Monday, July 22, 2013


The refuges are as follows:

Buddham saranam gacchami (I go to the Buddha for refuge)
Dhammam saranam gacchami (I go to the Dhamma for refuge)
Sangham saranam gacchami (I go to the Sangha for refuge)

I use this in devotional chanting, and it's a formula that has surprising depth. Sangharakshita thinks that it is what defines a Buddhist.

From Saddhatissa's Buddhist Ethics p. 31:

"Saranam, however, does not denote exclusively "refuge," and in the comprehensive sense in which it should be taken lies the relationship of the Buddhist to the Buddha, which will eventually determine his whole attitude for the Sanskrit Monier Williams gives: "Sarana: protecting preserving. (Vedic. say rakkhake, Rgveda VI. 47. 8; one who protects or preserves; a protector, preserver, defender. (a) n. help, defense; a refuge, place of refuge, sanctuary, asylum (sometimes applied to a person); a private apartment, closet; a house, habitation, abode, lair, resting-place (of an animal)." Regarding the Pali we have Rhys Davids and Stede: "Saran: (Cp Vedic.)...shelter, house, refuge, protection etc," Buddhadatta Mahathera gives: "Protection, help, refuge, a shelter""

(footnotes omitted, also I excluded the diacritics because I don't know how to include them yet)

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