Dharma and its different meanings

By on March 19, 2018

Dharma is a yogic concept which mainly refers to the path of enlightenment; which means that there is a right way of living a life for every person one just needs to know how to carry and live that life. It also means the path of righteousness, doing and serving what is right. It is completely different from religion so people should stop confusing it dharma with religion. Dharma also means maintaining unity and harmony among human beings and it is also used to imply brotherhood.

If one is talking about dharma as a concept then it has different meaning for different sects like the meaning of dharma is different for Jainism, Buddhism and Hinduism so one should understand the different meanings of dharma.

What does dharma mean?

  • Hinduism- In Hinduism dharma means the law that governs an individual and it is also known to be one of the ends of life. In this dharma originates from the Vedas and is the foundation goal for everything. In Hinduism if there is dharma that implies to all then there is dharma that is specific for specific people known as svadharma which is to be followed according to a person’s class and status. Dharma in this consists of the dharma sutras which are the religious manuals of the Hindu law which is known as the dharma-shastra. There are 10 important rules for observing dharma in Buddhism like; patience, self control, forgiveness, reason, honesty, sanctity, truthfulness, knowledge of learning, control of senses and the absence of anger
  • Buddhism- Talking about Buddhism, dharma in this stands for the universal truth and is also one of the three jewels of Buddhism. This is mainly used for the path of enlightenment and righteousness and consists of the teachings of Buddha which tell about dealing and letting go of suffering. In this Lord Buddha started the wheel of dharma and started preaching about dharma.
  • Jainism- In Jain philosophy dharma is related to non violence and it is especially used to refer to the jinas teaching. In Jainism dharma has several meanings like; ten forms of dharma, ahimsa, the two paths of the monk and the laity and the true nature of a thing.

So dharma is important for all religions and holds an important place in Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. The interpretation of it may be different but the core meaning of dharma is the same for all.

Boston, MA

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