Below is a letter from George, his thoughts on refuge taking.
Reformatted for easy reading.
Exercise: Why have I not taken the refuge? From 5th July 2011
I am attending the Dhamma course to explore and understand Buddhism. At this stage, my understanding is still limited and I gather that taking the refuge is not like taking a holiday tour.
I am not into religion nor am I seeking God or god. From what I learned so far in Buddhism, understanding is the most important thing and understanding takes time. There are a lot of questions that need to be clarified. I am quite certain The Buddha was not interested in having a large number of disciples. He was concerned that people should follow his teachings as a result of a careful investigation and consideration of the facts. There are problems and challenges for me but taking refuge in Buddhism to avoid problems in this very life seem contrite.
I think taking the refuge is to avoid problems in future lives or to avoid future uncontrolled rebirths (is there a Pill for this?). At this point in time, I am not concern about being a Buddhist formally if that is the meaning of ‘taking refuge’. I would like first to be familiar with the basic tenants of Buddhism, the various concepts and to consider them with an open mind. I reckon that this is the very first step.
To me, “taking refuge” is a serious commitment. It is not a membership initiation ceremony. As I have said earlier, I am not into spiritualism. It’s the down-to-earth problems we faced and I am very curious to find if there are solutions. So, it is not the vows or precepts to observe that I am shying from. I think the time will come when it is the right path for me to take.
For now: I will read, study, attend courses and talks on principles of Buddhism and try to experience it.
George 5 July 2007
SBF Dhamma Course
3 thoughts on “Taking Refuge: Letter from A Student ~ George”
Yes, I think George put it very well. Trust and confidence into the Triple Gem has to grow and develop to a certain degree until one can whole-heartedly take refuge without it being just a religious concept or a matter of group membership. When this trust has been cultivated into unshakable faith at the point of stream entry, then the Triple Gem plus the noble sila have become the exclusive refuge for the rest of one’s exsistence in samsara.
I took refuge blindly in 1991.Not knowing the acutal meaning.Even during the ceremony, I did not bored to have any idea then. But lately, i feel great that, for i feel if i had not done, i might have break the link with Buddhist teaching. And now, i believe that if condition is right, no one can stop you from doing.
There is a saying, if you were to get shot by an arrow, do not wait to find out who shot it or what made it, immediately remove the arrow and stop the bleeding first, that may have save your life. My thought (may be ignorant), when i took refuge at that time, certain conditions had made so, and at that moment, i made the decision, thereafter, carry on with the life i had. But because i had decided then, the inprint in my mind somehow is link to “somethings”. Like the kite is still attached to the string. The kite may have gone with the wind if i were not attached then. So for me, i am still with the buddhist teaching and getting more of the Budddha’s taste. I am going to take my 5 precepts soon when condition come again. I feel like going one step higher, there are more to go, but i am not worry because I am under the refuge of the Buddha. like the mother love and will take care the only child. I have the medicine which the Buddha had prescribed (Dharma), mind me, i use to forget the timing to take my medicine. And there are so many more nurses going around reminding me that i look sick. And because I am sick, I really have to take medicine myself, nobody can take the medication on behalf of me.
May all be happy
May all be free of all kinds of dissatifaction in life
Be mindful, observe your life through the actions and thought now, they’ll teach you all you need to know.