What exactly is Dharma?

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Re: What exactly is Dharma?

Postby Wesley1982 » Thu May 10, 2012 8:04 pm

Put in simplified terms - isn't dharma the same thing as the life force of the universe? . .
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Re: What exactly is Dharma?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri May 11, 2012 1:32 am

Wesley1982 wrote:Put in simplified terms - isn't dharma the same thing as the life force of the universe? . .

If you imagine that there is something called the life force of the universe
and you draw parallels between how you define that term,
and qualities by which you ascribe the word 'dharma"
then for you, a similarity exists.
But beyond that,
ummmmm.....no.

It's like asking "isn't it the same as god" or "isn't it like the ways french fries taste when they are still really hot" or whatever. "dharma" is a word that has a lot of meanings depending on the context. Look at the beginning of this thread.

I love to eat kim chee, which is a Korean food made from a spicy, sort of pickled cabbage.
My mother used to call it "Korean sauerkraut" even though it isn't sauerkraut at all.
but she called it that because she didn't really understand what kim chee is but she knew what sauerkraut is,
and they both come in a jar and they are made from cabbage and you eat them and so on.
But they are not the same thing.
Saying "is the dharma like this?" or "is emptiness the same as that" is the same game as calling kim chee "sauerkraut".

People make these kinds of comparisons when talking about the dharma
but it doesn't don't really make sense to do that
because in doing so, one isn't really gaining a true understanding of things,
but only tweaking some understanding of something else that they already hold in the mind.

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Re: What exactly is Dharma?

Postby Wesley1982 » Sat May 12, 2012 5:54 pm

From my perspective I understand the qualities and attributes of dharma or dharmas to represent luminosity or radiance.
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Re: What exactly is Dharma?

Postby Wesley1982 » Sat May 12, 2012 5:57 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:I love to eat kim chee, which is a Korean food made from a spicy, sort of pickled cabbage.


I'll try that kim chee Korean food.
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Re: What exactly is Dharma?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat May 12, 2012 6:16 pm

Wesley1982 wrote:From my perspective I understand the qualities and attributes of dharma or dharmas to represent luminosity or radiance.


Well, that is not really accurate. How did you arrive at this meaning?

"dharma" essentially means "law" or "truth".
It can suggests a type of teaching that a person puts forth, such as the Buddha Dharma.

So, you see, "dharma" is not a specific "thing" just as "theory" or "teaching" is not one specific thing.
A dharma a type of thing, an idea, a philosophical proposition.
It can also refer to a sort of truth about something. a true statement.
For example, you might say, the dharma of birds is that they fly, and the dharma of fish is that they swim (although this would be a somewhat odd use of the term).


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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: What exactly is Dharma?

Postby Wesley1982 » Sat May 12, 2012 10:24 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:Well, that is not really accurate. How did you arrive at this meaning?
.


I used my cognitive reasoning to place a quality or attribute the general dharma(s).

For example, throughout the day I can mystically chant -

Gautama Buddha
Shakyamuni Buddha

Gautuma Buddha
Shakyamuni Buddha

Gautama Buddha
Shakyamuni Buddha

And it helps clear the mind.
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Re: What exactly is Dharma?

Postby White Lotus » Sun May 13, 2012 3:12 pm

wesley, in order to see the dharma naure you must go beyond all names and forms. drop all names and drop all forms until you arrive at a state of seeing that is beyond. then going beyond the beyond you come back to the within and see that the beyond is within and as all things.

life force is still something, it is a name, a form that animates the universe perhaps, go to the root of the ''nameless'' and then you will be getting somewhere that definitely bears the fruit of seeing.

as long as you are attached to a name; you are in the same state as a donkey attached to a tether for 10,000 years.

vows of ''renunciation'' are important, the buddha had renounced everything and nothingness, he went beyond dualities and pairs of every sort. according to Grand Master Dogen the buddha had even arrived at the stage ''beyond buddhahood''. he had dropped off body mind and even buddhahood.

best wishes, Tom.
in any matters of importance. dont rely on me. i may not know what i am talking about. take what i say as mere speculation. i am not ordained. nor do i have a formal training. i do believe though that if i am wrong on any point. there are those on this site who i hope will quickly point out my mistakes.
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Re: What exactly is Dharma?

Postby Wesley1982 » Sun May 13, 2012 8:46 pm

Don't forget that Buddhism is not Orthodox Christianity.
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Re: What exactly is Dharma?

Postby shel » Mon May 14, 2012 1:26 am

Huifeng wrote:
Wesley1982 wrote:What exactly is Dharma? . .


The term has a very broad semantic range. The specific meaning can be narrowed down by the use of singular or plural, masculine or neuter (though note: the use of a capital "D" for "Dharma" is only English usage, Indic languages having no such thing).

Some of the basic meanings include:

dharma = truth;
dharma = laws of the universe;
dharma = righteous behavior (in correspondence to truth);
dharma = prescribed religious actions;
dharma = religious teachings (corresponding to the above);


dharmas = religious practices;
dharmas = mental states (objects of mind as mental organ);
dharmas = fundamental elements of existence;
dharmas = universal elements;
dharmas = qualities (or someone or something);

etc.

Knowing which meaning is the right one in a given context takes a fair amount of expertise in Buddhist thought and language. Interpret with care! Blunders can be a problem.

~~ Huifeng

Or it all falls down like a house of cards in a mild breeze? I would have thought it had more robust meaning.
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Re: What exactly is Dharma?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon May 14, 2012 3:08 am

dharma धर्म [ dhár-ma ] m. established order, usage, institution, custom, prescription; rule; duty; virtue, moral merit, good works; right; jus tice; law

It is often part of another word, which helps to defineits usage in different contexts. More here:
http://dsal.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/romadict.pl?query=%E0%A4%A7%E0%A4%B0%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%AE&display=simple&table=macdonell
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: What exactly is Dharma?

Postby Wesley1982 » Mon May 14, 2012 10:31 pm

White Lotus wrote:the soto school of zen harks back to Dogen Zenji its founder; this harking back shows respect to the fact that dogen had studied Indian mysticism as well as read the entire buddhist canon... his descendant, Zen patriarch of soto : master Keizan is happy calling dharma nature the ''true self''. tathagata could be taken as meaning ''true self''.


How do we find the nature of our true self ?
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Re: What exactly is Dharma?

Postby justsit » Mon May 14, 2012 10:36 pm

Maybe start with finding a true self.
Is there one?
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Re: What exactly is Dharma?

Postby Wesley1982 » Mon May 14, 2012 10:44 pm

the physical body of the individual is the "self" . .
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Re: What exactly is Dharma?

Postby justsit » Mon May 14, 2012 11:08 pm

Is the whole body the self? Or just part of it? What part?
Is it in the arm? the feet? or??
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Re: What exactly is Dharma?

Postby Wesley1982 » Mon May 14, 2012 11:15 pm

justsit wrote:Is the whole body the self? Or just part of it? What part?
Is it in the arm? the feet? or??


The whole body as an individual makes up your "self" as a person.
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Re: What exactly is Dharma?

Postby justsit » Mon May 14, 2012 11:19 pm

So if you have an accident and cut off your arm, does your self go away?
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Re: What exactly is Dharma?

Postby Wesley1982 » Tue May 15, 2012 12:37 am

No.
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Re: What exactly is Dharma?

Postby justsit » Tue May 15, 2012 12:47 am

So your self isn't in your arm!
Now using the same reasoning, you can explore your whole body and see if you can find a self.

This exchange is getting off topic, you might find these teachings on the same subject of interest -

kinda basic here and
more in depth here- and post your questions in a new thread.

:anjali:
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Re: What exactly is Dharma?

Postby Wesley1982 » Wed May 16, 2012 7:01 pm

What I've found I can do realistically is contribute to the Dharma in my daily actions and lifestyle.
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Re: What exactly is Dharma?

Postby Andrew108 » Wed May 16, 2012 8:15 pm

Wesley. I think you are doing a good job. Keep it up.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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