Applications and Meanings of the Term Dhamma

1 January 2520

4. References in the Commentaries and Later Works

“Dhammasaddo tāva” Sabhāva-paññā-puñña-paññatti-āpattipariyatti-nissattatā-vikāra-guṇa-paccaya-paccayuppannādīsu dissati.
1. Ayaṁ hi “Kusalā dhammā, akusalā dhammā, abyākatā dhammāti ādīsu sabhāve dissati.
2. Yassete caturo dhammā … saccaṁ dhammo dhiti cāgo … na socatīti ādīsu paññāya.
3. Na hi dhammo adhammo ca … dhammo pāpeti sugatinti ādīsu puññe.
4. Paññattidhammā niruttidhammā adhivacanadhammāti ādīsu paññattiyaṁ.
5. Pārājikā dhammā saṅghādisesā dhammāti ādīsu āpattiyaṁ.
6. Idha bhikkhu dhammaṁ jānāti-suttaṁ geyyaṁ veyyākaraṇanti ādīsu pariyattiyaṁ.
7. Tasmiṁ kho pana samaye dhammā honti; dhammesu dhammānupassī viharatīti ādīsu nissattatāyaṁ.
8. Jātidhammā jarādhammā maraṇadhammāti ādīsu vikāre.
9. Channaṁ Buddhadhammānanti ādīsu guṇe.
10. Hetumhi ñāṇaṁ dhammapaṭisambhidāti ādīsu paccaye.
11. Ṭhitāva sā dhātu dhammaṭṭhitatā dhammaniyāmatāti ādīsu
paccayuppanne daṭṭhabbo”.

(PsA.19–20)

“Dhammasaddo pariyatti-sacca-samādhi-paññā-pakati-puññaāpatti-suññatā-ñeyya-sabhāvādīsu dissati. Tathā hissa
1. Idha bhikkhu dhammaṁ pariyāpuṇātīti ādīsu pariyatti attho.
2. Diṭṭhadhammoti ādīsu saccāni.
3. Evaṁdhammā te Bhagavanto ahesunti ādīsu samādhi.
4. Saccaṁ dhammo dhiti cāgo, sa ve pecca na socatīti ādīsu paññā.
5. Jātidhammānaṁ bhikkhave sattānaṁ evaṁ icchā uppajjatīti ādīsu pakati.
6. Dhammo have rakkhati dhammacārinti ādīsu puññaṁ.
7. Tiṇṇaṁ dhammānaṁ aññatarena vadeyya, pārājikena vā saṅghādisesena vā pācittiyena vāti ādīsu āpatti.
8. Tasmiṁ kho pana samaye dhammā hontīti ādīsu suññatā.
9. Sabbe dhammā sabbākārena Buddhassa Bhagavato ñāṇamukhe āpāthaṁ āgacchantīti ādīsu ñeyyo.
10. Kusalā dhammā akusalā dhammāti ādīsu sabhāvo attho.”

(ItA.46)

(English translations can be found above.)

Dhammo sabhāve pariyatti-paññā
Ñāyesu sacca-ppakatīsu puññe
Ñeyye guṇ-ācāra-samādhisūpi
Nissattatā-pattisu kāraṇādo.”

(Abhp.784)

N.B. Ñeyya = Saṅkhāra vikāra lakkhaṇa nibbāna paññatti.

Dhammo tipi saṅkhepato paccayassetaṁ adhivacanaṁ. Paccayo hi yasmā taṁ taṁ dahati pavatteti vā sampāpuṇituṁ vā deti tasmā dhammoti vuccati. Pabhedato pana yokoci phalanibbattako hetu ariyamaggo bhāsitaṁ kusalaṁ akusalanti ime pañca dhammā dhammoti veditabbā.”

(‘Dhammo’ is briefly a term for a condition. For since a condition necessitates whatever it may be, makes it occur or allows it to happen, it is therefore called ‘dhamma’. But in particular the five things, namely, (i) any cause that produces fruit, (ii) the Noble Path, (iii) what is spoken. (iv) what is profitable, and (v) what is unprofitable, should be understood as Dhamma.)

(Vism.3/7 = 441; NdA.2/35)

Vayadhammāti pavattivasena parihāyanasabhāvā.”

(The term ‘Vayadhammā’ means in terms of their occurrence they have a nature to ruin.)

(NdA.1/250)

Jarādhammanti jarāsabhāvaṁ.”

(‘Jarādhammaṁ’ means having decay as one’s nature.)

(AA.2/513)

Jarādhammoti jarāsabhāvo, aparimutto jarāya, jarā nāma mayhaṁ abbhantareyeva pavattatīti.”

(‘jarādhammo’ means having old age as my nature, not freed from old age; old age will surely come in the course of my life.)

(AA.2/152)

Dhammanti khandhāyatanādibhedaṁ yathābhūtañāṇena catusaccadhammaṁ vā maggena viditvā.”

(The term ‘Dhammaṁ’ is explained as follows: having known with knowledge according to reality the ideas like the Aggregates and the sense-bases; or having known with the Path the idea of the Four Noble Truth.)

(SnA.2/210)

Dhammesūti vipassanūpagesu pañcakkhandhādidhammesu.”

(‘Dhammesu’ means in the ideas like the Five Aggregates that belong to Insight Meditation.)

(SnA.1/154)

“Diṭṭho ariyasaccadhammo etenāti diṭṭhadhammo… Tenassa saccābhisambodhiṁyeva dīpeti.”

(Since the Dhamma of the Noble Truth has been seen by him, he is called ‘diṭṭhadhamma’ … By that term the Scripture-compiler indicates the person’s realization of Truth.)

(VinṬ.4/40/80)

Dhammañca bhikkhusaṅghañcāti … So (dhammo) atthato ariyamaggo ceva nibbānañca.”

(In the phrase ‘the Dhamma and the Sangha of bhikkhus’ … that Dhamma by its meaning is the Noble Path and Nibbāna.)

(VinA.1/194)

Dhammanti pariyattidhammena saddhiṁ navavidhampi lokuttaradhammaṁ.”

(The term ‘Dhamma’ (in Dhammānussati) means the ninefold supramundane states together with the Holy Texts to be studied.)

(VinṬ.1/317)

“So (dhammo) atthato ariyamaggo ceva nibbānañca … na kevalañca ariyamaggo ceva nibbānañca, apica kho ariyaphalehi saddhiṁ pariyattidhammopi.”

(That term ‘Dhamma’ by its meaning is the Noble Path and Nibbana … truly, not only the Dhamma and Nibbana, but also the Holy Texts for study together with the Noble Fruitions.)

(UdA.362)

Dhammoti vā kāraṇaṁ paccayoti attho.”

(Or else, ‘Dhammo’ means a cause, that is to say, a condition.)

(VismṬ. 3/219)

Atthanti luddho puggalo lokiyalokuttaraṁ atthaṁ na jānāti. Dhammanti tassa hetuṁ.”

(The term ‘Atthaṁ’ is explained thus: The covetous person does not know mundane or supramundane benefit. ‘Dhamma’ means the cause of that benefit.)

(MdA.1/82)

“Iti me mano ahosi iti dhammāti ettha pana manoti bhavaṅgacittaṁ. Dhammāti tebhūmikadhammārammaṇaṁ.”

(Now, in the expression ‘Such was my mind; such were my mental experiences’ the mind means the subliminal consciousness; mental experiences mean mental objects belonging to the Three Planes of Existence.)

(NdA.2/18)

“Munāti mano vijānātīti attho … Dhammānanti nibbānaṁ muñcitvā avasesā dhammārammaṇā.”

(Since it knows it is called ‘Mano’, that it is to say, it understands … the term ‘Dhammānaṁ’ means all the remaining mind-objects except Nirvāṇa.)

(NdA.2/301)

Dhammakiccanti puññakammaṁ.”

(‘Dhammakiccaṁ’ means a meritorious act.)

(VinṬ.3/408)

Dhammoti dasavidhakusalakammapathadhammo dāna-sīlabhāvanā-dhammo vā.”

(‘Dhammo’ means the virtue of the tenfold wholesome course of action or the virtues of liberality, morality and mental development.)

(SnA.1/316)

Dhammassāminti maggadhammassa janakattā … dhammassāmiṁ dhammissaraṁ dhammarājaṁ dhammavasavattinti attho.”

(‘Dhammassāmiṁ’ means because he gave birth to the right practice of the Path … (the Blessed One) is the master of the Dhamma, that is to say, the Lord of the Dhamma, the King of the Dhamma, or the Supreme Authority of the Dhamma.)

(SnA.1/201)

Dhammenāti ñāyena sammāpaṭipattisaṅkhātena hetunā kāraṇena. Yāya hi paṭipadāya tevijjo hoti, sā paṭipadā idha dhammoti veditabbā.”

(‘Dhammena’ means by right method, by a cause, by a reason known as the right practice. Truly, it is the course of practice by which a person becomes a possessor of the Threefold Knowledge that is to be known as ‘Dhamma.’)

(ItA.408)

Dhammanti pubbe vuttaṁ duvidhaṁyeva (pariyattidhammaṁ paṭivedhadhammaṁ vā).”

(‘Dhammaṁ’ means the two kinds (of the Holy Texts for Study or the States of Realization.)

(SnA.2/163-4)

Dhammāti diṭṭhiyo.”

(‘Dhammā’ means views.)

(NdA.1/250)

Dhammaṁ carantoti bhikkhusaṅghe vā rājakule vā vinicchayaṁ karonto.”

(‘Taking a legal action’ means seeking judgment in the community of the monks or in the royal court.)

(VinA.1/410)

“Sikkhāpade pana sati te saṅgho sikkhāpadaṁ dassetvā dhammena vinayena satthu sāsanena niggahessati.”

(But, when the rule has been laid down, the Sangha, having referred to the rule, will suppress them according to the law, according to the Discipline, according to the teaching of the Master.)

(VinA.1/262)

Dhammenāti ādīsu dhammoti bhūtaṁ vatthu. Vinayoti codanā ceva sāraṇā ca.”

(In the expressions like ‘Dhammena’ the term ‘Dhamma’ means a real account; ‘Vinaya’ means accusation and investigation.

(VinṬ.2/53)

N.B.: In rendering into English the illustrative quotations from the Pali Canon, I often drew upon the English translation published by the Pali Text Society.

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