Taking Refuge in the Buddha also means relying on our own innate potential to achieve the same state of enlightenment as the Buddha.
The dharma provides the means of achieving the state of buddhahood. Taking Refuge in the dharma means having confidence in your own experiences of the value and effectiveness of the dharma.
The sangha is the Buddhist community, the spiritual companions with you practice the dharma. While the teacher is important in all levels of Buddhist practice, in the Vajrayana the lama is the living embodiment of the Three Jewels of Refuge. He or she is able to transmit directly to us the liberating teachings of the Buddha and advise us on the path to enlightenment.
By taking Refuge, we start to travel the path and make a connection with the fundamental reality of the awakened state of mind, represented by the Lama and the Three Jewels Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. The refuge ceremony begins when we enter the shrine room making three prostrations to the lama and the Three Jewels. The teacher may then recite various prayers while we sit before him, and perhaps give a brief explanation of some of the points concerning refuge. We recite after him three times the verses of taking refuge in the Three Jewels and ask to be accepted as a lay follower from this day forward.
By seeking such refuge one is released from all Sorrow.
In the Dhajagga Sutta, it is mentioned that by taking refuge in Sakra, the king of gods or any god, the followers would not be free from all their worldly problems and fears. The reason is, such gods are themselves not free from lust, hatred, illusion and fear, but the Buddha, Dhamma and the Sangha i. Only those who are free from unsatisfactoriness can show the way to lasting happiness. Francis Story, a well known Buddhist scholar, gives his views on seeking refuge in the Buddha:.
I seek the presence of the Exalted Teacher by whose compassion I may be guided through the torrents of Samsara , by whose serene countenance I may be uplifted from the mire of worldly thoughts and cravings, seeing there in the very assurance of Nibbanic Peace, which He himself attained.
In sorrow and pain I turn to Him and in my happiness I seek His tranquil gaze. I lay before His Image not only flowers and incense, but also the burning fires of my restless heart, that they may be quenched and stilled, I lay down the burden of my pride and my selfhood, the heavy burden of my cares and aspirations, the weary load of this incessant birth and death.
Blog: Taking Refuge in the Buddha
Sri Rama Chandra Bharati, an Indian poet, gives another meaningful explanation for taking refuge in the Buddha:. Some people say that since the Buddha was only a man, there is no meaning in taking refuge in Him.
But they do not know that although the Buddha very clearly said that He was a man, he was no ordinary man like any of us. He was an extraordinary and incomparably holy person who possessed Supreme Enlightenment and great compassion toward every living being.
Buddhists Take Refuge in the Three Jewels
He was a man freed from all human weaknesses, defilements and even from ordinary human emotions. Of Him it has been said, 'There is none so godless as the Buddha, and yet none so godlike. Another question that people very often raise is this: 'If the Buddha is not a god, if He is not living in this world today, how can he bless people? Blessing in a Buddhist sense means the joy we experience when we develop confidence and satisfaction.
The Buddha once said, 'if anyone wishes to see me, he should look at my Teachings and practise them.
I take refuge in the Buddha
The image of the Buddha they maintain in their minds is more real than the image they see on the altar, which is merely a symbolic representation. In other religions, the people worship their god by asking for favours to be granted to them. Buddhists do not worship the Buddha by asking for worldly favours, but they respect Him for His supreme achievement. When Buddhists respect the Buddha, they are indirectly elevating their own minds so that one day they also can get the same enlightenment to serve mankind if they aspire to become a Buddha.
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Buddhists respect the Buddha as their Master. However, this respect does not imply an attachment to or a dependence on the Teacher.