Can I receive the Triple Gem from a Tibetan Buddhist?

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Can I receive the Triple Gem from a Tibetan Buddhist?

Postby AndrewRayGorman » Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:54 am

There is a Tibetan Rinpoche on my campus, and I was wondering if I would be able to receive the Triple Gem from him, and still consider myself Theravada? I ask because I am not sure what the general rule is, I will not be around Theravada monks until Summertime.
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Re: Can I receive the Triple Gem from a Tibetan Buddhist?

Postby darvki » Fri Mar 18, 2011 4:23 am

If you've committed yourself to the Theravada, why not wait until summertime?
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Re: Can I receive the Triple Gem from a Tibetan Buddhist?

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Mar 18, 2011 4:26 am

Why do you need to "receive" the triple gem at all? and why from an ordained person?

if you want to practise then practise, it's what's in your heart that is important not what rituals you have undertaken.

either way there is nothing stopping you from reciting the refuges and precepts on your own.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Can I receive the Triple Gem from a Tibetan Buddhist?

Postby darvki » Fri Mar 18, 2011 4:28 am

:goodpost:
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Re: Can I receive the Triple Gem from a Tibetan Buddhist?

Postby Modus.Ponens » Fri Mar 18, 2011 4:50 am

I think it's always good to take refuge with a monk. Just be aware that there are different comitments in the Tibetan refuge, and the Theravada refuge. Just be open and say that you are a Theravadin who wants to take refuge from a monk and just wishes to folow the 5 precepts.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
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Re: Can I receive the Triple Gem from a Tibetan Buddhist?

Postby AndrewRayGorman » Fri Mar 18, 2011 5:09 am

I should note that I personally took the Triple Gem on October 30th in front of my poster of the Buddha. I had the right intent, however. Since then I have been pursuing the path and trying to learn the Dhamma when I can.
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Re: Can I receive the Triple Gem from a Tibetan Buddhist?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Mar 18, 2011 5:42 am

Modus.Ponens wrote:I think it's always good to take refuge with a monk. Just be aware that there are different comitments in the Tibetan refuge, and the Theravada refuge. Just be open and say that you are a Theravadin who wants to take refuge from a monk and just wishes to folow the 5 precepts.

Yes, this is the complication. With Theravada you generally just turn up, and it's something one does regularly. We have refuges and precepts (and some other chanting, and a ceremonial bindabart) before lunch every Sunday (and on Uposatha days, but that's not so convenient for those who work), and anyone who wants to do this just comes along.

Even funeral services start with refuges and precepts.

Whereas, my impression is that taking refuge is more of a ceremony in Mahayana, something you register for. However, I've no experience with that so I'll leave any comments to someone more knowledgeable.

:anjali:
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Re: Can I receive the Triple Gem from a Tibetan Buddhist?

Postby Akuma » Fri Mar 18, 2011 6:54 am

AndrewRayGorman wrote:There is a Tibetan Rinpoche on my campus, and I was wondering if I would be able to receive the Triple Gem from him, and still consider myself Theravada? I ask because I am not sure what the general rule is, I will not be around Theravada monks until Summertime.


If its important to you I'd just approach and ask him. ^^
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Re: Can I receive the Triple Gem from a Tibetan Buddhist?

Postby Fede » Fri Mar 18, 2011 7:07 am

AndrewRayGorman wrote:There is a Tibetan Rinpoche on my campus, and I was wondering if I would be able to receive the Triple Gem from him, and still consider myself Theravada? I ask because I am not sure what the general rule is, I will not be around Theravada monks until Summertime.


If you intend to follow Theravada, you can take refuge yourself, in your own created private ceremony. You can make it as elaborate or simple as you like.
I did this in 2000, without any adherence to any tradition, and then Took Refuge "officially" on Vesak in 2008, at my local Theravada temple.
One did not feel any more - or less - significant than the other.
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

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Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

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Re: Can I receive the Triple Gem from a Tibetan Buddhist?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Mar 18, 2011 7:31 am

Just a point of semantics. Don't take refuge, go for refuge. You can do it your self and in a real sense you do it with every action you make that accords with the teachings.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Can I receive the Triple Gem from a Tibetan Buddhist?

Postby Kim OHara » Fri Mar 18, 2011 7:47 am

mikenz66 wrote:... my impression is that taking refuge is more of a ceremony in Mahayana, something you register for. However, I've no experience with that so I'll leave any comments to someone more knowledgeable.

I sit with a Tibetan-led meditation group, mostly because there is no Theravada equivalent near me. That doesn't make me 'more knowledgeable' than Mike in any other way, but may qualify me to respond here.
The meditation sessions all start with 'In the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, I take refuge until enlightenment' - even for people who have just come in off the street (so to speak) to see if meditation is something they want to pursue. But there is also a much longer, more serious, refuge-taking ceremony which is offered by the Lama to those who wish to take it.
So it's not either/or, it's both - as far as this one group goes, anyway.
In terms of the OP, however, I like Goofaholix's response.

:namaste:
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Re: Can I receive the Triple Gem from a Tibetan Buddhist?

Postby daverupa » Fri Mar 18, 2011 7:50 am

As an aside, I would recommend going for refuge and undertaking the precepts in your native language as opposed to attempting a foreign language recital, especially if on one's own.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Can I receive the Triple Gem from a Tibetan Buddhist?

Postby Aloka » Fri Mar 18, 2011 8:10 am

I would suggest you repeat it to yourself before practice sessions and then wait until the summer. The Tibetan Refuge I took part in many years ago began with taking refuge in the lama and was all in the Tibetan language. It began as follows:

Making an offering and then doing 3 prostrations to the lama, then repeating after him in Tibetan (the last 4 lines x3):

"All the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the 10 directions please think of me, teacher please think of me,

I (name) from this moment until I attain Enlightenment

I take refuge in the Lama

I take refuge in the Buddha

I take refuge in the Dharma

I take refuge in the Sangha"

a few more words are repeated and then a small amount of hair is cut from the crown of the head and one is given a Tibetan name.


with metta,

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Re: Can I receive the Triple Gem from a Tibetan Buddhist?

Postby PeterB » Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:35 am

tiltbillings wrote:Just a point of semantics. Don't take refuge, go for refuge. You can do it your self and in a real sense you do it with every action you make that accords with the teachings.

:goodpost:


Just to elaborate a little on points others have made, Taking Refuge with a Lama is likely to have an extra dimension not found in taking Refuge with a Theravadin teacher. You MAY be pledging loyalty to a particular Refuge Lineage in the person of that Lama.
And it comes at a price.
Many Tibetan schools teach that if you are in breach of that vow to that Lama the result for you post mortem could be a sojourn in Vajra Hell, a hell specific to those who have broken their vow to their Lama.....
So even if you think that to be a particularly unpleasant way to maintain social control ( as I do ) you may want to reflect on it before commiting.
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Re: Can I receive the Triple Gem from a Tibetan Buddhist?

Postby Ben » Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:42 am

Hi all,
Tilt's earlier post reminded me of something that Ledi Sayadaw said on going for refuge. As with everything that the Sayadaw has written, it is very worthwhile.

Chapter Seven
The seventh question was, “I would like to know the method of taking refuge in the Three Gems.”

How to Practise the Three Refuges
I am not going to describe the Three Gems in detail because they have been well explained in such books as the Saraṇādivinicchaya. Only the main points will be shown here.

People often think, “If I worship this teaching, it will free me from the lower realms.” If these meditations have the merit needed to avoid the lower realms, then they may be called refuges. Some believe that meditating on this or that teaching will bring enough merit to avoid the lower realms. This kind of worship cannot bring such merit. It is useless. Those who believe in those teachings are not a refuge and are not worthy of respect. They are also not able to find a refuge. You must understand this while taking refuge.

To give a simile: the purified attributes of virtue, concentration, and wisdom are like fertile soil; the Noble Ones possessing those attributes are like a fertile field. Worshipping them is like sowing seed in that field. Here, the volition to worship is the seed. One who is without virtue, concentration, or wisdom, and therefore thinks only immoral thoughts, is like dry, rocky land. Worshipping one like that is just like sowing seed on barren land. The worshipper’s act (however reverential) is futile and brings no merit.

Nevertheless, there are sure ways of earning merit and demerit, modes of conduct that are moral or immoral, and happy destinies or unhappy destinies understood down the ages by the wise (whether bhikkhus, laymen, or recluses). Wrong believers disregard all these merits and demerits and declare that what is meritorious is demeritorious, or that what is demeritorious is meritorious. One with such perverted views is like a burning rock. One who worships such a teacher is like one who sows seed on a burning rock. Instead of gaining merit, the worshipper will be burned.

Taking refuge is of two kinds: by hearsay and by direct knowledge. Taking refuge through blind faith in the noble attributes of the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Saṅgha, but without right view, is by hearsay. It is so called because the act of taking refuge is not complete in so far as the worshipper has not actually “seen” the Buddha, the Dhamma, or the Saṅgha; he has not perceived the teaching; he has not been in contact with the teaching. In common parlance, he has not got the message.

Consider the Buddha’s admonition to Vakkali, the devoted bhikkhu who spent all his time in worshipful admiration of the Buddha, “Vakkali, he who does not see the Dhamma does not see me.” That is why taking refuge in the Three Gems without empirical knowledge of the Dhamma, i.e. insight into the arising and passing away of phenomena, relies on hearsay only. It is not taking refuge with direct knowledge.

Taking refuge with direct knowledge means imbibing the Buddha’s teaching with right view by perceiving the aggregates, the sense bases, and the elements, and their arising and cessation, which alone will destroy the delusion about a “self” and doubts about the Four Noble Truths. This kind of going for refuge is the real refuge, for the worshipper is actually in contact with the Three Gems.

“One understands suffering, its origin, its cessation and the Noble Eightfold Path leading to the end of suffering. This, indeed, is a secure refuge, this is the supreme refuge. Taking refuge in this, one gains release from the cycle of existences.” (Dhp. vv.191-192.)

The above stanzas refer to taking refuge with direct knowledge. As for the seven aspects in the five aggregates discussed earlier, each aspect includes taking refuge based on hearsay and taking refuge with direct knowledge, thus making seven pairs.

Let me illustrate the difference between the two. Suppose there are two lepers at advanced stages of the disease. There is also a competent physician who can cure leprosy. One leper lives a hundred days’ journey from the physician. He has never seen the physician, but takes his medicine brought to him by travellers. By taking the medicine faithfully and correctly, eventually he is completely cured of leprosy. The other leper lives in the physician’s house as a dependent. He does not take the medicine because he finds its smell and taste unpleasant. He only enjoys the good food that is plentiful at the master’s table. The result is obvious; his disease worsens day by day. Of the two lepers, only the one who was cured knows, by direct knowledge, the efficacy of the medicine and the true worth of the physician. The other does not know the real worth of the physician or the medicine he administers. He has only knowledge based on hearsay about the greatness of the physician and the powerful medicine he dispenses. The analogy is clear enough.

So, one who is training to acquire the proficiency in the seven aspects referred to above does not need to utter the words of taking refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma, and Saṅgha. He does not need to go to a pagoda for worship, for these are mere formalities, and not essential, as he or she well understands. It is only for those who fail to practise what the Buddha taught that the utterances and the acts of worship are so important. These “hearsay” worshippers may be Buddhists today, but they may change their religion tomorrow. Those who worship with direct knowledge would rather give up their lives than convert to another religion.

-- Uttama Purisa Dīpanī: A Manual of the Excellent Man by Ledi Sayadaw and translated by Bhikkhu Pesala.
http://www.aimwell.org/Books/Ledi/Uttama/uttama.html

kind regards

Ben
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Re: Can I receive the Triple Gem from a Tibetan Buddhist?

Postby palchi » Fri Mar 18, 2011 1:24 pm

When I took refuge with a Tibetan Rinpoche we were explicitly told that this is valid for any Buddhist tradition, whether Theravada or Mahayana, not just for Tibetan Buddhism. Nothing about pledging loyalty to a specific lama or lineage but rather a commitment to the Buddhist path. The student - teacher questions and commitments that may be more specific to vajrayana generally come a bit later... at least that's what I've been taught...

So I don't think there would be any problem in receiving (and formalising) refuge with a Tibetan lama if you don't want to wait till summer - you can then still always reaffirm it in the tradition you are practicing when you get the chance.

(but I am practicing Vajrayana not Theravada so I only can share from this perspective)
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Re: Can I receive the Triple Gem from a Tibetan Buddhist?

Postby manjughosamani » Fri Mar 18, 2011 1:40 pm

Hello,

There are different levels of formality when going for refuge in Tibetan traditions. Many times you can ask to take refuge with a preceptor (a lama or the senior monk in residence) and they can peform a simple ceremony on the spot. If you are not interested in taking bodhisattva vows you can ask the preceptor to only give the refuge and the dge bsnyen (pronounced like gé nyen) vows. These are the lay or upāsaka vows of restraining from taking life, not stealing, not lying, not engaging in sexual misconduct, and not consuming intoxicants that are common to all traditions. This is important to ask because some of the traditions have a combined prāṭimokṣa and bodhisattva refuge ceremony for lay people. At the level of refuge sans bodhisattva vows, you are taking refuge in the triple gems of Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha and not a particular tradition.

Wishing you all the best.
Last edited by manjughosamani on Fri Mar 18, 2011 2:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Can I receive the Triple Gem from a Tibetan Buddhist?

Postby PeterB » Fri Mar 18, 2011 1:57 pm

palchi wrote:When I took refuge with a Tibetan Rinpoche we were explicitly told that this is valid for any Buddhist tradition, whether Theravada or Mahayana, not just for Tibetan Buddhism. Nothing about pledging loyalty to a specific lama or lineage but rather a commitment to the Buddhist path. The student - teacher questions and commitments that may be more specific to vajrayana generally come a bit later... at least that's what I've been taught...

So I don't think there would be any problem in receiving (and formalising) refuge with a Tibetan lama if you don't want to wait till summer - you can then still always reaffirm it in the tradition you are practicing when you get the chance.

(but I am practicing Vajrayana not Theravada so I only can share from this perspective)



There is no standard approach to this. My very first going for Refuge included Refuge vows for the Higher Tantras...which is why I said "MAY" include vows pertinent to a specific Refuge tree.
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Re: Can I receive the Triple Gem from a Tibetan Buddhist?

Postby PeterB » Fri Mar 18, 2011 2:45 pm

If I can take a minute to stroll down a wee pathway..I was once introduced to a woman whose introduction to Buddhism was going to her local Town Hall to enroll for an evening pottery course, going through the wrong door...being given a card to read out to an exotic looking Asian gentleman who bonked her gently on the head with a vase with a feather sticking out of it...and discovering that she had taken Refuge with the previous Karmapa and had received Green Tara Empowerment..... :smile:

:focus:
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Re: Can I receive the Triple Gem from a Tibetan Buddhist?

Postby Ben » Fri Mar 18, 2011 2:58 pm

Hi Peter

The only thing I can do at 2AM is to refer you to the above extract from the text by Ledi Sayadaw. It makes good reading. Given your friend apparently did not intend to go for refuge and merely recited some words in a foreign language without understanding their meaning, i doubt whether it could be considered going for refuge in any meaningful way.
Anyway, enough from me.
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