Can I receive the Triple Gem from a Tibetan Buddhist?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
palchi
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Re: Can I receive the Triple Gem from a Tibetan Buddhist?

Post by palchi »

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

Post by manjughosamani »

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

Post by PeterB »

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

Post by PeterB »

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:

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

Post by Ben »

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

Post by meindzai »

I would say look closely at what the ceremony involves, the kind of commitment it involves making, and then determine what outcome that will have on your practice.

I did a personal, private refuge ceremony for myself many years ago, but it wasn't nearly the same as when I finally was able to get to a monastery and take it with a Theravadan monk. (Oddly enough the place is called Dhamma Wheel!) For me it was very moving and powerful and really locked everything in for me. It changed my practice and I take the precepts a lot more seriously now.

The tibetan ceremony may ask you to take refuge in a Guru, something which most Theravadans would probably be uncomfortable with. You might also get a Tibetan Buddhist name! Nothing wrong with that but it might not set you on the path you are looking for. I personally would wait until you can do it with a Theravadan monk, though the Tibetan place might be a nice spot to practice meditation in the meantime.

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

Post by PeterB »

Ben wrote: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.

Yes Ben I think we can assume that for real Refuge informed consent and intention would be needed... :smile:
palchi
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Re: Can I receive the Triple Gem from a Tibetan Buddhist?

Post by palchi »

PeterB wrote:
Ben wrote: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.

Yes Ben I think we can assume that for real Refuge informed consent and intention would be needed... :smile:

Still an amazing story and a wonderful connection to make for this lady :smile:
PeterB
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Re: Can I receive the Triple Gem from a Tibetan Buddhist?

Post by PeterB »

As far as I am aware she is still with a Kagyu Sangha.. :)
palchi
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Re: Can I receive the Triple Gem from a Tibetan Buddhist?

Post by palchi »

PeterB wrote:As far as I am aware she is still with a Kagyu Sangha.. :)
Why does that not surprise me? :thumbsup:
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Aloka
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Re: Can I receive the Triple Gem from a Tibetan Buddhist?

Post by Aloka »

palchi wrote:
PeterB wrote:As far as I am aware she is still with a Kagyu Sangha.. :)
Why does that not surprise me? :thumbsup:
I took Refuge with the previously mentioned 16th Karmapa when not really understanding exactly what I was getting involved with - yet after many years of Vajrayana I'm now Theravadin. Different strokes for different folks!

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

Post by Fede »

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.
Many thanks Tilt. Being a stickler for correct usage, this is useful to me.

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

Post by PeterB »

Aloka wrote:
palchi wrote:
PeterB wrote:As far as I am aware she is still with a Kagyu Sangha.. :)
Why does that not surprise me? :thumbsup:
I took Refuge with the previously mentioned 16th Karmapa when not really understanding exactly what I was getting involved with - yet after many years of Vajrayana I'm now Theravadin. Different strokes for different folks!

:buddha1:

Me too although in my case it was Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche.
Dan74
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Re: Can I receive the Triple Gem from a Tibetan Buddhist?

Post by Dan74 »

Some years ago I went with my wife, our new-born baby and a friend of mine to a talk by the late Ven Sheng-Yen (an eminent Chan Buddhist teacher). There was an optional Refuge Ceremony at the end of the talk but our baby was unsettled so we went home. My friend went for it and received a Chinese Buddhist name. Now after many years the meaning of that short ceremony seems to be crystallizing for him - in time of difficulty he is remembering this brief event and it reminds him of practice.

Sometimes these seeds are potent and sprout when most needed...
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nobody12345
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Re: Can I receive the Triple Gem from a Tibetan Buddhist?

Post by nobody12345 »

Short answer is no.
Don't cling to ceremony/ ritual.
What is important is your volition and mind.
Three fold refuge should be repeated over and over in our mind not in ceremony.
A good example to use it is when we face challenge that is encountering an evil and unwholesome thought within ourselves.
In such occasion, We can recite three fold refuge and confront the evil and unwholesome thought to penetrate its impermanent nature with wisdom.
(Even if one is not at the level of exercising wisdom faculty, one should die trying.)
Again, ceremony/ritual is not important.
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