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