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Featured Dharma within Hinduism, Buddhism and beyond

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by adrian009, Oct 5, 2018.

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  1. Yes it does

    73.3%
  2. No it doesn't

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. Somewhat

    6.7%
  4. Marginally

    6.7%
  5. This poll doesn't reflect my thinking

    13.3%
  6. I don't know

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    However you look at it, the concept of Dharma with its varied meanings is central to Hinduism and Buddhism. But what is Dharma and is it applicable to Faiths that haven't emerged out of India?

    Dharma is a concept of central importance in Indian philosophy and religion. It has multiple meanings in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. It is difficult to provide a single concise definition for dharma, as the word has a long and varied history and straddles a complex set of meanings and interpretations. There is no equivalent single-word synonym for dharma in western languages.

    There have been numerous, conflicting attempts to translate ancient Sanskrit literature with the word dharma into German, English and French.


    Dharma - Wikipedia

    So what does Dharma mean to you and within your Faith or worldview. Does the concept have any use outside Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism?

    Thank you for helping me better understand religious traditions within the East and West.
     
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  2. Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man Bompu Zen Man with a little bit of Bushido.

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    Dharma is pretty much interpreted in general as the teaching. Tathagata. At least in Buddhist circles.

    I can and do include life and living in general as Dharma to which I don't differentiate from any teaching I may receive. Teaching isn't always verbal as many already know and there's much to learn from experiences and interactions.
     
  3. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    Thank you.

    An understanding I have is simply the teachings of the Buddha.

    Dharma - Wikipedia

    So could your concept be broadened even further to include one who has attained perfection in their lives by following Buddha Guatama? Could a master take an honorific title such as Buddha?
     
  4. Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man Bompu Zen Man with a little bit of Bushido.

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    I don't think perfection could exceed from what we already are. Enlightenment is a given . The "trick" is in noticing it.

    BTW, not noticing doesn't make anybody more or less of a Buddha than anybody else. '0) .
     
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  5. wizanda

    wizanda One Accepts All Religious Texts
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    Dharma simply means 'the Way', like the Tao does, etc...

    The Tao is the Wisdom & Logic stemming from the Core of reality; the Dharma is the naturally righteous path that flows with it.
    The idea that Dharma only exists in a Religious setting, is the reason the world is Adharmic.

    Yeshua was an avatar teaching Dharma; not only Judaism.

    Every religion that teaches the righteous Path to the Way is partially teaching Dharma... So we see traces of Dharma in all religions.

    In my opinion. :innocent:
     
    #5 wizanda, Oct 5, 2018
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  6. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    Thank you.

    We don't always agree but that makes sense.

    I feel the Dharma is there and Eternal for each of us to access. Some have a greater capacity than others to bring to light these teachings.
     
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  7. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

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    Nice question.

    I usually seperate The Buddha's Pali Canon (dharma) and Practice (The Dharma). I've learned that pretty much anyone can find use in the dharma or reading the suttas without practice that's as far as it goes. Sutta and dharma are general terms so I will say The Dharma or Pali Canon to refer to Buddhism. dharma is hard to define and Dharma varies by sect.

    Pāli Canon - Wikipedia
    Dhamma

    First the Dharma was for training the monks. I think later on The Instructions and philosophy also have specific teachings for layman and woman as well.

    Dharma or The Buddha's instruction from the Pali Canon explains to me the whole of what life is about really. Sometimes I slip and do my thing but regardless, teachings specific to Dharma such as rebirth have always made sense to me. As such, the more I think about rebirth daily, the more it makes sense to what I do in everyday life.

    The Truth of Rebirth: And Why it Matters for Buddhist Practice and Dhamma Without Rebirth?

    Rebirth is such an important part of The Dharma that there would be no use of saying one practices Dharma without someone idea he or she has a purpose to end rebirth. Teachings like generosity and compassion are universal. The reasons and purpose to benefit or consequence are not.

    The Dharma also is an instruction. Its more ideal to go to a guru which I assume most Eastern Faiths (and other parts of Asia) promote. I dont have that so practice and dharma Pali Canon are all I have. Probably why I slip up ;)

    What else?

    Does the concept mean anything outside of Buddhism (not sure of the others), yes somewhat. If you're reading it through someone else's eyes than your own the purpose of it distorts the Dharma purpose. If you're reading it from the Purpose (rebirth) outlined in the dharma (Pali) and do what the instructions say it benefits you in the light of its teachings, it's more benefitial. In other words, I see it has more benefit to those who believe in its purpose (no rebirth) not their own purpose. Kinda like taking a shower curtain and using it as clothing. People do it though.

    Generosity and no suffering is pretty much in many religions. There are some benefits in the suttas. But it's all about The Dharma, Pali, kamma, suffering, and Rebirth regardless how much Pali you read.
     
    #7 Unveiled Artist, Oct 5, 2018
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  8. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    Dharma, to me, has nothing to do with an intellectual understanding of it, but only an experiential understanding of it. One has to live it. An intellectual understanding from a different paradigm is useless folly.

    Much like this:

    I've told you I never repeat myself.
    I've told you I never repeat myself.
    I've told you I never repeat myself.
     
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  9. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    The word closest to 'dharma' is 'duty', social, national and human. To help others is a duty, to take care of the family is a duty, to do things which help your nation is duty, to follow the traditions is a duty, to be respectful to weak, women and children is a duty. And the duty should be performed fully - manasa, vacha, karmana - in thought, in speech and in action. Same in Hinduism as in Buddhism. Traditions are not fixed, they may change over time according to need of the times. God/Gods are not involved in duty, they are peripheral. Gods also will not say anything otherwise. The theist will have the same duties as an atheist, being part of the same society. That is why 'dharma' is said to be eternal.
     
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  10. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    I would just like to add, Aup, that attitude is part of dharma. It is dharmic to be humble about the whole thing. The minute one becomes proud of doing his dharma, he has lost a very essential part of it.
     
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  11. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    :D Rebirth, philosophical positions, beliefs are not a part of 'dharma'. You can have any. That does not affect one's 'dharma'. 'Dharma' stands alone. That is how, we in India, understand 'dharma'.
    True. Krishna described it incomparably in his Gita. You alone are not the doer. So many other factors are involved in an action and its results. And the action must be performed irrespective of whether one profits or looses, is praised or abused, the action is difficult or easy, wins or defeated, lives or dies; because it is one's 'dharma' (duty). Yeah, non-permitted sex (kama), anger (krodha), pride (mada), attachment (moha), greed (lobha), are the things which bring downfall of a person from 'dharma'.
     
    #11 Aupmanyav, Oct 5, 2018
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  12. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    In Hinduism Dharma, most generally means "self-nature". One is then Dharmic if she acts in accordance with self-nature. One progresses in Dharma by greater and greater realizations of the nature of one's true Self (the Atman ) and actualization that realization in one's life and action. One who acts from false notions of the self (like the ego) practices adharma as her actions are antithetical to her true Self Nature. Going against self nature creates conflict and suffering, making adharma bad.
     
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  13. Marcion

    Marcion Tantra-Yoga Universalist

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    In Namámi Krishnasundaram Anandamurti says (pages 160, 161):

    Here Párthasárathi says Sarvadharmán parityajya ["Set aside all other dharmas"]. What is the meaning of dharma? It means "property" or "characteristic". Jiivas maintain their existence through the expression of their inner characteristics in different spheres of creation. Every object in the universe has its own inherent characteristic: the characteristic of water is to make things wet, and that of fire is to burn. Centring around this fundamental characteristic, there are many secondary characteristics. For example, fire burns, but it does not burn the entirety of an object in the same way. It may burn one part of an object thoroughly and another only partially. These different stages of burning are the secondary characteristics of the primary characteristic of fire, to burn. Water also has a number of secondary characteristics, and the collection of all these secondary characteristics is known as its dharma. To illustrate, when people eat, they do not mix all their food together and gulp it down voraciously, but follow a system of eating. For example, they may first eat bitter items, then semi-bitter ones, then sour ones, and finally sweet things. Sweets come at the end. The entire action of taking different items of food is called eating.

    All dharmas have upadharmas [secondary characteristics]. Human life is no exception. For example, to provide for your family you require some sort of employment - be it agriculture, trading or business - you have to keep the house clean, feed everyone, and so on. These are the secondary characteristics included within the fundamental human dharma. What normally happens in human life? People get caught up in the secondary characteristics. For instance, when eating delicious food people often say "How good it tastes! But if it had a bit more spice in it, then it would taste even better." Being engrossed in the secondary dharma, people too easily deviate from their main dharma. In ancient India, the usual custom was to offer a part of one's meal to God before eating it. The spirit was, "May I remember You with every bit of food." In Ananda Marga there is a system of applying guru mantra before commencing any action. The psycho-philosophy behind guru mantra is to transform the secondary dharma into the primary dharma at the psychic level. If this were not done then one's secondary dharma would predominate. Much precious time is wasted by those who follow their secondary dharmas.

    Párthasárathi Krishna exhorted the people unambiguously: "Give up secondary dharmas and accept Me as your supreme goal. Do not let your mind be diverted to those countless secondary dharmas, but concentrate it in the fundamental primary dharma. Only then will every moment of your life be properly utilized." Now, what is this primary dharma? Párthasárathi declared, Mámekam sharanam vraja ["take shelter in Me alone"]. Earlier I said that vraja means to move with Cosmic ideation in a state of bliss.

    The movement of human beings in this universe is not movement for movement's sake, but it is comparable to a vraja parikramá [joyous pilgrimage]. No one moves even one step without any purpose. What does vraja parikramá signify? We all know that just as the historical Krishna lives in the Vrindavana of this world, our spiritual Krishna lives in the Vrindavana of our heart. He is the nucleus around which individuals move. That is why Párthasárathi says Mámekam sharanam vraja. Do not run after name, power, position or wealth. Try to become one with Parama Purusha.*

    *Marcion: Parama Purusha = the Supreme Consciousness (Holy Spirit)
     
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  14. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

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    @adrian009 the others explain it better than me.

    Going by the OP, the only few differences from their views and how I see Dharma and dharma is our American culture puts high emphasis on intellectual understanding. The idea is you have to know and respect who the teaching is from (The Buddha), what you practice (dharma), how you practice (Dharma), and with whom your practice is cultivated (Sangha).

    That's why monks here teach The Dharma (practice) and dharma to layman (as in Pali instructions). I'm not sure how common Dharma talks are in other countries but it is in the states.

    Another thing about intellect is it also gives you a physical reference and reference only to how you practice. While we can Practice all day without a guru we look to analogical interpretations of dharma. Unfortunately, as it is in Zen it is hard to seperate what you Learn from what you Do. Other cultures don't have that difficulty as mentioned above.

    USers do because we ideally "should not" use Suttas as spiritual or sacred text but guidance to Understand practice at a distance. Practice varies by sect and it's ideal here to find a Sangha and Teacher to practice with so the guidance/suttas won't be viewed as sacred text and not Needed for Dharma practice.
    The separation is hard but not something Id see as "not" buddhism just USers are more mixed in Practice cause some of us mistake guidance for sacredness. It's a huge barrier but intellect is part of Dharma but not the Practice and purpose of it.

    Edited
     
    #14 Unveiled Artist, Oct 5, 2018
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  15. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    Thank you.

    Its worth noting the various unsucessful attempts to translate the word into different languages.

    There have been numerous, conflicting attempts to translate ancient Sanskrit literature with the word dharma into German, English and French. The concept, claims Paul Horsch, has caused exceptional difficulties for modern commentators and translators. For example, while Grassmann's[24] translation of Rig-veda identifies seven different meanings of dharma, Karl Friedrich Geldner in his translation of the Rig-veda employs 20 different translations for dharma, including meanings such as "law", "order", "duty", "custom", "quality", and "model", among others. However, the word dharma has become a widely accepted loanword in English, and is included in all modern unabridged English dictionaries.

    Dharma - Wikipedia

    The word of course is emphasised in the discourse between Arjuna and Krishna as recorded in the Bhaghavad Gita.

    In the name of dharma, Arjuna argues for nonviolence by assuming that to attack and kill so many leading men, nearly all of whom are fathers and husbands, will destabilize the important families and communities for which these men are responsible. The families themselves are vital to the peace and virtue of society. Arjuna’s argument, literally translated, proceeds as follows:

    On destruction of the family, the perennial family dharmas perish. When dharma perishes, adharma [the opposite of dharma] overwhelms the entire family. From the predominance of adharma, O Krishna, the family women are polluted. When the women are polluted, O Varshneya, a confusion of social orders arises. This confusion leads only to hell both for the destroyers of families and for the family. Certainly the forefathers fall [from heaven] since the ritual offerings of food and water are suspended. By these crimes of the family killers, who propagate a confusion of social classes, community dharmas and the everlasting family dharmas are devastated. We have always heard, O Janardana, that those men who devastate family dharmas have their residence fixed in hell.
    —Bhagavad-gita 1.39-43

    Lord Krishna is about to teach His friend Arjuna that above even dharma is God, who, for His own reasons, desires this battle. Lord Krishna rejects Arjuna’s argument as mere “weakness of heart” (hridaya-daurbalyam) and “impotence” (klaibyam) and urges Arjuna to fight.

    Despite his previous arguments on the basis of dharma, Arjuna now admits that he is actually “confused in mind about dharma” (dharma-sammudha-cetah).(Bg. 2.7)

    Arjuna then gives up his arguments and surrenders to Lord Krishna as his spiritual master, and Lord Krishna begins teaching the Bhagavad-gita in earnest.

    Lord Krishna does not at once address Arjuna’s argument about dharma, as we would expect in a typical debate. Rather, the Lord first reveals to Arjuna, in twenty verses (Bg. 2.11- 30) the eternal nature of the soul. Then the Lord comes back to the topic of dharma, to show that it is Arjuna who is neglecting his dharma by refusing to fight:

    “And even considering your personal dharma as well, it is not right for you to hesitate. There is nothing better for a warrior than a fight based on dharma.” (Bg. 2.31)

    Lord Krishna concludes this brief reference to dharma as one’s personal duty by saying,
    “Now if you do not execute this battle, then having given up your personal dharma and reputation, you shall incur sin.” (Bg. 2.33)

    Lord Krishna again speaks of dharma in the ninth chapter when he declares that spiritual knowledge of Himself is dharmya, or conducive to and consistent with dharma:

    “I shall speak to you, who are free of envy, this most confidential knowledge, together with its realized discernment, knowing which you shall be freed of the inauspicious. This knowledge is the king of sciences, the king of secrets, and the supreme purifier. Understood by direct perception, it is conducive to dharma, very easy to perform, and everlasting. People who do not place their faith in this dharma, O burner of the foe, do not attain Me but return to the path of death and material existence.” (Bg. 9.1- 3)

    Now that Lord Krishna has explained “this dharma” (asya dharmasya), which leads to His eternal abode, we can better understand Arjuna’s statement in the eleventh chapter that Lord Krishna is the protector of “everlasting (shashvata) dharma”: “You are the indestructible, the supreme object of knowledge. You are the transcendental receptacle of this universe. You are inexhaustible, the protector of everlasting dharma. I conclude that You are the eternal person.” (Bg. 11.18)

    The eighteenth and final chapter of the Bhagavad- gita summarizes the entire text. In this chapter Lord Krishna refers three times to dharma, the first being a reaffirmation of His earlier admonition to perform one’s own, and not another’s, dharma:
    “It is better to engage in one’s own occupation, even though one may perform it imperfectly, than to accept another’s occupation and perform it perfectly.” (Bg. 18.47)

    But beyond this, we have seen that the Bhagavad- gita begins where ordinary Vedic dharma leaves off. Lord Krishna has indicated this in various ways. Here, at the end of His teaching, the Lord most dramatically declares that full surrender to the Supreme Lord stands above the entire range of sacred duties known generally as dharma: “Renouncing all dharmas, take refuge in Me alone. Have no regret, for I shall free you from all sins.” (Bg. 18.66)

    Adapted from:
    Dharma in the Bhagavad-gita | Krishna.com

    The discourse develops the understanding of Dharma from well known Vedic texts. It encompasses both service/duty and devotion to Lord Krishna.

    As you say there are different perspectives of Dharma depending on theism or atheism.
     
  16. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    We must not forget that BhagawadGita, Mahabharata and Bhagawat Purana are Vaishnava scriptures. What else you would expect in them? Shaivas, Shaktas, Smartas, advaitists, etc. will differ from it when its biases become apparent. They will accept only the things that are not biased in favor of Vishnavas. Sure, BhagawadGita carries many profound truths, we can benefit by understanding them. That is the difference between Hinduism and Abrahamic religions. Hinduism gives us the right to differ.
     
    #16 Aupmanyav, Oct 6, 2018
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  17. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    Although I lean towards one tradition within Hinduism and wish to better understand it, I have no desire to reject the other traditions which are every much a part of Hinduism as Vaishnavism. For me how a person is and what they do is much more important than their religion. The world is full of religious hypocrites. It is better to have no religion than one that causes hatred and division.
     
    #17 adrian009, Oct 6, 2018
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  18. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    That too is how I see Dharma. It is how we are and how we live our lives that is the most important. If our ultimate purpose in this life is the attainment of Moksha then that will come to both of us in time. If our souls reincarnate back into another life then that is what will happen. If our souls are to meet God in the next world and progress onwards then that is what will happen. If there is no soul and no God then when we die we die. You may have insight into such matters that I do not. All that I can aspire to in this world is to be the best I can be and work towards the betterment of others.
     
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  19. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    Thank you for your comprehensive reply. It is excellent and steers me in the right direction to learn more. I can not fault anything you have said.
     
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  20. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    Thank you.

    What Anandamurti said makes sense. The references to Krishna especially resonated for me.
     
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