“Mendicants, be your own island, your own refuge, with no other refuge. Let the teaching be your island and your refuge, with no other refuge. And how does a mendicant do this? They meditate observing an aspect of the body—keen, aware, and mindful, rid of desire and aversion for the world. They meditate observing an aspect of feelings … mind … principles—keen, aware, and mindful, rid of desire and aversion for the world. That’s how a mendicant is their own island, their own refuge, with no other refuge. That’s how they let the teaching be their island and their refuge, with no other refuge.

DN 26

How is this squared with the Buddhist taking refuge in the three jewels - or at the very least, since the teachings are mentioned, with taking refuge in the Buddha and the Sangha?


The Buddha is the Dhamma; the Dhamma is the Buddha (SN 22.87).

The Sangha are (only) those realizers of the Dhamma.

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Good householder. How could explain this Dhamma, that Nyom thinks to be taken as only refuge?

This was told to a group of Bhikkhus, where all had been already Noble ones (no householder, no worldling but Ariya Bhikkhus, at least Stream-Enter, having gained the Dhamma for themselves already), meaning having seen the Dhamma for themselves and gained independency from a teacher, guide. This would not work for wordlings, since which Dhamma could they take as refuge and the refuge to the tripple Gems is already firm for Noble Ones naturally, unshakeable.

Why does Nyom ask (trying to reach out to one who knows) if able to live with the Dhamma as refuge? Does she not seek refuge at that which see assumes to be part of the Sangha?

It's by the way a bad translation, Nyom, which she takes as refuge, Dhamma.

(Note: not given for trade, exchange, stacks or other bindings to the world but for liberation.)

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  • So a householder and a monk should follow two different paths? – Ilya Grushevskiy Apr 21 at 18:28
  • Why such a conclusion? Both take refuge in the three Gems. In regard of satipatthana, not easy a householder could practice it. – user11235 Apr 21 at 19:41

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