The Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha are the Three Refuges (TISARANA). These are the Three Gems (TIRATANA).

The Buddha is the compassionate, wise Guide, the Torch Bearer, the Teacher who clearly shows the way to those who are willing to follow the advice. He is a noble sage, a noble saint, an Arahant. He is a perfectly Enlightened One. He has perfected both wisdom (vijja) and conduct (carana). He has been successful in achieving a good destiny. He knows the whole world. He is the teacher of all beings. Because of all these qualities the Buddha is a very Fortunate Being.

The Dhamma contains the Truth of the solution the Buddha discovered for the problems faced by man. It is out of compassion for the people in the world that the Buddha preached this Dhamma. This well preached Dhamma is pleasant in the beginning, pleasant in the middle and pleasant in the end. This Dhamma brings about immediate results for those who practise it diligently. This Dhamma is open to all and invites you to ‘come and see’. It certainly protects those who diligently follow it. It leads one to the noblest of goals, to Nibbana. To reach this goal the wise people have to realize this Dhamma by themselves.

The Members of the Sangha and the heirs to this Dhamma. They are the treasurers, the teachers, the propagators of this Dhamma. The monks are the best example of those who closely and truly follow this Dhamma. They are well established on the correct path. They deserve honour, respect and veneration.

All Buddhists have confidence in the wisdom if the Buddha, in the truth of his teaching and in the worthiness of the Sangha. This is why all Buddhists go to the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha for refuge. This is why the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha are called the Triple Gems of the Buddhists.

When a Buddhist declares:
I Take Refuge in the Buddha,
I Take Refuge in the Dhamma,
I Take Refuge in the Sangha,

He makes known his confidence, respect, honour and veneration to these Three Refuges. He declares his intention to take these Triple Gems as the ideals to be followed. With this declaration he undertakes to conduct himself in accordance with these Three Refuges as long as his life lasts.