“In the famous Uttaratantra, Buddha Maitreya taught that the Three Jewels of the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha have six qualities: (1) rare, (2) supreme, (3) stainless, (4) powerful, (5) ornament, and (6) qualified.
Among these six qualities, the Tibetan word for jewel is konchog, which includes two: rare and supreme. “Rare” refers to how very, very rare it is for the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha to appear. In a way, the Buddha is the source: first the Buddha comes, then the Dharma, followed by the Sangha. Without the Buddha there is no Dharma for us to learn. Of course, without the Dharma there is really no Buddha either. But in this case, the Buddha worked so hard for three countless aeons until he reached enlightenment, and then the Dharma came, followed by the Sangha.
The Three Jewels are “supreme” because they aren’t just ordinary precious jewels. They bring not only temporary happiness, but complete happiness to all living beings. An ordinary jewel may bring happiness for a short time, but it may also create more negative emotions. The Three Jewels bring lasting happiness and are therefore supreme among all that is supreme.”
Venerable Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche
The Essential Journey of Life and Death, Volume 1:
Chapter Twenty: Foundation Practice (pg 252)
Photo from a Refuge Ceremony bestowed by Ven. Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche at the Palm Beach Dharma Center on November 18, 2017, by Mark McDonnell.
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