered the way of the religious mendicant.

Conclusion
The teacher instructs the student in the commitments of the vow, explains the benefits of taking the vow, and prays for the student’s growth through his or her practice.

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Sample Refuge Prayers

Refuge as practiced
in all traditions of Buddhism

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

Refuge as often practiced
in the Tibetan tradition

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

Refuge in the Three Jewels and the Three Roots
I take refuge in all the glorious holy gurus.
I take refuge in all the yidams and the assembly of deities in their mandalas.
I take refuge in all the Buddhas, the fully awakened.
I take refuge in all the holy Dharma.
I take refuge in all the noble Sangha.
I take refuge in all who possess the eye of pristine awareness,
     the assembly of dakas, dakinis, protectors and guardians of the Dharma.

Refuge prayer composed by Atisha
and used in all traditions of Tibetan Buddhism

Until I awaken, I take refuge in
The Buddha, Dharma, and the Supreme Assembly.
Through the goodness of generosity and other virtues
May I awaken fully in order to help all beings.

Refuge prayer from the Mahamudra tradition
I take refuge in the guru, precious buddha.
I take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.
I take refuge in the guru, yidams and assemby of dakinis and protectors.
I take refuge in mind itself, empty, luminous pure being.

Refuge prayer from the Dzogchen tradition
Until I awaken, I take refuge
In the Three Jewels, and the Three Roots,
In awakening mind as paths, energy, and essences, and
In the nature of mind, essence, nature, and compassion.

 

The Refuge Series: Understanding Refuge | Taking The Vow of Refuge | Refuge Ceremony and Prayers

 

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