April 24, 2022

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As more and more practitioners understand Why Take Refuge in the Three Jewels, we had couple more such auspicious ceremonies. The latest is on April 24th, 2022, with a group of thirteen (13) fellow Chan practitioners from Canada, Ireland, Poland, Turkey, United Kingdom, and United States.

Here are some of their heartwarming sharing and words, to “share the precious forward” for practitioners come after:

from Katy:
My journey with Chan practice started in 2017 when I started attending the Sunday meditation at the Pure Mind center in St. Louis. I struggled with epilepsy and had been experiencing difficulty trusting my mind and body. Practicing meditation and participating in the Dharma study group helped me face these vexations, let go of the causes and conditions of my experience, and respond with greater acceptance and humility. The Sangha at the Pure Mind Center helped me heal after I underwent brain surgery to address the epilepsy, and process the ways in which my body had changed.

I moved from St. Louis in 2018, but continued to take time to practice. It was difficult not having a center where I could be in community with a Sangha, but I continued to stay in touch with the Pure Mind center to help myself stay committed to the practice. I had the goal of one day attending one of the centers to take Refuge, but conditions prevented me from doing so. When Covid-19 occurred, I was grateful to have the opportunity to virtually attend sessions at the Pure Mind Center on Fridays and DDM on Sundays. To reconnect with the Sangha has been wonderful. My practice has become more integrated within my daily life, and I have become more confident in sharing the Dharma with family, friends, and community members. It brought me great joy and excitement when the opportunity came to join the Taking of the Refuge and the Five Percepts ceremony. During the ceremony I experienced joy, peace, and deep gratitude. I appreciate DDM making this opportunity more accessible, and welcoming us, my Dharma brothers and sisters, into the Sangha.

from Peter:
I have been an explorer of Buddhism for a long time, since my Qigong teacher first introduced me to Guan Yin and the recitation of the Ksithigarbha and Heart Sutras.

Throughout my exploration, I have always encountered Venerable Sheng Yen's video series on YouTube and felt a strong resonance with his particular teaching style and approach to the Dharma. It is mainly from Master Sheng Yen that I learned the importance of taking refuge.

Thanks to Venerable Guo Yuan, I was finally able to take refuge on April 24th 2022 online. The whole experience taught me that refuge is not a decorative affair prior to receiving a "membership card", but an extension of practice. Preparing for the ceremony and treating it with respect was very beneficial for my practice - yet, the ceremony itself was nothing to be stressed over as Venerable Guo Yuan guided us through every step. There was no danger of making a faux pas or doing the wrong thing.

After the ceremony, many regular practitioners had stayed online and gave us congratulations as we gave thanks for the great opportunity we had been afforded. For me, everything felt the same, yet now everything is different. I feel that I have a strong foundation and support for my practice. I feel more accountable to myself as a result of the refuge ceremony and taking the five precepts.

My gratitude to Venerable Guo Yuan for his compassion and time in offering refuge for those of us who may not be able to take it otherwise. My thanks to Warren and those who helped with the technical and organisational aspects for the ceremony.

For more information or to apply for the next Taking Refuge Online, please visit here.


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