e Refuges are always repeated thrice to ensure that the mind
of the person taking them is ful y aware of what has been said.
ey are recited either in Pali or English as given above, or in
Sanskrit, which is as fol ows:
en the monk chants the FIVE PRECEPTS (Pancasila) one by
one which the aspirant repeats after him. e Five Precepts may
be cal ed the "Dharma for human beings" as their practice will
make our world more bearable to live in and they are the basic
and minimal observance of moral conduct by a Buddhist. ey
teach him to refrain from kil ing, stealing, sexual misconduct,
lying and taking intoxicants of any kind.
Going-for-Refuge to the ree Jewels is therefore an open dec-
laration that we are Buddhists. e prayer said should not be
mere recitation but should bring to our mind that the treasures
in this lifetime consists of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.
We should understand ful y what we are declaring so that we
will commit ourselves to the declaration that we have made.
What is meant by going for a Refuge to the Buddha? Do we
know who is the Buddha or what is the Buddha? Surprisingly,
many Buddhists in this country have only a vague idea of Him.
Many also believe that they are Buddhists just because they
think that their parents are Buddhists by their acts of offering
incense to their family altars which, in fact, is ancestral worship
and has nothing to do with Buddhism. erefore it is important
that such people be taught not only of who or what the Buddha
is but what the Buddha is not.
e Buddha is not God or a deity whom one should pray to for
some fulfil ment in life. e Buddha is not an incarnation of God
like Jesus Christ is to the Christians. He is not a prophet nor a
messenger of God. e Buddha does not answer your wishes or
bring you to heaven just because you have accepted him as your
Saviour. He is not the creator who decides the destinies of your life
nor can he save you if you have not lived a wholesome life. How-
ever, the Buddha can show the way by means of which you have to
save yourself. is means that only you can save yourself and that
you wil have to work very hard at it in order to save yourself.
So if the Buddha is not God, who or what is He? He is a human
being but a very special human being, one who has gained what
we call "Enlightenment". He is the ful y Awakened One and He
is one who has become free from all kinds of worldly passions;
whose mind is pure; whose mind is full of wisdom; whose mind
is full of love and compassion towards all sentient beings; a super
human, the purest, the noblest and most virtuous of beings. All
these qualities He possesses in the highest possible degree. is
is but a brief description that one can make of a Buddha. Going
for Refuge to the Buddha therefore means taking and accepting
the Buddha as our ideal. e Buddha was a man such as we, so
what He achieved, we too can achieve. If we accept this, if we
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