Applications and Meanings of the Term Dhamma

1 January 2520


11. the (Buddha’s) Doctrine; the Teaching; the Dhamma.

“Yo vo Ānanda mayā dhammo ca vinayo ca desito paññatto, so vo mamaccayena satthā.”

(The Doctrine and Discipline, Ananda, which I have taught and enjoined upon you are your teacher when I am gone.)

(D.10/141/178 = II.154)

“Idha bhikkhave ekacco puggalo ārāmaṁ gantā hoti abhikkhaṇaṁ bhikkhūnaṁ santike dhammassavanāya; tassa bhikkhū dhammaṁ desenti ādikalyāṇaṁ majjhekalyāṇaṁ pariyosānakalyāṇaṁ sātthaṁ sabyañjanaṁ.”

(Herein a certain person frequents the monastery to hear the Dhamma in the presence of the monks. The monks teach him the Dhamma that is lovely in the beginning, lovely in the middle, lovely in the ending, both in spirit and in letter.)

(A.20/96/164 = I.130)

“Idha bhikkhu dhammaṁ pariyāpuṇāti: suttaṁ, geyyaṁ, veyyākaraṇaṁ, gāthaṁ, udānaṁ, itivuttakaṁ, jātakaṁ, abbhutadhammaṁ, vedallaṁ.”

(Herein, monk, a monk learns the Dhamma, to wit, the discourses, songs, prose-expositions, verses, psalms, thus-said discourses, birth-stories, marvelous ideas and catechisms.)

(A.22/73/98 = III.86)

12. a doctrine; teaching; religion; theory

“Kaṁsi tvaṁ āvuso uddissa pabbajito; ko vā te satthā; kassa vā tvaṁ dhammaṁ rocesīti.”

(To follow whom, friend, have you gone forth? Or who is your teacher? Or whose doctrine do you approve?)

(Vin.4/64/73 = I.40)

“Pakappitā saṅkhatā yassa dhammā,
Purakkhatā santi avīvadātā;
Yadattani passati ānisaṁsaṁ,
Taṁ nissito kuppapaṭiccasantiṁ.”

(For him whose theories are matters of preoccupation, are created and are held as his mandate though unpurified, he still lives relying on that insecure peace, because he cares for the profits for himself out of those theories.)

(Sn.25/410/487 = 784)

Dhammā vuccanti dvāsaṭṭhi diṭṭhigatānīti.”

(The sixty-two theories (or views) are called ‘Dhamma.’)

(Nd1.29/91/85 = 72)

13. an offense; legal action; lawsuit; case; disciplinary rule.

“Uddiṭṭhā kho āyasmanto cattāro pārājikā dhammā.”

(Venerable sirs, the four rules of defeat have been recited.)

(Vin.1/300/220 = III. 109)

“Tamenaṁ saddheyyavacasā upāsikā disvā tiṇṇaṁ dhammānaṁ aññatarena vadeyya: pārājikena vā saṅghādisesena vā pācittiyena vā … tena so bhikkhu kāretabbo. Ayaṁ dhammo aniyato.

(A woman lay-follower whose word can be trusted having seen would say that it constituted one of three offenses, namely, one of Defeat or entailing Initial and Subsequent meeting of the Sangha or Expiation….. he should be dealt with under whichever one that woman should say. This case is indefinite.)

(Vin.1/632/433 = III.188)

Dhammaṁ caranto sāmikaṁ parājeti, āpatti pārājikassa; dhammaṁ caranto parajati, āpatti thullaccayassa.”

(If he takes the case to court and the owner loses, he commits the offense of Defeat; if he takes the case to court and he himself loses, he commits the offense of Serious Transgression.)

(Vin.1/99/91 = III.50)

14. Some specific meanings peculiar to some particular contexts:

a) (samādhi) = concentration

“Yatra hi nāma Tathāgato atīte Buddhe . jānissati: …. evaṁsīlā te Bhagavanto ahesuṁ itipi, evaṁdhammā … Evaṁpaññā te Bhagavanto ahesuṁ itipi.”

(… inasmuch as he should know of former Awakened Ones … that … these Lords were of such moral habits … such mental attainments … such intuitive wisdom.)

b) (paññā) = wisdom

“Yassete caturo dhammā, saddhassa gharamesino;
Saccaṁ dhammo dhiti cāgo, sa ve pecca na socati.”

(Whosoever as a faithful layman has these four virtues: truthfulness, self-training, steadfastness and generosity, will not grieve hereafter.)

(Sn.25/311/361 = 188)

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