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Dharma

Dharma (Skt., dhar, ‘hold’, ‘uphold’).
1. In Hinduism, dharma is a fundamental concept, referring to the order and custom which make life and a universe possible, and thus to the behaviours appropriate to the maintenance of that order. Initially, dharma applied more to ritual and religious rules (especially sacrifices) than to ethics (e.g. Ṛg Veda 3. 17. 1), but by the time of the Brāhmaṇas, the term includes also the rules which govern (and enable) society. These were gathered in the Dharmasūtras and Dharmaśāstras, of which the most important are the law-codes of Manu and Yajñavalkya. In the Upaniṣads, dharma is related more to the ways appropriate for the attainment of Brahman, than to ethics.

2. In Buddhism (Pālī, dhamma), the Hindu sense of cosmic law and order is retained, especially as it works out in karma and reappearance according to the law of karma. But it was rapidly applied also to the teaching of the Buddha (pariyatti) who is himself a manifestation of the truth that is dharma. Dharma is then understood as the practice (paṭipatti) of that truth, and as its realization in stages (paṭivedha) up to nirvāna, of which in this way dharma becomes a synonym.

3. Among the Jains, dharma may simply be the teaching of the Jinas, so that adharma is its opposite—error and immorality. However, both of these are also regarded as basic constituents of the universe: dharma is the all-pervasive medium of motion or activity, and adharma, also pervasive, offers the circumstance of rest. Both are understood as real substances, in the Jain sense that without the ontological truth of the Five Elements (astikaya), there could be no distinctions in the universe, which is palpably false.

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"Dharma." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Dharma

Dharma


Dharma literally means "what holds together" and thus is the basic Hindu concept for all order, whether individual, social, or cosmic, as established by the Veda. For moral or social behavior it is codified in the teachings of the Laws of Manu. For traditional views of scientific knowledge, arising from the Veda, it is knowledge of the cosmic order of the universe. According to Mimamsa philosophy, dharma is what is enjoined in the Veda. It is religious duty which, when performed, brings merit to the individual and fosters the inherent order of the universe. Its neglect brings personal demerit and cosmic chaos.


See also Buddhism; Hinduism

harold g. coward

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dharma

dharma (där´mə). In Hinduism, dharma is the doctrine of the religious and moral rights and duties of each individual; it generally refers to religious duty, but may also mean social order, right conduct, or simply virtue. Sacred law is the codification of dharma, and Hinduism itself is also called Sanatana Dharma [the eternal dharma]. In Buddhism, dharma has two distinct meanings: it refers to religious truth, namely Buddhist teaching as the highest truth; it is also used as a technical term to denote a constituent element of experience, or any existing thing or phenomenon.

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dharma

dharma in Indian religion, the eternal law of the cosmos, inherent in the very nature of things. In Hinduism, dharma is seen as the cosmic law both upheld by the gods and expressed in right behaviour by humans, including adherence to the social order. In Buddhism, it is interpreted as universal truth or law, especially as proclaimed by the Buddha. In Jainism, it is conceived both as virtue and as a kind of fundamental substance, the medium of motion.

The word comes from Sanskrit, literally ‘decree or custom’.

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dharma

dharma Religious concept relating to what is true or right, found in the principal religions of India. In Hinduism, it is the moral law or code governing an individual's conduct. In Buddhism, dharma is the doctrine of universal truth proclaimed by the Buddha. In Jainism, dharma is moral virtue and is also the principle that gives beings the power of movement.

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Dharma

Dharma or Dhamma (Skt., Pālī): check alternative spellings at appropriate place in compound words.

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