Taking Refuge: Letter from A Student ~ George

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

I Take Refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and the Sangha

Buddhist take refuge in the Triple Gem, that is, the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha.

The Buddha, referring to the historical Buddha who attained to Perfect Enlightenment, Nirvana, to Perfection through humanly possible effort.

The Dharma, the Teachings, the way that the Buddha show to us, through which we too can perfect ourselves.

The Sangha, the community of monks and nuns, who are striving, have strived and those who have attained this very Perfection, Nirvana.

Taking refuge in the Buddha, we aspire to attain the perfection he attained.
Taking refuge in the Dharma, we apply the Teachings of the Buddha in our lives to change our negative mental habits that brings rise to much stress and suffering.
Taking refuge in the Sangha, we take them as our inspiration and guide, while supporting them in what ways we can.

Buddhist take refuge in this THREE refuges, not two, not four or five.

Just as a pass along the lamp during a candle procession from one to another, this Precious Teachings, the Dharma, was passed down to us from the Buddha through the monks, nuns and lay people till today. Having benefitted from it, it is our duty to preserve this Dharma and hand it down to future generations for their welfare and benefit.

What have you done to share the Buddha’s teachings?