I am currently reading Living By Vow and starting the chapter on the refuge prayer. I go for refuge each morning after sitting as refuge prayers have been part of my practice for many years and something I value greatly. At present I use Sanskrit verses but is there a Treeleaf refuge prayer?
As far as I know, Japanese Buddhism uses the prayer in Sanskrit (or Pali, I do not know):
Buddham saranam gacchami
I go to the Buddha for refuge.
Dhammam saranam gacchami
I go to the Dhamma for refuge.
Sangham saranam gacchami
I go to the Sangha for refuge.
A big hug!
That is exactly what I use, Marcelo, and it is Pali not Sanskrit as I said before.
Okamura talks about different verses they use at Minnesota Zen Centre so am guessing that different Zen centres use different liturgy.
Well, first, all these English chants are just translations into English from Sino-Japanese, from Sanskrit ... and ultimately a Translation of some feeling in the heart and all the world. So, the specific words or any words are not so important.
One may simply say ...
I take refuge in Buddha,
I take refuge in Dharma,
I take refuge in Sangha.
... or some other phrasing that rings true.
"Buddha" is the historical man who set the ball of Teachings rolling, Dharma is the rolling ball of "Teachings" about "Reality" and "Reality" itself, "Sangha" is the community of Practitioners who keep the ball rolling. Yet, Buddha-Dharma-Sangha also means something beyond and through all people, things, divisions, categories ... and is the very Rolling, Rolling, Rolling.
However, feel free to recite the English wording which speaks to your Heart. I am not so insistent that people verbally recite such words, so long as they live honoring this Way and supporting this Way.
As a side note, words like "refuge" can freak out some folks who are carrying unfortunate baggage from their childhood religions, and similar phrases like "taking refuge in a savior". That is a shame to get hung up like that on a word but, if so, one can change it to what strikes one's heart ... "I am One with ... " "I devote myself to ..." "I am at Peace in ... " or the like. Even silence.
Okumura Roshi's wonderful short chapter on the verse is available online. I recommend folks read that and, in fact, the whole book is near the top of our Treeleaf "Recommended" list. Search the word "Refuges" (plural) here and find from page 63 ...
As Okamura writes there, the meaning is to "find refuge within this world, within ourselves".
I should also mention that there is a Three Refuges portion of our Jukai Ceremony. At that time, the Jukai recipients will say the following. However, again, I am not so concerned about exact wording, as much as the feeling in peoples' hearts.
Respectful devotion to Buddha, Respectful devotion to Dharma, Respectful devotion to Sangha.
Devotion to Buddha, the Supreme One; Devotion to Dharma, the Supreme Purity & Teaching; Devotion to Sangha, the Supreme Community.
Perfect devotion to Buddha, Perfect devotion to Dharma, Perfect devotion to Sangha.
Thank you, Jundo.