The Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha are the three refuges of Buddhism. The Buddha is the teacher; the Dharma is reality as it is, or the teachings, or the truth; the Sangha is the brotherhood of all Buddhists in general, and the brotherhood of Buddhist monks in particular.
Indeed, for one to officially become a Buddhist, all one has to do is say the following three times in a row. And, of course, one has to mean it:
- buddham saranam gaccami
- dharmam saranam gaccami
- sangham saranam gaccami
In Pali, same as in Sanskrit, except dharmam becomes dhammam.
A different, slightly more literal translation of the three refuges is: