The Vows of Going for Refuge

from a Drikung Kagyu book on Vows

NAMO RATNA GURU!

The factor for the occurence of all of the teachings of the Victorious One,
The supreme interdependence for the accomplishment of the well-being and happiness of beings,
The marvelous manifestor of all peoples’ good fortune:
To the precious vows I prostrate.

For those who seek for the benefits of liberation and omniscience, if they wish to take the vows of going for refuge, then, thinking of how the lower realms and samsara are like a pit of fire, one should sit with an excellent and deep spiritual teacher endowed with the vows of refuge. One should arrange offerings to the supreme monasteries and centers of Dharma, make offerings to the guru, fold one’s hands, and, sitting up straight, recite as follows:

Preceptor, please be aware of me!

I, (Your Name), from this moment and onwards into the future, for as long as the ocean of conditioned existence lasts,
go for refuge in the supreme amongst bipeds, the Buddha.
I go for refuge in the supreme amongst peaces, freedom from
attachment, the Dharma.
I go for refuge in the supreme amongst assemblies, the noble Sangha.

Recite this until you had said it three times.

As for the benefits of having taken refuge, although they are immeasurable, if you were to summarize them, they are eight:

1}The Benefit of Having Journeyed Into Buddhadharma
2} The Benefit of Having Become a Basis for All of the Vows
3} The Benefit of Not Being Harmed by All Evil Spirits, Humans, and Non-Humans
4} The Benefit of All Negative Karmic Actions Being Exhausted and Coming to Be Able to Restrain Oneself [from future negative karmic actions]
5} The Benefit of Vast Increase of the Accumulation of Merit in One’s Mindstream
6}The Benefit of Not Going to the Lower Realms and Bad Transmigrations at the Time of Death
7} The Benefit of the Special Qualities of the Path Arising in One’s Mindstream
8} The Benefit of Ultimately Attaining Unsurpassable Enlightenment

These are the eight kinds of benefits.

Having attained these eight benefits, it is necessary to train in the advice concerning training in the refuge vows.

Having taken refuge in the Buddha, one should not prostrate to other gods.
Having taken refuge in the Dharma, one should abandon killing sentient beings.
Having taken refuge in the Sangha, one should not follow people who are non-Buddhists.
One should accomplish devotion up until you see that the Three Jewels are the genuine support.
Even for the sake of your life and reward, you should not throw away the vows of going for refuge.
Even if a special reason happens, one should not seek other methods.
You should make offerings to the Three Jewels at all times.
When setting out in a certain direction, one should go for refuge in the deities of the Three Jewels.
One should strive to increase and train in the vows of refuge.

Translated by Erick Sherab Zangpo.

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