The Third Precious Jewel

These words of wisdom are from my teacher, Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, known as Thay by his followers. It is about the third precious jewel of Buddhism, the Sangha. The other two jewels are the Buddha and the Dharma.

When a person takes refuge in the three jewels, he or she is declaring his or her right to be a Buddhist. By declaring, “I take refuge in the Buddha. I take refuge in the dharma. I take refuge in the sangha,” you become a Buddhist.

Thay emphasizes the importance of the sangha for good reason. It is important to be part of a sangha – a community of like-minded practitioners – for the benefit of practice. He says that Maitreya, the next Buddha, may actually be a sangha – an enlightened community.

Tricycle Daily Dharma December 8, 2013

The Sangha

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha are three precious jewels in Buddhism, and the most important of these is Sangha. The Sangha contains the Buddha and the Dharma. A good teacher is important, but sisters and brothers in the practice are the main ingredient for success. You cannot achieve enlightenment by locking yourself in your room. Transformation is possible only when you are in touch. When you touch the ground, you can feel the stability of the earth and feel confident.

– Thich Nhat Hanh, “The Fertile Soil of Sangha”

In my daily morning practice, I incorporate the three jewels as follows.

After taking six deep breaths to center myself in my body, I breathe in deeply and completely saying to myself, “I take refuge in the…” As I breathe out, I say to myself, “Buddha.” I repeat this process for the dharma and the sangha with two additional deep breaths. Then, I breathe in deeply again and say to myself, “I take refuge in the Buddha…” When I breathe out, I say, “The one who shows me the way in this life.” Breathing in deeply again, I say, “I take refuge in the dharma…” Breathing out, I say, “The path of understanding and of love.” On one more deep in breath, I say, “I take refuge in the sangha…” Breathing out, “The community that lives in mindfulness and awareness.”

Now I am ready to allow my breathing to become normal and withdraw myself into myself.

Another thought about the third precious jewel: you and I are part of the sangha of Meditation Practices for Healing and Well-being. I am so happy you are there. Thank you for being there!

In what, or whom do you take refuge in? Please share.

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