Understanding Refuge

Who takes refuge?

You do. The person who seeks to end suffering takes refuge.

Refuge takes expression as a simple formula that you repeat as many times as you wish, usually at least three:

I take refuge in the Buddha.
I take refuge in the Dharma.
I take refuge in the Sangha.

Refuge also takes expression as a vow. In the ceremony conducted by a teacher or spiritual elder, you, the student, formally acknowledge that you are taking wakefulness (buddha) as your principal orientation in life.

Ultimately, refuge is the direct knowing in which experience arises as movement in mind and the processes of reaction and suffering no longer take place.


What do I take refuge in?

You take refuge in the Three Jewels: the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. The Three Jewels may be understood on several levels:

  Buddha Dharma Sangha
External Resources
traditionally “outer refuge”
the teacher the way the guides
Internal Understanding
traditionally “inner refuge”
being awake experiential
making use
of experience
Direct Experience
traditionally “secret refuge”
emptiness clarity unrestricted

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