Applications now closed. Please pay the Vow's registration fee here.
REFUGE & BODHISATTVA VOWS With Judy Lief
Preparatory Class, Sunday, October 29th, 2:30 - 4:30 pm, Eileen Fisher Headquarters
Interviews, Thursday November 2, 7-9 pm, (location to be announced)
Ceremony and Reception, Sunday November 5, 2-6 pm, Eileen Fisher Headquarters
The preparation classes will be on Sunday October 29th from 2:30 – 4:30 pm at the Eileen Fisher Headquarters in Irvington (see map - do not use GPS). The Refuge Vow class will be in the main hall and the Bodhisattva Vow class will be up in the Yoga Room. If you cannot make the class, please contact your Meditation Instructor. If you do not yet have a Meditation Instructor, please contact Derek Kolleeny at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the bodhisattva registration only: Please enter your Refuge Name in both English and Tibetan in the registration form. There will also be a booklet available to purchase for the price of $20 at the Preparatory Class. Also, traditionally one offers a gift to the preceptor at the ceremony. The meaning and nature of the gift will be discussed at the preparatory class.
To allow us all to prepare. See especially the links below to "Further Readings".
Location: Eileen Fisher Headquarters, 2 Bridge Street, Irvington, NY 10533. See map and directions.
The Refuge Vow
"The discipline of choicelessness...is based on a sympathetic attitude toward our situation. To work on ourselves is really only possible when there are no sidetracks, no exits."
– Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche
Taking Refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha (also known as the Precious Three Jewels), is a ceremony where one formally becomes a Buddhist. By taking refuge, we commit ourselves to freedom. Having exhausted our strategies of distraction, denial, and escapism, we find that learning to experience reality directly through the path of meditation is a life-affirming choice. Taking the Refuge Vow is making a formal commitment to follow the path of the Buddha in one's life—becoming a Buddhist.
The Refuge Vow is the traditional step of formally becoming a Buddhist by taking "refuge" in the Buddha, the dharma, and the sangha.
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.
To take refuge is to commit ourselves to the Buddhist path of awakening. We take refuge in the Buddha as an example, the dharma as truth, and the sangha as a community of fellow practitioners. It is the initial vow of the Buddhist tradition and marks our formal entry onto the path. As taking the Refuge Vow is a significant step in one's path, as well as a public ceremony, friends and family are warmly welcomed to attend.
The Refuge Vow is open to anyone who has the sincere aspiration to take the vow and has practiced meditation for a while.
Further Reading: For more on the meaning of the Refuge Vow in our tradition, follow this link to read Chapter 5, "Taking Refuge" from The Heart of the Buddha, by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche.
The Bodhisattva Vow
“Planting such a seed as the bodhisattva vow undermines ego and leads to a tremendous expansion of perspective. Such heroism, or bigness of mind, fills all of space completely, utterly, absolutely. Within such a vast perspective, nothing is claustrophobic and nothing is intimidating. There is only the vast idea of unceasingly helping all sentient beings, as limitless as space, along the path to enlightenment..."
- Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche
The Bodhisattva Vow is a further extension of one's personal commitment to be of ongoing benefit to others.
Having taken the refuge vow and entered onto the path of the dharma, we can expand and deepen our commitment by taking the Bodhisattva Vow. With the Bodhisattva Vow, we dedicate ourselves and all that we do to the benefit of all sentient beings.
It is recommended that the Bodhisattva Vow be taken at least 6 months to a year after taking the Refuge Vow. In addition, you should have an ongoing meditation practice and have an established relationship with the local meditation center. Prior to taking the vow, you should schedule an interview with your Meditation Instructor who will then forward a recommendation to the Practice Coordinator. A teacher’s gift is appropriate. Details are provided in the application form and there will be a modest materials fee.
Further Reading: For more on the meaning of the Bodhisattva Vow in our tradition, follow this link to read Chapter 6, "The Bodhisattva Vow" from The Heart of the Buddha, by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche.