In Buddhism, there are things that all Buddhist monks take refuge in and took guidance from other monks and help them too in a similar way. This process is known as “Taking Refuge in Three Jewels”. These Three Jewels are Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.
“Buddham Saranam Gacchami
Dharmam Saranam Gacchami
Sangham Saranam Gacchami”
Buddhist monks recite these lines in order to remind themselves that they take refuge in Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Actually taking refuge in Three Jewels is considered to make one an official Buddhist monks.
Buddha is the founder of the Buddhism and was also known as Enlightened One. In Three Jewels, taking refuge to Buddha means one is loyal to Buddha and devotes oneself to Lord Buddha and swore to follow his path to gain the knowledge left by Lord Buddha himself.
Simply saying Buddha, most of the tradition refers to Shakyamuni Buddha.
Read More: Buddha
Dharma, in general, is the teachings of Lord Buddha and is one of the key terms in most of the tradition of the Buddhism. It is also referred as the principle or law that envelops the whole world. Dharma has different meanings in the various tradition of Buddhism.
In Mahayana Buddhism, Dharma means the manifestation of reality. In Theravada Buddhism, Dharma is taken as the term for the key of evidence.
Read More: Dharma
Sangha is the community of the ordained monks and nuns where one looks guidance and help from other Buddhist monks.
Read More: Sangha
Let’s see what it means to take refuge in Three Jewel
Taking refuge in the Three Jewels means to commit one’s life towards the path and way to Awakening or simply attaining Nirvana. It is about freeing from the chain that binds one to the cycle of Life. Triple Gem is considered as the center of the major practices that focus on the mental reflection in Buddhism. It is also about the reflection on the ultimate qualities of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. These qualities are known as the Mirror of the Dharma in Buddhism and are included in Mahaparinibbana Sutta. When one involve in the Three Jewels then one can attain the true mind like a mirror.
In general, when one realize true meaning on Buddha’s teachings and it’s beneficial then one takes another step. That is to take refuge in the Three Jewels. When one take refuge in the Three Jewels, and then one officially becomes Buddhist monks. After becoming the Buddhist monks, one must commit themselves to take them and liberate them.
How to take refuge in Three Jewels
During the time of Buddha, there was no need for the formal religious rituals and ceremonies but one is considered Buddhist monks if one is keen of spiritual capacity. Even though there was no Sangha Jewel until modern community, but Lord Buddha allow one of the early lay disciples to take refuge in the three Jewels. But in the modern community, people are considered as the official Buddhist monks through religious rituals and ceremonies.
There are two verses that one need to recite to take refuge in the Three Jewels. They are:
I (name of the reciter) to the end of my life, take refuge in the Buddha, take refuge in the Dharma, take refuge in the Sangha. (Repeat Three Times)
I have taken refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. (Repeat Three Times)
These verses can be translated literally as “I will undertake to find my home in the Buddha”, “I will undertake to find my home in the Dharma” and “I will undertake to find my home in the Sangha.”
Benefits of Taking Refuge in the Three Jewels
There are a number of benefits by taking refuge in the Three Jewels. Especially these benefits can be divided into eight categories. They are:
- One can become a follower of Buddha
- One can establish a firm basis to receive precepts
- One can diminish karmic obstacles
- One have the potential to accumulate vast amount of advantages
- One can avoid rebirth in lower realms
- One can possess the ability to accomplish all virtuous deeds
- One can possess the quality of not being disturbed by all sentient beings
- One can have the ability to become the Buddha