Finding the Three Jewels: Understanding Refuge in the Tibetan Tradition

Finding the Three Jewels: Understanding Refuge in the Tibetan Tradition

Entering the path of awakening in Tibetan Buddhism is called ‘taking refuge.’ Those who wish to do so have the option to participate in a simple but meaningful public ceremony to express their intention to practice in accordance with the teachings of wisdom and compassion. At Dekeling, we strongly encourage students to take this step after learning a little about the meaning of the vow, and about the ceremony itself—though it is not absolutely required.  We also ask that students make a ‘kata’—a simple blessing scarf—which will be returned to them on day of the ceremony. Instructions for making a kata will be given in this class as a handout.

We will offer the refuge vow ceremony at Dekeling and simultaneously over Zoom, in January, 2022. During the ceremony, participants who are taking refuge for the first time will receive a dharma name, and a small memento of the day. After the ceremony, we’ll celebrate together. People who have taken the vow in past are encouraged to renew their vow, but do not receive a new name. Family and friends, including children are warmly invited! The ceremony takes about an hour.

In this class, you’ll learn about the levels of meaning/understanding of each of the objects of refuge, (traditionally called The Three Jewels: the Buddha, the teacher; the Dharma, the teachings, and the Community who provide guidance, inspiration and support). You will also receive instructions for making a blessing scarf and learn how to maintain this simple and beautiful commitment.  There will be plenty of time for questions and answers.

Those who attended the Wake Up to Your Life Practice and Study Group can find more information about Refuge in the book, on pages 42-47. We have also done some blog posts on Refuge.

As with all Dekeling events, your offering for class will help us continue to make the dharma available—but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Register here. If you need a scholarship, please email and let us know: we’re happy to help!