Taking refuge is the first formal step on the Buddhist path. This concise text explains that what is meant by refuge is protection and eventual freedom from the confusion and suffering of cyclic existence (samsara). Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche describes the genuine sources of spiritual refuge, which are called the Three Jewels: the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. He explains the importance of receiving refuge from an authentic and unbroken lineage of transmission, the role of faith and trust, and how to relate to the refuge ceremony itself. Rinpoche emphasises the importance of taking refuge with the motivation to practice the path until we reach full spiritual awakening -- and to do so not just for ourselves, but for the benefit and enlightenment of all beings.
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