August 9, 2022


While the entire world is saddened, heartbroken, and impacted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, there is a bright and shiny light of Dharma radiating out of the epic center of this all-out-suffering, out of Ukraine itself.  On August 9th, in the short timeframe of Ukraine local time to avoid dangerous shelling, a couple took refuge in the three jewels and five precepts.  This courage reminds all of us to apply Master Sheng Yen’s teaching on resolving conflicts through compassion and wisdom in our daily life, while contributing to protecting the spiritual environment, around the world, for humanity.

Here are their heartwarming sharing and words, to “share the precious forward” (even in the midst of hardship and beyond) for practitioners come after:

from Elena Kisseleva:
7 years ago, I got an interview with a Theravada nun, Sister Visakha, and I was inspired by her experience and began to practice meditation.

For many years I was tormented by the question of the meaning of life and various fears - poverty, old age and illness. I often wondered about the injustice around. And Buddhism was a real source of joy for me and gave answers to all my questions about meanings.

After meeting Sister Visakha, I began to practice meditation for myself. Subsequently, I had a desire to become part of the Buddhist community, especially when I had my own family and had a child.

I am very grateful to Venerable Guo Yuan, dear Warren and Miranda for the amazing opportunity to take the Refuge and to become part of a large family.

This is a huge support for me now, when there is a war in our country. When evil is happening, it is especially important to see and remember that goodness and love are an ocean in which any evil dissolves. 

from Serg Buriachenko:
I am very grateful to the venerable Guo Yuan, Warren, Miranda, and Sister Jino Shi for organizing the Refuge Ceremony. My wife and child and I have been living in our hometown in southern Ukraine since the beginning of the war. Our city is bombarded every day. And every day I pray that peace will come soon, that the evil forces will be calmed, that people will not suffer and not die.

Our family does not have the opportunity to leave the city because of the mobilization and we have to support my old grandmother and deaf and mute uncle and his wife. Even if we were able to leave with a wife and child, our hearts would be troubled that my parents should deal with problems themselves.

I know that the World gives us difficulties to grow up in the spiritual way and finally our karma will be cleansed, but this is the most difficult period in my life. :-))))

For over 23 years I have studied Buddhism with excellent Vajrayana and Theravada teachers. And all these years I have been praying and meditating regularly. I participated in the construction of seven Buddhist stupas, organized teacher visits, and taught meditation.

I am very grateful to the Universe for the opportunity to become part of Chan Buddhism Sangha, because I have been inspired by Chinese culture for many years. And I think that this is the greatest culture in the world. The Culture of such deep and divine arts like Yi Ching, Chinese Medicine, Qigong, Wushu, Bazi and others that I try to study. And I think I need a few lives to master these arts 🙂

Thank you so much for the Refuge Ceremony! Really, dreams come true!

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

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