Dharma or 'Dharm' is a Sanskrit word (Sanskrit: धर्म, Pali: dhamma), from a root meaning "to hold up, to carry, to bear, to sustain", with a great variety of meanings in the Dharmic religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. It generally means a "duty", the opposite of nihilism.
Dharma in Hinduism
Dharma means Faith, Belief, Religion, and personal Law - all at the same time. Its most generic sense is that of righteousness or duty. It also refers to an ethical way of living; it is the path one should follow to live rightly in accordance with Hindu philosophical principles. The old name for Vedic Hinduism is Sanatan Dharm, meaning eternal law.
Rules for Brahmin Priests & Monks:
- Yamas: Restraints or Dont's
- Ahimsa - non-violence, non-injury, harmlessness
- Satya - truthfulness, honesty (non lying, non bragging, non embelishing)
- Asteya/Achurya - non-stealing, non-coveting, non-entering into debt, non-misappropriativeness
- Brahmacharya - restraint of senses(not giving into Pleasure)
- Kshama - forgiveness for the past, mercifull for historic sins, patience in the present
- Dhriti - steadfastness, overcoming non perserverance, fear, indecision; seeing each task through completion
- Daya - compassion; conquering callous, cruel and insensitive feelings toward all beings.
- Arjava - honesty, straightforwardness, renouncing deception and wrongdoing.
- Mitahara - moderate appetite, neither eating too much nor to little; nor consuming meat, fish, shellfish, fowl or eggs.
- Shaucha - purity, avoidance of impurity in body, mind and speech, cleanliness
- Aparigraha - non-possessiveness, non-greed, non-selfishness, non-acquisitiveness
- Niyamas: Duties & Responsibilities or Do's
- Hri - remorse for misdeeds
- Santosha - contentment; being satisfied with the resources at hand - therefore not desiring more; peacefulness
- Dana - giving, without thought of reward
- Astikya - Faith, believing firmly in the Guru, believing firmly in the path to enlightenment, believing firmly in the religious scriptures
- Ishvarapujana - worship of the Lord, the cultivation of devotion through daily worship and meditation, the return to the source
- Siddhanta shravana - scriptural listening, studying the teachings and listening to the wise of one's lineage
- Mati - cognition, developing a spiritual will and intellect with the Guru's guidance
- Vrata - sacred vows, fulfilling religious vows, rules and observances faithfully
- Japa - recitation, chanting Religious scriptutes daily
- Tapas - austerity, spiritual discipline
- Swadhyaya - introspective self-study, spiritual study
- Ishwarapranidhana - self-surrender to god, offering of one's life to God
Dharma in Buddhism
In Buddhism, followers adhere to these five principles of the dharma:
- Faith in the triple gem, which is Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Sangha is the community.
- The Precepts: don’t kill, don’t steal, don’t engage in sexual misconduct (rape or adultery), don’t lie, and don’t take intoxicants which cloud the mind.
- Listening: Only through listening can we understand good and evil.
- Giving: Engaging in charity and selflessness reminds us that the Dharma is not intended for us alone, but it is to be shared with everyone.
- Wisdom: One has to listen, contemplate and put into practice the Dharma. Then one may gain wisdom, and realize the truth.