At the heart of Buddhist practice is “Taking Refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha” — the Three Jewels.
More than anything else, Refuge distinguishes our meditation as “Buddhist.” The main refuge from fear, from anger, from the Three Poisons, is the Three Jewels. We can speak of many meditations to overcome the obstacles to realizations and Enlightenment, but the most important first step is Refuge in the Three Gems.
All Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhist practices begin with Refuge. Chant along with the magnificent voice of Yoko Dharma as she sings the refuge in Tibetan (words prompted on screen with English translation) — including the Bodhisattva aspiration. Then, enhance the Mahayana perfection by chanting the Four Immeasurables — wishing immeasurable happiness to all sentient beings in the Universe, with a second chant.
Play here [lyrics in the video — and also below video in this feature]:
Contents of Feature (click to navigate)
Lyrics to The Refuge in the Three Jewels
Sanggye Choedang Tshogkyi Chognam La
English: I take refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Supreme Sangha
Jangchub Bardu Dagni Kyabsu Chi
English: Until I attain Enlightenment
Daggi Jinsog Gyipei Soenam Kyi
English: By the merit I accumulate from practising generosity and other perfections
Drola Phenchir Sanggye Drubpar Shog
English: May I attain Enlightenment in order to benefit all living beings
The Four Immeasurables (with Namo Buddhaya, Namo Dharmaya, Namo Sanghaya)
Namo Guru be
English: I prostrate to the Guru (teacher)
May all beings have happiness and its causes
Namo Buddha ya
English: I prostrate to the Buddha
May all beings be freed from suffering and all its causes
Namo Dharma ya
English: I prostrate to the Dharma (the teachings)
May all beings constantly dwell in joy transcending sorrow
Namo Sangha ya
English: I prostrate to the sangha (community of Dharma practitioners)
May all beings dwell in equal love for those both close and distant.
Music and singing by the wonderful Yoko Dharma:
We previously interviewed Yoko Dharma regarding a recording project:
About Yoko Dharma
From her website:
“Sometimes when you wait, it gives you time to grow and flower into something much more beautiful then you had ever imagined. This is the case with Yoko Dharma. The last 5 years for this Canadian born recording artist has been full of growth opportunities as she has patiently been waiting to record her RnB debut album “Freedom Reign.” Now her album is almost complete! Producer Marty Rifkin is working on this album with Yoko, bringing “Freedom Reign” to life and helping Yoko manifest her vision into the world. Marty has recorded with Jewel, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John and numerous other well-known artists. The culturally diverse world music influences drawn on to make “Freedom Reign” album, stem from Yoko’s passionate love of world music and unique world instruments, which are all a part of Yoko’s intriguing sound. Her motivation to break through cultural barriers using music as the conduit for positive global change and peace, is a call to action and transformation of one’s mind, which is given to the listener through Yoko’s conscious lyrics throughout the album. Steeped in the basic human qualities of love, compassion and awareness, Yoko draws from the deep rooted wisdom that Tibetan Buddhism has given her in her life and reflects this in her songwriting. Between Marty Rifkin’s expertise and Yoko Dharma’s strong message and powerfully sweet voice, I have no doubt that Yoko’s debut RnB album will shake the globe, stirring international fans everywhere!
Growing up as a Tibetan Buddhist in the west was a slightly different childhood then most Canadian kids have. This had a profound and deep influence on Yoko from an early age, especially when she started adapting Tibetan Buddhist meditations and practices more seriously at the age of 13. This definitely makes Yoko unique in the way she writes music and in terms of what she has to say based on her own understanding. This seems to spill out to people because many of her fans resonate with what she is singing about . Her ability to connect with the listeners weather it is on stage or through a recording is profound because of some basic truths she sings about which transcend culture, race and religion. Essentially, the science of the mind, the truth of all phenomena and some fundamental human qualities that we all possess like love, kindness and compassion. This is why so many people relate to her music and I think this is why she can move people so deeply because somewhere inside they also know these truths or have had similar experiences.”Yoko started singing as soon as she arrived in this world. Born deep in the lush mountains of British Columbia, Yoko is a small town girl from Nelson. She was raised surrounded by musicians and artists. Her mother is a singer and her father a guitar player who both write music. As a child growing up she would often create fantastic shows for guests when they would visit, stepping onto stage in public at the young age of 13. This was when she also began to write her own songs. From disco bands to African dance troupes, Buddhist Mantras to touring with her own original RnB/world music and opening for Jan Arden, Yoko has a captivating musical and performance background. Yoko has also studied African, Modern, Afro Cuban, Salsa and Balinese styles of dance.”“In 2007 she co-produced and recorded her first album ” Yoko Treasury of Jewels.” The album received amazing reviews, being happily received by Yoko’s fans. It also was chosen as “editor’s pick” by Peters on CD baby. “Her voice is a bit like Madonna’s, that is to say, she is fully capable of pure enchantment. Yoko’s entrancing voice is a pure pleasure to listen to.” ~ Writes Peters at CD Baby. This album reached beyond the Buddhist community spilling out to many of Yoko’s fans internationally who are not Buddhist but fell in love with the album. “Treasury of Jewels” is sung in Sanskrit and Tibetan, it is comprised of traditional Tibetan mantras and chants made into beautiful, engaging world music songs.”