What is Dharma? 何為 法 ?
There is no single word translation for the word “Dharma” western languages. In Chinese “法” (Fua) has many meanings also. In Hinduism, Dharma signifies behaviors that are considered to be “rta” (similar to Chinese “Tao”), the order makes life and universe possible; including rights, responsibilities, virtues, right way of living, the path, one’s conducts, and the laws of government.
Philosophically, dharma also refer to “phenomena”, or the “path of righteousness”, and other areas as purification and moral transformation of human beings,
In Buddhism, Dharma means “cosmic law and order”, also applied to the teachings of the Buddha, as in our discussion here.
Dharma means the truth, nature, way of living, law of nature. that is why the Buddha after teaching dharma 49 years, proclaimed that he did not teach anything. Just like we wouldn’t say” I use water to water the flowers” or “I had lunch meal”. His teachings (Dharma) only meant “pointing the way to the truth”, like use the finger pointing to the moon, the finger is not the moon.
To understand Dharma, we need to understand the meaning beyond the words, not from the “face value”. For example; many buddhist and non-buddhist, mistakenly thought the word ” nirvana” as being “death” (it’s deathless death), or “emptiness” as “nothing, or void of anything” (it’s something of nothing). All takes deep contemplation.
Dharma encompasses wisdom and compassion. It is flexible with the nature’s impermanence of the reality. It is also in line with scientific, the nature of cause and effect. If you do this; the result is this, if you do that; the result is that; you ripe what you sow, this is the law of nature.
Homan nature has great qualities, the Buddha said that each of us have buddha-nature, which is pure and sound, loving and kind, with natural wisdom and compassion, and even possess natural powers. Well! what happened? we are in such shape? the world is filled with violence, it is not in our original human nature. It is due to contamination of the mind, with contaminated mind there’s delusion, like wearing dirty glasses, we can’t see clear what is out there, then we make decisions based on false perceptions, then we suffer from all the consequences of disturbing emotions, undesirable phenomena.
In the Dharma teaching of the Eight-fold-Path, they are to be applied rightly, Right View for example; if you don’t have right view, everything you do will be off track, the farther you go the farther you are off the Right Path.
This is true in religions, we have seen many people being very religious, going to churches, or temples every week for long time, yet their behaviors still showed heavy contaminated with greed, hatred, jealousy, endless desires for fame, name, praise and blame, and plenty of emotional disturbance, generating endless suffering in their life. This is due to lack understanding of the right view.
Dharma is also very practical, it emphasis “here and now”, being aware of moment-to-moment of life experiences, truly living a life. Only by being mindful of moment-to-moment of our daily activities, thoughts, and speech, can we detect any wrong doings, and correct immediately, this is the dharma practice, detachment of all negativities is the key.
Following this practice, we can one day develop calm abiding mind without even realize it, intern wisdom is developed, suffering will end at the time when wisdom is attained. Dharma has no religious denomination or boundaries, everyone can practice this path. So, never too late to learn and practice Dharma, the time to begin is now. Buddhism promote non-violent, world peace is possible with Buddha Dharma.