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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
 Ven. Ācariya Mahā Boowa Nanasampanno: ‘Venerable Ajaan Khao Analayo: a True Spiritual Warrior’, p. 11.
 Ven. Ācariya Mahā Boowa Nanasampanno: ‘Venerable Ajaan Khao Analayo: a True Spiritual Warrior’, p. 16.
 Ven. Ācariya Mahā Boowa Nanasampanno: ‘Venerable Ajaan Khao Analayo: a True Spiritual Warrior’, p. 17.
 Saṅgha: the monastic community of Buddhist monks.
Taking Refuge in the Triple Gem
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
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.
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.
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.
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.