http://www.dharmaweb.org/index.php/Sutr ... Repentance
...the 'Formless Three-fold Guidance':--
We take 'Enlightenment' as our Guide, because it is the culmination of both Punya (merit) and Prajna (wisdom).
We take 'Orthodoxy' (Dharma) as our Guide, because it is the best way to get rid of desire.
We take 'Purity' as our Guide, because it is the noblest quality of mankind.
Hereafter, let the Enlightened One be our teacher; on no account should we accept Mara (the personification of evil) or any heretic as our guide. This we should testify to ourselves by constantly appealing to the 'Three Gems' of our Essence of Mind, in which, Learned Audience, I advise you to take refuge. They are:--
Buddha, which stands for Enlightenment.
Dharma, which stands for Orthodoxy.
Sangha, (the Order) which stands for Purity.
To let our mind take refuge in 'Enlightenment', so that evil and delusive notions do not arise, desire decreases, discontent is unknown, and lust and greed no longer bind, this is the culmination of Punya and Prajna.
To let our mind take refuge in 'Orthodoxy' so that we are always free from wrong views (for without wrong views there would be no egotism, arrogance, or craving), this is the best way to get rid of desire.
To let our mind take refuge in 'Purity' so that no matter in what circumstances it may be it will not be contaminated by wearisome sense-objects, craving and desire, this is the noblest quality of mankind.
To practice the Threefold Guidance in the way above mentioned means to take refuge in oneself (i.e., in one's own Essence of Mind). Ignorant persons take the Threefold Guidance day and night but do not understand it.
If they say they take refuge in Buddha, do they know where He is?
Yet if they cannot see Buddha, how can they take refuge in Him?
Does not such an assertion amount to a lie?
Learned Audience, each of you should consider and examine this point for yourself, and let not your energy be misapplied. The Sutra distinctly says that we should take refuge in the Buddha within ourselves; it does not suggest that we should take refuge in other Buddhas. (Moreover), if we do not take refuge in the Buddha within ourselves, there is no other place for us to retreat.
Having cleared up this point, let each of us take refuge in the 'Three Gems' within our mind. Within, we should control our mind; without, we should be respectful towards others -- this is the way to take refuge within ourselves.
Learned Audience, to take refuge in a true Buddha is to take refuge in our own Essence of Mind.
He who does so should remove from his Essence of Mind the evil mind, the jealous mind, the flattering and crooked mind, egotism, deceit and falsehood, contemptuousness, snobbishness, fallacious views, arrogance, and all other evils that may arise at any time.
To take refuge in ourself is to be constantly on the alert for our own mistakes, and to refrain from criticism of others' merits or faults. He who is humble and meek on all occasions and is polite to everybody has thoroughly realized his Essence of Mind, so thoroughly that his Path is free from further obstacles.
This is the way to take refuge in ourself.
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