There is a Mahāyāna system for going for refuge and generating bodhicitta on one's own if one cannot find a master. It is also not at all clear that when one goes for Mahāyāna refuge in this way, one is adopting the five vows of a lay person as well as the bodhisattva vows.dzogchungpa wrote:This is interesting. I don't know about secret mantra vows, but can't you take refuge and bodhisattva vows by yourself?Malcolm wrote:There are a number of levels at work here, but the most fundamental is that when you receive an empowerment, you are in fact receiving a number of vows, refuge vows, bodhisattva vows as well as vows of secret mantra. It is not simply "instruction."
But, one cannot self-ordain as a novice, or a monk, nor can one confer upon oneself any empowerment.
In general one should receive the three vows from a master and then enhance them by renewing them daily. Unless of course you are a very high Dzogchen practitioner like so many people we see on Buddhist internet boards who have transcended the need for mundane things such as paying attention to the state of their vows.