佛學講座 - 佛學問答(English) - What are Three Jewels? What do they denote?
What are Three Jewels? What do they denote?

The Buddhist practitioners take refuge in the Three Jewels, the

Triratna in Sanskrit, which are the Buddha-treasure, Dharma-treasure,

and sangha-treasure. In the esoteric school, refuge is taken in the Four

Jewels, which, atop the former three, also includes that taken in the

spiritual master of transmission and reception, the acarya.

The Three Jewels denote the Buddha, Dharma, and sangha—all of

them the incomparable, most reverence treasures of the human realm.

The Buddha, instructor of the three realms, gracious parent to the

four forms of birth, and founder of heaven and earth, instructs all

living beings in cultivating and learning the Dharma. The Dharma is

the doctrine as told by the Buddha. The treasure-trove of Buddhist

knowledge is an assembly of the sutra, sastra, and vinaya, called the

Tripitaka. Diligent, consistent practice in acquiring such knowledge and

cultivating blessedness and wisdom along the way promises ultimate

liberation from rebirths and redeaths. The sangha instructs followers

in emulating the Buddha. Hence the title Three Jewels.