And we Refuge in the Sangha In countries in which Buddhism was adopted as the main religion without much competition from other religious disciplines, such as Thailand, the relation between the initiation of a lay person and the five precepts has been virtually non-existent, and the taking of the precepts has become a sort of ritual cleansing ceremony. Next, the precepts developed to become the foundation of lay practice. We take three refuges, which are often called The Three Jewels or … [3] There remains value for a degree of trusting confidence and belief in Buddhism, primarily in the spiritual attainment and salvation or enlightenment. In Mahayana, the word is sometimes used to mean "manifestation of reality" or "phenomenon." The Buddha never claimed any divinity. Buddhist do not take refuge in the Buddha with the belief that He is a god or son of god. This is the path of the Buddhas. Traditionally, it is said that taking refuge is: the door or entrance way into the teaching of the Buddha; what separates the Buddhist from non-Buddhists Maybe, we can look at the monastic order as the "custodian" of the Dhamma. The Commentaries define the act of taking refuge as a mental act, namely: Buddhists take refuge in the Buddha not out of fear of Him, but to gain inspiration and right understanding for their self-purification. However, anyone who sincerely wants to follow the Buddha's path may begin that commitment by reciting these lines: I take refuge in the Buddha.I take refuge in the Dharma.I take refuge in the Sangha. A sangha can be a particular group of Buddhists, lay or monastic, who practice together. The outer meaning of taking refuge in the Buddha refers to Shakyamuni Buddha, the historical Buddha who lived in India. Faith in Buddhism centres on belief in the Three Jewels. They want to be the only ones who hurt; everyone else is supposed to be cool and pain-free and supportive. Since the time of the Buddha, taking this Threefold Refuge has identified a person as a Buddhist. 0 comments. However, in some countries like China, where Buddhism was not the only religion, the precepts became an ordination ceremony to initiate lay people into the Buddhist religion. In the same vein, taking the refuge vow is standing in front of friends, family, or a supportive community and saying, “Okay. elements of Buddhism. Or, it can mean all Buddhists everywhere. By taking refuge in the Sangha, we become the refuge. Three refuge motivation levels are: 1) suffering rebirth's fear motivates with the idea of happiness, 2) knowing rebirth won’t bring freedoms motivated by attaining nirvana, while 3) seeing others' suffering motivates establishing them all in Buddhahood. Oddly, this seems to anger some people. [13], A layperson who upholds the precepts is described in the texts as a "jewel among laymen".[14]. carry the correct transmission of the lineage have taken Refuge themselves have full faith and belief in the teachings of Lord Buddha be following the teachings and trying to live by them be able to inspire your trust and faith. The precepts are often committed to by new followers as part of their installment, yet this is not very pronounced. Lastly, the precepts, together with the triple gem, became a required condition for the practice of Buddhism, as lay people had to undergo a formal initiation to become a member of the Buddhist religion. First of all, the precepts were combined with a declaration of faith in the triple gem (the Buddha, his teaching and the monastic community). We takes Refuge in the historical Buddha, the supreme Teacher who lived in India 2,500 years ago. When we accept the Buddha’s teaching as a student of the Buddha, we make this vow with all sentient beings. The form doesn't matter. So they go to a dharma center and find other people who are hurt and confused. The taking of refuge is an expression of one's commitment to the Triple Gem and become a bona fide Buddhist. share. According to the Pali Tipitika, the Buddha asked that this ceremony be used to ordain new nuns and monks into the monastic sangha.In most schools of Buddhism, taking the refuges and receiving the Precepts mark the formal … In the Buddhist tradition, Taking Refuge means to cultivate an unshakable sense of safety, protection, and belonging. Bikkhu Bodhi wrote that taking refuge in the Buddha is not merely taking refuge in his concrete particularity. [16] Happiness is temporary, lifetimes are impermanent and ultimately refuge is taken until reaching unsurpassed awakening. The original Pali words of the three "I take refuge" lines, translated literally, read "I will undertake to find my home in the Buddha," and then the Dharma and Sangha. Taking Refuge in the Three Jewels. There are aspects of the Buddhism I’m being taught that I don’t relate to much at all. 1. This is a bit of Buddhist symbolism, and teachings of the Buddha. The main example is, always, the enormous amounts of […] His enlightenment and his teachings continue to inform all Buddhist schools and practices. Buddhism is not a theistic religion — the Buddha is not a god — and so a person taking refuge in the Buddhist sense is not asking for the Buddha personally to intervene to provide protection. The English word refuge refers to a place of shelter and protection from danger. But the Buddha taught his disciples that he was not a god, but a man. save. It most often refers to the monastic orders and the institutional bodies of Buddhism. Faith is an important teaching element in both Theravada and Mahayana traditions. Taking Refuge in the Triple Gem. Taking refuge means relying on these Three Jewels so that they become the main focus of our lives. But why “Triple Gem”? The three jewels of Buddhism in relation to Anthroposophy. The Theravada teacher Bhikkhu Bodhi said. The first step in practicing Buddhism is taking refuge in the Three Jewels (the Buddha, his teachings and the community of buddhists). We call him the awakened one, the one who has gone beyond all dualities and concepts, beyond all forms of confusion and suffering. Zen teacher Robert Aitken said of the First Jewel: Like "Buddha," the word Dharma can point to several meanings. [10] The precepts were seen as a preliminary condition for the higher development of the mind. “I take refuge in the Sangha.”. [11] At a third stage in the texts, the precepts were actually mentioned together with the triple gem, as though they were part of it. In Tibetan Buddhism there are three refuge formulations, the Outer, Inner, and Secret forms of the Three Jewels. The Triple Gem consists of the most important parts for any follower of Buddhism to always abide in. The meaning of taking refuge in the Three Jewels is explained somewhat differently by the various schools of Buddhism. The formal ceremony of Ti Samana Gamana (Pali), or "taking the three refuges," is performed in nearly all schools of Buddhism. The highest, the most sacred level of Sangha is the enlightened disciples of the Buddha, such as the eight major Bodhisattvas, which include Manjushri and Avalokiteshvara. However, this is only the verbal expression of taking refuge. When we talk about “becoming” an official Buddhist, we are specifically talking about taking “refuge” in the Triple Gem. Yet in whom did the Buddha himself take refuge? Taking the refuges will not summon supernatural spirits to come and save you. In the Kalama Sutra, the Buddha explicitly argues against simply following authority or tradition, particularly those of religions contemporary to the Buddha's time. They fear taking refuge will bind them to the institution of Buddhism, so they maintain a window-shopping attitude. Buddhism always emphasizes that one should understand his position and should perform his duties honestly accordingly. Robert Thurman said we take refuge in the Buddha as the embodiment of teacher. Because, after all, I did not suddenly become less of a skeptic. In his book Taking the Path of Zen, Zen teacher Robert Aitken wrote that taking refuge in the Three Jewels more of a vow than a prayer. To become a Buddhist is to take refuge in the Three Jewels, also called the Three Treasures. How can we take refuge in him? "The implication is that by finding my home in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha I can free myself from blind conditioning and realize true nature," Aitken writes. When we take The outer form is the Three Jewels proper: Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. The third form of Refuge is taking Refuge in the Sangha. report. Of course the underlying principle is that the work has to be beneficial not harmful to oneself and others. Six points of training: 1. [6] The five precepts are: In Early Buddhist Texts, the role of the five precepts gradually developed. Question. Taking Refuge means, that we Refuge in the Attainments of the Lord Buddha, as a Faith instiller to let us know that a Human can do this (self liberation). Lay followers often undertake five precepts in the same ceremony as they take the refuges. When a person wishes to become a Buddhist, the first step he or she takes is to go to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha for refuge. However, it is also often used in a way similar to how some western Christians use "church." I’m committed to meditating, contemplating, and exploring the example of the Buddha, these teachings and this community, to the best of my ability.” The Three Jewels are the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. Taking refuge is a matter of commitment and acceptance and, at the same time, of openness and freedom. The late Chogyam Trungpa said of taking refuge in the Sangha. One is the teaching of the Buddha, as expressed in the sutras and other articulated discourses. The first Buddhist step on the journey to enlightenment is taking refuge, called śaraṇaṃ in Sanskrit and chabdro (སྐྱབས་འགྲོ་) in Choekey. We Refuge in the Dhamma, the teachings which lead to liberation. Going for Refuge gives a continuous perspective on life by referring to one’s conduct and understanding of the qualities of the Buddha (wisdom), Dhamma (truth) and Sangha (virtue). I very much want to have a little ritual/ceremony for myself to signify my beginnings in practicing Buddhism. In contrast to perceived Western notions of faith, faith in Buddhism arises from accumulated experience and reasoning. Since I took refuge, I find myself explaining what that means to me to Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike. Bikkhu Bodhi said that there are two levels of dharma. Pali texts employ the Brahmanical motif of a group of three refuges, as found in Rig Veda 9.97.47, Rig Veda 6.46.9 and Chandogya Upanishad 2.22.3-4. He could be a scientist; she could be a religious teacher.". hide. Taking Refuge provides a context for our spiritual journey. For the rest of my life I’m in it with this Buddhist stuff. TAKING REFUGE IN THE BUDDHA When we become Buddhists, we vow to take refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. In doing so, we recognize and confirm our Buddhanature, the potential for basic goodness that we all share as sentient beings. She is the author of "Rethinking Religion" and has covered religion for The Guardian, Tricycle.org, and other outlets. It is a most fundamental Buddhist practice which is said to distinguish Buddhists from others. Taking Refuge in the Buddha also means relying on our own innate potential to achieve the same state of enlightenment as the Buddha. Going for Refuge and taking the Precepts define a person as a practising Buddhist. In the Buddhist tradition, the purpose of taking refuge is to awaken from confusion and associate oneself with wakefulness. The teacher is Buddha to us, one who can point the way to our own reality for us. Buddhism asks us to go beyond the self, not to perfect the self. W… Tai Situ Rinpoche When we take refuge for the first time, we officially become a Buddhist. So taking refuge in theDhamma means performing one’s own duties perfectly. When we say "the Buddha" often we are speaking of the historical Buddha, the man who lived 26 centuries ago and whose teachings form the basis of Buddhism. The Buddha The other is the Buddhist path, and the goal, which is Nirvana. In the most fundamental way, taking refuge in the Buddha means taking refuge in our own potential for liberation. 1. “Gem” refers to something precious, which is a great analogy for the Buddh… We seek shelter from the passions that jerk us around, from feeling distressed and broken, from pain and suffering, from the fear of death. Sangha is another word with multiple meanings. What danger? [1], The chant goes in the ancient Pali language goes:[2], Buddham saranam gacchami. Taking refuge is a way to formalize one’s commitment to and faith in the Buddha’s path and take shelter from the vicissitudes of life. Barbara O'Brien is a Zen Buddhist practitioner who studied at Zen Mountain Monastery. The scriptures make it clear that taking refuge involves more than reciting the formula of refuge. The Three Jewels are the Buddha , the Dharma , and the Sangha . Especially in the West, people who come to Buddhism very often do so because they are hurt and confused. So, for me, taking refuge in the Sangha means taking refuge in the monastic order who have fulfilled an indespensable role in the preservation and perpetuation of the Buddha-dhamma. This public teaching was given before a private online refuge ceremony, offered at the request of Lama Lena’s students. Opening yourself to others, supporting and being supported, is critical to loosening the fetters of ego and selfishness. To become a Buddhist is to take refuge in the Three Jewels, also called the Three Treasures. The importance of sangha cannot be overestimated. [4][5] Monks administer the precepts to the laypeople, which creates an additional psychological effect. by Yukh ok Chatralwa Chöying Rangdrol This has two sections: 1) causal and resultant refuge, and 2) how to take refuge. Taking refuge is the first step on the Buddhist path, and often occurs as a natural outgrowth of learning about Buddhism and reflecting upon the meaning of the teachings, for ourselves personally and in light of the human condition. Why we take Refuge in the Buddha . There are many levels of Sangha. In Theravada Buddhism, dharma (or dhamma in Pali) is a term for the factors of existence or the transitory conditions that cause phenomena to come into being. We know that the Buddha’s father, King Suddhodana, sought protection in political power and social standing. Taking Refuge in DharmaThe ceremony of Ti Samana Gamana (Pali), or “taking the three refuges,” is believed to have been established by the Buddha himself. Taking refuge. Buddha, Dharma and Sangha—as your refuge, and make a decisive commitment to them, in order to be free from the fear of your own and others’ suffering in samsara. The contemporary view that one is just taking refuge in one’s own higher or deeper nature is at best partial and more likely simple sophism. Living Buddhism is not a project of self-perfection, in which behavioral control—ethical and technical—is the name of the game. The power of the vow comes from your own sincerity and commitment. These alternative refuge formulations are employed by those undertaking Deity Yoga and other tantric practices within the Tibetan Buddhist Vajrayana tradition as a means of recognizing Buddha Nature. Rather, it enables us to embrace the world in all its complexity as the vehicle for releasing our destructive habits. “I take refuge in the Dharma.”, Sangham saranam gacchami. Or perhaps they view taking refuge as analogous to rushing into marriage without sufficient knowledge of the future spouse and worry that personalities may … Studying the Buddha's teachings--one definition of dharma--is important, but to take refuge in the Dharma is much more than just trust and acceptance of teachings. Trying to achieve enlightenment by yourself and only for yourself is like trying to walk uphill during a mudslide. 2. That consists of the Buddha (the teacher), the Dharma (teachings of the Buddha), and the Sangha (the monastic community). For example, it refers to the Buddha's teachings, and also to the law of karma and rebirth. The Buddha's Path to Happiness: An Introduction, Buddhism: 11 Common Misunderstandings and Mistakes. [12] When Buddhism spread to different places and people, the role of the precepts began to vary. Taking Refuge: Destination Buddhahood by H.E. While "Buddha" may be a person who has awakened to enlightenment, "Buddha" might also refer to enlightenment itself (bodhi). Taking refuge in the Three Jewels་is considered the starting point on the Buddhist path. The 'Outer' form is the 'Triple Gem', (Sanskrit:triratna), the 'Inner' is the Three Roots and the 'Secret' form is the 'Three Bodies' or trikaya of a Buddha. Tibetan Buddhism defines three formulations for taking refuge: the outer, the inner and the secret. Buddhists take refuge in the Three Jewels or Triple Gem (also known as the "Three Refuges"). We seek shelter from the wheel of samsara, the cycle of death and rebirth. Without the monastic order, the Buddha-dhamma might have been long forgotten. Taking refuge ceremony at home. A Talk on Taking Refuge Vows September 20, 2020 Lama Lena explains the meaning and importance of refuge in the Buddhist tradition, from a Dzogchen perspective. Robert Thurman, a Tibetan Buddhist and Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist studies at Columbia University, said of the Three Jewels, Ch'an Master Sheng-Yen said, "The genuine Three Jewels, in essence, are none other than the enlightened Buddha nature that is already inside you.". The essence of taking refuge is, to accept the Three Jewels—i.e. Buddhist practice – in any Buddhist tradition – starts by taking refuge in the Three Jewels, that is in the Buddha, the dharma and the sangha: this is the gate through which one embarks on the Buddhist path, aiming to go beyond the suffering of cyclic existence. But taking refuge does not mean retreating from life. By taking the refuge vow we commit ourselves to freedom. In order to embark on a spiritual path we need faith that our own heart and mind have the potential to awaken. “I take refuge in the Buddha.”, Dhammam saranam gacchami. The inner form, or the “Three Roots,” is the lama or heart teacher, the practitioner’s chosen deity, and the dakinis. We become Buddhists through participating in the ceremony of refuge. Buddhists take refuge in the Three Jewels or Triple Gem (also known as the "Three Refuges"). This sense can be found in the Heart Sutra, which refers to the voidness or emptiness (shunyata) of all dharmas. You acceptthe Buddha as your guide, Dharma as your path and Sangha as your companions. It's also trusting your practice of Buddhism, whether regular meditation and regular chanting. It's about trusting mindfulness, the present moment, right here, not putting faith in something far away. Among all, taking Refuge or the act of going for the Triple Refuge is the most fundamental of Buddhist rites, which serves as the link between all the traditions. The formal ceremony of Ti Samana Gamana (Pali), or "taking the three refuges," is performed in nearly all schools of Buddhism. Take refuge in the Three Jewels, do not seek the source of your happiness and problems outside yourself. Basic points unifying Theravāda and Mahāyāna, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Refuge_(Buddhism)&oldid=987341571, CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown, Articles needing cleanup from August 2020, Cleanup tagged articles with a reason field from August 2020, Wikipedia pages needing cleanup from August 2020, Articles lacking reliable references from July 2018, Articles containing Sanskrit-language text, Articles containing Bengali-language text, Articles containing Burmese-language text, Articles containing Chinese-language text, Articles containing Japanese-language text, Articles containing Sinhala-language text, Articles containing Vietnamese-language text, Wikipedia articles needing clarification from March 2017, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 6 November 2020, at 11:42. Refuge is common to all major schools of Buddhism. It is also sometimes used to refer to ethical rules and to mental objects or thoughts. Offer the first part of food or drink to the triple gem, by blessing it before eating or drinking by reciting "Om Ah... 3. Any suggestions on what I can do at home to have something a little special to mark the occasion? In such countries, people are presumed Buddhist from birth without much of an initiation. In Mahayana Buddhism, while "Buddha" may refer to the historical Buddha, called Shakyamuni Buddha, "Buddha" also refers to "Buddha-nature," the absolute, unconditioned nature of all things. [17][clarification needed], CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (, Learn how and when to remove this template message, reliable, independent, third-party sources, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, "On the Buddha's Use of Some Brahmanical Motifs in Pali Texts", "Kalama Sutta: The Buddha's Charter of Free Inquiry", "Uposatha Sila: The Eight-Precept Observance", Refuge: A Safe and Meaningful Direction in Life, Refuge: An Introduction to the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, Refuge Tree Thangkas by Dharmapala Thangka Centre. "We turn to the teaching of the reality of bliss, the teaching of the method of achieving happiness in whatever form it comes to us, whether it comes as Christianity, whether it comes as humanism, whether it comes as Hinduism, Sufism, or Buddhism. To go for Refuge is the profession of one's faith and the founding act by which one marks his entry in the Buddhist path. 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