What does Dharma Mean?

I assumed Dharma meant teachings. On a retreat a monk or teacher might say we will now sit for a Dharma talk or discussion. So I looked up a few definitions. Yes, there are many but I liked these few. Hope this helps you.

 

From Wikipedia:

Buddhism (a word invented by British scholars and Christian missionaries at the beginning of the nineteenth century) is referred to in the East as Buddha-dharma or Dharma vinaya. This refers to both the system of analysis taught by the Buddha (recorded in the sutta pitaka of the Pali canon) regarding the causes of suffering (Pali: pariyatti) and the necessary course of action needed to be taken to undo these causes (Pali: patipatti). This course of action involves leading a life of moral uprightness abstaining from unwholesome behaviours and engaging in wholesome ones. Such a lifestyle as well as keeping a person out of harm’s way brings about over time a purification of any taints brought about by unskilful past activities. Buddhism is thus often referred to as “the path of purification” (Pali: Visuddhimagga) and within a Western context can be seen as an applied system of natural mental health and well-being. As with other Indian religions, the end point of this path (notwithstanding the commitment to helping others to achieve the same), the final undoing of all the internal causes of suffering, is final liberation or Moksha. This is accompanied by a profound peace of mind referred to as nirvana.

 

From Huffpost:

The word “dharma” has multiple meanings depending on the context in which it is used. Monier-Williams’ Sanskrit-English Dictionary lists several, including: conduct, duty, right, justice, virtue, morality, religion, religious merit, good work according to a right or rule, etc. Many other meanings have been suggested, such as law or “torah” (in the Judaic sense), “logos” (Greek), “way” (Christian) and even ‘tao” (Chinese). None of these is entirely accurate and none conveys the full force of the term in Sanskrit. Dharma has no equivalent in the Western lexicon.

Dharma has the Sanskrit root dhri, which means “that which upholds” or “that without which nothing can stand” or “that which maintains the stability and harmony of the universe.” Dharma encompasses the natural, innate behavior of things, duty, law, ethics, virtue, etc. Every entity in the cosmos has its particular dharma — from the electron, which has the dharma to move in a certain manner, to the clouds, galaxies, plants, insects, and of course, man. Man’s understanding of the dharma of inanimate things is what we now call physics.

 

From Mahakankala Buddhist Center:

Buddha’s Teachings are known as the Dharma.

Dharma means “protection”. By practicing Buddha’s teachings we protect ourself from suffering and problems. All the problems we experience during daily life originate from negative states of mind, and the method for eliminating negative states of mind is to practice Dharma. Practicing Dharma is the supreme method for improving the quality of our human life. The quality of life depends not upon external development or material progress, but upon the inner development of peace and happiness.

For example, in the past many Buddhists lived in poor and underdeveloped countries, but they were able to find pure, lasting happiness by practising the Teachings of Buddha. If we integrate Buddha’s teachings into our daily life, we will be able to solve all our inner problems and attain a truly peaceful mind. Without inner peace, outer peace is impossible. If we first establish peace within our minds by training in spiritual paths, outer peace will come naturally; but if we do not, world peace will never be achieved, no matter how many people campaign for it.

 

 

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