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The name Three Treasures in Chinese / Japanese...

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Daodejing / Tao Te Ching - Excerpt

Excerpt from Chapter 67

 yī yuē cí èr yuē jiǎn sān yuē bù gǎn wéi tiān xià xiān
Daodejing / Tao Te Ching - Excerpt Scroll

一曰慈二曰儉三曰不敢為天下先 is an excerpt from the 67th Chapter of Lao Tzu's (Lao Zi's) Te-Tao Ching (Dao De Jing).

This is the part where the three treasures are discussed. In English, we'd say these three treasures are compassion, frugality, and humility. Some may translate these as love, moderation, and lack of arrogance. I have also seen them translated as benevolence, modesty, and “Not presuming to be at the forefront in the world.” You can mix them up the way you want, as translation is not really a science but rather an art.

I should also explain that the first two treasures are single-character ideas, yet the third treasure was written out in six characters (there are also some auxiliary characters to number the treasures).

If Lao Tzu's words are important to you, then a wall scroll with this passage might make a great addition to your home.

Three Treasures of Chinese Medicine

 jīng qì shén
Three Treasures of Chinese Medicine Scroll

精, 氣, 神 are the characters jing, qi, and shen.

As a set, these three characters are known in English as the treasures of traditional Chinese medicine, the treasures of Qi Gong, or the three treasures of Taoism / Daoism.

Sometimes this set is titled 三寶 (sānbǎo) or “three treasures,” but here, we're writing each treasure out.

Here's how these characters are perceived in this context...
Jing: nutritive essence; refined; perfected; pure
Qi: vitality; energy; force; breath; vigor
Shen: spirit; soul; mind; being

To keep it simple, you can use “essence, vitality, and spirit” to define these.

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 in 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).

This 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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Not the results for three treasures that you were looking for?

Below are some entries from our dictionary that may match your three treasures search...


If shown, 2nd row is Simp. Chinese

Simple Dictionary Definition


see styles
 sanbou; sanpou / sanbo; sanpo
    さんぼう; さんぽう

More info & calligraphy:

Three Treasures of Buddhism
{Buddh} the Three Jewels; the Triple Gem; Triratna; the Three Treasures; Buddha, Dharma, Sangha; Buddha, the teachings of Buddha, and the community of monks and nuns; (surname) Sanpou



see styles
sān bǎo
    san1 bao3
san pao
 sanbou / sanbo

More info & calligraphy:

Three Treasures of Buddhism
the Three Precious Treasures of Buddhism, namely: the Buddha 佛, the Dharma 法 (his teaching), and the Sangha 僧 (his monastic order)
(surname) Sanbou
three treasures



see styles
nán wú sān bǎo
    nan2 wu2 san1 bao3
nan wu san pao
 namu sanbō

More info & calligraphy:

Take Refuge in the Three Treasures
to take refuge in the three treasures



see styles
guī yī sān bǎo
    gui1 yi1 san1 bao3
kuei i san pao
 kie sanbō

More info & calligraphy:

Take Refuge in the Three Treasures
take refuge in the three treasures



see styles
sān bǎo
    san1 bao3
san pao
Triratna, or Ratnatraya, i.e. the Three Precious Ones: 佛 Buddha, 法 Dharma, 儈 Saṅgha, i.e. Buddha, the Law, the Ecelesia or Order. Eitel suggests this trinity may be adapted from the Trimūrti, i.e, Brahma, Viṣṇu, and Sīva. The Triratna takes many forms, e.g. the Trikāya 三身 q.v. There is also the Nepalese idea of a triple existence of each Buddha as a Nirvāṇa-Buddha, Dhyāni-Buddha, and Mānuṣi-Buddha; also the Tantric trinity of Vairocana as Nirvāṇa-Buddha, Locana according to Eitel "existing in reflex in the world of forms", and the human Buddha, Śākyamuni. There are other elaborated details known as the four and the six kinds of triratna 四 and 六種三寳, e.g. that the Triratna exists in each member of the trinity. The term has also been applied to the 三仙 q.v. Popularly the 三寳 are referred to the three images in the main hall of monasteries. The centre one is Śākyamuni, on his left Bhaiṣajya 藥師 and on his right Amitābha. There are other explanations, e.g. in some temples Amitābha is in the centre, Avalokiteśvara on his left, and Mahāsthāmaprāpta or Mañjuśrī on his right. Table of Triratna, Trikāya, and Trailokya: — DHARMASAṄGHABUDDHAEssential BodhiReflected BodhiPractical BodhiDhyāni BuddhaDhyāni BodhisattvaMānuṣī BuddhaDharmakāyaSambhogakāyaNirmāṇakāyaPurityCompletenessTransformations4th Buddha-kṣetra3rd Buddha-kṣetra1st and 2nd Buddha kṣetraArūpadhātuRūpadhātuKāmadhātu.


see styles
divine sword (one of the three sacred treasures)


see styles
shén qì
    shen2 qi4
shen ch`i
    shen chi
 jingi; shinki; shingi(ok)
    じんぎ; しんき; しんぎ(ok)
magical object; object symbolic of imperial power; fine weapon; very useful tool
(1) (See 三種の神器・1) sacred treasure; the three sacred treasures (sword, jewel, mirror); (2) implement used in religious ceremonies


see styles
 shinkyou / shinkyo
divine mirror; sacred mirror (one of the three sacred treasures)



see styles
zhāi yán
    zhai1 yan2
chai yen
Offerings of food to the triratna.



see styles
sān bǎo wù
    san1 bao3 wu4
san pao wu
 san bōmotsu
The things appertaining to the triratna, i.e. to the Buddha— temples and images, etc.; to the dharma— the scriptures; to the saṅgha— cassock, bowl, etc.



see styles
sān bǎo zhǒng
    san1 bao3 zhong3
san pao chung
 sanbō shu
seeds of the three treasures



see styles
fěi bàng jiè
    fei3 bang4 jie4
fei pang chieh
 hihō kai
precept forbidding the denigrate [of the three treasures]



see styles
bàng sān bǎo
    bang4 san1 bao3
pang san pao
 hō sanbō
denigrating the three treasures



see styles
yī tǐ sān bǎo
    yi1 ti3 san1 bao3
i t`i san pao
    i ti san pao
 ittai no sanbō
In the one body of the saṅgha is the whole triratna, Buddha, Dharma, and saṅgha. Also, Mind, Buddha, and the living, these three are without differentiation, 心佛與衆生是三無差別, i.e. are all one.



see styles
sān bǎo gōng dé
    san1 bao3 gong1 de2
san pao kung te
 sanbō kudoku
merit of the three treasures



see styles
sān bǎo sì chà
    san1 bao3 si4 cha4
san pao ssu ch`a
    san pao ssu cha
 sanbō jisetsu
temples of the three treasures



see styles
sān bǎo huāng shén
    san1 bao3 huang1 shen2
san pao huang shen
 Sanbō Kōjin
wild deity of the three treasures



see styles
tóng tǐ sān bǎo
    tong2 ti3 san1 bao3
t`ung t`i san pao
    tung ti san pao
 dōtai sanbō
idem 一體三寳.



see styles
guī yī fāng biàn
    gui1 yi1 fang1 bian4
kuei i fang pien
 kie hōben
trust (in the three treasures)



see styles
guī mìng sān bǎo
    gui1 ming4 san1 bao3
kuei ming san pao
 kimyō sanbō
to commit oneself to the three treasures



see styles
zì xìng sān bǎo
    zi4 xing4 san1 bao3
tzu hsing san pao
 jishō sanbō
The triratna, each with its own characteristic, Buddha being wisdom 覺; the Law correctness 正; and the Order purity 淨.



see styles
zhì jìng sān bǎo
    zhi4 jing4 san1 bao3
chih ching san pao
 chikyō sanbō
making obeisance to the three treasures



see styles
bàng sān bǎo jiè
    bang4 san1 bao3 jie4
pang san pao chieh
 hō sanbō kai
One of the commandments against speaking falsely of the Three Precious Ones.



see styles
sān bǎo dà huāng shén
    san1 bao3 da4 huang1 shen2
san pao ta huang shen
 Sanbōdai kōjin
wild deity of the three treasures


see styles
(exp,n) (1) the Three Sacred Treasures (Mirror, Sword and Jewels); three sacred emblems of sovereign rule; the three divine symbols of the Japanese imperial throne; (exp,n) (2) (idiom) (colloquialism) (set of) three status symbols; three necessities



see styles
zhù bàng sān bǎo jiè
    zhu4 bang4 san1 bao3 jie4
chu pang san pao chieh
 johō sanbō kai
precept forbidding the denigrate of the three treasures



see styles
huǐ bàng sān bǎo jiè
    hui3 bang4 san1 bao3 jie4
hui pang san pao chieh
 kihō sanbō kai
precept forbidding the denigrate of the three treasures

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

Title CharactersRomaji (Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
Tao Te Ching - Excerpt
yī yuē cí èr yuē jiǎn sān yuē bù gǎn wéi tiān xià xiān
yi1 yue1 ci2 er4 yue1 jian3 san1 yue1 bu4 gan3 wei2 tian1 xia4 xian1
yi yue ci er yue jian san yue bu gan wei tian xia xian
i yüeh tz`u erh yüeh chien san yüeh pu kan wei t`ien hsia hsien
i yüeh tzu erh yüeh chien san yüeh pu kan wei tien hsia hsien
Three Treasures of Chinese Medicine精氣神
jīng qì shén
jing1 qi4 shen2
jing qi shen
ching ch`i shen
ching chi shen
Three Treasures of Buddhism三寶
san bou / sanbou / san bosān bǎo / san1 bao3 / san bao / sanbaosan pao / sanpao
Take Refuge in the Three Treasures南無三寶
na mu san bou
na mu san bo
nán mo sān bǎo
nan2 mo san1 bao3
nan mo san bao
nan mo san pao
Take Refuge in the Three Treasures歸依三寶
ki e san bou
ki e san bo
guī yī sān bǎo
gui1 yi1 san1 bao3
gui yi san bao
kuei i san pao
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.


Lookup Three Treasures in my Japanese & Chinese Dictionary

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A nice Chinese calligraphy wall scroll

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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.

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Some people may refer to this entry as Three Treasures Kanji, Three Treasures Characters, Three Treasures in Mandarin Chinese, Three Treasures Characters, Three Treasures in Chinese Writing, Three Treasures in Japanese Writing, Three Treasures in Asian Writing, Three Treasures Ideograms, Chinese Three Treasures symbols, Three Treasures Hieroglyphics, Three Treasures Glyphs, Three Treasures in Chinese Letters, Three Treasures Hanzi, Three Treasures in Japanese Kanji, Three Treasures Pictograms, Three Treasures in the Chinese Written-Language, or Three Treasures in the Japanese Written-Language.

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