Author Topic: What is dharma more specifically?  (Read 2166 times)

Offline MarasAndBuddhas

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What is dharma more specifically?
« on: May 17, 2019, 07:40:55 am »
Buddhists love using this word, almost every time i go to a buddhist service i hear it. Asking the internet it seems to refer to rules for behavior and conduct, but also seems to refer to every single thing (the theraveda interpretation here for "dhamma" since it's pali instead of sanskrit: http://www.thebuddhagarden.com/what-is-dharma.html)

Is there a clear definition or examples for this term? Are the precepts an example of "dharma"?

Offline Chaz

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Re: What is dharma more specifically?
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2019, 01:49:08 pm »
Buddhists love using this word, almost every time i go to a buddhist service i hear it. Asking the internet it seems to refer to rules for behavior and conduct, but also seems to refer to every single thing (the theraveda interpretation here for "dhamma" since it's pali instead of sanskrit: http://www.thebuddhagarden.com/what-is-dharma.html)

Is there a clear definition or examples for this term? Are the precepts an example of "dharma"?


"Dharma" (with a capital D) is generally meant to be the teachings of the Bhudda - as in "Buddhadharma".  Translated, the word means "law" and I suppose "truth", to, but a bit of a reach.

"dharma" with a lower-case "d", means phenomena.

Most people think of "Dharma" because of Jack Keroack's book "Dharma Bums" and the TV show "Dharma and Greg".
 They look at you funny if you say "Dhamma". They sometimes think you're talking about a serial murderer. Theravadins don't seem to mind and insist on the Pali.  Whatever.  :lmfao:

Offline stevie

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Re: What is dharma more specifically?
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2019, 11:48:11 pm »
Is there a clear definition or examples for this term? Are the precepts an example of "dharma"?

Dear IgnoringTheAversion,

definitions usually are clear even if there are several definitions which convey different meanings.
Since Buddha Dharma is not 'natural science' you necessarily will find different definitions within different lineages.
I guess that common to most of them is that somehow the Buddha's teachings are subsumed under 'Dharma'.

Yesterday I have come across the following:
Rong-zom-pa when etymologizing the term 'dharmakaya' wrote:
Quote
Dharma means that which is characterized by the essence of primordial awakening, being from beginningless time the spiritual disposition [of all sentient beings], and that which exists as naturally pure.
<3

I would define Buddha Dharma thus:
Quote
Dharma is the inseparability of the conventional and the unfathomable ultimate.
Since the conventional includes all that can be expressed with words and all that can be thought about the Buddha's teachings are part of the conventional aspect of Dharma - but not only a part among others: the Buddha's teachings are the inevitable framing of the conventional since only the Buddha's teachings reveal a way of life that corresponds with the unfathomable ultimate. To call conventional phenomena 'dharma' is consistent, since although conventional phenomena have conventional names they are ultimately unfathomable, inexpressible with words and inaccessible by thought. In that sense every 'dharma' is an instance of 'Dharma'.

 :anjali:
།བྷྲཱུཾ་བི་ཤྭ་བི་ཤུད་དྷེ།

Offline MarasAndBuddhas

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Re: What is dharma more specifically?
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2019, 03:29:40 pm »
This has helped clear some thinks up for me, even though you've lost me a little here stevie:




I would define Buddha Dharma thus:
Quote
Dharma is the inseparability of the conventional and the unfathomable ultimate.
Since the conventional includes all that can be expressed with words and all that can be thought about the Buddha's teachings are part of the conventional aspect of Dharma - but not only a part among others: the Buddha's teachings are the inevitable framing of the conventional since only the Buddha's teachings reveal a way of life that corresponds with the unfathomable ultimate. To call conventional phenomena 'dharma' is consistent, since although conventional phenomena have conventional names they are ultimately unfathomable, inexpressible with words and inaccessible by thought. In that sense every 'dharma' is an instance of 'Dharma'.

 :anjali:








if "Dharma" is buddha's wisdom, but "dharma" is everything (or as you call it, "conventional phenomenon"), wouldn't it be the reverse: that every instance of "Dharma" is an instance of "Dharma"?






















« Last Edit: May 19, 2019, 07:35:13 am by IgnoringTheAversion »

Offline VisuddhiRaptor

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Re: What is dharma more specifically?
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2019, 10:01:09 pm »
"Dharma" literally means "that which supports" or "upholds" life so life is free from problems.
Quote
The Classical Sanskrit noun dharma (धर्म) or the Prakrit Dhaṃma are a derivation from the root dhṛ, which means "to hold, maintain, keep". Hence, dharma holds one falling down or falling to hell.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dharma

Each Indian religion of a doctrine of "dharma", namely, a doctrine, view or theory about how life is best lived. The dharma of the Buddha is called "Buddha-Dhamma".

Therefore, in Buddhism, when "dhamma", dependent on context, is translated as "phenomena", "law", "truth", "teachings", "path", "practises", etc; or in India when "dharma" is most commonly understood as "duty"; all of these things are dharmas that support, uplift & maintain life so life has as least problems as possible.

My post is how "dharma" should be understood.

 :fu:
« Last Edit: May 18, 2019, 10:04:20 pm by VisuddhiRaptor »

Offline stevie

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Re: What is dharma more specifically?
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2019, 11:15:54 pm »
if "Dharma" is buddha's wisdom, but "dharma" is everything (or as you call it, "conventional phenomenon"), wouldn't it be the reverse: that every instance of "Dharma" is an instance of "Dharma"?

Dear IgnoringTheAversion,

sorry but since you are applying the identical expression instance of "Dharma" (with capital 'D') two times in your equation I am not able to get what you are trying to express.

In the context of my post above when saying 'every 'dharma' is an instance of 'Dharma' the meaning has been that every conventional phenomenon ('dharma') is an instance of the inseparability of conventional reality and ultimate reality ('Dharma').

Now you are saying that 'Dharma' could also mean 'Buddha's wisdom' which is not what I have said. Actually 'Dharma' can mean 'Buddha's wisdom' only if we take it to be the Buddha's teachings as a manifestation of Buddha's wisdom exclusively. However I have said that  the Buddha's teachings are only a part of the conventional aspect of Dharma, although an inevitable part as a framing of the conventional.

However if one realizes the Buddha's teachings completely and thus 'embodies' (metaphor) the inseparability of conventional and ultimate reality, i.e. 'embodies' the Dharma, then such a state may be called the realization of Buddha wisdom.

 :anjali:
།བྷྲཱུཾ་བི་ཤྭ་བི་ཤུད་དྷེ།

Offline VisuddhiRaptor

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Re: What is dharma more specifically?
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2019, 04:51:08 am »
Is there a clear definition or examples for this term?

The Indian word ‘dharma’, used in Indian religions, means ‘that which supports’. From a religious perspective, this means that which brings ‘salvation’. From an evolutionary perspective, this means that which brings ‘survival’ (physically, socially & psychologically).

Therefore, in Buddhism, when ‘dhamma’ is translated in different contexts to mean ‘phenomena’, ‘things’ (including Nibbana), ‘law’, ‘truth’, ‘practise’, ‘practices’, ‘realisation’, ‘fruit’, etc, what all of these different contexts & meanings have in common is they are things necessary & used for ‘salvation’ or ‘survival’, i.e, the ending of suffering.

The following are some different contexts in which the word ‘dhamma’ is used in the Pali suttas. Note: the translations below will often differ from known translations:

1. Dhamma as ‘things’ or ‘phenomena’

Quote
“All things are not-self” — when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering. This is the path to purification.

Dhammpada 279

2. Dhamma as ‘ultimate’ or ‘higher truth’

Quote
[4] On whatever occasion a monk trains himself, ‘I will breathe in…&…out focusing on impermanence’; trains himself, ‘I will breathe in…&…out focusing on dispassion’; trains himself, ‘I will breathe in…&…out focusing on cessation’; trains himself, ‘I will breathe in…&…out focusing on relinquishment’: On that occasion the monk constantly sees dhammas in & of themselves — ardent, clearing comprehending & mindful — putting aside covetousness & distress with reference to the world. He who sees with wisdom the abandoning of covetousness & distress is one who watches carefully with equanimity, which is why the monk on that occasion remains focused on dhammas in & of themselves — ardent, clearing comprehending & mindful — putting aside covetousness & distress with reference to the world.

Anapanasati Sutta

Quote
Monks, whether or not there is the arising of Tathagatas, this property stands — this steadfastness of the Dhamma, this orderliness of the Dhamma: All conditioned things are impermanent. All conditioned things are unsatisfactory. All things are not-self.

AN 3.136

Quote
Then the thought occurred to me, ‘This Dhamma that I have attained is deep, hard to see, hard to realize, peaceful, refined, beyond the scope of conjecture, subtle, to-be-experienced by the wise. But this generation delights in attachment, is excited by attachment, enjoys attachment. For a generation delighting in attachment, excited by attachment, enjoying attachment, this/that conditionality & dependent co-arising are hard to see. This state, too, is hard to see: the resolution of all fabrications, the relinquishment of all acquisitions, the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding. And if I were to teach the Dhamma and others would not understand me, that would be tiresome for me, troublesome for me.’

MN 26

3. Dhamma as ‘path factors’ or ‘skilful practices’

Quote
O Bhikkhus. The footprints of all land-bound creatures fit within the footprint of the elephant; the elephant’s footprint is said to be the supreme footprint in terms of size. Similarly all skilful dhammas have heedfulness as their base, converge within the bounds of heedfulness. Heedfulness may be said to be supreme amongst those dhammas.

AN 10.15

Quote
All dhamma [practises] are rooted in zeal [chanda iddhipāda].

All dhamma  [practises] come into play through [wise] attention.

All dhamma  [practises] arise with contact.

All dhamma [practises] converge on [having mindfulness at] feelings.

All dhamma [practises] head towards [the development of] concentration.

All dhamma [practises] are governed (supervised) by mindfulness.

All dhamma [practises] have wisdom as their highest (apex).

All dhamma [practises] have release as their heartwood.

All dhamma [practises] gain a footing in the deathless.

All dhamma [practises] culminate in Nibbana.

AN 10.58

4. Dhamma as ‘mind objects’ (including Nibbana)

Quote
Dependent on the intellect & dhamma there arises consciousness at the intellect.

MN 148

 5. Dhamma as ‘mental states’

Quote
Mind precedes all dhamma. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox.

Mind precedes all dhamma. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with a pure mind a person speaks or acts happiness follows him like his never-departing shadow.

Dhammapada 1 & 2

Quote
I see no other dhamma which is as much a cause for arising of as-yet unarisen skilful dhammas and the decline of already arisen unskilful dhammas as heedfulness. When one is heedful, as-yet unarisen skilful dhammas will inevitably arise and unskilful dhammas that have already arisen will inevitably decline.

AN 1.58

 :fu:

Offline BlackLooter

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Re: What is dharma more specifically?
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2019, 04:00:25 am »
Dharma is the way or fulfilling of natures laws..
Freedom reigns over everything!

 


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