To take refuge is to strive for freedom.
We take refuge in the Buddha as our example.
We take refuge in the Dharma as our journey.
We take refuge in the Sangha as our companionship.
Our goal is to develop as people on the Buddhist path, dharmic people. We want to realize the illness of our suffering and to try to attain the health of the other shore, enlightenment. We can develop wisdom and discipline in order to overcome our delusions and habitual patterns. Through study and practice the path can become clear to us.
Taking refuge is committing ourselves to the Buddhist path. To take this kind of initiation is to realize our Buddha Nature and to strive to avoid harming others. We should try to exemplify equanimity and tranquility whenever we can. In taking refuge we are liberating ourselves.
Taking refuge is about transformation. We want to transform into the best possible versions of ourselves. We want to renounce the suffering and delusion that is present in our lives. Through our meditation practice we can see how suffering can be transcended.
Taking refuge is seeking shelter.
Buddha: the Buddha is our example. We can realize our Buddha nature, as he did, and find inner peace. He realized the middle way and abandoned extremes. He worked on himself in a way that we can emulate. We are worthy and we can do the same thing. We are capable of becoming awake.
Dharma: The Buddhist path becomes our journey. This is where we are dedicated to understanding and trusting the path that we are on. We want to reverse the course of ordinary suffering and attain freedom from it.
Sangha: friendship with brothers and sisters in the dharma. Sitting and practicing together is the best friendship. These are true friends. We want to enter the community without reservation and to be harmonious.