Three Treasures of Buddhism in Chinese / Japanese...

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Three Treasures of Buddhism

The Triple Gem

sān bǎo
san bou
Three Treasures of Buddhism Scroll

三寶 is the title for "Three Precious Treasures of Buddhism" or "The Triple Gem".

These three treasures are the Buddha 佛, the Dharma 法 (teachings or the law of the Buddha), and the Sangha 僧 (the community of monks or followers).

This term is used by most (perhaps not all) Buddhists in China, Japan, and South Korea (written the same it the original form, but pronounced differently in each language). Non-Buddhists may just read this as, "Three Treasures", without the religious context. For instance, there is also a, "Three Treasures of Chinese Medicine", that is sometimes titled the same way.


In modern Japanese and Simplified Chinese, this is written 三宝 instead of 三寶.

Take Refuge in the Three Treasures

nán mo sān bǎo
na mu san bou
Take Refuge in the Three Treasures Scroll

南無三寶 means to take refuge in the three treasures (of Buddhism).

This starts with the phonetic "南無" or "Namo/Namu" trying to sound like the original Pali or Sanskrit, followed by "三寶" being more literally the three treasures.

Take Refuge in the Three Treasures

guī yī sān bǎo
ki e san bou
Take Refuge in the Three Treasures Scroll

歸依三寶 means to take refuge in the three treasures (of Buddhism).

歸依三寶 is the literal (there is also a partially-phonetic version) way to express taking refuge in the three treasures by the actual meaning of the characters.




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The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...

Title CharactersRomaji (Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
Three Treasures of Buddhism三寶
三宝
san bou / sanbou / san bosān bǎo / san1 bao3 / san bao / sanbaosan pao / sanpao
Take Refuge in the Three Treasures南無三寶
南无三宝
na mu san bou
namusanbou
na mu san bo
nán mo sān bǎo
nan2 mo san1 bao3
nan mo san bao
nanmosanbao
nan mo san pao
nanmosanpao
Take Refuge in the Three Treasures歸依三寶
归依三宝
ki e san bou
kiesanbou
ki e san bo
guī yī sān bǎo
gui1 yi1 san1 bao3
gui yi san bao
guiyisanbao
kuei i san pao
kueiisanpao
In some entries above you will see that characters have different versions above and below a line.
In these cases, the characters above the line are Traditional Chinese, while the ones below are Simplified Chinese.


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Take Refuge in the Three Treasures Scroll
Take Refuge in the Three Treasures Scroll
Take Refuge in the Three Treasures Scroll
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A nice Chinese calligraphy wall scroll

The wall scroll that Sandy is holding in this picture is a "large size"
single-character wall scroll.
We also offer custom wall scrolls in small, medium, and an even-larger jumbo size.

A professional Chinese Calligrapher

Professional calligraphers are getting to be hard to find these days.
Instead of drawing characters by hand, the new generation in China merely type roman letters into their computer keyboards and pick the character that they want from a list that pops up.

There is some fear that true Chinese calligraphy may become a lost art in the coming years. Many art institutes in China are now promoting calligraphy programs in hopes of keeping this unique form of art alive.

Trying to learn Chinese calligrapher - a futile effort

Even with the teachings of a top-ranked calligrapher in China, my calligraphy will never be good enough to sell. I will leave that to the experts.

A high-ranked Chinese master calligrapher that I met in Zhongwei

The same calligrapher who gave me those lessons also attracted a crowd of thousands and a TV crew as he created characters over 6-feet high. He happens to be ranked as one of the top 100 calligraphers in all of China. He is also one of very few that would actually attempt such a feat.


Check out my lists of Japanese Kanji Calligraphy Wall Scrolls and Old Korean Hanja Calligraphy Wall Scrolls.

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