Applications and Meanings of the Term Dhamma

1 January 2520


8. righteousness; virtue; morality; good conduct; moral quality; the law.

Dhammo have rakkhati dhammacāriṁ,
Dhammo suciṇṇo sukhamāvahāti”

(Truly righteousness protects the practicer of righteousness; righteousness when well-practiced brings happiness.)

“Na hi dhammo adhammo ca, ubho samavipākino;
Adhammo nirayaṁ neti, dhammo pāpeti sugatiṁ.”

(For righteousness and unrighteousness do not both have equal results; unrighteousness leads to hell; righteousness brings one to a good bourn.)

“Tasmā hi dhammesu kareyya chandaṁ,
Iti modamāno sugatena tādinā;
Dhamme ṭhitā sugatavarassa sāvakā,
Niyyanti dhīrā saraṇavaraggagāmino.”

(Therefore, one should show zeal for virtuous acts, thus rejoicing because of the venerable Well-farer. Standing in righteousness, the disciples of the supreme Well-farer, taking the best and excellent refuge, being wise, became delivered from suffering.)

(Th.26/332/314 = I.303-305)

“Tena hi tvaṁ tāta dhammaṁ yeva nissāya dhammaṁ sakkaronto dhammaṁ garukaronto …. dhammaddhajo dhammaketu dhammādhipateyyo dhammikaṁ rakkhāvaraṇaguttiṁ saṁvidahassu.”

(Therefore, my son, relying just on the Dhamma, you should honor the Dhamma, …; with the Dhamma as banner, with the Dhamma as standard, with the supremacy of the Dhamma, you should provide the right watch, ward and protection for folk within your realm.)

(D.11/35/65 = III.61)

“Bhāgī vā Bhagavā dasannaṁ tathāgatabalānaṁ… channaṁ Buddhadhammānanti Bhagavā.”

(Or, as the Blessed One is sharer of the ten powers of the Tathagata … of the six qualities of the Buddha, he is, therefore, Bhagavā.)

(Nd1.29/231/174 = 143)

9. a) right practice; the Path

Dhammenāhaṁ bhikkhave tevijjaṁ Brāhmaṇaṁ paññāpemi, nāññaṁ lapitamattena.”

(Monks, I declare a Brahmin to be the possessor of the threefold lore by right practice, not some other so called because of his mere mutterings.)

(It.25/279/305 = 98)

b) practice; tradition; custom; principle; rule; duty; way of conduct.

“Yāvakīvañca Ānanda Vajjī apaññattaṁ na paññapessanti, paññattaṁ na samucchindissanti, yathāpaññatte porāṇe vajjidhamme samādāya vattissanti, vuḍḍhiyeva Ānanda Vajjīnaṁ pāṭikaṅkhā, no parihāni.”

(Ānanda, as long as the Vajjians avoid enacting the unenacted or abolishing existing enactments and proceed in accordance with the ancient Vajjian traditions as instituted, they may be expected to prosper and not decline.)

(D.10/68/87 = II.74)

“Ahampajja imañca rattiṁ imañca divasaṁ abrahmacariyaṁ pahāya brahmacārī ārācārī virato methunā dhammā.”

(So also do I abide this night and day, by abandoning unchastity, dwell observing chastity, keeping remote, abstaining from sexual intercourse.)

(A.20/510/270 = I.212)

“So ñātidhammo ca ayaṁ nidassito,
Petāna pūjā ca katā uḷārā.”

(The Dhamma toward relatives has thus been shown; and high honor to departed ones has been done.)

(Kh.25/8/11 = 6)

“Sace kho tvaṁ devate rukkhadhamme tiṭṭheyyāsi, siyā te bhavanaṁ yathā pureti … Idha Brāhmaṇa Dhammika samaṇo akkosantaṁ na paccakkosati … evaṁ kho Brāhmaṇa Dhammika samaṇo samaṇadhamme ṭhito hoti.”

(Yet, deva, shouldst thou keep the Dhamma of the tree, thy home would be as of yore … Thuswise, Brahman Dhammika: A recluse returns not the insult of the insulter … thus keeps a recluse the Dhamma of the recluse.)

(A.22/325/415 = III. 371)

10. justice; impartiality; fairness.

“Yo ca atthaṁ anatthañca,ubho niccheyya paṇḍito;
Asāhasena dhammena samena nayatī pare,
Dhammassa gutto medhāvī dhammaṭṭhoti pavuccati.”

(The wise man should investigate both right and wrong. The wise man who leads others unarbitrarily, but with justice and impartiality, who is a guardian of righteousness is called one who abides by righteousness.)

(Dh.25/29/49 = 256)

Dhammena te kāpurisa,mukhañca kuṇalīkataṁ
Akkhīni ca paggharanti,yaṁ tvaṁ parassa dānassa,
Akāsi kuṇaliṁ mukhanti.”

(The wretched man! It is by fairness that your mouth has been made contorted and your eyes protruding, as you contorted your mouth at the gift of others.)

(Pv.26/106/192 = II.931)

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