Taking Refuge in the Three Jewels
Some people may think, "Why is it necessary to take refuge even if we have faith in Buddhism and do good deeds according to the Buddha's teachings?" Find out the answers and more in the vedio!
Yes, they should. But first, we should clearly distinguish between believing in Buddhism and worshipping deities and spirits as practiced in folk religions. Someone who believes and practices Buddhism should fully accept the Three Jewels, namely, the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. They are called jewels because we treasure them and because they are inexhaustible. Once we accept them they are forever with us; neither water nor fire can destroy them, nor can thieves take them away. One can enjoy their benefits forever, and no other treasures in the world can compare with them. The Buddha Jewel refers to the completely enlightened being, Shakyamuni Buddha, who attained buddhahood with complete virtue and perfect wisdom. All sentient beings are able to reach buddhahood, but in human history, there has been only Shakyamuni who attained buddhahood. Nevertheless, we pay respect to all buddhas in the past, present, and future. The Dharma Jewel refers to the principles and methods that guide us to attain buddhahood. Since the Dharma consists of the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha, we honor him as the Original Teacher. In terms of doctrine the Dharma consists of the Tripitaka: the three canons consisting of the sutras (sermons), the vinaya (rules of conduct), and the shastras (commentaries). To that we add the commentaries and records of the patriarchs. All these are the principles that guide us in practicing Buddhism. The Sangha Jewel refers to people who are studying and practicing Dharma, helping others studying and practicing Dharma, and protecting and upholding sentient beings who study and practice Dharma. The Sangha includes bodhisattvas, arhats, and not-yet-lightened bhikshus (monks) and bhikshunis (nuns). Ordinary people like us seldom recognize enlightened bodhisattvas and arhats even when we see them. Most of what we see is the not-yet-enlightened Sangha. Therefore, monks and nuns constitute the core of the Sangha Jewel. The San