“We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh
The ideals at the heart of Buddhism:
the Buddha (the yellow jewel), the Dharma (the blue jewel), and the Sangha (the red jewel).
The Buddha refers both to Buddha, the teacher, and to the goal of attaining Enlightenment or "Buddhahood" for each of us.
Practitioners who take Refuge in the Buddha view him as the ultimate teacher and spiritual example and commit themselves to achieving Buddhahood – Enlightenment for the sake of all beings.
This is the goal of the Buddhist spiritual life, representing the end of suffering for anyone who attains it.
The Dharma means the teachings of the Buddha and the truth he understood - the unmediated Truth (as experienced by the Enlightened mind).
In addition, Dharma refers to the scriptures which constitute the Buddhist canon which is many hundred times as long as the Bible.
Finally, Dharma is the practice outlined within the scriptures. The essence of Buddhism is very simple: it is finding ways to transform oneself and ‘learning to do good; ceasing to do evil; purifying the heart’ (as The Dhammapada says).
The Sangha, or spiritual community, is needed to practice the Dharma, as we need the example and teaching of others who have gone before us and gained insight.
The Sangha also refers to the people with whom we share our spiritual lives. Buddhism is not an abstract philosophy but a way of approaching life and therefore it only has any meaning when it is embodied in people.
Finally, the Sangha refers to all of the Buddhists in the world, and all those of the past and of the future.