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Dharma

key concept in Indian philosophy and religion, with multiple meanings
Dharma is the principle of righteousness. It is the principle of holiness. It is also the principle of Unity. … If you protect it, it will protect you. ~ Swami Sivananda

Dharma or dhamma (/ˈdɑːrmə/; Sanskrit: धर्म; Pali: धम्म) is a key concept with multiple meanings in the Indian religionsHinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. The word dharma was already in use in the historical Vedic religion, and its meaning and conceptual scope has evolved over several millennia. There is no single-word translation for dharma in Western languages.

QuotesEdit

 
King Piyadasi, does not consider glory and fame to be of great account unless they are achieved through having my subjects respect Dhamma and practice Dhamma, both now and in the future. ~ Ashoka
 
Dhamma is good, but what constitutes Dhamma? (It includes) little evil, much good, kindness, generosity, truthfulness and purity. ~ Ashoka
 
Do not spend your life committing sinful deeds;
It is good for you to practice holy Dharma. ~ Milarepa
  • Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, does not consider glory and fame to be of great account unless they are achieved through having my subjects respect Dhamma and practice Dhamma, both now and in the future.
  • This progress among the people through Dhamma has been done by two means, by Dhamma regulations and by persuasion. Of these, Dhamma regulation is of little effect, while persuasion has much more effect. The Dhamma regulations I have given are that various animals must be protected. And I have given many other Dhamma regulations also. But it is by persuasion that progress among the people through Dhamma has had a greater effect in respect of harmlessness to living beings and non-killing of living beings.
    • Ashoka, in Edicts of Ashoka (c. 257 BC)
  • It has been said that democracy is based on the rights of man; it has been replied that it should rather take its stand on the duties of man; but both rights and duties are European ideas. Dharma is the Indian conception in which rights and duties lose the artificial antagonism created by a view of the world which makes selfishness the root of action, and regain their deep and eternal unity. Dharma is the basis of democracy which Asia must recognise, for in this lies the distinction between the soul of Asia and the soul of Europe.
    • Sri Aurobindo, March 16, 1908, quoted from Sri Aurobindo, ., Nahar, S., Aurobindo, ., & Institut de recherches évolutives (Paris). India's rebirth: A selection from Sri Aurobindo's writing, talks and speeches. Paris: Institut de Recherches Evolutives. 3rd Edition (2000). [1]
  • There was not the idea of 'interest' in India as in Europe, i.e., each community was not fighting for its own interest; but there was the idea of Dharma, the function which the individual and the community has to fulfil in the larger national life.
    • Sri Aurobindo, June 29, 1926, quoted from Sri Aurobindo, ., Nahar, S., Aurobindo, ., & Institut de recherches évolutives (Paris). India's rebirth: A selection from Sri Aurobindo's writing, talks and speeches. Paris: Institut de Recherches Evolutives. 3rd Edition (2000). [2]
  • Where dharma prevails, there will be the rule of law and justice, and the king who follows the path of dharma is known as 'dharma raja'. Even the Machiavellian Arthashastra teaches the ideal king to "establish the rule of Dharma by commands and directives, and discipline among the people by the extension of education." The most powerful ruler or his minister could not place himself above Dharma — his subjects would immediately know his violations and chastise him.
    • Gurcharan Das, The Difficulty of Being Good : On the Subtle Art of Dharma (2010), p. 58
  • In the area of the world, you have things that you have. In the area of the Dhamma, you have something you don’t have.
    • Ajaan Dune, Gifts He Left Behind, The Dhamma Legacy of Phra Ajaan Dune Atulo (Phra Rājavuḍḍhācariya), as compiled by Phra Rājavaraguṇa, as translated from the Thai by Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu
  • One should never do that to another which one regards as injurious to one's self. This, in brief, is the rule of dharma. Yielding to desire and acting differently, one becomes guilty of adharma.
  • Do not spend your life committing sinful deeds;
    It is good for you to practice holy Dharma.
    • Milarepa, in "Song to the Hunter" as translated in The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa: The Life-Story and Teaching of the Greatest Poet-Saint Ever to Appear in the History of Buddhism (1999) edited by Garma C. C. Chang
  • धर्मो रक्षति रक्षितः
    • Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitah
      • Dharma protected protects.
        • Manusmṛti, Ch. 8, verse 15
        • Variant translation: Dharma protects those who protect Dharma.
  • Dharma is a better and more substantive name than the geographically connoted Hindu. It is exceptional for a non-Indian to call himself a Hindu, but anyone could be a Dharmin. It is even better than the term Sanâtana Dharma, “eternal Dharma”, which is nowadays used as an indigenous name for Hinduism. Both the Bhagavad Gita and the Buddha have said that ”this Dharma is sanâtana”, so the composite name has ancient credentials. Yet, those authorities didn’t use it as a composite name, they just spoke of Dharma and then qualified it as sanâtana, eternal. So, the simple name of the religion Hindus practise, is Dharma. Literally “sustenance”, it effectively means “performing the role befitting your place within the whole”, “doing the needful to maintain the correct relation between the part and the whole”. It encompasses both observing a correct friendship with the other parts through morality (not merely vis-à-vis human beings) and realizing a proper relation with the sacred through rituals, prayers and festivals.
    • Koenraad Elst, On Modi Time : Merits And Flaws of Hindu Activism In Its Day Of Incumbency – 2015 Ch 28
  • The key Hindu concept of dharma — the right way, the sanctioned way, which all men must follow, according to their natures — is an elastic concept. At its noblest it combines self-fulfillment and truth to the self with the ideas of action as duty, action as its own spiritual reward, man as a holy vessel.
  • To me, Dharma had always been a matter of moral norms, external rules and regulations, do's and don'ts, enforced on life by an act of will. Now I was made to see Dharma as a multi dimensional movement of man's inner law of being, his psychic evolution, his spiritual growth, and his spontaneous building of an outer life for himself and the community in which he lived.
  • Arun Shourie quotes Govind Singh as declaring: 'Let the path of the pure [khâlsâ panth] prevail all over the world, let the Hindu dharma dawn and all delusion disappear. (...) May I spread dharma and prestige of the Veda in the world and erase from it the sin of cow-slaughter.'
    • Arun Shourie, quoted in Elst, Koenraad (2002). Who is a Hindu?: Hindu revivalist views of Animism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and other offshoots of Hinduism. ISBN 978-8185990743
  • Dharma is very wide concept. It is concerned with all aspects of life. It sustains the society. Even further, it sustains the whole world. That which sustains is Dharma.
    • Deendayal Upadhyaya Quoted from Talreja, K. M. (2000). Holy Vedas and holy Bible: A comparative study. New Delhi: Rashtriya Chetana Sangathan.
  • No language is perfect. There is no proper equivalent word in English for the Sanskrit term Dharma.
    Dharma is generally defined as righteousness or duty. Dharma is the principle of righteousness. It is the principle of holiness. It is also the principle of Unity.
    … If you protect it, it will protect you. It is your sole companion after death. It is the sole refuge of humanity.
    That which elevates one is Dharma. This is another definition. Dharma is that which leads you to the path of perfection and glory. Self-realisation is the highest Dharma. Dharma is the heart of Hindu ethics.
    • Swami Sivananda, as quoted in All about Hinduism (1977) by the Divine Life Society, p. 51
  • Remember, the centre of our national life is not politics or economy but Dharma.
    • Swami Vivekananda, quoted by H.V. Sheshadri, quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2001). Decolonizing the Hindu mind: Ideological development of Hindu revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa. p.445

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