Three times a year, in March, July and November (in conjunction with the Remembrance of Kuan Yin Pusa's birthday, renunciation and enlightenment), Than Hsiang Temple holds the Taking Refuge and Five Precepts Ceremony. This is in addition to the Taking Refuge and Five Precepts Ceremony held yearly on Wesak Day.
Taking Refuge is the confirmation that one wants to become a Buddhist, and one accepts (or reaffirms accepting) the Buddha as the perfect, enlightened teacher, the Dharma as the guide to the spiritual path and the Sangha as the supporting spiritual community. These three are also known as the Triple Gems.
• I take refuge in the Buddha, wishing all sentient beings to understand the great Doctrine and make the superlative resolve.
• I take refuge in the Dharma, wishing all sentient beings to penetrate the Sutra Pitaka with wisdom as unfathomable as the ocean.
• I take refuge in the Sangha, wishing all sentient beings to harmonise the multitudes in general, without any obstruction whatsoever, and to respect the sacred Sangha.
One who has taken refuge and wish to follow the Path diligently will make vows to adhere to the
Five Precepts :
• To refrain from harming living beings.
• To refrain from taking that which is not given.
• To refrain from sexual misconduct.
• To refrain from incorrect speech (lying, harsh language, slander, idle chit-chat).
• To refrain from intoxicants which lead to loss of mindfulness.
Driven only by fear,
do men go for refuge to many places —
to hills, woods, groves,
trees and shrines.
Such, indeed, is no safe refuge;
such is not the refuge supreme.
Not by resorting to such a refuge
is one released from all suffering.
He who has gone for refuge
to the Buddha,
the Teaching and his Order,
penetrates with transcendental wisdom the Four Noble Truths —
the cause of suffering,
the cessation of suffering,
and the Noble Eightfold Path
leading to the cessation of suffering.
This indeed is the safe refuge,
this the refuge supreme.
Having gone to such a refuge,
one is released from all suffering.