Taking refuge means to accept guidance, reliance and deliverance.
The heart of taking refuge lies in one word: faith. Faith is the beginning of all endeavours, just as the saying goes:
The doctrine of faith, understanding, practise, and realisation as taught in Buddhism begins with faith.
Taking refuge and receiving the respective empowerments are similar to a student officially registering for enrolment in school. When one receives the empowerment from Living Buddha Lian-sheng and and takes refuge in him, one also receives the lineage transmission of True Buddha School and formally becomes a disciple of the school. One's negative karma gradually dissolves, and one is protected by the thirty-six benevolent deities. One also receives all kinds of merits, and does not easily fall into the Three Evil Paths. Therefore, one is able to swiftly accumulate good karma, and eventually realize supreme enlightenment.
From the discussion above, one can thus see that the ritual of taking refuge and empowerment is a holy and noble undertaking. Once one receives the refuge empowerment, one truly enters the gate of practising Buddhism and becomes a True Buddha disciple.
However taking refuge is not the same as ordination (becoming a monk or nun). Any ordination must have the written and signed consent from one's parents or spouse, and it must be officially approved by the highest authority of True Buddha School.
The Sutrayana tradition practises the Threefold Refuge, whereas the Vajrayana tradition practises the Fourfold Refuge.
In the Fourfold Refuge, the meaning of the Sanskrit word "Namo" is to take refuge.
Living Buddha Lian-sheng has the dharma title of "Great Blessing Vajra" and he is the Root Guru of True Buddha School. True Buddha disciples who cultivate the Root Guru Practise will be able to achieve spiritual union and responses from the Root Guru, which is a great blessing. With the Root Guru's blessing, one can gain health, long life, a harmonious family, fortune, wisdom, and the fulfilment of all wishes in the mundane realm. In the transcendental realm, one attains bodhisattvahood.
According to the Sutra of Consecration. students are protected by thirty-six guardians after taking refuge, which are sent by the Four Heavenly Kings (devarajas). If these students can also cultivate the Root Guru Practise, then Vajrayaksa, his retinue of five hundred, and multitudes of bodhisattava will also provide protection.
All students who take refuge and receive the necessary empowerments shall, through the diligent cultivation of the Root Guru Practise, benefit both themselves and others due to the boundless merits of the Root Guru Practising. All transgressions will be extinguished and all evil shall depart. The Root Guru Practise is the most efficacious of all practises and should be widely propagated.The Methods of Taking Refuge
At 7:00 a.m. (your local time) on either the first or fifteenth of a lunar month, face the direction of the rising sun. With palms joined, reverently recite the Fourfold Refuge Mantra three times: “Namo Guru bei, Namo Buddha ye, Namo Dharma ye, Namo Sangha ye. Seeking Living Buddha Lian-sheng's guidance, I am taking refuge in the True Buddha." and prostrate three times.
Send a letter to the True Buddha Foundation to request a refuge empowerment. State your name, address, age, and enclose a voluntary offering. Upon receiving your letter, the True Buddha Foundation will send a certificate, a picture of Living Buddha Lian-sheng, and a note stating the level of practise you should start with.
The address of the True Buddha Foundation is:
You may obtain refuge empowerment personally from Grand Master Lu or a True Buddha Master by visiting a True Buddha temple/local chapter or by attending a True Buddha ceremony.