Refuge from Afar

Taking Refuge from a Distance by His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche


Anyone who wishes to take refuge from a distance is welcome to do so. It is even more beneficial to receive refuge from a distance than actually being present physically, because it really shows that you have a very strong aspiration to do so.  You can take the refuge vow from a distance, because the nature of the Three Jewels actually is the all-pervasive dharmakaya.* I am only the physical representation—you really seek and only receive refuge from the Three Jewels: the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.** This is really what you take refuge in. The Three Jewels are all-pervasive and, therefore, always present.

To take refuge, please listen to the streamed instructions and follow the repetition of the supplication of the refuge vow.  (This instruction with vows is linked below. The audio is instruction only. The video contains instruction with vows and begins at minute 5.50.)

Then, take a small hair clipping (2 or 3 strands) from the crown of your head, not from the tips of your hair. The hair is taken only directly from the crown, because it opens the crown chakra and thereby opens the path to liberation, and the consciousness can leave through the crown chakra at the time of death. That is why it is so significant to take the hair clipping from the crown chakra. It is also very important that the hair clipping be taken with love; that is, one should ask for and receive refuge with the motivation of love. The hair that is taken from the crown should be taken with this mind of love, because it is love that will open the gate or the path to liberation.

* The Dharmakaya (lit. “truth body” or “reality body”) is one of the three bodies (trikaya) of the Buddha. Dharmakaya constitutes the unmanifested, “inconceivable” aspect of a buddha, out of which buddhas arise and to which they return after their dissolution.

** The Three Jewels are the Buddha—the teacher, the Dharma—the teachings, and the Sangha—the community of practitioners.

This teaching  was given by H.E. Garchen Rinpoche

After taking refuge:  Send your hair clipping and a small photo of yourself to our mailing address.  Upon receipt, we will send you your refuge name card and some additional offerings from H.E. Garchen Rinpoche.

May all be auspicious!

Mailing Address:

Garchen Buddhist Institute
P.O. Box 4318
Chino Valley, AZ 86323

Suggested Donation, which covers shipping cost and acts as an offering of gratitude:

  • $20 USA
  • $40 International
  • No one will ever be denied refuge for lack of funds.

Garchen Rinpoche's Instructions on Taking Refuge from Afar

by H.E. Garchen Rinpoche