"The spiritual thirst of our being for wholeness,
expressed in medieval language: the union with God"
 
C. G. Jung

Three Refuges Prayer

 

A few months before his death the Buddha was still talking about the power of taking refuge and counseled, “Take refuge in yourselves, not in anything else.  In you are Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.  Don’t look for things that are far away.  Everything is in your own heart.”  If we are safe in the refuges of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, we can throw ourselves completely into our everyday life, moment by moment, and show up for our appointment with life. 

 

Mental recitation is a meditative technique that helps a particular attitude or intention take hold.  The repetition develops new neuropathways in our brain.  The thought becomes a habit in a process that’s like an athlete rehearsing a particular stroke or a dancer practicing a certain step.  With practice we find that even when difficulties arise, the refuges are right there in the front of our mind.

 

Following is a prayer for you to hold in mind; it will become your own quick-note version of a prose poem written by Thich Nhat Hanh.  Repeat this prayer out loud 3 times at the end of your sitting, mindfulness meditation.  Think of it as a Buddhist version of the Serenity Prayer.

 

Returning home

Taking refuge in the Buddha in myself

May I, together with all beings

Realize my true mind

Returning home

Taking refuge in the Dharma in myself

May I, together with all beings

Practice the wisdom of mindfulness, understanding and compassion

In all my daily affairs

Returning home

Taking refuge in the Sangha in myself

May I, together with all beings

Create harmony with others

Aware that these three gems – the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha

Are within my heart

As they are within the heart of all beings

I vow to realize them

And to help others realize them as well

 

Therese Jacobs-Stewart's interpretation of a Thich Nhat Hanh poem from her book - Mindfulness & the 12 Steps

Inventory of the 8 Gates