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Taking The Vow Of Refuge

Commitments

The commitments of the vow of refuge fall into three groups of three: activities to stop, activities to develop, and general points.

Three Activities to Stop

Taking refuge in worldly attainments
You stop regarding anything other than the open clear awareness of our own mind as a source of ultimate security or peace: money, fame, physical well-being, a relationship, power, magical abilities, states of bliss or clarity, etc.

Harming other beings
The key idea here is intent. The essential point is that you don’t harm people or beings intentionally as much as possible. Where it is clearly necessary for health, nutritional or other reasons, you do what you have to with full knowledge and full acceptance of the responsibility. Shuffling off extermination of cockroaches onto someone else in no way reduces your involvement.

Associating with non-spiritual people
The essence of this point is to recognize that in having taken refuge, your basic orientation in life has changed. You are internally committed to the cultivation of awareness or buddha nature, and thus your goals and purpose are significantly different from someone who feels that money is everything. Thus, while you may do business, have friendships, etc. with many people holding such ideas, you don’t allow their perspective to influence what is at the heart of your own life.

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