Where, or in what do you take refuge now? What provides a sense of comfort, safety and stability? Shopping? Sex? Social media? Food? Gaming? TV? Money? Chasing approval and fame? Drugs and/or alcohol? Or perhaps it’s more positive things like friends, family, nature, heath, spiritual practices, values. Or a mix of positive and negative.
While I still don’t consider myself a Buddhist, I study and engage in various mediation practices often labeled as Buddhist. There are three refuges in Buddhism: Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.
Outwardly, taking refuge in the Buddha may mean deriving comfort, protection and inspiration from the historical Buddha put forth by his words and actions. And to me, it also has an internal component: committing to awareness; honesty/integrity/authenticity; and awakening for the wellbeing of all. Refuge in the Buddha also means honoring and respecting and associating with wise elders, teachers and those beings who likewise embody these qualities. Refuge in Buddha is held in check by the Dharma and Sangha.
In addition to referring to Buddhist teachings, to me, taking refuge in the Dharma means truth, reality and how things actually are — internally and externally — and making effort not to shuck-off or shy away from truth, reality and how things actually are as long as doing so leads away from suffering. Again, Dharma is balanced by Buddha and Sangha.
Externally, Sangha points to those actively engaging with the lived example of the historical Buddha and the Dharma — both aiming to do so when gathering (together) and on their own. In a general sense it is also being grateful and blessed with an interest and commitment/resolve to Buddha and Dharma so much so that one’s internal and external conduct is aligned with Buddha and Dharma thus bestowing to all beings (including one’s self) goodness, skillfulness, wholesomeness, wisdom, and beautiful qualities of the heart.
What would you like to take refuge in?