Buddha, Dharma, Sangha - The Three Jewels

Buddha originates from the Sanskrit term ‘bodhi’-awakened, awakened from the sleep of ignorance. The Tibetan word for Buddha is ‘sang gye’. ‘Sang’ has the meaning of being completely purified or awakened and ‘gye’ means unfolded or blossomed. That refers to the purification of all defilements and the unfolding of all inner qualities.

That, what is purified are the three kinds of veils: 
1. The veils of disturbing emotions and negative actions.
2. The veils referring to the process of perception, i.e. wrong views and concepts about reality.
3. The very subtle veils of habitual tendencies.

That, what is unfolded is primordial wisdom, the wisdom which arises when the mind realises its primordial nature. That primordial wisdom can be further subdivided into two wisdoms:
1. The wisdom which realises the true nature of all phenomena, the ultimate truth.
2. The wisdom which realises the way of appearance of all phenomena to their full extent, the relative truth.

Buddha, the Awakened One, is therefore someone who has purified all veils and who knows everything that can be known. He is the highest, the supreme one among all human beings. He is the only one who possesses that omniscience. Therefore he is mentioned first in the order of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.

Together with that omniscience, a Buddha has loving kindness and compassion for all sentient beings and teaches them in order to liberate them from suffering. Therefore the Dharma is the second in this order. 

Here one distinguishes between the Dharma of the scriptures and the Dharma of realisation. The Dharma of the scriptures is classified into Sutra and Tantra. Sutra is subdivided into the Three Baskets of Vinaya, Sutra and Abhidharma, Tantra into the four Tantraclasses.

The Dharma of realisation is classified into three kinds of training: The training of discipline, the training of meditation and the training of wisdom. The Three Baskets are practised by the three kinds of training, which correspond to them.

If the people who listen to the teachings of the Buddha enter the path, which means, if they listen to the teachings, reflect about them and finally put them into the practice of meditation, then the Sangha is established. These are the friends and helpers along the way to liberation. Therefore the Sangha is the third in this order.
Also here one distinguishes between two kinds, the ordinary Sangha and the extraordinary or Noble Sangha. The ordinary Sangha consists of the practitioners, who have not yet attained realisation of the true nature of their minds. The Noble Sangha consists of the practitioners who have accomplished one of the four levels of realisation of the Smaller Vehicle (see also: Fruition of the Shravakayana) or one of the Bodhisattva levels of the Greater Vehicle.

Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, the Three Jewels, are the common refuge of all Buddhists in the whole world (of the southern and the northern Buddhism). At the end of this compilation they will be explained from the ultimate point of view.

1. Buddha, Dharma, Sangha - The Three Jewels
2. The Three Roots
3. The Twelve Deeds of a Buddha
4. The Threefold Turning of the Wheel of Dharma
5. Yana - Vehicle, the Two Vehicles
6. The Difference between Hinayana and Mahayana
7. The Three Vehicles
8. The Three Baskets: Vinaya - Sutra - Abhidharma
9. The Twelve Categories of Scriptures
10. The Four Seals
11. Samsara and Nirvana
12. The Four Noble Truths
13. The Five Aggregates (Skandhas)
14. The Twelve Sources (Ayathanas)
15. The Eight Objects for the Mind
16. The Eighteen Elements (Dhatus)
17. The Three Kinds of Suffering
18. The Characteristics of the Four Noble Truth
19. The Dependent Occurrence
20. Taking Refuge
21. Love and Compassion
22. The Four Immeasurables
23. The Development of the Enlightened Attitude
24. The Ten Paramitas
25. The Five Paths
26. The Thirty-seven Factors of Enlightenment
27. The Six Extrasensory Perceptions
28. The Ten Bodhisattvalevels
29. The Ten Powers of the Bodhisattvas
30. The Twenty-two Kinds of Bodhicitta
31. The Three Bodies (Kayas) of a Buddha
32. The Eight Qualities of the Dharmakaya
33. The Eight Characteristics of the Sambhogakaya
34. The Eight Characteristics of the Nirmanakaya
35. The Ten Powers of Perfect Knowledge
36. The Four Fearlessnesses
37. The Eighteen Distinct Qualities
38. The Four Aspects of Ultimate Awareness of a Buddha
39. The Five Buddha-wisdoms
40. The Pure Buddha-fields
41. Summary of the Threefold Turning of the Dharmawheel
42. The Four Philosophical Schools in Buddhism
43. The Ten Meanings of the Term 'Dharma'
44. The Stupa
45. Buddha, Dharma, Sangha from the Ultimate Point of View