Q3: Why do we take the Three Refuges?
Taking refuge prompts us to learn the Dharma and emulate the Buddha, thereby developing and uplifting ourselves, as well as strengthening our character by engaging in practice. Eventually, we will all be able to achieve completion of our merit and wisdom, with perfect compassion and loving-kindness just like the Buddha's. Taking refuge represents a vow and self-promise, which in turn serves to affirm ourselves as Buddhist disciples who are willing to rectify ourselves by following the Buddhist teaching of virtue, concentration, and wisdom.
Taking refuge enables us to walk on the path towards ultimate liberation, thereby leaving suffering behind and attaining happiness. All sentient beings have the Buddha-nature; however, due to our karmic obstacles, ignorance, and confusion, our original Buddha-nature is covered. Thus, the purpose of taking the Three Refuges is to discover how we can awaken and manifest our Buddha-nature, by returning to the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha as a refuge for our life, as well as treading the Bodhisattva Path in accordance with the Buddha's teaching and methods of practice.
Q1: Does taking refuge in Buddhism automatically render me a monastic?
Q2: Why do we receive a Dharma name after the refuge-taking ceremony?
Q3: What do we take the Three Refuges?
Q4: Who can take refuge in the Three Jewels?
Q5: Will those who have not formally taken refuge in the Three Jewels have any merits when chanting Buddhist scriptures or the Buddha's name?
Q6: After taking refuge in Buddhism, is it necessary to set up a Buddhist hall or a Buddha statue at home?
Q7: How does taking refuge in the Three Jewels affect our daily lives?
Q8: Does one have to take refuge in the Three Jewels in order to formally become a Buddhist?
Q9: How many times can a Buddhist take refuge?
Resource: 佛菩薩50問 (50 Questions about Buddhas and Bodhisattvas)
Editing: Keith Brown, Chia-cheng Chang (張家誠)