Student: Hi. When I took refuge a while ago I was given a refuge name. Is that a common practice and why is it important?
Well this is all to remind you, it is like a, it’s all a reminder. Everything in Buddhism, all the rituals is to remind you actually, really. Fundamentally these are to remind you. But the problem is many times the reminders end up either becoming a culture or at worth it is even forgotten. I have a retreat center in Bhutan, the monks are doing three year retreat. And there is this monk, he has written this notes like don’t get distracted. He has it on the sealing, on the door, doorknob, everywhere. After about a year he said he is not even reading them. Doesn’t mean that he is not, he is very good with no distraction. He is totally distracted he said but this are just, he doesn’t even see them. Because he is just so used to it. Used to it, this is the challenge of the path. So supposedly the name, cutting the hair, all that ceremony is – you know it is bit like wedding. You understand wedding is supposedly to remind you two are together. But then a second after the wedding is finished. I guess like what you call it, ring yes, here, like that. Maybe they should invent a ring actually. Nose ring would be really good. A hanging nose ring. Something to remind, but after a while it won’t work. You know like, I was thinking just the other day, Jigme Lingpa, one of the Nyingmapa master, he uses the weather to remind him the impermanence. But I was just thinking the other day, I don’t think it is going to work in England. Maybe nowadays but you almost feel like, it is just to often.
Outer, Inner and Secret Refuge, London 2010