Three Jewels
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Three Jewels
Gautama Buddha delivering his first sermon in the deer park at Sarnath, Varanasi with his right hand turning the Dharmachakra, resting on the Triratna symbol flanked on either side by a deer. Statue on display at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya in Mumbai.
Translations of
Refuge (Buddhism)
Pali sara?a ()
Sanskrit ?ara?a ()
(r?maji: kie)
(RR: gwiui)

?, ?

RTGSsarana, thi phueng thi raluek
Vietnamese Quy y
Glossary of Buddhism

Buddhists take refuge in the Three Jewels or Triple Gem (also known as the "Three Refuges").

The Three Jewels are:

  • the Buddha, the fully enlightened one
  • the Dharma, the teachings expounded by the Buddha
  • the Sangha, the monastic order of Buddhism that practice the Dharma

Refuge is common to all major schools of Buddhism. Pali texts employ the Brahmanical motif of a group of three refuges, as found in Rig Veda 9.97.47, Rig Veda 6.46.9 and Chandogya Upanishad 2.22.3-4.[1]

Faith (saddha)

Veneration of the Three Jewels, Chorasan, Gandhara, 2nd century AD, schist - Ethnological Museum of Berlin.

Faith is an important teaching element in both Theravada and Mahayana traditions. In contrast to perceived Western notions of faith, faith in Buddhism arises from accumulated experience and reasoning.

In the Kalama Sutra, the Buddha explicitly argues against simply following authority or tradition, particularly those of religions contemporary to the Buddha's time.[2] There remains value for a degree of trusting confidence and belief in Buddhism, primarily in the spiritual attainment and salvation or enlightenment. Faith in Buddhism centres on belief in the Three Jewels.


For someone who wishes to study and practice Buddhism, the five ethical precepts encouraged are to voluntarily undertake the practice to:

  1. refrain from killing.[3][4][5]
  2. refrain from stealing.[3][4][5]
  3. refrain from lying.[3][4][5]
  4. refrain from consuming intoxicants.[3][4][5]
  5. refrain from improper sexual conduct.[3][4][5]

Note: The precepts may be listed in order of the gravity of harmful actions guarded against. Improper sexual conduct can roughly mean 'hurtful or harmful' sexual conduct.

For those interested in slightly more advanced practices, on full moon, new moon, and sometimes other quarter moon days, it is encouraged to undertake the eight ethical precepts, which also includes:

  1. refrain from eating after noon[3][4][5]
  2. refrain from singing, dancing, music, watching entertainment, wearing jewelry, using perfumes and colognes, and wearing make-up.[3][4][5]
  3. refrain from sleeping on high and luxurious beddings[3][4][5]


Sanskrit version:

? ?
Buddha? ?ara?a? gacch?mi.
Dharma? ?ara?a? gacch?mi.
Sa?gha? ?ara?a? gacch?mi.
I take refuge in the Buddha.
I take refuge in the Dharma.
I take refuge in the Sangha.

P?li (Therav?da) version:

Buddha? sara?a? gacch?mi.
Dhamma? sara?a? gacch?mi.
Sa?gha? sara?a? gacch?mi.
I go to the Buddha for refuge.
I go to the Dhamma for refuge.
I go to the Sangha for refuge.

Khmer characters:

? ? ?
? ? ?
? ? ?
To the Buddha for refuge I go
To the Dharma for refuge I go
To the Sangha for refuge I go

Uyghur version:

Namo but.
Namo dram.
Namo sang.

Chinese version:

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

However, some substitute the above with a (Mah?y?na) version taken from the Avatamsaka Sutra which reads:

(I take refuge in the Buddha, wishing for all sentient beings to understand the great way and make the greatest vow.)
(I take refuge in the Dharma, wishing for all sentient beings to deeply delve into the Sutra Pitaka, gaining an ocean of knowledge.)
(I take refuge in the Sangha, wishing all sentient beings to lead the congregation in harmony, entirely without obstruction.)

Tibetan : The basic refuge in Tibetan is:

Sang-gyé la kyap-su chio (I go for refuge to the Buddha)
Chö la kyap-su chio (I go for refuge to the Dharma)
Gendün la kyap-su chio (I go for refuge to the Sangha)

A Mahayana refuge in Tibetan:

Sang gyé chö dang tsok kyi chok nam la
Jang chup bar du kyap su chi
Dak gi jin sok gyi pa di dak gi
Dro la pen chir sang gyé drup par shok
In the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha most excellent,
I take refuge until enlightenment.
By the merit of generosity and so on,
May I achieve Buddhahood to benefit all sentient beings.

Thai version:

Buddha? sara?a? gacch?mi.
Dhamma? sara?a? gacch?mi.
Sa?gha? sara?a? gacch?mi.
To the Buddha I go for refuge.
To the Dhamma I go for refuge.
To the Sangha I go for refuge.

Thai chant for three times by adding , (Duthiyampi, For the second time) or (Tatiyampi, For the third time) preceding each sentence of each set of asking triple gems for refuge.

Three Roots

Symbol of the Three Jewels

In Tibetan Buddhism there are three refuge formulations, the Outer, Inner, and Secret forms of the Three Jewels. The 'Outer' form is the 'Triple Gem', (Sanskrit:triratna), the 'Inner' is the Three Roots and the 'Secret' form is the 'Three Bodies' or trikaya of a Buddha. These alternative refuge formulations are employed by those undertaking Deity Yoga and other tantric practices within the Tibetan Buddhist Vajrayana tradition as a means of recognizing Buddha Nature.

  Tibetan Buddhist Refuge Formulations
Outer or 'Three Jewels' Buddha Dharma Sangha
Inner or 'Three Roots' Lama (Guru) Yidam (Ista-devata) Khandroma (Dakini)[6]
Secret or 'Trikaya' Dharmakaya Sambhogakaya Nirmanakaya
Three Vajras Mind Speech Body
seed syllable blue hum red ah white om

Three refuge motivation levels are: 1) suffering rebirth's fear motivates with the idea of happiness, 2) knowing rebirth won't bring freedoms motivates attaining nirvana, while 3) seeing other's suffering motivates establishing them all in Buddhahood.[7] Happiness is temporary, lifetimes are impermanent and ultimately refuge is taken until reaching unsurpassed awakening.[8][clarification needed]

See also


  1. ^ Shults, Brett (May 2014). "On the Buddha's Use of Some Brahmanical Motifs in Pali Texts". Journal of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies. 6: 119. 
  2. ^ "Kalama Sutta: The Buddha's Charter of Free Inquiry". 4 February 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "The Eight Precepts: attha-sila". 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "Uposatha Sila: The Eight-Precept Observance". 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h S?mi, Dhamma. "The 8 precepts". 
  6. ^ In Sarma traditions, this root is the Chokyong (Skt: dharmap?la, Wylie: chos-kyong)
  7. ^ Rinpoche, Patrul. Words of My Perfect Teacher: A Complete Translation of a Classic Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism (Sacred Literature) (2011 ed.). Yale University Press. pp. 176-177. ISBN 0-300-16532-3. 
  8. ^ Dorje, Choying Tobden; Zangpo, Ngawang (June 2, 2015). The Complete Nyingma Tradition from Sutra to Tantra, Books 1 to 10: Foundations of the Buddhist Path (First ed.). Snow Lion. pp. 224-227. ISBN 1-55939-435-8. 


External links

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