The Triple Gem, – the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha, – are what the Buddhists believe in very strongly.
The first gem is the Buddha. Who and what is the Buddha? The Buddha is the founder of Buddhism (the teaching of the Buddha), who lived around the sixth century B.C. He was a human being like us, but he searched for the knowledge of how to get rid of suffering, and discovered it.
The knowledge he discovered is called Dhamma, the second gem. The word of Dhamma has so many meanings, such as the Buddha’s teachings, truth, or nature. The first meaning, – the Buddha’s teachings, – means the scripture of the teachings from the Buddha’s own words. All the words, which were spoken by the Buddha, consist of wisdom, advice, teaching and practice. The Buddha taught his disciples, “Do what you speak, and speak what you do.” The second meaning, -the word truth, – means that the truth cannot be disputed. The third meaning, the law of nature, means all things happen according to their nature. They cannot be controlled. This is Dhamma.
The last gem is the Sangha, which means a group of the Buddha’s followers. They can be monks and laymen, who learn and practise the Dhamma of the Buddha, and then teaches people. The Buddha gave trust to the Sangha, for example the Buddha let the Sangha spread his teaching to the world, saying, “Go ye now, O bhikkhus, for the benefit of the many, for the welfare of mankind, out of compassion for the world. Preach the doctrine which is glorious in the beginning, glorious in the middle, and glorious in the end, in the spirit as well as in the letter. There are beings whose eyes are scarcely covered with dust, but if the doctrine is not preached to them they cannot attain salvation. Proclaim to them a life of holiness. They will understand the doctrine and accept it.”
This triple gem is the supreme refuge of Buddhists, so they learn from it and put such knowledge into action. This knowledge can make their lives glorious in the beginning, in the middle and in the end, just as the Buddha had said above.