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founded by S. N. Goenka in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin






Dharma—Its Definition and Universal Application

-By S. N. Tandon

In literary records the usage of the word dharma can be traced back to the Vedic times. The more prevalent form of the word, however, was dharman. Both these words are derived from a verbal root dhṛ,1 which means to bear, support, sustain.

According to an old Indian tradition, the sages of the past witnessed Dharma, and then they transmitted it to those who had not witnessed it, through mantras2. This implies that the Dharma witnessed by the sages must have been something uncommon and exceptional, which had not fallen to the lot of the common man to witness.

A question would naturally arise as to what the sages witnessed that was so invaluable. From a careful reflection on the Vedic passages, it appears that they witnessed the nature or characteristic property of the various objects of the universe—whether animate or inanimate. This formed their realisation of Dharma, which they transmitted to later generations, through Vedic mantras.

The words dharma and dharman have had a chequered history as far as their usage in Indian literature is concerned. In the earlier period, these meant "support, law, truth, duty, manner, quality or characteristic". In the course of time, however, these came to have several other meanings, such as "religion, ethics, good works, the customary observances of a caste, sect, etc."

Examples of Usage of the Word "Dharma" in Literature

A study of Indian literature reveals that two main meanings of the word "dharma" have been preserved throughout the ages:

to sustain (its generic meaning, based on the word dhṛ), and

nature or characteristic (a specific meaning, based on realisation).

A few examples:-

* Mitrā-varuṇā tvā paridhattāṃ dhruveṇa dharmaṇā.3

May (the divine pair) Mitra-Varuṇa sustain thee with inviolable character.

* Esa dharmo ya esa (sūryah) tapatyesa hīdaṃ sarvaṃ dhārayatyeteneva sarvaṃ dhṛtaṃ.4

The blazing of the sun is its characteristic. This, verily, sustains all this. It is because of this that everything is sustained.

* Dharmeṇa sarvamidaṃ parigṛhītam.5

All this is sustained because of its nature.

* Dhāraṇād dharmamityāhuh.6

Dharma is called so because it sustains.

* Dharmo vastusvabhāvah syāt.7

Dharma means the nature of an object.

* "Kusalā dhammā akusalā dhammā" ti ādisu sabhāvo attho.8

In phrases such as "wholesome dharmas" and "unwholesome dharmas," the word "dharma" means nature.

* Dhatte dharmah prajāh sarvāh.9

Dharma sustains all beings.

* Sahajo rūpatattvañca dharmah.10

Dharma means natural quality of an object.

* Dharmo’ strī puṇya ācāre svabhāvopamayoh kratau.11

Dharma, which is non-feminine, means merit, conduct, nature, comparison and sacrifice.

* Dharmo’ strī sukṛte sāmye svabhāve na tu somape.12

Dharma, which is non-feminine, means good deeds, equanimity, nature, abstemiousness.

* Dharmah svabhāvah ātmā syāt.13

Dharma means nature as well as soul.

* Dharmah vastuguṇarūpe svabhāve.14

Dharma stands for the quality of a thing, its nature.

Thus, Dharma means the natural state or condition of beings and things, what sustains, the law of their being, what is right for them to be, the very stuff of their being.15

Limitations of the Vedas

There can hardly be any doubt that the Vedas are a repository of profound knowledge since they are based on the actual realisation of Dharma by the sages, but these do not serve the purpose of a common person for the following reasons:

archaic language;

no systematic exposition of Dharma which could appeal to the modern mind;

absence of any living tradition which could lead its votaries to actual realisation of Dharma, like the primeval sages.

Dharma-Sūtra and Later Treatises

The oldest texts dealing directly with Dharma are known as the Dharma-sūtras (also called Pūrva-mīmāṃsā).16 According to these, dharma means performance of duties in accordance with the Vedic injunctions. These devote themselves to the duties of castes and stages of life (āsramas). Through these works one can clearly see an attempt on the part of the priestly class to transform the ancient laws for their own advantage, and to make their influence felt in all directions. Right from this stage, the universal character of Dharma, witnessed by the primeval sages, started losing its value because of its assuming a sectarian tinge.

The later treatises on Dharma, multifarious though they are,17 are also not helpful in the proper understanding of Dharma for the following reasons:

their exposition of Dharma is not uniform;

they do not lay down clear, successive steps enabling a person to walk on the path of Dharma; and

there is no living tradition which could offset the above disadvantages.

All these treatises help in understanding Dharma only at the intellectual level, which does not meet the precise requirement of its actual realisation, as fulfilled by the primeval sages.

The Bhagavadgītā, popularly known as the "The Song Celestial", is reputed to contain the quintessence of the Upanisadic teaching. It is a marvellous composition widely acclaimed as a masterpiece for its lofty theme. It throws a flood of light on the various aspects of Dharma, including its practical aspects. However, this can also only be appreciated at the intellectual level, since there is no living tradition which could take it to the actual level where one can absorb the teaching.

It is only by the actual practice of Dharma that one can vanquish all sorts of mental impurities to become an enlightened person. When ignorance is dispelled from the mind, one realizes all sorts of dharmas and knows through insight the cause of each. Then all doubts are set at rest once and for all.18 This happened in the case of Gotama the Buddha who, on reaching this stage, exclaimed with amazement, Pubbe ananusuttesu dhammesu cakkhuṃ udapādi [My eyes opened to dharmas that I had never heard before]. 19

A Living Tradition

The Tipiṭaka contains a detailed account of the various dharmas realised by the Buddha. If not for a living tradition which enables one to realize these dharmas at the actual (experiential) level, their mere presentation in the Tipiṭaka would have been as unproductive as their depiction in the Vedic mantras. Luckily such a living tradition is in existence, thanks to the chain of selfless, devoted teachers who preserved Dharma for posterity. All sorts of people, irrespective of their background, are taking advantage of it. A discussion on the dharmas spelt out by the Buddha would therefore be meaningful.

The Buddha’s Exposition of Dharma

The Buddha’s exposition of Dharma can be briefly stated as follows:

I. Dharma is infinite

Dharma means to bear, support, sustain.20 It also means nature or characteristic.21 Thus, Dharma is that which bears its own nature or characteristic.

There are two fields of existence: mundane and supra-mundane.

The entire mundane field from Niraya-loka to Arūpa Brahma-loka has the characteristic of impermanence. Also the fields of five aggregates (that is, all material and mental objects), six elements (earth, fire, water, air, ether and consciousness), and six bases (eye, ear, nose, tongue, skin and mind, and their own respective objects), all have this characteristic of impermanence.

Whatever is impermanent has the inherent characteristic of arising, passing away, decaying, dying. This leads to suffering.

The supra-mundane field lies outside the field of mind and matter. It is permanent in nature, and has the inherent characteristic of non-arising, non-decay, eternity, immortality. This leads to bliss.

Nothing lies beyond these two fields: mundane and supra-mundane. Each of them is governed by its own nature. In this sense, Dharma is all-pervasive. That is why it is said: Appamāṇo dhammo [Dharma is infinite]. 22

II. Dharma as a Mental Object

Whatever is borne by the mind at time constitutes its dharma during that period.

Just as the five senses—eye, ear, nose, tongue and skin—have for their objects vision, sound, smell, taste and touch respectively, so the mind as the sixth sense has dharmas for its object..23

The mental objects, called cetasikas, are of fifty-two types. These fall under two categories: kusala (wholesome) or akusala (unwholesome). A dharma qualifies to be called kusala if carrying it in the mind proves beneficial to its carrier, and it qualifies to be called akusala if carrying it in the mind proves otherwise (See Figure 1).

Likewise, some other words came into vogue, such as:

puñña dhamma (dharma by carrying which the mind becomes pure);

pāpa dhamma (dharma by carrying which the mind becomes impure);

sukka dhamma (dharma by carrying which the mind becomes bright);

kaṇha dhamma (dharma by carrying which the mind becomes dark);

ariya dhamma (dharma by carrying which the mind becomes noble);

anariya dhamma (dharma by carrying which the mind becomes ignoble); and so on.

III. Dharma as the Carrier of Wholesome Mental Factors

Prudence requires that one should carry in one’s mind mental factors that are wholesome, beneficial and advantageous. This, for obvious reasons, is for one’s own good. Hence, the word dharma came to be used in an exclusively good sense as well, the opposite being adharma.

IV. Dharma as Duty

Whatever proves fit to be carried in the mind should also prove fit to be carried out as one’s duty. Conversely, whatever is not found fit to be carried in the mind cannot entail an obligation to carry it out as one’s duty. Thus, one need not be expected to treat some nefarious design in the mind as one’s duty. Hence Dharma came to be called duty, and adharma, non-duty.

The Buddha used to deliver sermons on both dharma and adharma.24 He wanted people to understand what is wholesome or unwholesome, what is reproachable or irreproachable, what should be pursued or should not etc. He would exhort people to strive to abandon unwholesome dharmas and to acquire wholesome dharmas.25

V. Dharma as Universal Truth

Dharma means universal truth.26 It refers to laws of nature or the nature of laws (dhamma-niyāmatā). In the Vedas this was called ṛta.27 All laws of nature are of a permanent character.

Laws of Nature

Some of the laws enunciated by the Buddha are:

The Three Characteristics of Existence

"Whether enlightened persons appear in the world or not, it still remains a firm condition, an immutable fact and a fixed law that all formations are impermanent, all formations are subject to suffering and everything is without self."28

The Law of Cause and Effect

"If this is, that comes to be; from the arising of this, that arises; if this is not, that does not come to be; from the stopping of this, that is stopped."29

The Law of Causal Genesis

"With the base of ignorance, reaction arises; with the base of reaction, consciousness arises; with the base of consciousness, mind and body arise; with the base of mind and body, the six senses arise; with the base of the six senses, contact arises; with the base of contact, sensation arises; with the base of sensation, craving and aversion arise; with the base of craving and aversion, attachment arises; with the base of attachment, the process of becoming arises; with the base of the process of becoming, birth arises; with the base of birth, ageing and death arise, together with sorrow, lamentation, physical and mental suffering and tribulations. Thus arises the entire mass of suffering."30

This is the "forward order". The "reverse order" shows how this entire mass of suffering ceases to be.

No Solidity in the Material World

"The entire world is in flames,

the entire world is going up in smoke;

the entire world is burning,

the entire world is vibrating."31

Ancient laws are also recalled on certain occasions, e.g., "Hatred begets hatred, it can be vanquished only through love",32 or "Truth, verily, is an immortal homily".33 Such laws are called sanātana (i.e., of hereditary nature).34

Direct Realisation of Dharma by the Buddha

The various aspects of Dharma referred to above were not propounded by the Buddha on the basis of some speculation, hearsay or traditional belief. Each one of these was realized by him through a complete probe of the mind-matter phenomenon and by witnessing the truth that lay beyond. Thus, observing truth from the grossest to the subtlest, he spanned the entire mundane and supra-mundane fields, along with their characteristics, and then proclaimed that Dharma, comprising both these fields, is "infinite".

Similarly, he discovered that the mind always carries some object or the other, be it anger, hatred, ill will or loving-kindness, compassion, goodwill, and so on. He referred to these mental objects as dharma. Then he realized that mental objects such as anger, hatred and ill will have the characteristic of defiling the mind, making one miserable. He also realized that mental objects such as loving-kindness, compassion and goodwill have the characteristic of purifying the mind, making one cheerful. He called these mental objects akusala or kusala, as the case may be, on the basis of such realisations. It was not because of some blind belief or just to establish some sort of authority.

The Buddha never proclaimed anything unless he had actually realized it at the deepest level of his mind. In this respect he was like the primeval sages who had also witnessed Dharma directly and had then proclaimed it for posterity. The Buddha is also called a Great Sage (mahesi).35

The direct realisation of Dharma is no longer the monopoly of these sages. The technique of Vipassana meditation taught by the Buddha (stray references to which are traceable in the Vedas also)36 is the main tool for truth realisation. This is now within reach of everybody because of the living tradition which has brought it to our doorsteps.

Definition Of Dharma

Keeping the foregoing discussion in mind, Dharma may be defined as the laws of nature or nature of laws which, when realised through insight, lead one gradually towards the goal of full liberation.

Three Essential Ingredients

This definition takes care of the following three essential ingredients of Dharma:

The focal point is laws of nature or nature of laws, cutting across all sectarianism.

These laws, or their nature, have to be realized through insight at the experiential level, thereby saving Dharma from being degraded into a mere intellectual game.

One should have the feeling of being led on to the final goal of full liberation, which will make one persevere on the path of Dharma.

Implications of this Definition

This definition will have the following implications:

On account of the practical nature of Dharma, one will be able to distinguish clearly between Dharma and religion, the latter being merely a profession of faith in some divinity or saintly person.37

On account of the element of self-introspection, one will not develop blind faith and one will always want to examine Dharma by the touchstone of one’s own intuitive wisdom.38

One will come to realize the negligible value, or even utter futility, of rites and rituals.39

One will start realizing the fruits of Dharma here-and-now,40 the most precious fruit being evenness of mind in all the vicissitudes of life.41

Reaping more and more rewards through applied Dharma, one will feel the urge to make Dharma one’s refuge42 in the real sense of the term.

One will no longer feel the necessity of remaining tied to a guru for all times to come.43

One will begin to appreciate the real intent of scriptural texts and age-old maxims and sayings.44

Distinctive Feature of Dharma

As already indicated, the distinctive feature of Dharma is that it should be capable of being realised at the experiential level through insight, and applied in daily life. Unless Dharma becomes applicable in daily life, it will be like a flower that is lovely and beautiful to look at, but does not emit any fragrance.45

With the proper application of Dharma in daily life, one is bound to get amazing results. When this starts happening, one begins to realise sooner rather than later that applied Dharma is nothing but an art of living, as it keeps one happy and contented in all situations.

Universal Application of Dharma

Although Dharma is universal and has nothing to do with sectarianism, the misconception that these are one and the same has prevailed in India for a long time. Even in the Buddha’s time there were people who would use such terms as "my dharma" and "another’s dharma":

They call their own dharma perfect and the other’s dharma imperfect. Thus contending, they quarrel with each other. They consider their own depositions to be true.46

To guard people against such statements, the Buddha gave a clear and succinct message to the Kālāmas, who also felt perturbed by similar talk on certain occasions:

Now look, you Kālāmas. Be not misled by report or tradition or hearsay. Be not misled by proficiency in any scripture, or by reasoning or logic or reflection on and approval of some theory, or because some view conforms with one’s own inclinations, or out of respect for the prestige of a teacher. But when you know for yourselves: these things are unwholesome, these things are blameworthy, these things are censured by the wise; these things when practiced and observed, conduce to loss and sorrow–then do ye reject them. But if at any time you know for yourselves: these things are wholesome, these things are praised by the intelligent; these things, when practiced and observed, conduce to welfare and happiness, then Kālāmas, do ye, having practiced them, abide.47

Thus, the accent in this message was on realising for oneself 48 for the sake of one’s welfare. Such realisation comes through the practice of Vipassana, the technique of meditation taught by the Buddha. This technique is universal to the core, concerned solely with the practice of morality (sīla), mastery over the mind (Samādhi) and insight (Paññā).

Promotion of Dharma by Emperor Asoka

Nearly two centuries after the passing away of the Buddha, the Emperor Asoka tried this universal technique for the spiritual development of his people, with remarkable success. This earned him great fame in the annals of the world. H.G. Wells, the renowned historian of modern times, pays glowing tribute to him in the following words:

Amidst the tens of thousands of names of monarchs that crowd the columns of history, their majesties and graciousnesses and serenities and royal highnesses and the like, the name of Asoka shines, and shines almost alone, a star.49

Emperor Asoka explains in one of his edicts50 how he could achieve amazing success while his predecessors could not. According to him, in olden times other rulers also wanted their subjects to progress by the adequate promotion of Dharma. He himself was filled with a similar desire, and to achieve this goal he undertook various measures. He provided several types of amenities to the public, as his predecessors had, but doing this proved of no avail. Then he exhorted people to follow certain dharma practices, so that they might develop compassion, charity, truthfulness, purity, gentleness and goodness. For this purpose he adopted two means: the issue of dharma proclamations and the practice of deep introspection (nijhati).

In fact, the exhortations to follow dharma practices proved of little avail; much more was accomplished through deep introspection. A forty-three-foot-high pillar, standing atop a three-storey citadel of Sultan Firioz Shah (1351–1388 A.D.) in Delhi, bears an inscription to this effect; this is eloquent testimony to the success of deep introspection in moulding the human character for the better (See Plates 1–3).

The Asokan word nijhati corresponds to the Pāli word nijjhatti, occurring in the Tipiṭaka,51 where it has been enumerated as a "strength". It means "deep introspection", or "insight", i.e, Vipassana. Thus Dharma, according to Asoka, progressed in his time mainly because of Vipassana, taught by him to his people. For this purpose his approach was purely non-sectarian. The Dharma-Mahāmātras, the class of officers appointed by him for its propagation, approached all sections of society without any discrimination whatsoever. They occupied themselves with all sects of ascetics and householders.52

Proclamations versus Actual Practice

India today is trying to emulate the ideals of Asoka: it has adopted the emblems that adorned his pillars everywhere, it is spreading messages of peace and goodwill to all other nations, it is resisting the temptation to engage in war even in the face of provocation, it is trying to use tolerance to deal with the spectre of fanaticism, its constitution provides for equality of all people before the law. But in spite of all this, the goal of peace and harmony is nowhere in sight.

The lacuna is obvious. Asoka himself had realised the lacuna in his earlier attempts at ameliorating the lot of the people. He confessed that mere proclamations did not help. It was the actual practice of Dharma by the people that brought the desired results. Present-day India, or for that matter any country, can make its people happy and harmonious, with positive outlooks, by providing them with facilities for the actual practice of Dharma. Real happiness and harmony dawn only when people develop compassion, charity, truthfulness, purity, gentleness and goodness in themselves. Asoka succeeded in inculcating these virtues amongst his people through the actual practice of Vipassana. The same results are bound to follow if this lacuna is removed in modern India.

History of the Vipassana Technique

Vipassana is one of India’s most ancient meditation techniques. It contains the essence of what the Buddha practiced and taught during his lifetime. In those days large numbers of people in northern India were freed from the bonds of suffering by practicing Vipassana, and they attained high levels of achievement in all spheres of life. Over time, the technique spread to the neighbouring countries of Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand and others, where it had the same ennobling effect.

Five centuries later, the noble heritage of Vipassana disappeared from India. The purity of the teaching was lost elsewhere as well. In Burma, however, it was preserved by a chain of devoted teachers. From generation to generation, for over two thousand years, this dedicated lineage has transmitted the technique in its pristine purity.

In our time, Vipassana has been reintroduced to India, as well as to citizens of more than eighty other countries, by Shri S.N. Goenka, who was authorised to teach Vipassana by the renowned Burmese Vipassana teacher Sayagyi U Ba Khin. In India ten-day Vipassana courses have been held since 1969, and in other countries since 1979. During this short span of time nearly thirty centres have been established worldwide, to enable people to practice Vipassana exclusively. Thus ever-increasing numbers of people are getting the opportunity to learn this art of living, which brings lasting peace and happiness to people from all walks of life.

A Non-Sectarian Technique

Although Vipassana was rediscovered and taught by the Buddha, it cannot be termed "Buddhist". The Buddha never called his followers Buddhists, he called them dhammaṭṭha53 (dharma wayfarers). The technique contains nothing of a sectarian nature, and it can be accepted and applied by people of any background. The basis of the technique is the recognition that all human beings share the same problems, and that a pragmatic method which can eradicate these problems can be universally practiced.

Vipassana courses are open to anyone sincerely wishing to learn the technique irrespective of race, caste, faith or nationality. Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Christians, Jews, as well as members of other religions, have all successfully completed Vipassana courses. Besides permanent centres, courses are also held in schools, colleges, universities, hostels, libraries, panchayatwadis, dharmasālās, temples, mosques, churches, nunneries, vihāras, upāsrayas, asramas, hotels, jails, etc.54 People from all backgrounds who practice Vipassana find that they become better human beings.

Impressed by these results, the Government of India has lately decided to introduce Vipassana in prisons. In 1994, the largest Vipassana course to date, for over one thousand prison inmates, was held in Tihar Jail, Delhi, which happens to be the biggest prison in Asia in terms of its population. The course proved to be remarkable in many ways. The prison inmates confessed openly that it was a unique experience for them and that they felt a distinct change for the better in their behaviour patterns. Similar courses are now being held in other prisons as well, and the demand for such courses is constantly on the increase.

Now Vipassana has come to be recognised as an unfailing instrument for dealing with all sorts of ills of present-day society. It is looked upon as a means for human uplift. Dharma, too, has all through the ages been looked upon as an unfailing instrument for human uplift. In this respect, Vipassana and Dharma should appear to be one and the same. But the difference lies in the fact that while one gets all the good results from Vipassana, one does not get these from Dharma. This is because Dharma has lost its universal character and become sectarian. Once its universal character is restored, it will also start giving all the benefits expected from it.

The Universal Character of Vipassana or Dharma

The universal character of Vipassana or Dharma lies in "self-introspection", for which the Enlightened One proclaimed:

All those who, in the past, purified their deeds of body, speech and mind did so only through self-introspection (paccavekkhaṇa);

all those who, in the future, will purify their deeds of body, speech and mind, will do so only through self-introspection; and

all those who, in the present, are purifying their deeds of body, speech and mind are doing so only through self-introspection.55



Dharma (masc. & neut.) - from dhṛ + man (suffix) [dharati lokān, dhriyate puṇyātmabhiriti vā] (Halāyudha-kosa, ed. Jayasaṅkara Josī) Also, "dhāraṇāt dharma" (Sāyaṇa on ®gveda, 3.17.1)

"sāksātkṛtadharmāṇa ṛsayo babhūvuste ‘varebhyo’ sāksātkṛtadharmabhya upadesena mantrān saṃprāduh" (Nirukta by Yāska)

Maitrāyaṇī saṃhitā (4.9.1)

æatapatha-brāhmaṇa (Mādhyandinīya) (

Taittirīya- āraṇyaka (10.62.1)

Mahābhārata (æāntiparva, 108/11)

Jain Laksaṇāvalī

Itivuttaka-aṭṭhakathā, ed. Dr Nathamal Tatia (p. 47)

Brahmāṇ¹a-mahāpurāṇa, ed. Dr K.B. Sharma (p. 19)

Abhidhāna-cintāmaṇi, ed. Pt. Hargovind æāstrī

Medinī-kosa, ed. Pt. Jagannātha æāstrī

Vaijayantī-kosa, ed. Pt. Hargovind æāstrī

Halāyudha-kosa, ed. Jayasaṅkara Josī (782)


Majjhima-nikāya, Vol. I (PTS edn.) (p. xix)

The difficult nature of these texts can be visualized from the Preface appearing in the English translation of the Sūtras: "The translator knows how difficult it was to understand the Mīmāṃsā in interpreting the Vedic rituals of the ancient Aryans and is still not sure whether he has correctly explained them." (Mīmāṃsā Sūtras of Jaimini; pub. Motilal Banasidas.)

Obviously Dharma expounded in texts, which are not even intelligible to scholars, can be of little use to ordinary people.

For example, those of Manu, Yājñavalkya, Kāsyapa, Baudhāyana, Nārada, Hārīta, Usanas, Aṅgīras, Yama, Atri, Saṃvarta, Daksa, æātātapa, æaṅkha, Kātyāyana, Gautama, Bṛhaspati and so on.

"Yadā have pātubhavanti dhammā,

ātāpino jhāyato brāhmaṇassa;

athassa kaṅkhā vapayanti sabbā

yato pajānāti sahetu-dhammaṃ" (Udāna-pāli, 1.1.2)

Saṃyutta-nikāya, 12.4.5

"dhāretīti dhammo"

"dhamma-saddo pakati-pariyāyo." (Mahāvagga-ṭīkā on Dīgha-nikāya 1.17.17)

Aṅguttara-nikāya, 4.7.7

"manañca paṭicca dhamme uppajjati viññāṇaṃ, manoviññāṇaṃ tveva saṅkhaṃ gacchati." (Majjhima-nikāya, I.38.2.5)

"dhammaṃ ca vo, bhikkave, desessāmi, adhammaṃ ca." (Aṅguttara-nikāya, 10.14.5)

"āraddhaviriyo viharati akusalānaṃ dhammānaṃ pahānāya, kusalānaṃ dhammānaṃ uppādāya." (Majjhima-nikāya, II.35.5.25)

"saccapariyāyo hi ... dhamma-saddo." (Pāthikavagga-ṭīkā on Dīgha-nikāya, 10.331)

"ṛtasya dhītirvṛjināni hanti" (Thought of Eternal Law removes transgressions.) (Ṛgveda, 4.23.8)

"uppādā vā tathāgatānaṃ anuppādā vā tathāgatānaṃ ṭhitā va sā dhātu dhammaṭṭhitatā dhammaniyāmatā idappaccayatā... ‘sabbe Saṅkhāra aniccā’ ti; ‘sabbe Saṅkhāra dukkhā’ ti; ‘sabbe dhammā anattā’ ti." (Aṅguttara-nikāya, 3.14.4)

"iti imasmiṃ sati idaṃ hoti, imassuppādā idaṃ uppajjati; imasmiṃ asati idaṃ na hoti, imassa nirodhā idaṃ nirujjhati." (Saṃyutta-nikāya, 12.21.22)

"avijjā-paccayā Saṅkhāra; Saṅkhāra-paccayā viññāṇaṃ; viññāṇa-paccayā nāmarūpaṃ; nāmarūpa-paccayā saḷāyatanaṃ; saḷāyatana-paccayā phasso; phassa-paccayā vedanā; vedanā-paccayā taṇhā; taṇhā-paccayā upādānaṃ; upādāna-paccayā bhavo; bhava-paccayā jāti; jāti-paccayā jarā-maraṇaṃ-soka-parideva-dukkha-domanassupāyāsā sambhavanti. Evametassa kevalassa dukkhakhandhassa samudayo hoti." (Majjhima-nikāya, I.38.3.9)

"sabbo ādīpito loko... sabbo loko pakampito." (Saṃyutta-nikāya, 5.7.7)

"na hi verena verāni, sammantīdha kudācanaṃ; averena hi sammanti, esa dhammo sanantano." (Dhammapada, 1.1.5)

"saccaṃ va amatā vācā, esa dhammo sanantano." (Sutta-nipāta, 3.3.49)

"dhammoti sanantano paveṇīdhammo." (Sīlakkhandhavagga-abhinavaṭīkā 2.2.162)

Abhidhānappadīpikā, ed. Waskaḍuwe Subhūti, Colombo (2.1033)

for example, "yo visvābhi vipasyati bhuvanā saṃ ca pasyati, sa nah parsadati dvisah." (Atharva-veda, 6.34.4)

Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, Oxford University:

"Religion: 1. Belief in the existence of God or gods, who has/ have created the universe and given man a spiritual nature which continues to exist after the death of the body. 2. Particular system of faith and worship based on such a belief, the Christian, Buddhist and Hindu religions."

"dhammoti Paññā" (Sumaṅgala-vilāsinī, III.5.150)

Refer to Asoka’s Rock Edict IX.

"sandiṭṭhiko-akāliko’ (Dīgha-nikāya, 2.3.159)

"phuṭṭhassa lokadhammehi, cittaṃ yassa na kampati" (Khuddaka-pāṭho, 5.11)

"dhamma-saraṇo" (Dīgha-nikāya, 2.3.165)

"atta-saraṇo" (Dīgha-nikāya, 2.3.165)

for example, "ārogya-paramā lābhā, nibbānaṃ paramaṃ sukhaṃ" (Health is the highest gain, Nirvāṇa is the highest bliss.) (Majjhima-nikāya, II.25.2.10-14)

"yathā pi ruciraṃ pupphaṃ, vaṇṇavantaṃ agandhakaṃ; evaṃ subhāsitā vācā, aphalā hoti akubbato." (Dhammapada, 4.51)

"sakaṃ hi dhammaṃ paripuṇṇamāhu,

aññassa dhammaṃ pana hīnamāhu;

evaṃ pi viggahya vivādayanti,

sakaṃ sakaṃ sammutimāhu saccaṃ." (Mahāniddesa-pāḷi, 1.13.139)

"Etha tumhe, kālāmā, mā anussavena, mā paramparāya, mā itikirāya, mā piṭakasampadānena, mā takkahetu, mā nayahetu, mā ākāra-parivitakkena, mā diṭṭinijjhānakkhantiyā, mā bhabbarūpatāya, mā samaṇo no garū ti. Yadā tumhe, kālāmā, attanā va jāneyyātha—ime dhammā akusalā, ime dhammā sāvajjā, ime dhammā viññu-garahitā, ime dhammā samattā samādinnā ahitāya dukkhāya saṃvattantī’ti, atha tumhe, kālāma, pajaheyyātha......yadā tumhe, kālāmā, attanā va jāneyyātha—’ime dhammā kusalā, ime dhammā anavajjā, ime dhammā viññuppasatthā, ime dhammā samattā samādinnā hitāya sukhāya saṃvattantī’ ti, atha tumhe, kālāmā, upasampajja vihareyyātha." (Aṅguttara-nikāya, 3.7.5)

"paccattaṃ veditabbo hi dhammo." (Dīgha-nikāya, 2.8.354)

The Outline History of the World, by H.G. Wells

Delhi-Topra Pillar Edict VII


Delhi-Topra Pillar Edict VII

"dhammassa gutto medhāvī, dhammaṭṭho ti pavuccati." (The intelligent one protected by Dharma is called "dhammaṭṭho".) (Dhammapada, 19.257)

54. Sayagyi U Ba Khin Journal, V.R.I. (p. 295–303)

55. Majjhima-nikāya, II.11.2.6