What is Dharma?

What is Dharma?

The Sanskrit word “dharma” is described as the righteous path and living one's life according to the universal moral laws.

The sole aim of dharma is to improve the quality of life and discover the purpose of life.

Life involves suffering and the adherence to the laws of dharma supports the world.

If we see dharma as the ultimate reality and turn to it's path with ethical conduct, thought, and meditation, we could attain a union of the soul with the supreme reality.

According to dharma, we are assigned different roles in life and if we play each role perfectly that role is our dharma. 

Dharma As Path

Dharma is the path towards moral excellence, and the entire universe rests upon it as per the scriptures. 

Dharma, a law of righteousness and truth is also the path to joy, synchronicity, practice, letting go and being.

Whatever makes us alive and feel excited is where lies our purpose of life, it is how we discover our dharma. 

We have to listen to our emotions and choose between joy and fear. If we found that which fills us with joy is what our purpose is.

Universe always guides us using synchronicity as the sign to show us the right path - we just need to follow those guiding lights. 

Life is always cluttered with things that no longer serve you, the more you let them in the more the events show up to you.

Your true purpose is to let go of these unessential things and open up your life to receive and align with your purpose.

Yoga and meditation are always the best practices to maintain a healthy mind, body and spirit to stay on your dharmic path.

Invite more being into your life by shutting off everything, walking away and aligning to the cycles of nature, the universal energy and your being.

The moral conduct, truthfulness, selfless service and righteous behaviour is the path of dharma which brings solace and relief. 

Dharma As Phenomena 

Dharma is the basis of existence, occurrences, thoughts and perceptions that make up to our experiences as human beings.

Living by your dharma is the essence of who you are. When one understands it’s true nature.

In Buddhism, dharma is described as a phenomenon which includes our day to day life experiences such as sound, grief, breakups, illness, sense of smell, taste, a sight, the sunshine, and the birds chirping.

The Four Noble Truth 

The Buddha gave the four noble truths and their method of practice in his teachings 2500 years ago.

The first noble truth is dukkha

Dukkha means suffering. We are born in a world of sufferings. Old age, disease, pain, grief, despair, death and decay are referred to as the sufferings.

Being away from materialistic desires and pleasures is our suffering.

According to Buddha, life is subjective, it fails to live up to our expectations. 

The second noble truth is samudaya

Samudaya means “origination” - the origin of suffering - It is human nature to blame the things outside us for our sufferings but is within our mind itself.

The main root cause of suffering is craving and ignorance. The main causes of suffering are pain from injury, thirst, sadness, desire, hatred, killing, stealing, lying and ignorance etc.

The 3 roots of evil are:

  • Greed and desire
  • Ignorance or delusion
  • Hatred and destructive urges

The third truth is nirodha

The third noble truth is Nirodha - the cessation of suffering means the possibility of liberation.

The Buddha taught that the solution to suffering is to stop clinging and attaching. 

When we become awakened, letting go is easy through diligent practice and after attaining enlightenment one is filled with compassion for all living things.

The fourth noble truth is the path 

It is the Noble Eightfold Path – to reach enlightenment, The path that leads to complete liberation. When our mind has enlightened of the deeper truth of the nature of reality it becomes an ambition.

This is the path to reduce suffering as we are able to accept life as it comes without judgement and respond more lovingly and compassionately.

For awareness or realization about impermanence, we need to cultivate these eight qualities: Understanding of things as they are, wholesome purpose, literal and kind speech, moral act, right livelihood, sustaining effort & persistence, mindfulness and concentration.

The Rules Of Dharma

So how do you examine your dharma? The path of dharma is not so easy. Here are the 10 important rules for the observance of dharma:

  • Patience (dhriti) – Stay secure within yourself.
  • Forgiveness (kshama) – Let go of things that no longer serve you.
  • Piety or self-control (dama) – Knowing that good things will come to those who wait.
  • Honesty (asteya) – Don’t take anything which doesn’t belong to you. 
  • Sanctity (shauch) – Purity in mind, body, and soul.
  • Control of senses (indraiya-nigrah) – Meditation and self control.
  • Reason (dhi) – Leading life with calmness leads to best outcomes.
  • Knowledge or learning (vidya) – Learning skills that adds to your ability towards all-around success.
  • Truthfulness (satya) – Being truthful brings great results for you and others.
  • Absence of anger (krodha) – Anger poisons our positivity and the power of decision-making.

These guidelines will help you stay on the right track and fulfil your life.

Applying Dharma To Life

Dharma is the harmonious and wholesome way of life. Integrating dharma into our daily lives generates peace and harmony.

Living a moral life serves a deep purpose. Dharma is the truth and the path to attain deeper transcendent happiness through engagement with lived reality. 

Dharma can be attained through proper knowledge and practice in daily life. Here is the best way: the “Noble Eightfold Path.”

  • Right understanding
  • Right intention
  • Right speech
  • Right action
  • Right livelihood
  • Right effort
  • Right mindfulness
  • Right concentration

To develop freedom and move along the path of dharma, we need to include the eight habits of ethical conduct, thought and meditation described above in our daily life to attain Nirvana (“which means a state of mind where there is no hatred, greed and delusion”). 

The Takeaway

Dharma is a stage where the mind is tranquil in nature despite the external influences of the materialistic world.

Dharma guides our morals, conduct and is the ethical foundation in all aspects of life:

  • Dharma is an approach to right conduct.
  • Dharma does not classify a conduct as right or wrong because each action depends on its surrounding circumstance.

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