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Of false and True Refuges

From Tibetan Buddhist Encyclopedia
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Of False and True Refuges. Do you believe this man can turn into an insect?

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True or false?

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Full moon eggs must be red color only.
The Importance of Taking the Three Refuges Based on the Commentaries (‘Atthakatha“)of Ven Buddhaghosa, 5th century C ELee Yu Ban, Sept 2010

Buddham saranam gacchamiI go for refuge to the Buddha;Dhammam saranam gacchamiI go for refuge to the Dhamma;Sangham saranam gacchamiI go for refuge to the Sangha.Dutiyampi Buddham saranam gacchamiDutiyampi Dhammam saranam gacchamiDutiyampi Sangham saranam gacchamiTatiyampi Buddham saranam gacchamiTatiyampi Dhammam saranam gacchamiTatiyampi Sangham saranam gacchami


What I’ll cover1.

Why Take Refuge2.

The Existence of a Refuge3.

The 3 Jewels as the Supreme Refuge4.
The Act of Going for Refuge5.

Corruptions and Breach of Refuge

Dhammapada verses 188-192 190-191.

He who has gone for refuge to the Buddha, the Dhamma and his Sangha, and penetrate with wisdom the Four Noble Truthssuffering, thecause of suffering, the cessationof suffering, and the Noble Eightfold Path leading to the cessation of suffering. 192.

This indeed is the safe refuge, this the refuge supreme.Having gone to such a refuge, oneis released from all suffering.188. Driven by fear, 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.

1. Why Take Refuge Buddhaghosa says that the 3 Refuges offers protection from suffering arising from:– The dangers in the present life– The dangers in future lives– The dangers in our general course of existence in Samsara

Dangers pertaining to the present life The uncertainty of life– we are subject to disease,accident, and injury– disasters such as earthquakes and floods– Society problems like business failure, loss of job, crime, social unrest, war– Ultimately, death Even when they are unrealised we live in constant, stress,anxiety, fear When our fears are realised, we experience depression, grief,despair We all want happiness,but t
The First Reason for Going For Refuge How then do we rid ourselves of this fear, stress, suffering?

Since we cannot alter the nature of the world to make it harmonize withour will, we must change ourselves, by putting away attachment andaversion towards the world.

We have to stop our clinging, to stop wanting things to go our way, learn to view events with a detached equanimity.
 We cannot change the realities of this world but we can change our attitude towards it.

Pain is inevitable, Suffering is optional.This is the first reason for going for refuge — the need for protection from reaction to the dangers in this life.

The Dangers Pertaining to Future Lives

Our liability to harm and danger does not end with death.

With Devas - live in splendor and happiness.

Yet even the Devas grow old, die and are rebornAsura - marked by their fierce envy.

The karma of hate and jealousy causes rebirth as Asuras.

Petas- A hungry ghost always looking outside himself for things that will satisfy the craving within.

Hungry ghosts are characterized by insatiable hunger.

Hell Realm - the most terrible of the Six Realms. Everything makes them angry.
Animal Realm - conditioned by ignorance and dullness.

Human Realm - the only realm of thesix from which beings may escape samsara. Enlightenment is at hand inthe Human Realm, yet only a few open their eyes and see it.The Six Realms of Rebirth

What determines our rebirth?“Beings are owners of their kamma, heirs of kamma,they have kamma as their seed, kamma as their relatives,kamma as their home. …………..It is kamma that differentiate beings according to inferiority and superiority.“

Cula-kammavibhanga Sutta

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We need to protect ourselves from the danger of low rebirths

Protection from a falling into the plane of misery cannot be obtained from others.• It can only be prevented by avoiding the causes leading to an unfortunate rebirth.

The cause for rebirth into any specific plane of existence lies in our kamma Thus we need instruction on doing wholesome kamma and avoiding un wholesome kamma– By purifying our actions of our body,our speech and mind

Daily practice of a Buddhist Kusala deeds


Transference of merits
Rejoice in other’s merits
Hearing the doctrine
Expounding the doctrine
Straightening one’s view Akusala deeds Killing
Sexual misconduct
Harsh speech
Vain talking
Ill belief
False belief

The second reason for going for refuge

To avoid committing unwholesome kamma we need help, for two main reasons.-

To choose correctly, we require guidance —Clear teachings from one who knows the results of all actions, and the causes leading to rebirth in the different plane sof existence.- even when we can discriminate right from wrong, our weaknesses often drive us to pursue the wrong.

The second reason for going for refuge — the need to master our actions so as to avoid falling into the lower rebirths in future lives.

Dangers pertaining to the general course of existence in samsara

More dangerous than the dukkha that is experienced in this life and in the next life is the unending round of rebirth in samsara.

Samsara is the cycle of becoming, the round of birth,aging and death, which has been revolving through beginningless time.


The third reason for going for refugeThe causes for birth in samsara are within ourselves

To put an end to our existence in samsara,we must put an end to the craving for existence (bhava-tanha).

Bhava-tanha has its roots in our minds - the so called 3 poisons ( greed, hatred and delusion ) The Buddha, in the 4 Noble Truths describes the way how we can uproot Delusion and put an end to Rebirth This is the third reason for going for refuge — the need for deliverance from Samsara.

"Why do we need a refuge?" Protection from:– Dangers pertaining to the present life– Dangers pertaining to future lives– Dangers pertaining to existence in samsara.

Benefits– Happiness in the present life– Secure future lives– Eventual Liberation from samsara

2. The Existence of a Refuge A refuge must be secure, beyond danger and distress The refuge must be accessible tous.

“When people have gone for refuge, then by that very going for refuge it crushes, dispels,removes, and stops their fear,anguish, suffering, risk of unhappy rebirth and defilement.” Khuddakapatha-Atthakatha


3. Identification of the Objects of

Supremacy of the 3 Refuges Salutation To The Buddha Such indeed is the Blessed One, Exalted, Fully Enlightened, Endowed with knowledge and virtue,Well-gone, Knower of the worlds, a Guide incomparable for the training of individuals, Teacher of gods and men, Enlightened and Holy.

Salutation To The Dhamma Well-expounded is the Dhamma by the Blessed One to be self-realized; with immediate fruit;inviting to come and see; capable of being entered upon; to be realised by the wise each for himself.Salutation To The Sangha Of good conduct is the Order of the Disciples ofthe Blessed One.

Of upright conduct is the Order of the Blessed One.

Of wise conduct is the Order of the Blessed One. Of dutiful conduct is the Order of the Blessed One.

Itipiso Bhagava Araham Sammasambuddho vijjacarana-sampanno Sugato LokaviduAnuttaro purisadamma-sarathi satthaDevamanussanamBuddha BhagavatiSvakkhato Bhagavata DhammoSanditthiko, Akaliko, EhipassikoOpanayiko, Paccattam veditabbovinnuhitiSupatipanno Bhagavato savakasanghoUjupatipanno Bhagavato savakasanghoNayapatipanno BhagavatosavakasanghoSamicipatipanno Bhagavatosavakasangho

4. The Act of Going for Refuge“ Magnificent, Master Gotama!

Magnificent!Just as if he were to place upright what had been overturned, were to reveal what was hidden, were to show the way to one who was lost, or were to hold up a lamp in the dark so that those with eyes could see forms, in the same way Master Gotama has -- through many lines of reasoning -- made the Dhamma clear.

I go to Master Gotama for refuge, to the Dhamma, and to the Sangha.

May Master Gotama remember me as a lay follower who has gone to him for refuge, from this day forward, for life. "

Abhaya Sutta, (Discourse to Prince Abhaya)]).

Requirements in Taking Refuge effectively

The formal commitment to the Triple Gem is expressed by reciting the formula of fully embracing the Buddhas teaching.

To be effective, it must be accompanied by faith, devotion and a firm intention.

Taking the Refuge in the 3 Jewels then provides access to the whole body of teachings that gives us safety Buddham saranam gacchamiI go for refuge to the Buddha;Dhammam saranam gacchami I go for refuge to the Dhamma;Sangham saranam gacchamiI go for refuge to the Sangha.

5. Corruptions and Breach of the Refuge

According to the commentaries there are three factors thatdefile the going for refuge:– ignorancedoubtwrong views

Even though the refuge act is defiled by these corruptions, as long as a person regards the Three Jewels as his supreme reliance his going for refuge is intact and he remains a Buddhist follower.

But though the refuge is intact, his attitude of taking refuge is defective and has to be purified.

Breach of Refuge

If he comes to regard another spiritual teacher as superior to the Buddha, or as possessing greater spiritual authority thanthe Buddha.

If he comes to regard another religious teaching as superior to the Dhamma, or resorts to some other system of practice as his means to deliverance.

If he comes to regard some spiritual community other than the ariyan Sangha as occupying a higher spiritual level than the ariyan Sangha.– then his going for refuge is broken.

The beneficial teachings of others

Are there spiritual truths in other religions?- Thisquestion was answered by Ven Sariputta.

"Friends, just as the footprints of all leggedanimals are encompassed by the footprint of theelephant, and the elephants footprint is reckonedthe foremost among them in terms of size; in thesame way, all skillful qualities are gathered underthe Four Noble Truths.”

Ven. Sariputta in the Maha- hatthipadopamaSutta:The Great Elephant Footprint SimileNatthi me saranam aññamBuddho (Dhammo, Sangho) me saranam varam"For me there is no other refuge, the Buddha,(Dhamma, Sangha) is my supreme refuge.“