By Venerable Guru Zhimin
Entering the Door of the Three Jewels---Taking Refuge with the Three Jewels
To enter the door of the three jewels, firstly, we must take refuge with the three jewels. Before taking refuge, all of us have followed our afflictions and accumulated evil karma. Because we accumulated the evil karma, we transmigrated and suffered in the Six Destinies. Time and again, we don’t know how much we have suffered from the timeless origin. If we don’t want to suffer any more, what should we do? Then we must depend on the three jewels. Relying on the power of the three jewels, we can leave the miserable ocean of cyclic existence. This is taking refuge the three jewels.
Taking refuge is a criterion to judge whether we are followers of the Buddha. The Buddha’s followers must have already taken refuge. Those who haven’t taken refuge aren’t followers of the Buddha. They areQigong practitioners or other religions, although they may trust in their gods and their teachings, their gods don’t have the perfect and boundless merit and virtue of the Buddha, and they themselves are still in the endless cyclic existence, how can they teach people to get out of the cyclic existence? Their teachings cannot purify our afflictions, free us from the sea of birth and death and attain happiness. Even if they could cultivate diligently, they still cannot avoid suffering. They don’t take refuge with the three jewels, thus they are not followers of the Buddha.
Followers of the Buddha depend on the three jewels and can be liberated from all sufferings, not only the sufferings of the Three Evil Destinies, but also the sufferings of in the human being and gods, be they in the Form and Formless Heavens. Furthermore, be it human being or gods, it is still impermanent. When the retribution of good karma ends, one will fall even to hells. Hence, only the truly powerful Three Jewels are able to alleviate all sufferings in the cyclic existence including human being and gods. In contrast, other religions usually say it is already perfect to get reborn in heavens. So there is no way for us to really get rid of all the afflictions except for taking refuge with the three jewels.
We must therefore attach great importance to taking refuge. It’s not a mindless bow, a red bag and a Dharma name. Generally, one doesn’t get refuge like this! It take precondition to get the essence of refuge (皈依的体, 请核实). In Buddhism it’s the dependent arising , which means a dharma arises due to certain cause and condition. A dharma arises upon both cause and condition, if not, or even only a bit less, the dharma won’t arise.
Well, we talk about taking refuge, what’s the cause and condition of the arising of the essence of taking refuge with the three jewels? The Buddha said, the cause of taking refuge is our own resolve and the condition. What is that? Firstly we must have a proper master and we need the venue (mandala) properly displayed. Moreover, as shown in the paper handed out, the ritual of taking refuge, invitation of the three jewels, repent of our karmic obstruction and so on are also the conditions of taking refuge. If the cause and condition are enough, then the essence of refuge arises. The most unnegligible is the cause. We must resolve to take refuge. If one doesn’t have such intention, one cannot get the essence of refuge no matter how good the condition is.
So I explain to everyone here taking refuge the content to help them to get real essence and benefits of refuge. One can take refuge in many places, but it’s not for sure you get it, it depends on whether you have the resolve to take refuge.
The Causes of Taking Refuge—Two Elements
Then what is the resolve to take refuge? The basic thing is the sufferings in the Three Evil out of the Six Destinites, or the sufferings ashell beings, ghosts and animals, as what we have learned in Abhidharma Storehouse Treatise. We cannot see the sufferings of hell beings and ghosts, but we can see the sufferings of animals. Serving the human being for its whole lifetime, the cattle is whipped, killed and eaten when old. Monkeys get skulls knocked open alive and poured with hot water, sauce and chili, it’s a famous dish. A plate of living shrimps are burntby boiled water and bounce crazily. There is another dish. One more dish is called “the whole mule”, the mule’s four feet are clamped, then some part of the mule’s body will be poured by boiled water, and then the meat already done will be cut for the customers, and the mule is still braying in the kitchen. Terrible! These kinds of sufferings are also stated in the Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment and the Stages of Yoga Practice Treatise etc., so we need to fear for ourselves tofall into the Evil Destinites.
The second step is to fear the sufferings of the Cyclic existence.
The further step is to have great compassion and Bodhicitta on all sentient beings who are still suffering in the Cyclic existence, and make effort to liberate them all from such sufferings.
These are the three kinds of motivation. The first is to fear the suffering in the Three Evil Destinies, to intend to liberate from such sufferings and to gain human being or heavenly being’s bodyof leisure and opportunity. This is a person of small capacity known to be ‘least’.
The second is to see the sufferings in the all Six Destinies including human being and gods and thus to strive for one’s own liberation from the Cyclic existence. This is a person of medium capacity called ‘medium’.
The third is to see all beings in the Six Destinies are suffering and thus to strive to liberate oneself as well as all the mother-like sentient beings from the Cyclic existence and the Three Realms. He takes bodhisattva vows and practice bodhisattva deeds. Here is a person of great capability called ‘superior’.
So the premise of taking refuge is seeing the sufferings. Once you know that yourself and your mother-like sentient beings are suffering in the Three Evil Destinies or the Six Destinies in the cyclic existence, you will feel terrified. If you feel nothing because of your ignorance, or you don’t fell terrified, then you have no feeling of asking for saving, which means you have no resolve to take refuge.
What is taking refuge? Taking refuge is asking for being saved, to depend on a powerful object and to ask for his saving us. This is the motivation to take refuge. If we fear nothing, then why should we rely on others? Of course, there is no need to do that. So, first of all, we should cherishfear towards the sufferings of the Three Evil Destinies, further, havefear towards the Six Destinies, and then, fear the sufferings of all the mother-like sentient beings in the cyclic existence and thus have the compassion to save them. We ourselves fear sufferings, and we can deduce that all the sentient beings fear sufferings. So we should strive to liberate them from suffering. These three intentions differ in their level, but their feeling of terror is the same. The fear for the Three Evil destinies or the cyclic existence is the first cause of taking refuge.
Is it enough to merely arouse fear? Not enough. After we have aroused feeling of terror, we should go further to solve the terror. Who can we rely on to solve our suffering? The only way is to rely on the three jewels. No one else can free us from suffering except relying on the three jewels. So many religions or philosophy have appeared in history, but the only one who can liberate self from suffering is the venerable Buddha Sakyamuni, who lived two thousand and five hundred years ago. Buddha knows the universal truth thoroughly, so he can liberate himself from all suffering and eradicate the root of suffering. This is the Buddha jewel. Buddha kindly construes to us in detail his way of liberating himself from suffering. This is the teaching jewel. The community jewel has the defining characteristic of obtaining verification through correct practice according to Buddha’s instruction. Only by relying on these three jewels, can we be liberated. So if we want to eradicate our afflictions and suffering, if we want to liberate ourselves from the terror towards them, the only way is to go for refuge to three jewels---go for refuge to Buddha, go for refuge to teaching, go for refuge to the community. These three jewels are in fact integrated, and none of them can be neglected.
In short, the causes of our taking refuge are twofold: fear of the Evil Destinies and the cyclic existence; and the second? To solve this fear, to whom should we take refuge with? Only with the three jewels, and rely on them. Only when we are convinced of these two causes, can we have the real intention of taking refuge.
How about the condition of taking refuge? It has been written in the ritual and we have talked before. Firstly, we respectfully offer up a request to the three jewels in the ten directions to witness. Secondly we repent on our great karmic obstructions of the present and past to get rid of them. Thirdly we chant the Karma words for taking refuge and finally we transfer all the merit to all. If you follow the session devotedly and clearly, then you can get the refuge. Before that, the community will chant the Heart Sutra and the verse of dispelling obstacles, to dispel the obstruction in the ritual and therefore create a favorable condition for you to get refuge.
Once you take refuge and attain the essence of refuge, you enter the door of Buddhism and become a follower of the Buddha. The bodhisattvas who have taken vows before the Buddha to protect Buddhist will protect you. However, if you don’t resolve to take refuge, even if you took part in the grand ritual, you don’t actually get the essence of refuge. You take refuge exteriorly, but you don’t even enter the door of Buddhism, you are still outside. Of course, the protector bodhisattvas will not protect you, because they are only responsible for protecting true followers, who practice properly according to the Buddha’s teachings. They don’t have the responsibility to protect outsiders.
So we must examine if we have truly resolved to take refuge, whether you have taken refuge or you are going to take refuge. If you have, you must compare your intention with the Karma verse of taking refuge. If not, you can’t get the essence of refuge. Today you are going to take refuge, so I must clarify all these to you. The intention to taking refuge is very important and you must cherish it by yourself. As for other condition, we can help or do for you, but you must resolve by yourself.
There are many kinds of religions in the world, including the Qigong. Is there any benefit to believe in them? To believe in them, you may eradicate some afflictions in life, such as poverty, sickness, or nonhuman hindrances. They can eradicate some afflictions to a certain degree, because they have accumulated some merit and practiced some meditation in their past lives, and thus have some power or supernatural abilities (the supernatural abilities gained by Qigong practitioners’ are the supernatural abilities of retribution from spiritual ghost, not by practicing meditation.) They can solve a little affliction, but they don't understand karma, nor know how to repent to eradicate bad karmaand obstruction, and thus cannot exterminate the root of affliction. What they are doing is like cutting your meat to cure your sore. It seems that you have solved one problem, but the same problem appears again soon, or a new problem arises, because the power of karma still exists. Even their hierarchs cannot liberate themselves from the sufferings of the cyclic existence, or even protect themselves from the Three Evil Destinies. So if we rely on them, we cannot really solve the afflictions. Only by taking refuge to the three jewels can we be liberated from all the sufferings. From this point of view, it is our greatest blessings to take refuge with the three jewels.
To Protect the Essence of Refuge— the Basic Concepts
After we have taken refuge to the three jewels, can we respect other Patriarchs and priests of other religions? They also teach us to do good things. A guru of Tibet said: for the gods or hierarchs of outsiders, if we arouse intention of respect, put our hands together respectfully toward them, we will lose our essence of refuge, let alone take refuge with them or rely on them. So after we have taken refuge with the three jewels, we must be careful that we definitely cannot bow down to gods, shrine or church etc. or make wish to them, nor can we merely haveadmiration. Otherwise, we will lose our essence of refuge and cannot be a Buddhist. The essence of refuge, is lost however hard to gain it. What a pity! So we must pay attention to this.
To these gods, lord and priests, what should our attitude be towards them? It should be similar to the relationships between friends; we can respect and help each other, but we cannot admire them. For example, if you go to the hospital and the doctor is a Christian, and you may wonder whether you can let him cure you. This is a small problem. You pay him for curing, and he writes prescription or gives you an injection according to medical science. This is like the relationship between friends. You can communicate with them with courtesy, and there is no problem. But you cannot intend to rely on the belief they believe in. It is the same to the Qigong doctor. If you believe in his Qigong and supernatural ability, and ask him to cure you through Qigong; or you believe in your Christian doctor and believe in his doctrine or god, and thus ask him to pray for you for your recovery, then your essence of refuge is destroyed. You must be aware of this.
Furthermore, we need to pay attention to several things after taking refuge. Firstly, we must observe the merit and virtue of the three jewels such as the merit and virtue of the Buddha’s body, speech, mind and Buddha’s activities for relief of all beings, as well as the good qualities of the teaching and the community. There are too many merit and virtue to interpret now. Generally, once you have gone for refuge, you should rely on excellent teachers, listen to the sublime teachings, pay your attention properly on them and cultivate a practice that conforms to the teachings. Gradually, with the accumulation of the understanding towards the merit and virtue of the three jewels and contemplation on them, we will be convinced of the three jewels and arouse the true faith and intention of respect. These will be showed in our bodily actions and speech subsequently.
There are three kinds of taking refuge. The first is to take refuge with the three jewels to get one out of fear towards the Evil Destinies. Such refuge is taken by the person of small capacity. Because of fear towards all the cyclic existenceof birth and death, one goes for refuge to the three jewels to liberate one self from the transmigration. Such refuge is taken by the person of medium capacity. . Because of the fear and compassion towards all sentient being in transmigration, one goes for refuge to the three jewels to liberate all sentient beings from cyclic existenceto buddhahood. Such refuge is taken by the person of great capacity. Regardless of person of small, medium or great capacity, if they arouse fear and thus go to the three jewels as their sole refuge, they can all get the right refuge.
Moreover, in the view of cause and effect, there are two types of refuges. The first is refuge of cause, and the second is the refuge of effect. The latter is more important. To liberate oneself and others from the Evil Destinies or the Cyclic existence, one pray to the Three Jewels for liberation. Such refuge is called refuge of cause. To liberate oneself and others from the Evil Destinies or cyclic existence, one resolves to attain the buddhahood as soon as possible. Such refuge is called refuge of effect. We should get the refuge of effect by means of refuge of cause. Refuge of effect enables us to attain the merit of the three jewels and to liberate all the poor sentient beings. Such intention is similar to Bodhicitta. Taking refuge properly requires us to contemplate the cause of taking refuge, to contemplate the afflictions and sufferings of self and other in the transmigration, and to be fully aware of the capability of the three jewels to protect all sentient beings from the sufferings. The final aim of taking refuge is to enable self to arouse merit to exterminate the habit energies of afflictions and to liberate self and other from sufferings. We should appreciate the Buddha as the one to guide our practice, the teaching as the method to liberate (i.e., the path we need to practise), and the community as those with whom we should associate on our path. We should practice refuge with such solidified conviction.
Another problem unknown to many before requires our attention. For those who have practised Qigong, they must discard their old method thoroughly before taking refuge. You can not bring them to your present practice. Otherwise, you cannot get or arouse the essence of refuge, no matter how many bows you have made and how much offer you have made.
Some people haven’t practiced Qigong before. After taking refuge, under some condition, for example, when his business is not running well, or he hasn’t recovered from his illness, he will doubt the effect of the Three Jewels. With such doubt, he will turn to the outsiders or even believe in other religions, practice Qigong or pray to outerreligions. The effect of these activities is very severe. According to the Ten Cakras of Ksitigarbha, Mahayana Great Collection Sutra, if you have taken the refuge or the five percepts, then you doubt the Three Jewels or regard outsiders as your teacher, or you pray to the gods or ghosts for superstitious signs…such activities are called not cardinal sins, not heinous crimes, great nonvirtuous karma is aroused, which is similar to heinous crimes. So after taking refuge to the Three Jewels, we cannot believe in outer religions or Qigong. Similar to heinous crimes, means this sin is similar to, and the subsequent suffering is similar to that in the Avichi hell.
Some people believe in three jewels and hope to see immediate result after taking refuge. For example, he may be ill and wish that he can be recovered soon after taking refuge. In fact, if you take refuge in three jewels, you should understand the dependent arising of karma and effect in the Teaching Jewel. Where does the illness come from? Most are because of the karma of killing in the past lives, hurting others, disrespecting three jewels, dispraising three jewels or being unfilial and so on. After taking refuge to three jewels, the bliss you get has eased your illness. By relying on the Teaching Jewel and understanding the virtuous and nonvirtuous karma, you can eliminate the sources of illness such as killing karma. The Buddha and bodhisattvas also teach us the way to confess and purifywith compassion. By practicing the way of purification devotedly, we can view the effect.
The core of relying on three jewels is relying on the Teaching Jewels. First of all, we should understand the karmaand effect. Karma and effect is an objective regulation. Once we master the karma and effect, we will know that the suffering comes from the nonvirtuous action which is aroused by affliction, while the happiness comes frommerit accumulation by virtuous mind. Uncontaminated liberation result comes from the obtainment of binding freeing effect through practising uncontaminated path. So now you have criteria to judge what thought and behavior should be adopted and what should be avoided. Adopt the virtuous and the uncontaminated, avoid the nonvirtuous. This is with reason and accords with science. This is not superstition. Believe in and pray to gods or ghosts for miracle cannot solve any problem.
Sufficient condition to take refuge— to witness taking refuge
Just now we talk about the cause to take refuge in detail and the condition to take refuge in brief. The essence ofrefuge is generated by combination of cause and condition. Now we say more about the condition.
Just now we talked about condition. We have prepared for you. Firstly a proper venue (mandala), proper refuge master, qualified refuge master means bhiksu who observes precepts purely. It is better that he has been a bhiksu for many years or he masters vinaya or even tripitaka well. Please refer to the instruction of the ritual. Before taking refuge, we need to greet the three jewels in ten directions to this present mandala to witness your taking refuge. Because we take refuge not only to the three jewels in a certain place or a certain world, but to all the three jewels in the ten directions, who pervade the Dharma Realms to the ends of empty space. We should take refuge to them all. So when we take the refuge, we greet them to witness. You may wonder that how can our hall accommodate three jewels in ten directions? Don’t worry. Big or small is from the discrepant heart of ordinary people. If one mind of enlightenment is perfectly aroused, big or small obstructions will be removed; and a mustard seed can contain the whole Mountain Sumeru; or sitting one a fine dust but can turn the peerless wheel. The Absolute and phenomena are not mutually exclusive. This is an inconceivable state and we don’t need to doubt.
After invocation, we should confess sin before the three jewels in ten directions. From timeless origin, we have done a lot of sins and had many afflictions. Thus our body and mind are all dirty. The dirty outside body can be cleaned by water, while the dirty of sins and afflictions cannot be washed by water. There used to be outsiders in India, they believed once they bath in the Ganges River, the river water can clean all their sins. It is foolish and superstitious. To clear all the sins, we must confess the sins according to the teaching. What is confessing? We realize that the sins we have made are nonvirtuous and they will lead us to sufferings in the miserable realms. We must confess sins sincerely and discontinue committing them in the future. This is called confessing. It is possible to clear all our sins with such mind and the compassionate bless from Buddha and Bodhisattva. If we don’t have such mind and are unaware of the sins and the subsequent suffering, nor we discontinue committing, it is impossible to clear the sins and we will suffer in the future. So now we take the refuge, but our body and mind are dirty obstruction for us to get essence of refuge. Even we can get, it will turn bad. So before we take refuge, we must clear our body and mind. How to clear? Neither by using normal water nor using Ganges water. We use the confessing water. We confess our sins and recognize our sins and evil actions we have done, and promise not to commit them again. In front of Buddha, Bodhisattva and three jewels, we confess our sins for three times sincerely, and pray for three jewels’ blessing to clear all our sins in our body and mind and prepare us for the essence of the refuge. For example, even if you cook the best meal, but you put them in a dirty bowl which has been used to scoop excrement before, then no matter how delicious the meal is, it will definitely taste smelly. If the bowl has been used to scoop poison, if you don’t wash it and sterilize it, even if you fill this bowl with sweet dew, it will be noxious and deadly to you. So before taking refuge, you must confess sins.
Taking the refuge requires us to recite the Karma verse three times. The Karma verse is “I take refuge with the Buddha until the exhaustion of my life, I take refuge with the Dharma (teaching) until the exhaustion of my life, I take refuge with the Sangha (community) until the exhaustion of my life.” Recite for three times, this is called recite the Karma verse for three times. When doing this, when the refuge master says, you must listen to his words clearly. You cannot take refuge merely by writing a letter. You must be present, hear the words clearly and understand them. When you say the words by self, you must say through mouth clearly. Some people only move the lips a little without making sound or just mumble the words softly and unclearly. They cannot get the essence of refuge. You must say the words clearly and loudly for three times to get the essence of refuge. This is very important.
Observe the precepts of refuge—special precepts and general precepts
After taking refuge, you must protect your essence of refuge. The essence is not easy to get yet very easy to lose. So you must pay attention to the following precepts: after taking the refuge to Buddha, do not go for refuge to the heavenly demons and externalists, even if it costs you your life. Once you bow or pray to the heavenly demons and externalists’ shrine, your essence is destroyed. This is severe. After taking refuge, you will reborn as man or heavenafter death. But if your essence of refuge is destroyed and you believe in evil spirit, you will suffer in miserable realms after death and it can’t tell when you can be liberated from the misery. So after comparing them, you would rather die than take refuge to heavenly demons and externalists. Many people believe in heretic after taking refuge, and thus their essence of refuge is destroyed and they will suffer in the Avichi hell.
After taking refuge with the Dharma, do not believe in non-Buddhist teachings or Qigong Practitioners’ instruction, nor can you practice them, even if it costs you your life.
After taking refuge to the Sangha, do not believe in non-Buddhist’s or be cheated by them, even if it costs you your life.
After taking refuge, you definitely cannot say the words that you don’t believe in Buddha or you don’t believe in three jewels. No matter if you just mouth the words in jest or you are threatened by someone with a knife, you cannot say that, or your essence of refuge will be destroyed.
What should we do after taking refuge? There are two kinds of precepts. The first is called special precepts and the second is called the general precepts.
The special precepts include three points. First, taking refuge to the Buddha, never go to other gods for refuge; second, taking refuge to the teaching, abandon harm and malice toward living beings; third, taking refuge to the community, do not live with non-Buddhist.
We have talked about taking refuge with the three jewels before. Only the three jewels can save us from all the sufferings. Now you turn to other gods or non-Buddhist? This is disobedient to your vow of taking refuge, so your essence of refuge is destroyed.
Take refuge with the Dharma. What is teaching? It is for the liberation of all sentient beings, and its essence is compassion. After we take the refuge, we should arouse our intention to liberate all sentient beings. Even if we don’t have the capability to liberate them, how can we hurt or even kill them? Of course we cannot do so.
Take refuge with the Sangha, then we cannot live with non-Buddhist. Especially, don’t live with or be too close with those who do not believe in three jewels and dispraise three jewels. Someone may say if his parents are non-Buddhist, then what should he do? You cannot depart from your parents. Moreover, some may still depend on their parents economically. Then you distinguish your belief from theirs and don’t compromise in belief. However, you can persuade your parents to believe in three jewels. Then that is greatest way to repay their kindness. Actually, it is dangerous to live with non-Buddhist.
One problem arises. Then do you lose your essence of refuge after whipping an ox or a horse? Or when you attend meetings with disciples of all five main religions, when you attend the meeting or live in the same hotel, you are actually living with them, and then do you lose the essence of refuge? Indian and Tibet Buddhism have many explanations for these problems. There are six or nine precepts, if you contravene, then you forsake your refuge. No matter six or nine, they all include the three.
Venerable guru Tsong-kha-pa explained that you definitely cannot contravene two precepts. If you contravene others, you only contravene the refuge learning, and it is not the causes of forsaking refuge. You do not forsake your refuge immediately. Then what are the two precepts you cannot contravene?
First, if you forsake the three jewels, then no matter in what situation, in jest or if it costs you your life, you cannot say forsake the three jewels. If you say so, you forsake the refuge.
Second, if you don’t say that you forsake the refuge, but you think that the non-Buddhism teachers or teachings are as superior as Buddha and teachings, then you forsake the refuge. Because when you take the refuge, you are fully convinced that three jewels are superior and unsurpassed.
The special precepts teach us what to do to the three jewels respectively. For example, what are proscriptive if you take refuge to Buddha, what are proscriptive if you take refuge to the teachings, and what are proscriptive if you take refuge to the community? The general precepts take the three jewels as a whole, and teach us what to do before the three jewels. There are six general precepts:
First, reflect on the merit and virtue of the three jewels. The details are in the Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment. The merit and virtue of the Buddha include the merit and virtue of the Buddha’s body, the merit and virtue of the Buddha’s speech, the merit and virtue of the Buddha’s mind and the merit and virtue of the Buddha’s enlightened activities. We should reflect on the merit and virtue of the Dharma and Sangah as well, again and again, to arouse our strong and pure mind.
Second, by reflecting on the great kindness of the three jewels, strive to worship and offer them constantly. We take the refuge and will get the great blessings from the three jewels. Our human body is also gained by our taking refuge to the three jewels, vowing for superior life and following the ethical discipline in the past lives. Our human body of leisure and opportunity is gained by such a way and now prepares us to study the Buddha’s teachings. We cannot forget but should repay the great kindness of the three jewels.
All your provisions, you should offer respectfully with the resource and mind. All your provision, no matter it is your food, your articles for use, your clothes and alike, you should put the provision in front of the statue of Buddha, and offer with your sincere mind respectfully and gratefully. If you don’t have the Buddha hall at home, you can vision in your mind. If you just take refuge, after taking refuge, you place the food and the cutlery, put your hand together, and then chant the mantra ‘Om Ah Hung’ respectfully for three times. Similarly, you put the new clothes on the table in front of the statue of Buddha before your wearing, or you hold them on hand, and then chant the mantra ‘Om Ah Hung’ for three times. Your article for use, no matter it is a thermos or furniture and alike, before using, you offer it to the three jewels, chanting the mantra ‘Om Ah Hung’ for three times.
This is the simplest way to offer, but the effect is great. The power of ‘Hung’ can clear all the dirty from the offer and make the offer most clean. The merit of ‘Ah’ can change the un-superior offer to the most superior offer with best form, smell, taste and feeling. Then the merit of ‘Om’ can make the limited offer to the unlimited cloud of oceans of Noble Excellent Merit, which is as much as the emptiness.
Third, cultivate your compassion. To liberate all sentient beings from suffering to happiness, use your available means to caringly establish other living beings in the practice of taking refuge.
Fourth, whatever activity you engage in, and whatever your purpose, firstly you need make offerings and supplications to the three jewels. Whatever activity you engage in, and what ever your purpose, rely on and make offering to the three jewels, usually to your dependence master for their instruction. All in all, do according to the teaching of the three jewels. Do not forsake the three jewels’ instruction and follow other worldly or other religion ways. Except for the routine work, you don’t need to say the normal work to your master, such as “I go to work” or “I eat”.
Fifth, after you have understood the benefits, go for refuge three times in the day and three times at night. Taking refuge can reduce and eliminate previously accumulated karmic obstructions. The Compendium of Training says: “Those who go for refuge to the Buddha do not go to the Evil Destinies. After giving up human form, they assume the bodies of god.” The same teaching applies to taking refuge with the Dharma and Sangha. You will accumulate vast merit. You will not be thwarted by human or nonhuman hindrances. Before undertaking an activity according to the teaching, you make offerings to the three jewels, go for refuge and then pray to succeed. You will easily accomplish it and further attain Buddhahood in the end. So you should go for refuge three times in the day and three times at night. If you don’t have regular practices at dawn and at dusk, then you recite the three refuge and the four vast vows, three times at dawn and three times at dusk. This is the simplest practices.
Sixth, uphold the three jewels like one’s own life, never give them up in jokes or death. As aforementioned, we must protect the essence of refuge and treasure it as more important than our life. Round the clock, we should memorize the refuge with three jewels. Don’t forget or give up. To a Buddhist, three jewels are most important. Neither the properties nor the relatives or friends can be carried at death Only the merit and virtue of three jewels follow you wherever you are. It’s critically important and it needs our full attention.
The Buddha is the Master, The Sangha is the company for proper conducts, and the core of proper refuge is the jewel of Dharma. Dharma can liberate you from sufferings and difficulties. So beginners should understand the subltedifferences of good and evil karmas and the retribution, properly adopt do’es and donot’es properly to cultivate and understand the karma and retribution. The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment says: “attaining certain knowledge of the definiteness, or nondeceptiveness, of karma and its effects is called the correct viewpoint for all Buddhists and is praised as the foundation of all virtues.” After taking refuge, the next step is to know the good and evil karmas and the retribution. I hope you can make effortsin this.
 “Three miserable realms” means “three evil paths, i.e. hell, ghost and animal”.
 “Arising of condition” , another translation is “dependent arising”