Three Jewels Mantra

Buddhist Altar

The Three Jewels of Buddhism

The Three Jewels, also referred to as the three refuges or the triple gem, form a principle that unites the many diverse sects and schools of Buddhism. The Three Jewels are a symbolic representation of the Buddha (or Guru or spiritual teacher), the Teaching, and the Sangha or spiritual community.

Meaning of “Taking Refuge”

Refuge or taking refuge refers to daily spiritual practice which may be prayers, meditation, or religious study. Refuge does not necessarily mean to retreat from life or forsake one’s responsibilities. In Sanskrit, the three jewels is “tri-ratna.” This term also refers to a ceremony in which one traditionally becomes Buddhist, something like a baptism in the Christian faith.

Watch nearly 200 videos on the Vocal Medicine YouTube channel.

The Three Great Spiritual Needs

This traditional Buddhist mantra addresses the three great needs of every spiritual seeker: to find a principle or person to guide you (Buddham); to study spiritual teachings (Dhammam); and to have the fellowship of a spiritual community (Sangham). These three ideas or refuges are present throughout the diverse sects of Buddhism and help to unify the Buddhist spiritual path. 

Mantra Lyrics and Translation

The lyrics and translation are as follows: 

To the Buddha (teacher) for refuge I go 

To the teachings for refuge I go 

To the community for refuge I go

For more information on Buddhism from scholar Vessantra (Tony McMahon), author of many books on Buddhist teachings, visit Vessantra: A Buddhist Life.

Kathleen Karlsen Video Resources Thumbnail

Author Kathleen Karlsen

Kathleen Karlsen is a musician, artist, writer and speaker. She is the author of two books (Flower Symbols and Vocal Medicine) and over 200 articles. Kathleen, her husband Andrew, and their five children live in Bozeman, Montana. More about Kathleen Karlsen.

Share this page with a friend today!

Scroll to Top