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Taking Refuge in the Three Jewels

Buddham saranam gacchāmi
Dhammam saranam gacchāmi
Sangham saranam gacchāmi

I take refuge in the Buddha
I take refuge in the Dhamma
I take refuge in the Sangha

“Taking Refuge in the Three Jewels” is another Pāḷi chant recited by Buddhists to affirm their commitment to the Buddhist path. Importantly, the three jewels (tiratana) are the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha. Each represents a distinct yet related facet of the Buddhist path. The literal break-down of the original Pāḷi, with English translation, is below:

buddham | saranam | gacchāmi
to the Buddha | for refuge | I go

dhammam | saranam | gacchāmi
to the Dhamma | for refuge | I go

sangham | saranam | gacchāmi
to the Sangha | for refuge | I go

The words Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha have both a literal meaning and a broader meaning. Interpretations vary between the various schools of Buddhism, but the core meanings are the same across traditions.

Literally:

To the Buddha [awakened one] for refuge I go.
To the Dhamma [teachings] for refuge I go.
To the Sangha [community of renunciates] for refuge I go.

Broadly:

To the Buddha [capacity for awakening] for refuge I go.
To the Dhamma [the nature of reality] for refuge I go.
To the Sangha [practitioners on the path] for refuge I go.

Thus, the Buddha set a foundation for committing to the Buddhist path, offering the three jewels as a form of refuge from the raging storm of Saṃsāra.

Buddham saranam gacchāmi
Dhammam saranam gacchāmi
Sangham saranam gacchāmi 

I take refuge in the Buddha
I take refuge in the Dhamma
I take refuge in the Sangha

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