Three Jewels Buddhism: The Means
Taking Refuge • They go to many a refuge, to mountains, forests, parks, trees, and shrines: people threatened with danger. • That's not the secure refuge, that's not the highest refuge, that's not the refuge, having gone to which, you gain release from all suffering and stress. • But when, having gone for refuge to the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha, you see with right discernment the four Noble Truths — stress, the cause of stress, the transcending of stress, and the Noble Eightfold Path, the way to the stilling of stress: • That's the secure refuge, that, the highest refuge, that is the refuge, having gone to which, you gain release from all suffering and stress. — Dhammapada, 188-192
The Three Jewels • The Three Jewels are: • Buddha, • Dhamma • Sangha • Also known as Three Treasures, Three Refuges, or the Tiratana. • The Dhamma could not have been taught without the Buddha, and could not have been followed without the Sangha, so the three are inseparable.
They are known as the Three Refuges, because the Buddhist promise of devotion says: “I take refuge in the Buddha, I take refuge in the Dhamma, I take refuge in the Sangha.”
Theravada Buddha • Theravadins believe the Buddha was superior to Arhatsbecause the Buddha discovered the path all by himself and taught it to others . • Arhats, on the other hand, attain Nibbana due in part to the Buddha's teachings. • Theravadins take refuge in the historical Buddha, SiddarthaGotama, but also recognise the existence of other such Buddha's in the past and future.
Mahayana Buddha: Trikaya • Trikaya = Three Bodies (of the Buddha) • Human form: sent to teach humans, many different bodies (Siddhartha Gotama was one). • Eternal Buddha ie what gets embodied in human form, eg in a ‘future Buddha’. • Ultimate reality: Buddha nature (is in all beings, we just have to discover our Buddha nature ).
Dhamma • The Buddha has a special status because he discovered the Dhamma(he wasn’t taught about it by someone else). • The Buddha discovered the ‘truth’ so the Dhamma is sometimes understood as the eternal truth of all things. • The Buddha taught the Dhamma, so it also means the teachings of the Buddha including scripture.
Sangha • World wide community of Buddhists. • World wide monastic community. • A specific monastic community.
Questions What is dhamma? 4 KU What is the sangha? 2 KU Compare and contrast Theravada and Mahayana understandings of the Buddha. 8AE Which of the Three Jewels are most important to Buddhists? 8 AE