dhamma »
  • dhamma

lit. the 'bearer', constitution (or nature of a thing), norm, law (jus), doctrine; justice, righteousness; quality; thing, object of mind (s. Āyatana) 'phenomenon'. In all these meanings the word 'dhamma' is to be met with in the texts.

The Com. to D. instances 4 applications of this term

  • guna (quality, virtue),
  • desanā (instruction),
  • pariyatti (text),
  • nijjīvatā (soullessness, e.g. "all dhammā, phenomena, are impersonal," etc.).

The Com. to Dhs. has hetu (condition) instead of desanā.

Thus, the analytical knowledge of the law (s. patisambhidā) is explained in Vis.M. XIV. and in Vibh. as hetumhi-ñāna, knowledge of the conditions.

The Dhamma, as the liberating law discovered and proclaimed by the Buddha, is summed up in the 4 Noble Truths (s. sacca). It forms one of the 3 Gems (ti-ratana) and one of the 10 recollections (anussati).

Dhamma, as object of mind (dhammāyatana, s. Āyatana) may be anything past, present or future, corporeal or mental, conditioned or not (cf. sankhāra, 4), real or imaginary.


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