Buddha, Dharma, Sangha

(from Being Peace, by Thich Nhat Hanh)

In Buddhism, there are three gems: Buddha, the awakened one; Dharma, the way of understanding and loving; and Sangha, the community that lives in harmony and awareness. If we look closely, the Three Gems are actually one. In each of them, the other two are already there.

The root-word "buddh" means to wake up, to know, to understand; and he or she who wakes up and understands is called a Buddha. It is as simple as that. The capacity to wake up, to understand, and to love is called Buddha nature. Someone who is awake, who knows, who understands, is called a Buddha.

Buddha is in every one of us. We can become awake, understanding, and also loving.

The second gem is Dharma. Dharma is what the Buddha taught. It is the way of understanding and love -- how to understand, how to love, how to make understanding and love into real things.

"Dharmakaya" means the teaching of the Buddha, the way to realize understanding and love. Anything that can help you wake up has Buddha nature. People who are awake see the manifestation of the Dharma in everything. A pebble, a bamboo tree, the cry of a baby, anything can be the voice of the Dharma calling.
One aspect of Dharmakaya is not talking, not teaching - just being. Therefore, the oak tree is preaching the Dharma.

The Sangha is the community that lives in harmony and awareness. When you are with your family and you practice smiling, breathing, recognizing the Buddha body in yourself and your children, then your family becomes a Sangha.

A friend, our own children, our own brother and sister, our house, the trees in our backyard, all of them can be part of our Sangha.

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