On Sunday 16 July, Achariya Tan Siang Chye presented a talk about the true value of taking refuge in the Three Jewels. Taking refuge is a time-honoured tradition that began since the establishment of the Sangha. With the arising of the Buddha comes the rediscovery of Dhamma; and with the enlightenment of the Buddha’s first five disciples, the Sangha (Buddhist monastic community) was born.
As one progresses along the path of practice, one’s faith and refuge in the Three Jewels evolves and grows. Firm experiential faith (aveccappasada) is characterized by individuals seeing the truth for themselves. They cannot look for refuge or truth from any other teacher except the Buddha. They are no longer common worldlings (puthujjana) and are destined for Nibbāna.
The spiritual faculty of faith (saddhindriya) is also present in those who are not yet awakened, although it may not be so strongly rooted. As their wisdom increases, they become more faultless in morality and effort. Forms of worldly ‘refuge’ such as retail therapy, food, busyness, and entertainment becomes less appealing as they grow spiritually.
We are attracted to things we have an affinity for; thus, our being here to listen to the Dhamma is due to the taking of refuge and having done good deeds in the past. Achariya concluded the session by reminding us to aspire to always be near to the true teachings of the Buddha. We would like to thank Achariya for his teaching. May we progress onward with deeper faith in the Three Jewels and Right Understanding.