Three Treasures Reading( well sort of).


This post is about a something that happened to me when preparing for our Sangha’s summer Ti Sarana ceremony.  I was typing up our Ti Sarana program when I came to the part after the homage to the Buddha, that says, Three Treasures Reading in bold. Somehow it did not register that this line was a title and  I miss read,  well ….no not exactly…. I concluded that there was a particular reading regarding the three treasures, (thinking to myself, where could I find that, I have no idea). I proceeded to create the program and outline for our ceremony with Three treasures Reading and thinking that once I found it, I would ask one of the participants to read it to the group. I promptly sent it out with a lovely highlighted slot for someone to read the unknown Three Treasures Reading.  It was a week later as I was getting things ready for the retreat that I reread the program.  It is odd those moments when a light goes on and what is now apparent escaped you before completely.  What I thought was a separate activity was just the bolded title for what was below it, Sensei: “I go to the Buddha for guidance.”   ALL: “I shall become one with the Buddha. I resolve that I shall each day follow the Way of Life he laid down for us to walk and awaken to his supreme wisdom.”  For those who have done it before you get my drift.   Looking back, I have no logical explanation on how I could come to such a conclusion.

The program was already out, so I quickly googled Three Treasures Reading, and that was futile, after wading through pages and pages of explanation of three treasures there was no traditionally “special reading” for the ceremony.  So quickly I realized that I was going to need to create it.

I guess this is where the “happening” takes place. It wasn’t in the faulty conclusion, but in the realization of the faulty conclusion; that space of realization, which brought a moment of Homer Smpsonesque “Doh,”.  In my life before the dharma I would have turned on my self for being so stupid, even for something rather small as was this,  but the teachings of Gyomay Sensei keep me from doing that, “Forget self-pity, live life! Be the artist of your own life.”   I translate that as, get over it and do something about it. It was up to me to turn the faulty conclusion into a possible creative outcome.  I looked at the mistake and saw not something to feel stupid about but something to laugh at and an opportunity.

So I began to think of what a would a Three Treasures Reading look like, and I tried googling again but thought maybe I could find a three treasures poem, not so easy.( I found a few but they were written by Hallmark Bodhisattvas, and they didn’t ring true).    In the end, googling was the same fruitless search as before.  Then I realized that I am a poet (sometimes the most obvious things get past me as if I need to tell you that).   I could write the reading myself!

OK, what could I say, how could I express on an emotive level each of the three treasures, something to make a connection to the heart as each one of them taking the step forward to take refuge in the three jewels.  Here is what I came up with,

The Buddha

The Buddha and I

Dependent on each other’s


awakening –

Amida and I are one.

and like a flitting butterfly

In a bamboo grove

Today ,

to Buddha’s lap -I return.

The Dharma.

To my surprise, learning

From the falling maple leaf

“to show front and back”

Living without pretense


“just as I am.”


Living in the midst of

Great compassion

Learning that every day is a good day

And to Keep going,

Now I can see

in the lotus’ blooming

my own awakening.



The Sangha

After such a long journey,

I have finally arrived.


Finally home.


exhausted and bare

You come to me

So happy to see me

Just as I am.


You run up

and put your arms

around me


Can you feel me let go

Of all the miles?


I never thought

I would find


the Buddha’s arms

right here in yours.

The three treasure are the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.
I learned from this simple experience that my misreading, my faulty conclusion was not a problem at all, but an opportunity to live dynamically and respond to what life brings us.  It was a door to create something meaningful.  The reading during the ceremony brought tears to a few eyes, especially the one reading it for the group. It made the ceremony its own uniquely unrepeatable experience.

We now have a new tradition for our Ti Sarana ceremony with Pre- Three Treasures Reading. I am so happy that I came to the wrong conclusion. I am pleased I was wrong.

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