Master Hongyi (弘一大师), born Li Shutong (李叔同), is a great Buddhist monk in Chinese history. He was born in 1880 and passed away in 1942. He had a legendary life in that he is a polymath and great Buddhist master. “He was what you might describe as the great all-rounder of early twentieth century China—writer, poet, painter, calligrapher, actor, songwriter, music educator—and while we’re at it, let’s add practising Buddhist monk where he was known by the Buddhist name The Dharma Master Hongyi.”  He left his second wife and became a Buddhist monk in 1918. He studied and revived “the Vinaya or Disciplinary School (律宗) of Buddhism founded by Dao Xuan (道宣律師) during the early Tang dynasty” . He is very influential on various worldly aspects of Chinese culture and well as on the entire Chinese Buddhism. He left many great legacies, includes the very famous song Song Bie Ge (Farewell Song 《送别》), and the long-lasting Buddhist song San Bao Ge (Song of Three Jewels 《三寶歌》).
Song of Three Jewels is a song about taking refuge to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, the Buddhist three jewels. The lyric was written by Master Taixu, and Master Hongyi composed the melody. The lyric briefly describes the great merit of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, and became extremely popular among the Chinese Buddhist community. The song was translated into Tibetan by Master Fazun (法尊法師), the great translator who have translated Lamrim (《菩提道次第廣論》) and many other great Buddhist scriptures from Tibetan into Chinese. There was an English version of the Song of Three Jewels written by Zhizhen Huang (黃知真 1920-1993), however, the lyric by Huang was greatly simplified. Our new translation of San Bao Ge is more to the original meaning and still suitable for singing. If you want to learn more about the meaning of Three Jewels, you can refer to The Sutra of the Recollection of the Noble Three Jewels. You can download a PDF version of the lyric with Chinese original here.
Song of Three Jewels 三寶歌 (San Bao Ge)
Lyric by Master Taixu, Melody by Master Hongyi, Translated into English by Gankyil Organization
(Refuge to the Buddha)
Long night in heaven & earth, deep dark in universe, who can bring the light? Three realms – the house on fire, torments and sufferings, who help pass with peace? Great compassion, wisdom, and power. Namo Buddhaya! Shining all existence, shelters all sentient beings, merit beyond the word (can express). Now I know, only this is, genuine place for refuge. (As long) as (my) body persists, devote (my) whole life, practice in joy and hold in faith.
(Refuge to the Dharma)
Held as two truths, gain through three trainings, vast body of dharmadhatu, pure virtue perfected, defilement & flaw pacified, boundless land of nirvana! Causes (and conditions) are emptiness (phenomena) arise only (from) mind. Namo Dharmaya! Reasons never unclear, obscurity never unsolved, brilliant O great clarity. Now I know, only this is, genuine place for refuge. (As long) as body persists, devote whole life, practice in joy and hold in faith.
(Refuge to the Sangha)
Accord to disciplines, marvelously harmonious, exemplify the Holy (Eagle) Peak, practice & get enlightened, help the world with Buddhadharma, flame (and pass) on the Buddha’s lamp. How numerous saints from three yanas! Namo Sanghaya! Lead the people, all goes smoothly, preside the city of dharma. Now I know, only this is, genuine place for refuge. (As long) as body persists, devote whole life, practice in joy and hold in faith.
You can download our very rough audio of this song here, which include the Chinese original followed by the English version.
-  Li Shutong and Writing Life’s Stories, Retrieved 2017-5-6
-  Hong Yi – Wikipedia, Retrieved 2017-5-6.
-  李叔同 – 维基百科, Retrieved 2017-5-6.
-  简谱《三宝歌》（中英文歌词）, Retrieved 2017-5-6.
-  《三寶歌》淺釋 , Retrieved 2017-5-6.
-  三宝歌_易莲精舍_人文_西祠胡同, Retrieved 2017-5-6.
-  三宝歌 – 维基百科 , Retrieved 2017-5-6.
-  《慧炬》602期, Retrieved 2017-5-6.