The Three Jewels of Buddhism


The Three Jewels of Buddhism are:

Buddha is, of course, the Enlightened One who first showed others the path.  Dharma is the collective term for the teachings of Buddhism.  Sangha is the community of Buddhists around the world.

One becomes a Buddhist by taking refuge in the Three Jewels.  This is normally done at a special ceremony at a Buddhist Temple, and that is the recommended path, but one can, if sincere, become a Buddhist at any time simply by reciting the following three times:

     I take refuge in the Buddha.
    I take refuge in the Dharma.
    I take refuge in the Sangha.

The following text is taken from an article appearing in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1870, and is a translation of a ritual concerning the Three Jewels:

All spirits here assembled, those of earth and those of air, let all such be joyful, let them listen attentively to my words.

Therefore hear me, O ye spirits, be friendly to the race of men, for day and night they bring you their offerings, therefore keep diligent watch over them.

Whatsoever treasure there be here or in other worlds, whatsoever glorious jewel in the heavens, there is none like Buddha;--Buddha is this glorious jewel. May this truth bring prosperity.

Did the tranquil sage of the race of Sakya attain to the knowledge of Nirvána,--Nirvána sin-destroying, passionless, immortal, transcendent? There is naught like this doctrine;--the Law is this glorious jewel. May this truth bring prosperity.

Did supreme Buddha extol a pure doctrine, have holy men told of an unceasing meditation? There is naught like this doctrine;--the Law is this glorious jewel. May this truth bring prosperity.

There are eight orders of men praised by the righteous, four that walk in the paths of holiness, and four that enjoy the fruits thereof. They are the disciples of Buddha, worthy  to receive gifts, in them charity obtains an abundant reward. The priesthood is this glorious jewel. May this truth bring prosperity.

Who are they that with steadfast mind, exempt from evil desire, are firmly established in the religion of Gautama. They have entered on the way of Nirvána, they have bought it without price, they enjoy perfect tranquility, they have obtained the greatest gain. The priesthood is this glorious jewel. May this truth bring prosperity.

As the pillar of a city gate, resting on the earth, is unmoved by the four winds of heaven, so declare I the righteous man to be who has learnt and gazes on the four great truths. The priesthood is this glorious jewel. May this truth bring prosperity.

They that clearly understand the four great truths well preached by the profoundly wise Being, however much they be distracted by the temptations of this world, they shall not again receive eight births. The priesthood is this glorious jewel. May this truth bring prosperity.

He who is blessed with the knowledge of Nirvána, and has cast off these three sins, vanity and doubt and the practice of vain ceremonies, the same is delivered from the four states of punishment, and cannot commit the six deadly sins. The priesthood is this glorious jewel. May this truth bring prosperity.

If a priest commit sin in deed or in word or in thought he is wrong to conceal it, for concealment of sin is declared to be evil in one who has gained a knowledge of Nirvána. The priesthood is this glorious jewel. May this truth bring prosperity.

As the tree tops bloom in grove and forest in the first hot month of summer, so did Buddha preach for the chief good of men his glorious doctrine that leads to Nirvána. Buddha is this glorious jewel. May this truth bring prosperity.

The noblest, the greatest of men, the finder of Nirvána, the giver of Nirvána, the bringer of Nirvána, preached his glorious Law. Buddha is this glorious jewel. May this truth bring prosperity.

Their old Karma is destroyed, no new Karma is produced. Their hearts no longer cleaving to future life, their seed of existence destroyed, their desires quenched, the righteous are extinguished like this lamp. The priesthood is this glorious jewel. May this truth bring prosperity.

Ye spirits here assembled, those of earth and those of air, let us bow before Buddha, the Tathágata revered by gods and men. May there be prosperity.

Ye spirits here assembled, those of earth and those of air, let us bow before the Law, the Tathágata revered by gods and men. May there be prosperity.

Ye spirits here assembled, those of earth and those of air, let us bow before the Church, the Tathágata revered by gods and men. May there be prosperity.



 

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