On Becoming a Refugee

“In a sense I am a refugee – I flee the “domesticated” zone of Western Neo-liberalism, where greed and hate are championed, and I have made it into the wild zone.”

–Billy Frugal, Triratna Gender Diverse Buddhists

This discussion was sparked by my comment that Chogyam Trungpa taught that “taking Refuge” meant “becoming a refugee”, with no real home, no guarantees, nothing to hang on to.

The full quote:

I was incredibly disappointed at first by Triratna’s failure to be a kind of Buddhist “wild zone” where the dominant culture was left behind and all was hard-core practice and relentless change. In fact, as I have matured a little into our culture, I see just how difficult it is to maintain that level of vigilance, and am much better equipped to get on with my stuff, sometimes the one at the front, sometimes the one clinging to my old domesticity. Partly this arises from an understanding, fairly newly acquired, of just how huge a problem greed and hatred are – they are massive problems which continue to exist until very far along the path. In Going For Refuge, I see us engaged in a collective process which is about addressing this question, since I Go For Refuge from my own Greed and Hate, and I do it with other people who are doing the same. In a sense I am a refugee – I flee the “domesticated” zone of Western Neo-liberalism, where greed and hate are championed, and I have made it into the wild zone. Of course, the wild zone is imperfect, peopled as it is by imperfect people. In my limited experience single sex-situations make it harder to de-domesticate oneself – for men the group view will be powerfully influenced by a largely unconscious male privilege for example. The anti-feminist sentiment is a big thing, and the sense of persecution that can arise is extremely detrimental to the spiritual life.

Now this is what I call “practicing Buddhism.”


Triratna has a Gender Diverse Buddhist Facebook group that is approaching 120 members.”Gender Diverse” means transgender, non-binary, transsexual, gender queer or questioning, and every possible kind of gender diversity. 


It’s a closed group, so you have to request admission by the moderator, Padmavyuha. Feel free to join even if you are not a member of Triratna.


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