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buddhaWhat the Buddhists believe and say in their worship are the following:

Buddham Saranam gachami
Dhammam Saranam gachami
Sangam Saranam gachami 

The Buddhists all over the world start their religious activities, prayer and worship with these fundamental words and end them also with these words. The logic of these saying is that the followers of Gowdhama Buddha pay their respects to and surrender themselves to the Buddham (the Chief), to the Dhammam (the Teachings) and to the Sangam (the Establishment).

Unchallenged Guru 

This kind of a fundamental tenet, in fact, applies not only to the Buddhists, but to every member of an organization, to maintain a good and high opinion of his chief or founder of the religion and submit himself to his teachings to form part of the established order or association. Unless the chief is dislodged from his eminent position, it is necessary for all the followers to accept him unequivocally as their unchallenged Guru.

Buddham Saranam 

It is only by treating the Guru as the wisest person that the organization founded by him obtains the necessary strength and continuity; and the followers thereby become sincere and ardent workers of the organization. One who does not respect, love and obey the chief, can only be an insincere and dishonest follower, existing merely for his own self-interest and livelihood. It is for this reason that every Buddhist starts his activities with the pledge. ‘Buddham Saranam’.

Dhammam Saranam 

The same is the reason for the next tenet, ‘Dhammam Saranam’, connoting that the follower has surrendered himself to and has become a slave to the teachings of the Guru without any conditions. If, however, a follower were to disbelieve or disregard even one of the principles of the cult or dhamma, he is in all honesty bound to quit the organization. That he is in full agreement with the given teachings, is the pledge he makes by the second tenet. 

Sangam Saranam 

The third tenet, ‘Sangam saranam’ similarly obtains the promise from the follower to surrender himself to the dictates and rules of the establishment to which he belongs. In other words, the Buddhist undertakes to be a slave of the Buddha, his cult and his establishment. Without such absolute surrender, it is impossible for a person to be a Buddhist. I believe that total surrender of one’s self and spirit to Buddha, his Dharmma and his Sangam, is what is contained in the three principal tenets of Buddhist worship.

Translation by Prof. A. M. Dharmalingam

(From 'Collected Works of Periyar E.V.R.', compiled by Dr. K. Veeramani, published by 'The Periyar Self-Respect Propaganda Institution')


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