Before the Buddha expounded the Dhamma, there were no Sanghas in the world at that time, but many hermits or recluses were found in India finding their own salvation with their respective religious practices. When the Buddha appeared in the world and taught the Dhamma, it was said that there were only two objects of veneration, the Buddha and the Dhamma, called in Pali dve vacika (Twofold formula) — literally two news, that is one can know the news of only two objects of veneration in the whole world.
Soon after he attained Enlightenment two brother merchants named Tapussa and Bhallika who were informed by their friends that there appeared the Buddha, the Enlightened One who attained the Supreme Buddhahood, came to see him. When they met the Buddha they respectfully paid homage to him and offered same dried rice-flour cakes and honeycomb saying that they took refuge in the Buddha and his Teaching (Dhamma). Thus the brothers became the first devoted lay disciples who had sought two refuges or objects of veneration.