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Three Refuges (三歸依戒; Samgwi-uigye)
The “three refuges” (三歸依戒) refer to taking refuge in the “Three Jewels of Buddhism”: the Buddha, the Dharma and the sangha. They represent one’s belief that the Buddha, his teachings and the sangha are the most precious jewels in the world, and it is an expression of one’s vow to walk the path of truth by relying on nothing but the three jewels. The first step as a Buddhist is to commit oneself to the three refuges. Therefore, all Buddhist ceremonies begin with committing to the three refuges. To take refuge in the three jewels is to make one’s foundation of faith solid. Without strong faith, one cannot attain the fruit of the Buddhist path. To make a vow of this solid faith is the three refugees.
- excerpt from Buddhist English (Intermediate 2) published in 2014 by the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism