When we speak of the sangha, we speak of the "arya sangha, " which means the "exalted sangha". At the time of the Buddha this referred to the arhats and bodhisattvas, the disciples who studied under him and achieved various levels of realization through their practice. But now who is the arya sangha? It is all of us, all of the practitioners of the present time. The moment we take refuge, which is to begin on the path, we hold the title of "sangha". As such, you should understand that you are one of the Three Jewels. You shouldn't put the Three Jewels outside of yourselves; you should always think of yourselves as being one of the Three Jewels-and that includes your body, your speech, and your mind.
jewels have played a colorful part in the evolution of world affairs. Because precious stones tend to inspire both admiration and greed, leaders have found convenient excuses for seeking them and have used them to impress crowds, reward friends, deprive foes, forge alliances, and justify war. Jewels may find their highest expression in the decorative arts, but they have also earned a place in the art of the possible.
The gym teacher's name was Mr. Caruso. Mr. Caruso didnot speak English. He spoke 'Gym.' One day I was playingbasketball and Mr. Caruso told me I would have to getan athletic supporter. He didn't express himself exactlythat way, though. He said, 'Hey, you, one day you're gonnago up for a rebound and the family jewels aren't gonnago with ya.' I had no idea what he was talking about.Next day I showed up for practice without my watch andmy mezuzah. He said, 'Did ya take care of the family jewels?'I said, 'I left 'em in my locker.' Took us a half hour torevive Mr. Caruso.
This time, I sat next to a pixie girl called Takara, who had pinkish hair and wore a bright pink dress to match. She was the first forest-dweller I had seen wearing jewellery: she was wearing a necklace and bracelet of finely worked crystal beads. When she noticed my interest, she removed her bracelet and held it out to me. 'Sophiel, I would be so pleased if you would wear this!' I was surprised by this kind and very selfless gesture; after all, I had not been admiring her jewels with any intention of asking her to part with them! 'You're very kind, Takara, but I was merely admiring your handiwork!' I said, trying politely to refuse her gift. 'Mitsuko told me that you make your jewellery yourself. You're very talented, they're really lovely pieces, but I wouldn't want to take them away from you. It's you that makes these jewels really beautiful!