The next part of the repentance prayer is refuge prayer
Namo! I take refuge in Buddha(s) pervading the ten directions throughout infinite space.
Namo! I take refuge in Dharma(s) pervading the ten directions throughout infinite space.
Namo! I take refuge in Sangha(s) pervading the ten directions throughout infinite space.
A very popular Buddhist terminology makes its first appearance here and that word is Namo!
When this word was brought into China from India, it was left un-translated because of it’s multiple meaning and also because there is no equivalent Chinese word to match.
I guess, at the very root of it, Buddhism does not acknowledge the pressence of a god (Taosim) and as explained earlier Buddha is beyond the status of a sage (Confucianism)
This word Namo will be appearing a lot subsequently. Fundamentally, it means paying homage and also means taking refuge. It also acts as an exclaimation of seeking help and asking for deliverance from suffering. It also represent a verbal exclamation of untmost respect and verbal adoration. It also has an element of worshipping, but unlike worshipping a god; the best way to worship Buddha is for us to become Buddha! 🙂
Therefore there is a depth in the recitation of Namo. Once we understand the meaning, our chanting of Namo takes on much depth and it becomes a kind of mental reflection and training.
The refuge prayer continue from the previous blog post where we discussed the emphasis being placed on the word “We” in the prayer text.
If one can have an embracing heart with a noble aspiration to become a Buddha for the sake of benefiting all beings, then that is a Mahayana perspective. Our prayer becomes a Mahayana prayer.
If not, fret not!
Just recite with good intention. If you can think only about the happiness of yourselves or your family now, that is fine too.
This prayer should not result in us feeling superior towards non-Buddhist. If you do, then something had gone wrong in the practice too. Nor should one feel superior because one think that he is a Mahayana Buddhist.
The original text by Master Acala contains a refuge in Guru that preceed the above 3 refuge.
南无皈依金刚上师. This part is ommitted when this confession prayer is recited by non-Vajrayana Buddhist.
In this refuge prayer, it is interesting to note that phrases such as ten directions and infinite space is being used. It is meant to convey a sense of all pervadingness. To go beyond physical forms.
Sangha refers to Enlightened disciples of the Buddha. The emphasis is on Enlightened disciples.
Last but not least, do not forget about our mind. When we take refuge, the Triple Gems should also have a place within us…..ONE WHOLE PERVADINGNESS.
End of part two.
Hope you enjoyed reading.
May all be auspicious, well and happy.
Please feel free to share and teach others who are interested too.