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Updated: Apr 23

The dharma wheel with deers at Varanasi.
The Dharma Wheel is a symbol of Buddhism. The circle, the wheel shape of the wheel, represents the perfection of the Dharma, the Buddha's teaching.

After achieving enlightenment, the Buddha gave his first sermon, teaching his disciples about suffering and the way to escape it. This teaching includes the Middle Way, the Four Noble Truths, and the Eightfold Noble Path. The truths that the Buddha revealed are called Dharma.

“The Dharma” is the true principle or universal truth.

It is challenging for ordinary people to grasp the ultimate reality of this truth, making us feel insecure about depending on it to shape our frame of mind and guide our actions in daily life. For this reason, Shakyamuni Buddha translated the concept of the Dharma—universal truth—into three principles that ordinary people can quickly grasp. These are the Three Treasures.

  1. The first is the Buddha, who becomes one with universal truth when he attains Supreme Perfect Awakening.

  2. The second is the Dharma, which is the sense of Dharma as the teachings of the Buddha.

  3. The third is the Sangha. The Sanskrit word saṃgha means “bound closely together.” Shakyamuni Buddha chose this word for his group of disciples—the community that follows the same path of practice to Buddhahood.

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