A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

Taking Refuge in the Triple Gem

Once a person decides to follow a Religion or teacher, one needs to acknowledge this to themselves, the world around us and to any deity if your beliefs have one. In the case of those who follow the Buddha‘s teachings, this act is called taking refuge in the Triple Gem. Sometimes these are also referred to as The Three Treasures, or Three Jewels. The Triple Gem refers to the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha. When we refer to the Buddha, we are referring to a teacher who lived about 2600 years ago. He was the one who became enlightened, and then proceeded to teach this process to others. These teachings about the ultimate meaning of life, the ultimate truth about the cosmos are known as the Dhamma. Those who have followed the path of Dhamma and achieved enlightenment, or what some would call sainthood are known as the Sangha. Also included in the Sangha are those monks and nuns who have taken the precepts to live a pure life and act as teachers to the lay people. These members also maintain the teachings, help translate to new languages, and are living vessels of the Dhamma. I need to point out that blind faith is not only not required, it is discouraged. The Buddha told us to test what we hear, and if it is beneficial to all sentient beings then we should adopt it. We are encouraged to use our intelligence to the best of our ability, to freely ask questions, and to discuss what we hear. Some people may decide to at some point join the Sangha.

The Ti-Sarana, with the Pali in bold, and the English translation after each line. This is recited when one declares themselves as a follower of the Buddha, and quite often chanted daily by a Buddhist, to help focus their mind. If one carries on to adopt or take the Five Precepts, a follower will chant these just before undertaking to follow the Five Precepts.

Buddham saranam gacchami

I go to the Buddha for refuge.

Dhammam saranam gacchami

I go to the Dhamma for refuge.

Sangham saranam gacchami

I go to the Sangha for refuge.

Dutiyampi Buddham saranam gacchami

For a second time, I go to the Buddha for refuge.

Dutiyampi Dhammam saranam gacchami

For a second time, I go to the Dhamma for refuge.

Dutiyampi Sangham saranam gacchami

For a second time, I go to the Sangha for refuge.

Tatiyampi Buddham saranam gacchami

For a third time, I go to the Buddha for refuge.

Tatiyampi Dhammam saranam gacchami

For a third time, I go to the Dhamma for refuge.

Tatiyampi Sangham saranam gacchami

For a third time, I go to the Sangha for refuge.

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