Triple gem

This article is about the "Three Jewels", "Three Treasures", "Three Refuges or "Triple Gem" in Buddhism. For other uses, see Three Treasures (disambiguation).

The Three Jewels, also called the Three Treasures, Three Refuges, Precious Triad, or most commonly the Triple Gem Pali: त्रिरत्न (triratna), are the three things that Buddhists take refuge in, and look toward for guidance, in the process known as taking refuge.

The Three Jewels are:

Sanskrit, Pali: The Enlightened or Awakened One; Chinese: 佛陀, Fótuó, Japanese: , Butsu, Standard Tibetan: sangs-rgyas, Mongolian: burqan
Depending on one's interpretation, it can mean the historical Buddha (Siddharta) or the Buddha nature — the ideal or highest spiritual potential that exists within all beings;
Sanskrit: The Teaching; Pali: Dhamma, Chinese: , , Japanese: , , Standard Tibetan: chos, Mongolian: nom
The teachings of the Buddha, the path to Enlightenment.
Sanskrit, Pali: The Community; Chinese: , Sēng, Japanese: , , Standard Tibetan: dge-'dun, Mongolian: quvara
The community of those who have attained enlightenment, who may help a practicing Buddhist to do the same. Also used more broadly to refer to the community of practicing Buddhists, or the community of Buddhist monks and nuns.[1]

Refuge formula

Taking refuge in the Three Jewels is central to Buddhist lay and monastic ordination ceremonies, as originated by Gautama, (The Buddha), according to the scriptures. The practice of taking refuge on behalf of young or even unborn children is mentioned[2] in the Majjhima Nikaya, recognized by most scholars as an early text.

Taking refuge in the Three Jewels is generally considered to make one officially a Buddhist. Thus, in many Theravada Buddhist communities, the following Pali chant, the Vandana Ti-sarana is often recited by both monks and lay people:

I go for refuge in the Buddha.
I go for refuge in the Dharma.
I go for refuge in the Sangha

The Burmese Pali version, which differs from traditional Pali pronunciation (to suit the Burmese language phonology), is as follows (in the Burmese script and IPA):

  • 1
IPA: [boʊʔdàɴ θəɹənàɴ ɡɪʔsʰàmḭ]
I go for refuge in the Buddha.
  • 1
IPA: [dàɴmàɴ θəɹənàɴ ɡɪʔsʰàmḭ]
I go for refuge in the Dharma.
  • 1
IPA: [θàɴɡàɴ θəɹənàɴ ɡɪʔsʰàmḭ]
I go for refuge in the Sangha

1 ([dṵtḭjàɴpḭ]) and ([ta̰tḭjàɴpḭ]) are prefixed to the chant when lay members seek the refuge for the second and third times respectively.