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Buddham Saranam Gacchami Chant: Complete Lyrics & Meaning

Buddham Saranam Gacchami chant is commonly recited by both laypeople and monks in Theravada Buddhism (sometimes called ‘Southern Buddhism’) communities:

Buddham Saranam Gacchami Lyrics & Translation:

बुद्धं शरणं गच्छामि।
धर्मं शरणं गच्छामि।
संघं शरणं गच्छामि।


Buddham saranam gacchami
Dhammam saranam gacchami
Sangham saranam gacchami


I go to the Buddha for refuge
I go to the Dhamma for refuge
I go to the Sangha for refuge.


Mantra Meaning

This chant is all about taking refuge in Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha. In Buddhism, this prayer is known as the “Three Treasures” or “Three Jewels” prayer. The meaning of the Three Jewels is as follows:

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The Buddha was born Siddhartha Gautama to a large clan called the Shakyas in Lumbini in the 6th century B.C. 

The Buddha refers both to the ideal of Buddhahood itself and to the historical Buddha (the word buddha means “the Awakened One”). By taking refuge in the Buddha, we seek the capacity to be awakened to what the Buddha experienced. We also align ourselves with the capacity to become a Buddha ourselves.

Moreover, the way the Gautama Buddha protects us is not by building walls or standing guard but by teaching us the Dharma.

Therefore, we take refuge in the Buddha by turning to the teaching of the way of attaining happiness in whatever form it comes to us, the teaching of the reality of bliss.

Since Gautama Buddha is thought to have been the 1st man to truly understand the way to enlightenment and wisdom, the first jewel also represents the fulfillment of enlightenment.

Note – Depending on the particular school of Buddhism, Buddha can refer to the universal Buddha nature that potentially exists in all living beings or to the specific Buddha Siddhartha Gautama.

“When we go for refuge to the Buddha, we resort to him as the supreme embodiment of wisdom, purity, and compassion, the peerless teacher who can guide us to safety out of the perilous ocean of samsara.” – Bhikkhu Bodhi, an American Theravada Buddhist monk.

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The Dhamma, the second of the Three Gems, describes ”how things really are” and the way by which anyone can slowly change themselves. It is also the method of love and understanding – how to love, how to understand, and how to make understanding into real things.

Taking refuge in the dharma also means we study the teachings of Buddha Siddhartha Gautama and put forth the effort to utilize these teachings in our lives.


The third of the Three Gems, the Sangha, is the community that lives in awareness and harmony.

The term sangha has 2 meanings in Theravada Buddhism. The first meaning links the sangha to the attainment of a stage of higher knowledge. The second meaning denotes the community of nuns and monks who follow the teachings of Buddha.

In addition, the Sangha represents the community of active spiritual seekers; however, this is an esoteric interpretation.

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Taking refuge in these “Triple Jewels” is usually considered to make one officially a Buddhist.

This chant is occasionally expanded with:

  • I go for refuge in the One Universal life (Ekam sharanam gacchâmi);
  • I go for refuge in yoga (Yogam sharanam gacchâmi);
  • I go for refuge in non-violence (Ahimsam sharanam gacchâmi);
  • I go for refuge in truth (Satyam sharanam gacchâmi).

Images credit – Shutterstock & Getty Images

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Sunday 21st of January 2024

I was raised as a 50's child in the fundamental dogma of Catholicism ( Christianity) As a US AIr Force veteran in the Vietnam conflict, I served in Ubon Thailand finding my way to Wat Bapong and Ajahn Chah's commmunity. I no longer associate myself with the duplicitous Roman Catholic tradition. I have always sought the higher realization BEHIND the outer FORMS that takes on its whole IMPORTANCE and meaning within custom, prayers, ceremonies... always conforming to aged "belief systems" that never wanted anything more. What our teachers came into flesh to show us, BEYOND the cemetary resting place for Religion...IS... our TRUENESS of NON-DIVISION that humanity has buried under the show of traditions and idols and roles... made for us to permanently.. adhere to. Ajahn Chah had a powerful impact today on western minds toward the Buddhism he represented in Thailand. In saying Buddham Saranam Gacchami, we are repeating the same as any Christian chant promoting its own rituals, but instead of saying Buddha, the identity of Jesus is held up, in place. The difference is miniscule. ALL of the entire world is NOW in an awakening PROCESS that sees its crumbling TEMPLES in vast deterioration under the jungle canopies needing RESTORATION. But, TOO LATE! Nature has dragged us here to wake up from the dreaming SLUMBER of many centuries, watching us reposturing ourselves with fresh bodies and still masquerading within our despotic roles given to religious exclusion in each succeeding incarnation.

Today's Christianity... DOES NOT know... Jesus. We can only witness a religion made to replace him and to demand that he come and do the heavy lifting NEEDED to fix... what we alone have brought upon the world in ignorance, without his leadership at our side. and in our HEART.

The Buddhist world has fared much better with their kindness and gentle tolerance for strangers, as Jesus himself DID . Jesus tried as well, to uncover kindness in the hearts of humanity. Out of TODAY's Global Darkness, mankind's consciousness is beginning to AWAKEN from its dreaming stupor, to devote its LIFE to an unpersonalized Consciousness in Buddah AND in Jesus while seeing clearly all around, its life under assault from the extreme extracted wealth of generational collaborations wanting to accumulate, strengthen and solidify its desperate GRIP on souls harvested in service to PROFITABLE WARFARE... solicited with Technology's powerfully acclaimed ...SEDUCTIONS... calling that PROGRESS.

Its a nightmarish dream of high drama and toxic biological destruction ( the Abomination, that brings Desolation) that .... we CAN awaken from, keeping ALIVE, IN US ... a MORE Perfectly held "UNION", which Heaven has patiently awaited for..preparing in us...CREATION'S ONENESS SPIRIT.... brought ALIVE, TODAY, with ITS tenderness of HEART for ALL......Indiscriminately.

I go for refuge in the One Universal life (Ekam sharanam gacchâmi); I go for refuge in yoga LINKING CONNECTION (Yogam sharanam gacchâmi); I go for refuge in non-violence (Ahimsam sharanam gacchâmi); I go for refuge in the TRUTH of BEINGNESS (Satyam sharanam gacchâmi).

Saadhu, Saadhu

Wednesday 11th of March 2020

It's simply awesome & divine! May Buddha give me forbearance, fortitude to bear the sufferings of this mortal world! O' Buddha, give me wisdom to know that everything is an illusion ie. Maya & hence eschew all desires which is the root cause of all the sorrow & misery in this universe!!