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  • Writer's picture Даосская Ассоциация России

What is Taking refuge to the 3 Treasures?

Cheng Bohan


Convert to the Daoism need to take refuge to the 3 treasures, in Chinese is called "皈依三宝",  is an important ritual and concept in Daoism, marking one's entry into Daoism, similar to a baptism in other religions. It represents the core of Daoist beliefs and practices. This phrase can be broken down into three key elements to explain its meaning: Dao (道), Jing (经), and Shi (师).


Firstly, "Dao Bao" (The Dao Treasure道宝) represents the core concept of Daoism, symbolizing the principles and natural laws of the universe. In Daoism, the pursuit of unity with the Dao is of paramount importance. The Dao is considered the source of the universe, a transcendent existence beyond words and concepts. Taking refuge to the Dao Bao means that a person decides to seek harmony with this source of the universe, aiming to achieve this through introspection, practice, and spiritual exploration. This embodies the essence of Dao and forms the core of Daoist faith.


Secondly, "Jing Bao" (The Jing Treasure经宝) represents the thirty-six precious scriptures of Daoism, which are the core and never-destroyed scriptures of Daoism. It broadly refers to all Daoist scriptures cultural heritage. Daoism has many scriptures, with the most famous being the "Dao De Ching" and the "Zhuangzi." These scriptures contain ancient wisdom and ethical principles, providing guidance and inspiration to help people understand Daoist teachings and philosophy. Taking refuge to the Jing Bao means that we commit to learning and following the teachings of these scriptures to gain wisdom, guidance, inspiration for better practicing Daoist principles, and never disobey to the teaching and doctrine that Daoist scriptures have taught us.


Lastly, "Shi Bao" (师宝 The Shi Treasure) refers to Xuanzhong Dafashi(玄中大法师), also known as Laozi or Tai Shang Lao Jun(太上老君). In a broader sense, it refers to your Shifu and all Daoist mentors. In Daoism, the master-disciple relationship is highly significant. Taking refuge to the Shi Bao means that a person seeks an experienced Daoist master or mentor to receive deeper guidance and instruction in Daoist practices. And also obey and be piety to them. The master-disciple relationship is a traditional way of learning, where the disciple gains a better understanding of Daoist teachings and practices through the guidance of the Shifu and also inherits Daoist wisdom and traditions.


In conclusion, taking refuge to 3 treasures "皈依道经师三宝" represents the core of Daoist faith, including the pursuit of unity with the Dao, the study of wisdom and ethics from the scriptures, and the transmission ,practice of Daoist teachings through the master-disciple relationship, and never betray Daoism. This ritual and concept signify an individual's commitment and deep involvement in Daoism, paving the way for inner peace, physical health, and harmony with nature and the universe. Daoism teaches us to align with nature, follow the guidance of the Dao, and achieve higher levels of life and wisdom.


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