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lotus2.jpg (6982 bytes) The term TIRATANA is a pali.gif (57 bytes) word meaning 'The Triple Gem' or 'The Three Kinds of Gem. It is invaluable in that it bestows an immeasurable benefit upon the aspirants who realise its nature. Such a benefit is incomparable to any worldly treasure or wealth, however vast, which is but temporary and always beset with untold suffering. Thus realization of the Triple Gem yields a steadily progressive benefit and happiness, steering the aspirants away from all ills. The Triple Gem in Buddhist terminology refers to :
1. THE BUDDHA :

The one who is self-enlightened, having realized the Noble Truths. He is the founder of the unexcelled Buddhism, being perfect in the threefold virtue as follows :

 

  1. The Virtue of Wisdom -- This implies His Enlightenment through His own efforts, which means the supreme knowledges of all things as they really are. Such Knowledges of his are unchangeable and timeless.
  2. The Virtue of Purity : His mind is absolutely purified, freed of all passions or pollutions, there being for Him no desire for nor aversion to anything or anybody, no attachment nor hatred towards all sentient beings.
  3. The Virtue of Compassion : His compassion is of the purest nature, thereby being unilateral i.e. for the sake of the benefit and happiness of sentient beings themselves. Convinced of how beings are helplessly caught in the ocean of sufferings, He undertook the mission of helping them out of their plight.
2. THE DHAMMA :
pra_09.JPG (4220 bytes) Having been enlightened into the so-called 84,000 Dhamma-khandha (Aggregates or items of Dhamma), He shouldered the task of disseminating parts of the Dhamma of His discovery that would be conductive to beings' happiness, progress, peace and security. His teachings being based on the listeners's tendency and maturity, He knew how to teach them part of the Dhamma that suited their capacity for practice. This so that they could be blessed with peace, progress and prosperity for their lives.
3. THE SANGHA :
pra_10.JPG (4448 bytes) This implies the Buddha's disciples, of whom there are four kinds viz. Bhikkhu (monk), Bhikkhuni.gif (57 bytes) (nun), male lay disciples (Upa.gif (845 bytes)saka) and female lay disciples (Upa.gif (845 bytes)sika). The term SAnn.gif (79 bytes)GHA particular refers to those disciples who have through their earnest practice, realized any of the Four Grades of Path and Fruition called Sota.gif (845 bytes)pana (Stream-winner), Sakada.gif (845 bytes)ga.gif (845 bytes)mi.gif (57 bytes) (Once-returner), Ana.gif (845 bytes)ga.gif (845 bytes)mi.gif (57 bytes) (Non-re-turner) and Arahant (Fully Liberated one). These are called Ariyasan.gif (66 bytes)gha (Noble Disciples).
          Other Bhikkhus who have not yet attained any of the Four Grades of Path and Fruition are called Sammatisan.gif (66 bytes)gha. They have shouldered the task of following the disciplinary rules and studying the Buddha's Teachings. They are free to leave the Bhikkhuhood and thus become lay disciples whenever they want to.

 

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        Realization of the Triple Gem (literally from the vernacular to approach or go to the Triple Gem as Refuge) is what is expected of Buddhists and can be done in the following manners :

1. PHYSICAL APPROACH :
This implies the acts of, for instance, paying obeisance to the Buddha's image, a Bhikkhu or monastery whenever the Buddhists see one, whether on the way or while passing a monastery. These reflect the docile or manageable condition of their minds.
2. VERBAL APPROACH :
Buddhists declare themselves as such through the recitation of the passages 'Buddham.gif (73 bytes) Saranam.gif (73 bytes) Gaccha.gif (845 bytes)mi; Dhammam.gif (73 bytes) Saranam.gif (73 bytes) Gaccha.gif (845 bytes)mi; Sangham.gif (73 bytes) Saranam.gif (73 bytes) Gaccha.gif (845 bytes)mi, which mean, I go to the Dhamma and the San.gif (66 bytes)gha as Refuges.' They also recite other Scriptural passages and to engage in Dhamma talks or discussion.
3. MENTAL APPROACH :
It is the willingness to accept the Buddha's Teachings that a Buddhist is rightfully said to be following the Buddha's Path. This application of the Buddha's and His disciples' practices are both a refinement of the mind and the development of its intellectual aspect. What results therefrom is the ability to see things as they really are, with the consequent reduction and then removal of Defilements (Kilesa). Such practices are, for instance, dispensing charity, observing the Five or Eight Precepts (or more) and clothing the mind with the Four Brahmaviha.gif (845 bytes)ra (Divine States) viz. Loving-kindness, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy and Equanimity. These will enable the aspirants with faith in the Buddha, Dhamma and San.gif (66 bytes)gha to have the condition of their minds more refined and their wisdom intensified.

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