The essential insight at the heart of the concept of taking refuge in the Buddha is that the man known as Siddhartha Gautama showed us what true awakening looks like, right? As it turns out, to awaken mostly means to live with compassion and wisdom, resting in our interconnectedness with all beings, recognizing the truth of suffering, and dedicating ourselves to alleviating it wherever we encounter it. Awakening is our birthright. The Buddha never intended for us to give away our power to him. “Be lamps unto yourselves” were his last words.