I'm a little mystified as to Nyanaponika's source. The ṭīkā to the Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna Sutta doesn't contain any passage like this, nor does it read like anything that any ṭīkā author would say. I mean a clunky phrase like sharing in the shortcomings attached to any human institution is very modern-sounding and it's hard to imagine any Pali commentator ever using it.samseva wrote:In the 'Ṭīkā to the Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna Sutta' (page 9 and at the end of the third paragraph), it is written:
[...] Therefore, the consummate refuge meant in the traditional formula is of supramundane nature—lokuttara, world-transcending.
Thus the first refuge is not the Recluse Gotama, but the Buddha as the personification of world-transcending Enlightenment. In the Vīmaṃsaka Sutta it is said of the noble disciple: “He believes in the Enlightenment of the Exalted One” (MN 47).
The Dhamma of the second refuge is not the faint, fragmentary, or even distorted picture of the doctrine as mirrored in the mind of an unliberated worldling. It is the supramundane path and its consummation in Nibbāna. The commentator underlines the supramundane nature of the second refuge by saying that the Dhamma, as an object of learning, is included in the refuge only in so far as it is a formulation of the consummate knowledge acquired on the path to liberation.
The Sangha of the third refuge is not the all-inclusive congregation of monks, having all the weaknesses of its single members and sharing in the shortcomings attached to any human institution. It is rather the Order of noble disciples who are united by the invisible tie of common attainment to the four stages of liberation. In other words, it too is of supramundane nature: the assurance of possible progress to the world-transcending heights of a mind made holy and pure.
Overall it reads more like the sort of thing Nyanaponika himself was wont to say when indulging in one of his German romanticist flights of fancy. Perhaps the venerable was just giving an impressionistic summary of the thoughts that came into his mind after reading the said ṭīkā.