Buddhism is the teachings of One who Knows: this is the aspect of his Great Wisdom (Pannaguna). Such is the One who has been awakened, who has been delivered from defilements. This is his Great Purity (Parisuddhiguna). Thereafter he also took pains to teach others, to awaken them to the same Truth. This is his Great Compassion (Karunaguna).

By the term ‘One Who Knows’ is meant One who has achieved the knowledge that “This is Suffering, This Is Its cause, This is the Real Bliss and This is The Cause or Path leading to that real Bliss.” Buddhism is based on the three mainstays called the Triple Gem vision.

The Buddha. This refers to him who established Buddhism in the world. He was son of King Suddhodana and Queen Maya of Sakka Kingdom and was formerly called by the name of prince Siddhattha, being the heir to his royal father’s throne. Blessed with the skill and experience in the knowledge and arts of the time, in wealth, handsomeness, strength, wife and child, he had the courage to renounce them all. His purpose was to search for whatever was beyond the pains and ills of worldly life so he could make use of his discovery to the peoples of the world. It took him six years of courageous, dedicated search before he was able to be satisfied and declare himself the Self-Enlightened One, with his great discovery not having been learnt or heard from anybody. That result was called the Four Noble Truths, which he had painstakingly taught the peoples for forty-five tireless years. This is until his passing away, without looking forward to any reward or returns from anybody whatever. It was his teachings during these decades that is called the Dhamma.

The Dhamma. This is the Buddha’s body of teachings, which refer or represent the truths already existing in the world, thus consisting of what is good, what is evil and what is neutral. Whatever is good for meritorious leads its followers to happiness and prosperity, whereas whatever is evil or unwholesome is sure to bring about misery and ills. Hence his teachings to do good and void evil. There are, in a sense, two manners of doing good, the first being called Sila or Precepts, whereas the second the Dhamma. Sila or Precepts imply what is to be avoided, being negative in nature. This refers to the practice of abstaining from killing, stealing, committing sexual crimes, telling lies, taking intoxicants such as liquor and other habit-forming drugs such as hemp and opium. These practices are characteristics of honest, respectable persons. They are all conducive to the happiness and peace of people in general. Even one of them such as the fifth, i.e. the one concerning habit-forming drugs, as long as it is strictly observed, is sure to bring about far more peace and bliss than at present.

The Sangha. The term refers to the Buddha’s disciples who follow the Dhamma (the teachings) sincerely, honestly, in accordance with the Dhammavinaya proclaimed by the Buddha. They are witnesses to the Buddha’s Enlightenment, assisting the Buddha in disseminating his doctrine. By doing so, they are the supporters, the preservers and the disseminators of the Buddha’s message or Buddhism in later times. They are at the same time the spiritual refuge of the people, the instructors of the people by means of the Buddha’s teachings to avoid what is bad and do what is good, the leaders of the development projects both regarding the human resources and the natural resources of the localities. They can initiate public welfare service for the people in a region even without the Government’s subsidies. Above all, they certainly represent the existence of Buddhism.