Meaning of taking refuge in the Three Jewels

Update: 16/03/2022
 

Meaning of taking refuge in the Three Jewels

 

1. Meaning of taking refuge in the Three Jewels

Taking refuge in the Three Jewels is a Buddhist ritual. This is considered as the starting point of Buddhists to follow Buddhist teachings. Taking refuge in the Three Jewels is commending one’s life and soul to Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, living by the Buddha's example, practicing Dharma, improving one's character, and following the Sangha’s teaching.

The Three Jewels are a precious trinity: Precious Buddha, Precious Dharma, Precious Sangha. Once they meet the Three Jewels, they will definitely liberate all sufferings and create a peaceful and true realm for people. Therefore, Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha are called preciousness. The Triple Gem has boundless uses.

Taking refuge in the Three Jewels is the first formal step on the Buddhist path. Taking refuge is that we believe in Buddhism and we have become disciples of the Three Jewels - Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.

When we take refuge in the Three Jewels, it guides our faith. When one decides to take refuge in the Triple Gem, it represents a stronger commitment in life to learn, practice, and demonstrate the virtues of the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. In the world of Buddhism, the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha are our treasures. By committing to the Three Jewels, we reap more meaningful benefits than any other gemstone can provide. Faith in Buddhism arises from accumulated experience and reasoning. Belief in Buddhism is the essence of faith in the Three Jewels.

Taking refuge in the Three Jewels can help us find a safe haven to settle down in this life, and allow us to have a home to which we can return in the future.

The Buddha is like a doctor, the Dharma is like a medicine, and the Sangha is like a group of nurses. Each of these factors is important for liberating sentient beings from suffering, and none of them is indispensable. Only when a patient meets a good doctor, a suitable medicine, and skilled nurses,  patients' disease be cured; This is also true in life because only by relying on Three Jewels, we could be happy, liberated, and free from suffering.

The Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha are called "precious stones" to represent their supreme virtue, as they surpass the value of all world treasures. The Three Jewels can relieve mental pain and lead us to liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

This is important because Buddhism is not an abstract philosophy or belief but a way of approaching life and therefore it makes sense only when expressed in people. And in the broadest sense, Sangha means all the Buddhists in the world and all those who direct their hearts and minds to Buddhism in the past and in the future.

2. Benefits of taking refuge in the Three Jewels:

The benefits of taking refuge in the Three Jewels are many, one can pray for a peaceful present life, one can pray for a peaceful next life, even more from here, the ultimate peace of Nirvana.

To sum up, there are eight benefits:

1. Become a disciple of Buddha.

2. Build the foundation of receiving the commandments.

3. Can eliminate karma.

4. Can accumulate great merit.

5. Do not fall into the evil path (hell, hungry ghosts, animals).

6. Humans and non-human species (non-human) cannot disturb.

7. Can succeed in all great things.

8. Become a Buddhist.

The benefits of taking refuge in the Three Jewels which are mentioned a lot in The Buddhist scriptures, and here are the 5 examples:

1. If people who take refuge in the Three Jewels in the future will receive immense blessings that cannot be ended, like having the treasure that people in the whole country transports for seven years can't run out, the merit of taking refuge in the Three Jewels will not be exhausted. It's thousands of times bigger than that. (Upasakasila Sutra) Heaven of Thirty-Three—The palace of Trayastrimsa Heaven

2. Once upon a time, there was a son of Heaven in The palace of Trayastrimsa Heaven (Heaven of Thirty-Three), when his blessing in heaven was over, the son of heaven knew that he would be reincarnated as a pig. Very frightened, he asked the Deva King for help. Deva King could not save him, so he advised the son of heaven to go to Buddha for help. Buddha taught him to take refuge in the Three Jewels, so after he died he was not reborn as a pig but human then learnt the Truth from Satriputra and achieved the fruition of Holiness. (Kinh Triết Phù La Hán- Sutra of Fu La Han).

3. Once upon a time, there was a Son of Heaven in the heaven of the Thirty-Three, when the blessings were going to be over and would die in the next seven days. The joys, the beautiful goddesses were no longer around, as well as the majestic appearances had all changed and the bad odor started emanating from the body. The Heavenly Son also knew that he would be reincarnated as an animal. When Deva King knew, he immediately taught the son of Heaven to take refuge in the Three Jewels. After seven days, Thien Tu was reborn. The Heavenly King wanted to know where the Son of Heaven was reborn, but the King could not find him. He then went to ask Buddha. The Buddha immediately said: "The Son of Heaven, through the merit of taking refuge in the Three Jewels, was reborn in the Tushita heaven". (“Kinh Sát Cách Y Pháp Thiên Tử”, to live in the Three Refuges)

 4. If someone builds a tower to offer to all the saints who have attained the two vehicles in the East, West, South, and North of the four great continents, the merit is great, but it still cannot be compared with the virtue of taking refuge in the Three Jewels. (Virtue of Merit Sutra- “Kinh Hiệu Lượng Công Đức)

5. In the past, there was a monk Sa Dau who specialized in chanting and upholding the title of the Three Jewels for 10 years, he attained the fruit of Srota-apanna. Now he is Pratyeka Buddha and he lives in Pho Huong world. (Kinh Mộc Hoạn Tử).

Buddha also taught, if one takes refuge in the Three Jewels, then the Four Heavenly Kings will send 36 good Gods to protect them. These 36 good Gods also have hundreds of thousands of relatives from countless previous lives to protect those who take refuge in the Three Jewels. However, we should know that taking refuge in the Three Jewels could help to seek a peaceful existence, the ultimate goal is still to return and revive the Three Jewels' self-nature in each person. It is a genuine way of taking refuge in the Three Jewels. 

Hoa Đạo

Translated into English by Thai Nhuoc Don

 
 

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