Refuge (Buddhism)

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Buddhists "take refuge" in, or to "go for refuge" to, the Three Jewels or Triple Gem, (aka the "Three Refuges"). This can be done formally in lay and monastic ordination ceremonies.

The Three Jewels general signification is: 

Refuge in the Triple Gem is common to all major schools of Buddhism. Pali texts employ the Brahmanical motif of the triple refuge, found in Rig Veda 9.97.47, Rig Veda 6.46.9 and Chandogya Upanishad 2.22.3-4[1]

Faith (saddha)[edit]

Main article: Faith in Buddhism

Faith is an important teaching element in both Theravada and Mahayana traditions. In contrast to perceived Western notions of faith, faith in Buddhism arises from accumulated experience and reasoning.

In the Kalama Sutra, the Buddha explicitly argues against simply following authority or tradition, particularly those of religions contemporary to the Buddha's time.[2] There remains value for a degree of trusting confidence and belief in Buddhism, primarily in the spiritual attainment and salvation or enlightenment. Faith in Buddhism centres on belief in the Three Jewels.

Precepts[edit]

Dharma Wheel.svg
Lay Buddhist Practices
Devotional

Offerings * Prostration
Taking refuge * Chanting * Pūja

Holidays

Uposatha * Shinbyu * Thingyan
Buddha's Birthday

Precepts

Five Precepts * Eight Precepts
Bodhisattva vow * Bodhisattva Precepts

Other

Meditation * Alms * Texts · Pilgrimage

A student who takes refuge may make vows to adhere to the Five Precepts (pañca-sila). Laypeople undertake at least one of the five, but traditions differ in how many vows are common to take. The Five Precepts are not commandments, such as "thou shalt not ...", but are promises to oneself: "I will (try) ..."

  1. To refrain from harming living creatures (killing).
  2. To refrain from taking that which is not given (stealing).
  3. To refrain from sexual misconduct.
  4. To refrain from false speech.
  5. To refrain from intoxicants which lead to loss of mindfulness.

Serious lay people or aspiring monks may take an additional three to five ethical precepts, and strengthen some of the five precepts. For example, the precept pertaining to sexual misconduct becomes a precept of celibacy.

Wording[edit]

Sanskrit version:

बुद्धं शरणं गच्छामि।
धर्मं शरणं गच्छामि।
संघं शरणं गच्छामि।
Buddhaṃ śaraṇaṃ gacchāmi.
Dharmaṃ śaraṇaṃ gacchāmi.
Saṃghaṃ śaraṇaṃ gacchāmi.
I take refuge in the Buddha.
I take refuge in the Dharma.
I take refuge in the Sangha.

Pāli (Theravāda) version:

बुद्धं सरणं गच्छामि।
दम्मं सरणं गच्छामि।
सङ्घं सरणं गच्छामि।
Buddhaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi.
Dhammaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi.
Saṅghaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi.

Khmer characters:

ពុទ្ធំ សរណំ គច្ឆាមិ ។
ធម្មំ សរណំ គច្ឆាមិ ។
សង្ឃំ សរណំ គច្ឆាមិ ។
To the Buddha for refuge I go
To the Dharma for refuge I go
To the Sangha for refuge I go
Dutiyampi buddhaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi.
Dutiyampi dhammaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi.
Dutiyampi saṅghaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi.

Khmer characters:

ទុតិយម្បិ ពុទ្ធំ សរណំ គច្ឆាមិ ។
ទុតិយម្បិ ធម្មំ សរណំ គច្ឆាមិ ។
ទុតិយម្បិ សង្ឃំ សរណំ គច្ឆាមិ ។
For the second time ...
Tatiyampi buddhaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi.
Tatiyampi dhammaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi.
Tatiyampi saṅghaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi.

Khmer characters:

តតិយម្បិ ពុទ្ធំ សរណំ គច្ឆាមិ ។
តតិយម្បិ ធម្មំ សរណំ គច្ឆាមិ ។
តតិយម្បិ សង្ឃំ សរណំ គច្ឆាមិ ៕
For the third time...

Uyghur version:

Namo but.
Namo dram.
Namo sang.[3][4]

Chinese version:

南無皈依佛 (to the Buddha for refuge I go)
南無皈依法 (to the Dharma for refuge I go)
南無皈依僧 (to the Sangha for refuge I go)

However, some substitute the above with a (Mahāyāna) version taken from the Avatamsaka Sutra which reads:

自皈依佛,當願眾生,體解大道,發無上心。
(I take refuge in the Buddha, wishing for all sentient beings to understand the great way and make the greatest vow.)
自皈依法,當願眾生,深入經藏,智慧如海。
(I take refuge in the Dharma, wishing for all sentient beings to deeply delve into the Sutra Pitaka, gaining an ocean of knowledge.)
自皈依僧,當願眾生,統理大眾,一切無礙。
(I take refuge in the Sangha, wishing all sentient beings to lead the congregation in harmony, entirely without obstruction.)

Tibetan : The basic refuge in Tibetan is:

སངས་རྒྱས་ལ་སྐྱབས་སུ་མཆིའོ།
ཆོས་ལ་སྐྱབས་སུ་མཆིའོ།
དགེ་འདུན་ལ་སྐྱབས་སུ་མཆིའོ།
Sang-gyé la kyap-su chio (I go for refuge to the Buddha)
Chö la kyap-su chio (I go for refuge to the Dharma)
Gendün la kyap-su chio (I go for refuge to the Sangha)

A Mahayana refuge in Tibetan:

སངས་རྒྱས་ཆོས་དང་ཚོགས་ཀྱི་མཆོག་རྣམས་ལ།
བྱང་ཆུབ་བར་དུ་སྐྱབས་སུ་མཆི།
བདག་གིས་སྦྱིན་སོགས་བགྱི་པ་འདི་དག་གིས།
འགྲོ་ལ་ཕན་ཕྱིར་སངས་རྒྱས་འགྲུབ་པར་ཤོག
Sang gyé chö dang tsok kyi chok nam la
Jang chup bar du kyap su chi
Dak gi jin sok gyi pa di dak gi
Dro la pen chir sang gyé drup par shok

The Dhammapada[edit]

Driven only by fear, do men go for refuge to many places — to hills, woods, groves, trees and shrines.
Such, indeed, is no safe refuge; such is not the refuge supreme. Not by resorting to such a refuge is one released from all suffering.
He who has gone for refuge to the Buddha, the Teaching and his Order, penetrates with transcendental wisdom the Four Noble Truths — suffering, the cause of suffering, the cessation of suffering, and the Noble Eightfold Path leading to the cessation of suffering.
This indeed is the safe refuge, this the refuge supreme. Having gone to such a refuge, one is released from all suffering.
Dhammapada 188-192

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]