Three Precious Jewels

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Three Precious Jewels (dkon mchog gsum)

  • The Three Precious Jewels (Skt. triratna) comprise the buddha (sangs rgyas) who embodies the enlightened mind (bodhicitta); the sacred doctrine (Skt. dharma; Tib. chos) which includes both the realisation of the paths to buddhahood and the sacred scriptures expounding these paths; and the monastic community (Skt. saṅgha; Tib. dge 'dun) who experientially cultivate the sacred doctrine and maintain the Buddhist traditions. Together these three form the outer object of refuge. They are regarded as the perfect objects in which refuge should be sought from the unsatisfactory nature of life in cyclic existence in general, and particularly from the potential suffering of unfavourable future existences. They are called 'precious jewels' because, like wish-fulfilling jewels, they possess the capacity to provide protection from the perils of cyclic existence. GD (from the Glossary to Tibetan Elemental Divination Paintings)