In the Buddhist tradition, the purpose of taking refuge is to awaken from confusion
and associate oneself with wakefulness…
When we take refuge, we commit ourselves to the Buddhist path.
– Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche
This three session course explores the moment in a person’s life when they decide to “be Buddhist”— formally, through the practice of taking a vow. It is open to all who are interested in the Refuge Vow, or anyone who would like to reconnect with their original inspiration for taking this vow.
Session 1—What is the Refuge Vow?
Session 2—A personal exploration of why one would consider taking the Refuge Vow—or has already taken it
Session 3—A deeper exploration of the “three jewels” (Buddha, dharma, sangha)—a key aspect of the Refuge Vow
The Refuge Vow has been part of the Buddhist path for centuries. Taking a vow in a formal ceremony is a way to set our intention and to plant a deep seed of aspiration for the unfolding of our spiritual path. The refuge vow marks the decision to commit oneself wholeheartedly to the Buddhist path and to further one’s practice and training. It is the formal commitment to being a Buddhist, following the example of the Buddha Shakyamuni, his teachings (the dharma), and joining the community (sangha) of fellow practitioners.
After taking the Refuge Vow and a period of further practice, the Bodhisattva Vow is a further expression of commitment to the Buddhist path and can be explored.
Taking this vow is a powerful moment on a Buddhist practitioner’s path. Join us and explore if this is the right moment for you—or use this as a powerful opportunity to connect with your original inspiration for this moment on your personal spiritual path.
Gaylon Ferguson, PhD, has led group meditation retreats since 1976. He taught at Stanford, the University of Washington, and Naropa University, where he was a Core Faculty Member for fifteen years. The author of two books, Natural Wakefulness (on the four foundations of mindfulness) and Natural Bravery (on fear and fearlessness as path to manifesting bravery), his articles have appeared in Lion’s Roar, Tricycle, and Buddhadharma magazine. He contributed the foreword to the pioneering collection Black and Buddhist: What Buddhism Can Teach Us About Race, Resilience, Transformation and Freedom (Shambhala, 2020).