Forging Joyous Camaraderie through Refuge-taking

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What’s the best way to commemorate your first year of learning in BW Monastery? While the monitors & care-coordinators are racking our brains to think of appropriate ways to do so, from class party to animal liberation, many of the students of class S18G008E have chosen the most symbolic and spiritual way to mark their first ‘anniversary’ — taking refuge.

Credit must, inevitably, go to Class Monitors Soon San & Mui Peng, for leading the class so well that although the students always claim they do not remember much, the learning has actually been deeply entrenched. When the announcement of the 3 Refuge-taking ceremony being held in English was made, many asked if they were ready for it. Technically, they are not… they have not even covered the chapter on taking refuge yet! However, over the past year of lessons, the reasons for and advantages of refuge-taking have popped up so frequently during lessons that several of them decided to sign up for it!

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Ah, not to forget the pivotal role virtuous friends play. Last Sunday, with the reminder announcement, those who have signed up egged some who still had reservations to do so as well. Now, we are not a big class. With a regular attendance of about 10-12, we have grown relatively close over these 12 months, drawing closer with each monastic activity – from doing monthly Vast Offerings (yes, we have a mini Feast-Up in KH every first Sunday of the month) to volunteering (at Blossom Seeds’ Opening event & Vesak Day) and even gung-holy taking on the mammoth of a task memorizing part of the Lamrim and competing in the Recitation Competition held in April, after having learnt the Lamrim for only several months! The best testimony to show their resolve to walk this path together is, beyond a doubt, taking refuge together! 

Hence, it was indeed heart-warming to see how the Teachings fall into place as I witnessed the group turning up early in the morning, taking refuge with one-pointedness and recounting how much they enjoyed the entire ceremony during lunch. Through this simple yet symbolic event, the group has fostered even tighter bonds.

 With such virtuous friends accompanying one another, I am certain we will continue the pursuit of eternal happiness with dogged determination and joyous perseverance.

On behalf of S18G008E

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Rosalind