Applications and Meanings of the Term Dhamma

1 January 2520

1. Literal Meaning by Term Analysis

  1. Attano sabhāvaṁ dhārentīti vā
  2. Paccayehi dhārayantīti vā
  3. Attano phalaṁ dhārentīti vā
  4. Attano paripūraṇaṁ apāyesu apatamānaṁ dhārentīti vā
  5. Salakkhaṇe dhārentīti vā
  6. Cittena avadhārayantīti vā

Yathāyogaṁ “Dhammāti vuccanti.

(They are called “Dhamma” since, in accordance with their applications,

  1. they uphold (or maintain) their own nature;
  2. they are upheld (or supported) by conditions;
  3. they uphold their own result;
  4. they uphold one who fulfils them, not letting him fall into woeful states;
  5. they maintain their own characteristics; or
  6. they are held in (caught, occupied, settled in or determined) by the mind.)

(PsA. 20)

Resolution of the term:


 dhar + ramma = Dhamma

dhar = to uphold; maintain.

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