Jump to content

What is the Dharma


Recommended Posts

As a spin off from another thread, a few words on the meaning of the word "Dharma", this very much drawn from a book by Sangarakshita, AKA  Dennis Lingwood of Romford (now known for his falling away from pure Buddhist ethics by his predilection for..............no, let's leave it.....)

Two basic meanings:-

The first – Dharma as truth or law or principle or reality – refers to the objective content of the Buddha’s experience of Enlightenment. And the second – Dharma as doctrine or teaching – refers to the Buddha’s expression of his experience for the benefit of others.

In the well known Dhammapada, it says, ‘Not by hatred is hatred ever pacified here [in the world]. It is pacified by love. This is the eternal law.’ The word for ‘law’ here is Dharma. It’s in the very nature of things that hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love. This is the principle, this is the law, this is the truth.

As the character of the Buddha's teaching, dharma (Dharma = Sanskrit, Dhamma =Pali) the Dharma is:-

svakkhato. This literally means ‘well-taught’, or ‘well-communicated’ suggesting it is appropriate fir human beings.

sanditthiko, which can be translated as ‘immediately apparent’. In other words, you will see the results of your practice of the Dharma yourself, in this lifetime. 

ehipassiko.  Ehi means ‘come’ and passiko derives from a word meaning ‘see’, so ehipassiko means ‘come and see’. The implication is that we need not take on the Dharma in blind faith, or believe it because somebody tells us to believe it, or because it is written in some holy book.

paccatam veditabbo vinnuhi – a phrase which can be translated ‘to be understood individually'. This means that the Buddha’s teaching is to be experienced by each person for himself or herself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

from the other thread:

2 minutes ago, romansh said:

What is your take on Joseph Campbell's take?

You perform your duty to support the universe. The universe is alive. The Sun performs its duty, the Moon performs its duty, the mice perform their duty and cats perform theirs, the brahmins perform theirs, the sudras theirs, and by this - everyone performing his duty - the universe is held in form. By following your dharma you hold the universe in form.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, romansh said:

Yeah ... You did not really answer what is your take on Campbell's quote?

As far as I was concerned I was saying on the other thread that basically I agreed with it.

Given my own reading and understanding of Dogen, he would have recognised the import. That all, in their own way, "contribute", "assist" in Reality. With which I concur.

(Given my own Universalism, I would add that breaking free of the total identification with a linear time frame can add the dimension of a theodicy to this whole canvas of reality - but please don't ask me to elucidate that any further at the moment; it is my faith currently seeking understanding)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

terms of service