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Sīla – Real or Imaginary

There are two levels of keeping Sila (Moral Precepts) – one is real, and the other is forced, and imaginary (Not Manifest).

Ajarn Spencer has prepared a Casual 12 Minute Talk in Podcast to cover this topic, and hopefully reveal the difference between enforced rule keeping, and Manifest Virtue.

There is a big difference between Self Restraint (Enforced Rule Keeping), and Truly Manifest Virtue (Absence of Instincts wich need to be Restrained). With applied Kammathana practice, consciously noticing the relative presence or absence of auspicious and/or inauspicious instincts to act with or without Virtue, one can become aware of what is tainted (defiled) Instinct, and what is untainted (Undefiled) Instinct. Becoming Aware with Mindfulness is an important prerequisite to develping the qualities of mind necessary to be able to remove Non-Virtuous Instincts to Act (Purify the Heart of Defilement).

sila practice

True Sīla is nothing to do with restraint. True Sīla, has no need to exercise restraint, because no defilement is present to restrain.

Sīla practice has therefore the first level of Restraint, and the Second level, which is Manifest Virtue, with no Defilement present in need of restraint. Such of course, would mean stream entry and beyond, and that one has attained purity.

Until we remove the defilement, we are not Virtuous. We are just Impure Unenlightened Beings, full of Defilement, but who are restraining themselves, by behaving. If the instinct to misbehave is still present, then we have not attained anything. We are just exercising restraint. It is necessary to see and recognise the presence of defilement, in order to be able to remove it.

One of the most Important aspects of Sīla practice, is to become aware of the fact that the heart is full of Non-Virtuous Intentions and Instincts, because it is only possible to get rid of a problem, if one becomes aware of the existence of the problem. With Sīla practice, one should notice consciously how much pure and impure elements of mind are present when putting oneself through self restraint, and concluding how far away one is in one’s practice, from truly manifest Sīla, and how much remains mere self restraint.

Mindfulness practice, is all about consciously noticing what is happening within and without. Being Awakened, is also about being Consciously Aware of within and without in the present moment. Vipassana Practice is designed to Awaken the Mind, and pull it out of the Dream-Thinking State.

If we look at the 5 Precepts in English we can see that the concept of Abstention is applied;

  1. I undertake the training rule to abstain from killing ;
  2. I undertake the training rule to abstain from taking what is not given;
  3. I undertake the training rule to abstain from sensual misconduct;
  4. I undertake the training rule to abstain from false speech; and
  5. I undertake the training rule to abstain from liquors, wines, and other intoxicants, which are the basis for heedlessness.

If we are practicing Abstention, then this Implies that the desire to do the thing we are restraining ourself from, still exists. if there is no longer any desire to commit the act which is not within the Sīla, then no Abstention is necessary. A Cow does not Abstain from eating meat. A Cow is Vegetarian from birth, and so has no Virtue in not eating Meat, for their is no Merit of Effort in Abstention.

So, if we have attained purity by anihillating the Non-Virtuous Instincts and desire to Lie, Kill, Steal, Speak Ill of Others, Perversions, Intoxication etc, then we are no longer abstaining. We only need t abstain if we have the desire and intentions to perform actions which are not Auspicious.

In short, Sīla practice should not make you feel good that you are behaving well. It should make you aware of the fact that the only reason you are not making Inauspicious karma, is that you are exercising self restraint. One should become aware that one is Impure, and that should spur the disappointment with oneself, and the realisation that selfishness, is not something to nurture and cherish, rather, one’s own enemy, and must be removed and aihillated.

Until we develop the true need and will and desire to anihillate the false view of a self that is separate and the center of the universe, we will not stand a chance of Enlightenment. One has to develop the wish and the need and the will power to renounce Non-Virtuous Thoughts and Intentions.

To do this, one has to Understand the Nature of those Non-Virtuous Thoughts and Intentions, as Defilement which arises from Wrong View (Sakya Dhitti)

Khmer sanskrit tests

Vinaya – the vows of a Bhikkhu

A Podcast Dhamma talk in discourse  of the Vinaya and its applied methods, and what is the business of a Bhikkhu, and which actions are not fitting or transgressions of the vows a Bhikkhu makes to uphold the Vinaya and adhere to obeying the rules laid out in the Vinaya Pitaka, as well as to know their duties as a representative of the Lord Buddha. The Podcast is composed by Ajarn Spencer Littlewood of Asrom Por Taw Guwen. This talk is the first of a series of talks intended to make clear and understandable what one should recognize as skilful practice, and which Bhikkhus are practicing properly.

Khmer sanskrit tests

Ajahn Khao Khorata's Biography

The Life of Ajarn Khao

Khao Khorata, born on 28 December 1888 in Baan Bo Chaneng in Ubon Ratchathani province in Thailand, was the fourth child in a family of seven children. Khao was a farmer. He worked hard to be wealthy, and was known as a person who was easy in social interaction. His personality was primarily characterised by honesty and generosity towards friends and family.[1]

When he reached the age of twenty, his parents arranged a marriage for him. Khao and his wife – Nang Mee – had seven children. Though he had to work hard in order to provide for his family, yet his income was just enough to provide them with the basic necessities of life. Hence, for the sake of his family’s well being, he decided to go and look for a job in another province. Once he had gathered sufficient funds, he would return back home. However, when that time finally arrived, Khao found his wife sleeping with someone else.[2]

Though Khao had previously already been informed by his friends, who told him about the adulterous behavior of his wife, yet he nearly lost his self control when he heard the news. Hence, armed with a machete, he went out to confront the unlawful couple. His rage and anger took complete control over him, and so he pointed the machete at the sleeping couple. However, coincidentally, his wife’s lover noticed what was going on, and saw Khao standing at a short distance with the machete in his hands. Terrified by what he saw, he immediately raised his hands and begged Khao to spare his life. The man then instantly admitted the grave mistake he had made to sleep with another man’s wife. Due to the man’s sincere confession, Khao suddenly changed his mind. His anger turned into compassion when he saw the anxiety in that man’s eyes. When Khao saw that man’s his fear of death, his anger disappeared, and he regained his sense of reality again.

So, instead of killing the man, Khao called upon all the villagers as a witness to this scandal, and let them testify against the shameless act of the couple, so that in the future no doubt could remain about this matter. In the presence of the entire village community, among them were Khao’s relatives, he publicly accused his the of committing sex with his wife; the man admitted his faults, and agreed to pay a financial compensation to Khao. Khao then publicly announced that he hereby handed his wife over to her lover.[3]

Before all this happened, Khao was merely concerned about how he could achieve his worldly ambitions. But because of the martital unfaithfulness of his wife, Khao was inspired to contemplate the Dhamma. Soon after that he understood that there are many hidden dangers in the life of a householder. And so he realized that his worldly dreams and wishes would only cause him to suffer even more in the future. This insight, of course, upset him so much until it became almost unbearable for him to carry on living this way. After a while he had lost the will to live, for he could not find any motivation to get his worldly life back on track.

Eventually Khao decided to renounce his worldly life in order to put an end to all his suffering. The Dhamma made him realize that there is in fact a way out of this suffering. Thus, Khao put all his trust and faith in the teachings of the Buddha, and went forth as a member of the saṅgha[5] to put the Dhamma in to practice. Through his dilligent practice, he found that the Buddha’s teachings are true in the sense that there is indeed a way to transcend beyond samsara, which leads to final liberation from suffering.

Ajahn Khao Khorata's Biography

 


 

[1] Ven. Ācariya Mahā Boowa Nanasampanno: ‘Venerable Ajaan Khao Analayo: a True Spiritual Warrior’, p. 11.

[2] Ven. Ācariya Mahā Boowa Nanasampanno: ‘Venerable Ajaan Khao Analayo: a True Spiritual Warrior’, p. 16.

[3] Ven. Ācariya Mahā Boowa Nanasampanno: ‘Venerable Ajaan Khao Analayo: a True Spiritual Warrior’, p. 17.

[4] Saṅgha: the monastic community of Buddhist monks.

The Buddha giving Teachings

The Goal of Meditation

The Goal of Meditation is often seen as the Ultimate Goal aimed at with Buddhist Practitioners.  Vipassana is often mistaken for Samatha Meditation, and Both are often mistakenly thought of as the Mission at hand. Meditation practice, and it’s highest states are however, not the goal of goals.

The Lord Buddha reached these Meditative Attainments to their full capacity with his 2 Lersi teachers. This did not Enlighten Him or release him from Samsaric wheel of Rebirth, which was of course his aim and goal from the beginning.

The purity and stainless mind which comes with Buddhahood or Arahantship however, was not his goal at the beginning, for it was only later as meditative ability and insight, along with the experiences leading to his realization of the middle path. The middle path is a Dhamma he realized some time before his enlightenment.

The realization of the middle path, and the confrontation with the stains of wrong view which obscured the Dhamma from the eyes of all Beings in Samsara, is what led him to begin the quest for removal of impurities, which leads to Arahantship). After attaining the Meditative Jhanas in all their possible levels, the Buddha realized that this would take him no further, and so he left to tarry onwards, for it was the presence of stains, kilesa, impurity, defilement and wrong views which was the goal (to remove them).

The Buddha giving Teachings

Buddha giving Teachings

This was he goal, not meditation. meditation lets you see the defilement stains or kilesa arising from false views of reality, and that is what is then going to lead you to conclude what needs to be removed to become free and see clearly.

Selfishness is what has to be removed, for selfishness arises from the false view of a separate self.. removal of this false view will remove the selfishness that comes from the false view of a self.

Na Mo Put Taa Ya

The Five Lotuses Seen by Brahma – Na Mo Put Taa Ya – 5 Syllables of the Five Buddhas

So the way to remove Kilesa, is to remove Avijja (false views) this is done with Vipassana (insight development). Successful Manifestation of the Practice as a Fully Realized Innate Natural Poise is the true correct practice of the 8 fold path.

8 fold path is the theoretical categorization of the middle path

The Noble 8 fold path is the theoretical categorization of the middle path as explained to Humans by the Lord Buddha. One could split it into 12, 7, or however many abstract facets of practice one can concoct if one wishes, the core truth remains undivided, and is one single poised practice.

Ajahn Chah's Wisdom - click image to read a Quote from the Master

What is Dhamma? What Isn’t?

“Everything is Dhamma. Not only the things we see with our Physical Eye, But also the things we see in our  Minds”.

Ajahn Chah

Ajahn Chah's Wisdom - click image to read a Quote from the Master

Ajahn Chah Supatto – His Wisdom is endless – click image to read a Quote on Seeking Peace from the Master of Teaching Dhamma, with Simplicity.

Ajarn Spencer’s Notes;

“The Contemplation of Rupa and Nama Dhammas leads to Intuitive Understanding (Insight) of the True Nature, or Essence of all Phenomaena (Dhammas) namely, that they are empty (Sunyatta) – empty of an owner or governing body, that is unchanging (Anatta), Impermanent due to constant change (Anijja), and lead to Eventual Dissatisfaction due to Impermanence (Dhukkha).  And that all of this, worldly existential soup of phenomaena, is a mass of blubber known as ‘Sangkhara’. And that only that which is not any of those Sangkharas, is Nibbana”.

“Nibbana is not so far away, in fact, it is ever present, but our minds are unable to experience it because of the Dhamma of the veils.. the Dhamma of illusory perception and the Dhamma of assumption”

The Dhamma is Ultimate truth, but even such a thing as ‘A Lie’ is a Dhamma, for Dhamma are Phenomaena, and ‘The Dhamma’ as meant by Humans, is the word used to refer to ‘Ultimate, Absolute, Eternal Truth’

I hope you now have a deeper understanding of the word Dhamma. (Words are ‘Nama Dhammas’ – Mental Objects, Forms are ‘Rupa Dhammas’ – Physical Objects).

Download this Other Excellent Free ebook by Ajahn Chah

No Ajahn Chah – Free Download – Dhamma Teachings from Ajahn Chah (Ebook)
$ 0.00

Other Worthwile reading

The Life of Buddha and Its Lessons BY H. S. Olcott – Free Ebook Download
$ 0.00
Luang Por Cha Speaks

The Venerable Ajahn Chah Speaks about Suffering

Exerpts of the Dhamma Book “No Ajahn Chah – Reflections” Verses from the Chapter on Suffering

Luang Por Cha Speaks

Two Kinds of Suffering

“There are two kinds of suffering: the suffering which leads to more suffering, and the suffering which leads to the end of suffering. The first is the pain of grasping after fleeting pleasures and aversion for the unpleasant, the continued struggle of most people day after day. The second is the suffering which comes when you allow yourself to feel fully the constant change of experience – pleasure, pain, joy, and anger – without fear or withdrawal. The suffering of our experience leads to inner fearlessness and peace”.

Craving, Addiction, Indecision, Impermanent Pleasures.... Suffering and Relief are Inter-related.

The Easy Way

We want to take the easy way, but if there’s no suffering, there’s no wisdom. To be ripe for wisdom, you must really break down and cry in your practice at least three times.

Vipassana Kammathana Forest Monks

Why become a Monk or Nun?

We don’t become monks or nuns to eat well, sleep and he very comfortable, but to know, suffering:

      How to accept it…
      How to get rid of it..
      How not to cause it…

So don’t do that which causes suffering, like indulging in greed, or it will never leave you.

Ajahn Chah in Forest Meditation

Catch 22 – Clinging to Suffering by Seeking Relief

In truth, happiness is suffering in disguise but in such a subtle form that you don’t see it. If you cling to happiness, it the same as clinging to suffering, but you don’t realize it. When you hold onto happiness, it’s impossible to throw away the inherent suffering. They’re inseparable like that. Thus the Buddha taught us to know suffering, see it as the inherent harm in happiness, to see them as equal. So be careful! When happiness arises, don’t be overjoyed, and don’t get carried away. When suffering comes, don’t despair, don’t lose yourself in it. See that they have the same equal value.

Who is it Who Suffers?

When suffering arises, understand that there is no one to accept it. If you think suffering is yours, happiness is yours, you will not be able to find peace.

Dharmathai Notes

Applying the Teachings;

Clinging to Suffering by Seeking Relief

It is important to contemplate in Meditation, the Impermanent Nature of all things, including non-physical things such as feelings and thoughts, be they pleasurable or unpleasurable. The Contemplation and Attainment of deep insights about Impermanence will cause the Insight into the other two factors of the Dhamma (Existence, namely, Dhukkha (Unsatisfactoriness) and Anatta (Non-Permanent-Self-Nature)
The Problem with our wrong understanding of how things are, causes us to see relief from suffering by seeking escape by absorbing our self in Worldly pleasures. These Pleasures do of course bring some kind of Joy, but they are temporary pleasures which fade, and leave one longing for more, or a repeat of the pleasurable experience. So when we feel bored, or lonely, it is because we miss the excitement of the party, the company of friends, etc. The company of friends and the excitement of the party, are both pleasures which are temporary. The suffering arises from the empty hole left by the absence of the pleasure which has faded (due to its impermanent nature).

This is precisely how tobacco addiction happens. The relief from the smoke makes the suffering seem to disappear. In fact, it hasn’t disappeared at all, it has just been smothered with some pleasure which makes it harder to notices its presence. Once the impermanent rush of pleasure has faded, we may feel fulfilled for a while, but slowly, the inclination (Craving) to repeat the relieving experience returns, and we become pulled along by the Craving. This cycle of fulfillment, craving and seeking fulfillment again, is the process of two of the chains in the Paticcasammupphada (wheel of dependent origination), which are called ‘Danha and Upadhana’ (Craving and Addiction). We become conditioned to this and thus become chained to the cause and effects of suffering, in a never ending wheel.

This is also a large part of what causes our Endless Rebirths in Samsara. To contemplate and attain insights into these causes of suffering within us, and to realize with Insight, that these pleasures are true causes of Suffering, then we shall slowly develop a turning away from such illusory pleasures, and be able to renounce them with Wisdom.

Why become a Monk or Nun?

Becoming a Monk or Nun means to make a Vow before Buddha, which is in Truth a Vow Unto Your Self. Whether you become a Monk or a Nun by Ceremony, is nothing to do with Whether You will Truly practice or Not. The True Applied Practice comes from Inner Effort with oneself, requiring Self Honesty and Diligence. This Road of Self Development can be practiced by Any Person who has arrived at the point of needing to begin this Practice. If you have Seen and Agreed that all thinbgs are Anijja Dhukkha and Anatta (Impermanent, lead to Unsatisfactoriness and have no Inherent Unchanging Self), and you Find the World a simple Trap, and Unescapable Predicament of Suffering, and wish to Attain the Paths and Fruits of the Noble Ones (train to become disattached from all worldly attachments and indulgences), then ordination as a Monk or Nun would be perhaps advisable. But if you have not applied Diligent and Intensive practice as a Layperson and got results, then it is not Advisable to ordain before this has been done. In Truth, the Ordained Sangha is just the ‘Sommutti sangha’ and the True ‘Sangha’ means those who have entered the Paths or Fruits of the Noble Ones (Sotapanna, Sakitakami, Anakami, Arahant). One does not need to ordain to become a Noble One, nor does one need to ordain to Practice or Keep precepts.

If you wish to practice, most Practices except those which are already of a very High Level of Advancement, can ve applied as a Lay person. It was never intended to say that only Monks or Nuns can become Enlightened, rather that the ordained Life is for those who wish to (and are strong enough to) Renounce the World Completely. if you think you will need Family Ties, facebook, Internet and the like,then you are not truly Renouncing. Many Ordained Members of the Sangha do not renmounce anything more than Lay Persons in many ways. Monks these days are seen to use Computers, Internet, Build Schools, Hold Dhamma Courses etc. These are all Auspicious Actions, but they are worldly actions, and still involved in Clinging to the World. This kind of Ordained Person has less chance to Attain Liberation by Practice, for they may spend most of their time occupied with daily tasks and chores that are very much Worldly, such as organizing courses, printing and typing, administrating.. Merits are accumulated slowly, and more merit than a normal person helping the world is attained because of the keeping of the Ordained precepts. The Buddha However, did not say that Sila (Precepts keeping) was a cause of Enlightenment, nor did he say that Samadhi (Concentration) was the direct cause. he named the third quality of Panya (Insight Wisdom and Intelligence) as the true cause of Awakening. The only way to Awaken is to learn to see the Dhamma and Awaken to it, in conjunction with developing the strengths and qualities necessary to have enough effort and will to overcome the obstacles and temptations of the Kilesa (defiled Instincts).

Who is it Who Suffers?

When Insight is Attained into the Non Permanent States which arise within the Mind, it becomes apparent, that although there is a constant seeming awareness (of a Self?, this being what we think is the Self?) present, that awareness is never the same in any two given moments. Because of this constant flux in the condition of the state of awareness, the perceptions we recieve, the moods, feelings and reactions which arise from our contact with the various phenomena, people, events, sensations, cravings and expectations which arise, we become convinced that this conglomeration of things is indeed our true Self.There is no permanently unchangingquality or character that resides within Our Awarenesses, and this is of course what is meant by ‘Non-Self’.

Once we have Intuitively Understood the meaning of Non-Self, we can then begin to accurately conclude in Meditative Contemplation, that there is no Self as Such that is Suffering. Although the Seemingly Unpleasant Effects still arise, if we do not Cling to them as ours, and see their Impermanent Nature, our relationship to them Changes, and we loosen the Fetters a little, making Our Sufferings Lessen, if not Totally Disappear. One can not expect them to completely Disappear until one has wandered the Path for a very long time, and is about to Enter the Path of the Noble Ones. Until then though, we can lessen our Burdens and Prepare the Way for that Future Day of Awakening, by practicing the Contemplation of Impermanence, and Striving to See the Dhukkha and Non-Self Aspects of Nature.

Original collection of Dhamma reflections of Ajahn Chah published for Free Distribution, Compiled and Edited by Dhamma Garden following the wish of Ajahn Chah, that his Dhamma Teachings never be Sold in any Way or Form. The book is for Free Distribution only.

“Offer the Gift of Dhamma to Others as Freely as it has Been Offered to You”

(Our Beloved Teacher and venerable Master – Ajahn Chah

Ajahn Chah in Forest Meditation

Dharmathai Notes written by Ajarn Spencer Littlewood – Use, Sharing and Republication Permitted according to Creative Commons rules (Give Credits to the Author, and/or link to dharmathai.com).

Dhamma Links

MP3 Dhamma Talks by Ajahn Chah

Dhamma Download

No Ajahn Chah – Free PDF Ebook Download for Free Sharing of the Dhamma according to the Wishes of Ajahn Chah.‘No Ajahn Cha’Originally Published in Printed Format by Dhamma Garden Singapore, types and transliterated into PDF by Kritanut Wattana and Ajarn Spencer Littlewood.

Relevant Dhamma Study Links;

Dependent Origination – a Basic Guide (Buddhanet)
Twelve Nidanas in Buddhist Philosophy
Lersi.Net - Thai Hermit Path


The Venerable Ajahn Chah Speaks for the first time again on DharmaThai.Com – Exerpts of the Book “No Ajahn Chah – Reflections” Verses from the Chapter on Peace.

Luang Phu Chah

Once there was a Lay Person who asked Ajahn Chah, Who He Was?

Ajahn Chah, knowing that this Person would not be able to Understand Deep Dhammas, pointed to Himself and replied; “This, This is Ajahn Chah!.

Another Time, Ajahn Chah was asked who He is by another Individual. But this person Ajahn Chah saw to be able to understand the Dhamma well, and so he answered; Ajahn Chah? There is no such thing as Ajahn Chah“.

Emptiness Mantra - Sunyataa Mantra

On Peace

Ajah Chah asks “What is Peacefulness Like?”

Ajahn Chah Answers; “What is Confusion? Well Peacefulness is the End of Confusion”.

Know what is Good and Bad, whether Travelling or Living in One Place. You can not find Peace on a Mountain, or in a Cave. You can even go to where the Buddha Attained Enlightenment, without getting Closer to the Truth.

Original collection of Dhamma reflections of Ajahn Chah published for Free Distribution, Compiled and Edited by Dhamma Garden following the wish of Ajahn Chah, that his Dhamma Teachings never be Sold in any Way or Form. The book is for Free Distribution only.

“Offer the Gift of Dhamma to Others as Freely as it has Been Offered to You”

(Our Beloved Teacher and venerable Master – Ajahn Chah)

Venerable Ajahn ChahLooking Outside the Self, is to Compare and to Discriminate. You will not find Happiness that Way. Nor will You find Peace if You spend Your Time looking for the Perfect Person, or Teacher. The Buddha taught Us to Look at the Dhamma, the Truth, and not to look at other People.

Where is Peace to be Found?

Peace is Within Oneself to be Found in the Same Place as Agitation and Suffering. it is Not Found in a Forest or on a Hilltop. Nor is it Given by a Teacher. Where You Experience Suffering, You can also find Freedom from Suffering. Trying to Run Away from Suffering is Actually, to Run Towards It.

Learning  to let Go

If You let Go a Little, You will have a Little Peace. if You let Go a Lot, You will have a Lot of Peace. If You let Go Completely, You will have Complete Peace.

Nibbana; The Cessation Of SufferingDhamma Links

MP3 Dhamma Talks by Ajahn Chah

Buddhist Jatakas

Totsachaat – Thai Jatakas in cartoon

Totsachadok

In Thailand we have a very famous and commonly heard Kata “Dtae Cha Su Nae Ma Puu Ja Naa Wi Wae

Tosachadok – Ten Ultimate Lives of Lord Buddha leading up to his Enlightenment

below the gallery of scenes from the Jatakas (Totsa Chadok), are ten video cartoons about each of the ten last Incarnations of Lord Buddha.


1. เตมีย์ชาดก – Dtaemiiyachadok    บำเพ็ญเนกขัมมบารมี

 

2. ชนกชาดก  – Chanaka Chadok   บำเพ็ญวิริยบารมี

3. สุวรรณสามชาดก – Suwannasaam Chadok – Perfection of Metta    บำเพ็ญเมตตาบารมี


4. เนมิราชชาดก   Naemiracha Chadok   บำเพ็ญอธิษฐานบารมี

5. มโหสถชาดก Mahosot Chadok – Perfection of Panya (Wisdom)  บำเพ็ญปัญญาบารมี

6. ภูริทัตชาดก Puuritadta Chadok – Perfection of Sila บำเพ็ญศีลบารมี

7. จันทชาดก – Janta Chadok – Perfection of Khanti (Patience)  บำเพ็ญขันติบารมี

8. นารทชาดก Naradha Chadok – Perfection of Uppekkha (Equanimity) บำเพ็ญอุเบกขาบารมี

9. วิทูรชาดก – Witura Chadok – Perfection of Sajja (Honesty and Loyalty) บำเพ็ญสัจจบารมี

10.เวสสันดรชาดก – Vessantara Chadok – Perfection of Dhana (generosity)  บำเพ็ญทานบารมี

Taking Refuge

Taking Refuge in the Triple Gem

The Buddha Dhamma and Sangha are the True refuge of Buddhists

Taking Refuge means, that we Refuge in the Attainments of the Lord Buddha, as a Faith instiller to let us know that a Human can do this (self liberation).
We Refuge in the Dhamma, the teachings which lead to liberation.
And we Refuge in the Sangha

What does ‘Sangha mean?

The Sangha is generally used as a word to refer to the company of Monks and Nuns, but actually, Sangha means the company of true spiritual practitioners who should be sought out as true companions and positive influence on our life.

So we Take Refuge in those that have Attained Liberation, and follow in their footsteps, by Taking Refuge in the study and practice of the Dhamma in the present time, and by Taking Refuge in the right company and Refuging in those who have gone further and attained more self mastery, and can be seen as our guides and teachers, as well as spiritual companions.

Links
The Sangha – Dhamma Diary
What is The Triple Gem?
What is Dhamma?

TheThreejewels

What is The Triple Gem?

The Triple Gem, or “Pra Ratanatrai” in Thai (Pra refers to “high” or “sacred” things, Ratana means gem,and Trai means triple) is the term used to refer to the three objects of Refuge taken by all Buddhists.

When you become a Buddhist, you will be asked to take refuge in the Triple Gem as part of your Initiation process, and (hopefully), in most cases, will receive a teaching on the meaning of what the triple Gem represents in Buddhism.  This article intends to explain the basic importance of paying reverence to the triple gem, and the reasons why they are seen as so important by Buddhists of all traditions and lineages.

Symbolic Image representing the Triple Gem

symbol of the Triple Gem

The three objects of Refuge are these;

  • The Buddha
  • The Dharma
  • The Sangha

These three objects are seen as the essential core elements which keep the Buddhist faith in existence, and are thus considered to be the source of inspiration in the practise which leads us to Enlightenment and release from further suffering in the Realm of Causal Existence (Becoming and Passing away – all things are impermanent, have a beginning and an End, which leads to dissatisfaction).

For this reason, a Buddhist takes refuge in the Triple Gem until reaching Enlightenment.

This is normally chanted to oneself whilst bowing three times before the image of the Buddha in the Shrine, or even mornings before beginning the day and night times before sleeping at home.

This is normally performed using the Pali language. The chanting goes like this (Thailand phonetic pronunciation);

  • Puttang Saranang Kajchaami (I take Refuge in the Buddha)
  • Tammang Saranang Kajchaami (I take Refuge in the Dhamma)
  • Sangkhang Saranang Kajchaami (I take Refuge in the Sangha)

Then the same again with the word “Tudtiyambi” as a prefix – which means “for the second time”

  • Tudtiyambpi Puttang Saranang Kajchaami 
  • Tudtiyambpi Tammang Saranang Kajchaami
  • Tudtiyambpi Sangkhang Saranang Kajchaami

Then the same again with the word “Dtadtiyambi” as a prefix – which means “for the third time”

  • Dtadtiyambpi Puttang Saranang Kajchaami
  • Dtadtiyambpi Tammang Saranang Kajchaami
  • Dtadtiyambpi Sangkhang Saranang Kajchaami

Alternatively, in other countries, the words are spelled like this;

  • Buddham saranam gacchāmi – I go for refuge in the Buddha.
  • Dhammam saranam gacchāmi – I go for refuge in the Dharma.
  • Sangham saranam gacchāmi – I go for refuge in the Sangha

The reason why all of these three aspects are seen as equally precious, is the fact that;
If there was no Sangha (monks), then the Dhamma would not be able to reach us, for it is the monks who are the living embodiment of the teachings (Dhamma), and it is they who speak the teachings to us and write books for us, and it is they who propagate the practice in the present so that it may still continue in the future.

The Dhamma is the truth of all things in the Universe, always was, is and shall be valid, and is thus the true source which can be uncovered or revealed, enabling our Enlightenment. The Dhamma is the direct cause of our Enlightenment, and is synonymous with the practise.

The Buddha is the being who became Enlightened (knowing the Dhamma in it’s entirety), and is the one who expounded the Dhamma, revealing it to us, so that we could know it and learn to abide by it, using it as a tool to attain Enlightenment with. Without the Buddha, we may never have been lucky enough to encounter the Dhamma, and therefore, the Buddha is seen as the source of the existence of the Dhamma teachings on this planet. Without him, the Dhamma would indeed still be existent, but it would be invisible, unheard of and unknown to Humans, and perhaps the Devas as well.

Important Notes;

The Buddha did not invent the Dhamma, the Dhamma is the true nature of all things in Existence (this is in fact the meaning of the word Dhamma – “nature of things”).
The Buddha even said that the Dhamma existed before he found it, was always true, is now in the present also true, and will still be true in the future, regardless how long a time passes. The Dhamma is the Universal laws that apply to the physical world, and also the non physical world (emotional, mental, spiritual) and these rules and laws apply to life, becoming and all things in existence. They are pure, and unchangeable. The Dhamma teaches that all things are impermanent and changeable, but in fact, the Dhamma that refers to the laws which govern existence itself never changes. The fact that all things are impermanent was true then, is true now, and in the future will still be true – this is an unchangeable truth, and that is what we call a “Dhamma”.

This is of course seemingly self contradictory to say all things are changing, but that this fact is unchangeable.. but this is one of the perplexities of Dhamma when seen from our unenlightened perspective. Once the basic principles of Dhamma have been grasped however, these perplexities disappear and the practitioner ceases to wonder about the self contradictory concepts which occur when attempting to explain the limitless with a limited tool such as Human language.

Reference Links;

Wikipedia – Three Jewels
How to Chant Namo Tassa