I take Refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Shangha
I take Refuge in the Guru, the Deva, and the Dakini-Daka
I take Refuge in Shunyata, Tathagatagharba, and Magic itself
This refuge formula is suitable for contemporary magic-users, and appropriate for today, the full moon in May, considered by some to be the Buddha’s birthday.
The first line is the most standard form. My favorite explanation of it is from old Uncle Al:
I take my refuge in the Buddha. That there was once a man who found the Way is my encouragement.
I take my refuge in the Dhamma [Pali form of Dharma]. The Law underlying phenomena and its unchanging certainty; the Law given by the Buddha to show us the Way, the inevitable tendency to Persistence in Motion or Rest — and Persistence, even in Motion, negates change in consciousness — these observed orders of fact are our bases.
I take my refuge in the Sangha. These are not isolated efforts on my part; although in one sense isolation is eternally perfect and can never be overcome, in another sense associates are possible and desirable.
From the Collected Works of Aleister Crowley
The second line is from the Vajrayana vehicle, the tantric and magical form of Buddhism. There, the personified example is the Teacher, who the student is to view as a Buddha. The Law is embodied in the (generally) anthropomorphic form as the Deva or Deity, who the student is to invoke and become. The Dakini-Daka is female and/or male consort in tantric, sometimes sexual, practice, and it is in them we take refuge in much the same way as in the Sangha, or community of students/practitioners.
The third line I made up. It parallels the Buddha (the One who attained), and the Guru (the immediate Teacher), with Shunyata, the characteristicless Ground of Being, the ultimate refuge. It parallels the Dharma or Law, and the Deva or invocation Deity, with the Buddha-nature, Tathagatagharba, and the underlying, fundamental principal and ultimate vehicle of our enlightenment: that we are already there. Finally, the Community, or Sangha, and the Consort, the Dakini-Daka, are paralleled to Magic, or Dependent Co-arisal, the Buddhist principal of magic and the basis for the power of ritual, mantra, and all such technologies. Here the words are simplified to just ‘magic’.
In these three lines are respectively united the historical framework of refuge, the educational process of tantric attainment, and the cosmological ground and means of attainment.
Hail to Those Who have Thus Gone!
[I’ve written more about Refuge and why it is valuable to magic-users and Pagans in general in my book Tantric Thelema.]