Taking Refuge and Five Precepts

Taking Refuge and Five Precepts Poster

Good news! Chu Un Temple will be holding a Triple Gem and Five Precepts ceremony this June 28. Events such as this are very rare because a senior monk from overseas will need to fly to Cebu to perform the ceremony.

What are is the Triple Gem Refuge ceremony?

A Buddhist or a disciple of Buddha is one who has taken refuge in the Triple Gem as their first step. By taking refuge, one declares that he is a disciple of the Triple Gem. “Dharma” refers to the teachings of the Buddha and “Sangha” is the collective name for the monastic Buddhist community. The Buddha, the Dharma and Sangha are the gems of the spiritual life beyond the bounds of this world. Accordingly to cultivate the way (to practice Buddhism) the first significant thing to do is to take refuge in the Triple Gem. Taking refuge means publicly accepting Buddha as our teacher, the Dharma as his teachings and the Sangha is the religious community. The ceremony for taking refuge is quite important because this ceremony marks the beginning of our commitment to the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha.

What are the Five Precepts?

Five Precepts Buddhists should observe the precepts after they have taken refuge in the Triple Gem as the precepts represent the foundation of all virtuous actions as well as the moral standard for the human race. Although there are different precepts for monastic and lay people, all precepts are based on the Five precepts and that is why the Five Precepts are called the “Foundation Precepts”.

Taking precepts are very similar to students following the rules of their school or people abiding by the common law in society. The only difference is that the school rules and law are external restrictions while Buddhist precepts are a form of self-discipline and are thus internal regulations. If a person driving on a expressway fails to obey the precepts, then he will face risk of breaking the rules and attracting trouble during his life. Thus it is essential for a Buddhist to observe the precepts.

Precepts are divided into monastic precepts and lay precepts. The lay precepts include: The Five precepts, and the contents of the Five Precepts are described as follows:

  • No Killing
  • No Stealing
  • No Sexual Misconduct
  • No Lying
  • No Drugs/Intoxicants

Those who are new to Buddhism often approach the precepts with a sense of fear. They think that upholding the precepts means that they can’t do this, or they can’t do that, and that their lives will become constrained. But the precepts are there simply to prevent us from doing wrong. Not only are they not restrictive, but they carry with them a sense of freedom. This freedom comes from not interfering with or disturbing others. To uphold the precepts we must regulate the body and mind so that we do not violate the lives of others.