Dharma
Overview
Dharma means Law or Natural Law (as in the natural order of things) and is a concept of central importance in Indian philosophy
Indian philosophy
India has a rich and diverse philosophical tradition dating back to ancient times. According to Radhakrishnan, the earlier Upanisads constitute "...the earliest philosophical compositions of the world."...

 and religion. In the context of Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

, it refers to one's personal obligations, calling
Vocation
A vocation , is a term for an occupation to which a person is specially drawn or for which they are suited, trained or qualified. Though now often used in non-religious contexts, the meanings of the term originated in Christianity.-Senses:...

 and duties, and a Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

's dharma is affected by the person's age, caste, class, occupation, and gender. In modern Indian languages it can refer simply to a person's religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

, depending on the context.

The idea of dharma as duty or propriety derives from an idea found in India's ancient legal and religious texts that there is a divinely instituted natural order of things (rta
Rta
In the Vedic religion, Ṛta is the principle of natural order which regulates and coordinates the operation of the universe and everything within it. In the hymns of the Vedas, Ṛta is described as that which is ultimately responsible for the proper functioning of the natural, moral and sacrificial...

) and justice, social harmony and human happiness require that human beings discern and live in a manner appropriate to the requirements of that order.
Encyclopedia
Dharma means Law or Natural Law (as in the natural order of things) and is a concept of central importance in Indian philosophy
Indian philosophy
India has a rich and diverse philosophical tradition dating back to ancient times. According to Radhakrishnan, the earlier Upanisads constitute "...the earliest philosophical compositions of the world."...

 and religion. In the context of Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

, it refers to one's personal obligations, calling
Vocation
A vocation , is a term for an occupation to which a person is specially drawn or for which they are suited, trained or qualified. Though now often used in non-religious contexts, the meanings of the term originated in Christianity.-Senses:...

 and duties, and a Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

's dharma is affected by the person's age, caste, class, occupation, and gender. In modern Indian languages it can refer simply to a person's religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

, depending on the context.

The idea of dharma as duty or propriety derives from an idea found in India's ancient legal and religious texts that there is a divinely instituted natural order of things (rta
Rta
In the Vedic religion, Ṛta is the principle of natural order which regulates and coordinates the operation of the universe and everything within it. In the hymns of the Vedas, Ṛta is described as that which is ultimately responsible for the proper functioning of the natural, moral and sacrificial...

) and justice, social harmony and human happiness require that human beings discern and live in a manner appropriate to the requirements of that order. According to the various Indian religions, such as Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

, Jainism
Jainism
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

, Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

, and Sikhism
Sikhism
Sikhism is a monotheistic religion founded during the 15th century in the Punjab region, by Guru Nanak Dev and continued to progress with ten successive Sikh Gurus . It is the fifth-largest organized religion in the world and one of the fastest-growing...

, beings that live in accordance with dharma proceed more quickly toward dharma yukam
Dharma Yukam
Dharma Yukam is the state of absolute bliss as per Ayyavazhi mythology. This Dharma Yukam is stated in the Akilam seventeen in Akilattirattu Ammanai. This on one hand is related to Dharmic moksha and on the other viewed in relation to Abrahamic heaven....

, moksha
Moksha
Within Indian religions, moksha or mukti , literally "release" , is the liberation from samsara and the concomitant suffering involved in being subject to the cycle of repeated death and reincarnation or rebirth.-Origins:It is highly probable that the concept of moksha was first developed in...

or nirvana
Nirvana
Nirvāṇa ; ) is a central concept in Indian religions. In sramanic thought, it is the state of being free from suffering. In Hindu philosophy, it is the union with the Supreme being through moksha...

(personal liberation
Liberty
Liberty is a moral and political principle, or Right, that identifies the condition in which human beings are able to govern themselves, to behave according to their own free will, and take responsibility for their actions...

). See Dharma (Buddhism)
Dharma (Buddhism)
Dhamma or Dharma in Buddhism can have the following meanings:* The state of Nature as it is * The Laws of Nature considered collectively....

.

In traditional Hindu society, dharma has historically denoted a variety of ideas, such as Vedic
Vedic
Vedic may refer to:* the Vedas, the oldest preserved Indic texts** Vedic Sanskrit, the language of these texts** Vedic period, during which these texts were produced** Vedic pantheon of gods mentioned in Vedas/vedic period...

 ritual, ethical conduct, caste rules
Caste system in India
The Indian caste system is a system of social stratification and social restriction in India in which communities are defined by thousands of endogamous hereditary groups called Jātis....

, and civil and criminal law. Its most common meaning however pertains to two principal ideals: that social life should be structured through well-defined and well-regulated classes (varna), and that an individual's life within a class should be organized into defined stages (ashrama, see dharmasastra
Dharmasastra
Dharmaśāstra is a genre of Sanskrit texts and refers to the śāstra, or Indic branch of learning, pertaining to Hindu dharma, religious and legal duty. The voluminous textual corpus of Dharmaśāstra is primarily a product of the Brahmanical tradition in India and represents the elaborate scholastic...

). This idea of dharma is explained to people being brought up in Hinduism through the epic Mahabharata. Primarily this epic is told to children through a variety of stories educating them on not only dharma but also the Hindu religion.

The antonym of dharma is adharma
Adharma
Adharma is the Sanskrit antonym of Dharma. It means 'that which is not in accord with the law' - referring to both the human written law and the divinely given law of nature. Connotations include unnaturalness, wrongness, evil, immorality, wickedness, or vice....

meaning unnatural or immoral.

Dharma also refers to the teachings and doctrines of the founders of Buddhism and Jainism, the Buddha
Gautama Buddha
Siddhārtha Gautama was a spiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. In most Buddhist traditions, he is regarded as the Supreme Buddha Siddhārtha Gautama (Sanskrit: सिद्धार्थ गौतम; Pali: Siddhattha Gotama) was a spiritual teacher from the Indian...

 and Mahavira
Mahavira
Mahāvīra is the name most commonly used to refer to the Indian sage Vardhamāna who established what are today considered to be the central tenets of Jainism. According to Jain tradition, he was the 24th and the last Tirthankara. In Tamil, he is referred to as Arukaṉ or Arukadevan...

. In Buddhist philosophy
Buddhist philosophy
Buddhist philosophy deals extensively with problems in metaphysics, phenomenology, ethics, and epistemology.Some scholars assert that early Buddhist philosophy did not engage in ontological or metaphysical speculation, but was based instead on empirical evidence gained by the sense organs...

, dhamma/dharma is also the term for "phenomenon
Phenomenon
A phenomenon , plural phenomena, is any observable occurrence. Phenomena are often, but not always, understood as 'appearances' or 'experiences'...

".

Etymology

In the Rigveda
Rigveda
The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

, the word appears as an n-stem, , with a range of meanings encompassing "something established or firm" (in the literal sense of prods or poles), figuratively "sustainer, supporter" (of deities), and semantically similar to the Greek ethos
Ethos
Ethos is a Greek word meaning "character" that is used to describe the guiding beliefs or ideals that characterize a community, nation, or ideology. The Greeks also used this word to refer to the power of music to influence its hearer's emotions, behaviors, and even morals. Early Greek stories of...

("fixed decree, statute, law"). In Classical Sanskrit, the noun becomes thematic, .

It is a derivation from Proto-Indo-Iranian
Proto-Indo-Iranian language
Proto-Indo-Iranian is the reconstructed proto-language of the Indo-Iranian branch of Indo-European. Its speakers, the hypothetical Proto-Indo-Iranians, are assumed to have lived in the late 3rd millennium BC, and are usually connected with the early Andronovo archaeological...

 root *dhar- ("to fasten, to support, to hold"), in turn reflecting Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-European language
The Proto-Indo-European language is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans...

 root *dʰer- ("to hold"), which in Sanskrit is reflected as class-1 root √dhṛ. Etymologically it is related to Avestan
Avestan language
Avestan is an East Iranian language known only from its use as the language of Zoroastrian scripture, i.e. the Avesta, from which it derives its name...

 √dar- ("to hold"), Old Persian
Old Persian language
The Old Persian language is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages . Old Persian appears primarily in the inscriptions, clay tablets, and seals of the Achaemenid era...

 √dar- ("to hold, have"), Latin frēnum ("rein, horse tack"), Lithuanian derė́ti ("to be suited, fit"), Lithuanian dermė (agreement), darna ("harmony") and OCS
Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic or Old Church Slavic was the first literary Slavic language, first developed by the 9th century Byzantine Greek missionaries Saints Cyril and Methodius who were credited with standardizing the language and using it for translating the Bible and other Ancient Greek...

 drъžati ("to hold, possess"). Classical Sanskrit word dharmas would formally match with Latin o-stem firmus < *PIE
Proto-Indo-European language
The Proto-Indo-European language is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans...

 *dʰer-mo-s "holding", were it not for its historical development from earlier Rigvedic n-stem.

From the Atharvaveda
Atharvaveda
The Atharvaveda is a sacred text of Hinduism and one of the four Vedas, often called the "fourth Veda"....

 and in Classical Sanskrit, the stem is thematic, (Devanāgarī
Devanagari
Devanagari |deva]]" and "nāgarī" ), also called Nagari , is an abugida alphabet of India and Nepal...

: धर्म), and in Pāli
Páli
- External links :* *...

, it takes the form dhamma. It is also often rendered dharam in contemporary Indian languages and dialects. It is used in most or all philosophies and religions of Indian origin—sometimes summarized under the umbrella term of Dharmic faiths—including Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

, Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

, Jainism
Jainism
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

, and Sikhism
Sikhism
Sikhism is a monotheistic religion founded during the 15th century in the Punjab region, by Guru Nanak Dev and continued to progress with ten successive Sikh Gurus . It is the fifth-largest organized religion in the world and one of the fastest-growing...

. 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.

Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism are called Hindu Dharma, Buddha-Dharma, Jain-Dharma and Sikh dharma, respectively.

Development

In the Rig Veda, the belief (or observation) that a natural justice and harmony pervades the natural world becomes manifest in the concept of rta
Rta
In the Vedic religion, Ṛta is the principle of natural order which regulates and coordinates the operation of the universe and everything within it. In the hymns of the Vedas, Ṛta is described as that which is ultimately responsible for the proper functioning of the natural, moral and sacrificial...

, which is both 'nature's way' and the order implicit in nature. Thus rta bears a resemblance to the ancient Chinese concept of tao
Tao
Dao or Tao is a Chinese word meaning 'way', 'path', 'route', or sometimes more loosely, 'doctrine' or 'principle'...

and the Heraclitan
Heraclitus
Heraclitus of Ephesus was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher, a native of the Greek city Ephesus, Ionia, on the coast of Asia Minor. He was of distinguished parentage. Little is known about his early life and education, but he regarded himself as self-taught and a pioneer of wisdom...

, Stoic
STOIC
STOIC was a variant of Forth.It started out at the MIT and Harvard Biomedical Engineering Centre in Boston, and was written in the mid 1970s by Jonathan Sachs...

 or Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 conceptions of the logos
Logos
' is an important term in philosophy, psychology, rhetoric and religion. Originally a word meaning "a ground", "a plea", "an opinion", "an expectation", "word," "speech," "account," "reason," it became a technical term in philosophy, beginning with Heraclitus ' is an important term in...

.

This "power" that lies behind nature and that keeps everything in balance became a natural forerunner to the idea of dharma. The idea of rta laid the cornerstone of dharma's implicit attribution to the "ultimate reality" of the surrounding universe, in classical Vedic Hinduism
Historical Vedic religion
The religion of the Vedic period is a historical predecessor of Hinduism. Its liturgy is reflected in the mantra portion of the four Vedas, which are compiled in Sanskrit. The religious practices centered on a clergy administering rites...

 the following verse from the Rig-Veda is an example where rta is mentioned:
The transition of the rta to the modern idea of dharma occurs in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad
The Upanishad is one of the older, "primary" Upanishads. It is contained within the Shatapatha Brahmana, and its status as an independent Upanishad may be considered a secondary extraction of a portion of the Brahmana text. This makes it one of the oldest texts of the Upanishad corpus...

. The Upanishads saw dharma as the universal principle of law, order, harmony, all in all truth, that sprang first from Brahman
Brahman
In Hinduism, Brahman is the one supreme, universal Spirit that is the origin and support of the phenomenal universe. Brahman is sometimes referred to as the Absolute or Godhead which is the Divine Ground of all being...

. It acts as the regulatory moral principle of the Universe. It is sat (truth), a major tenet of Hinduism. This hearkens back to the conception of the Rig Veda that "Ekam Sat," (Truth Is One), of the idea that Brahman is "Sacchidananda
Satchitananda
Saccidānanda, Satchidananda, or Sat-cit-ānanda is a compound of three Sanskrit words, Sat , Cit , and Ānanda , meaning Existence , Consciousness, and Bliss respectively...

" (Truth-Consciousness-Bliss). Dharma is not just law, or harmony, it is pure Reality. In the Brihadaranyaka's own words:
In the Mahabharata
Mahabharata
The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India and Nepal, the other being the Ramayana. The epic is part of itihasa....

, Krishna
Krishna
Krishna is a central figure of Hinduism and is traditionally attributed the authorship of the Bhagavad Gita. He is the supreme Being and considered in some monotheistic traditions as an Avatar of Vishnu...

 defines dharma as,
"Dhaaranaad dharma ity aahur dharmena vidhrtaah prajaah, Yat syaad dhaarana sanyuktam sa dharma iti nishchayah,"

i.e.,

Purusartha

Through the four ashramas
Ashrama (stage)
An Ashrama in Hinduism is one of four stages in an age-based social system as laid out in the Manu Smrti and later Classical Sanskrit texts.-The Ashram system:...

, or stages of life (Brahmacharya
Brahmacharya
Brahmacharya is one of the four stages of life in an age-based social system as laid out in the Manu Smrti and later Classical Sanskrit texts in Hinduism. It refers to an educational period of 14–20 years which starts before the age of puberty. During this time the traditional vedic sciences are...

, Grihastha
Grihastha
Grihasthya refers to the second phase of an individual's life in the Vedic ashram system. It is often called 'the householders life' revolving as it does around the duties of maintaining a household and leading a family-centred life.-Usage:...

, Vaanprastha, Sanyaasa), a person also seeks to fulfill the four essentials (puruṣārtha) of kama
Kama
Kāma is often translated from Sanskrit as sexual desire, sexual pleasure, sensual gratification, sexual fulfillment, or eros54654564+more broadly mean desire, wish, passion, longing, pleasure of the senses, the aesthetic enjoyment of life, affection, or love, without sexual connotations.-Kama in...

(sensual pleasures), artha
Artha
Artha is a Sanskrit term meaning "purpose, cause, motive, meaning, notion".It refers to the idea of material prosperity. In Hinduism, artha is one of the four goals of life, known as purusharthas. It is considered to be a noble goal as long as it follows the dictates of Vedic morality...

(worldly gain), dharma, and moksha
Moksha
Within Indian religions, moksha or mukti , literally "release" , is the liberation from samsara and the concomitant suffering involved in being subject to the cycle of repeated death and reincarnation or rebirth.-Origins:It is highly probable that the concept of moksha was first developed in...

(liberation from reincarnation
Reincarnation
Reincarnation best describes the concept where the soul or spirit, after the death of the body, is believed to return to live in a new human body, or, in some traditions, either as a human being, animal or plant...

 or rebirth). Moksha, although the ultimate goal, is emphasized more in the last two stages of life, while artha and kama are considered primary only during Grihastha. Dharma, however is essential in all four stages. As a puruṣārtha (human goal), dharma can also be considered to be a lens through which humans plan and perform their interactions with the world. Through the dharmic lens, one focuses on doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong, while the kama perspective focuses on doing what is pleasurable (in many senses, not just sex) and avoiding pain, and the artha perspective focuses on doing what is profitable (in many senses, not just money) and avoiding loss.

Deity

Dharma is also the name of a deity or Deva
Deva (Hinduism)
' is the Sanskrit word for god or deity, its related feminine term is devi. In modern Hinduism, it can be loosely interpreted as any benevolent supernatural beings. The devs in Hinduism, also called Suras, are often juxtaposed to the Asuras, their half brothers. Devs are also the maintainers of...

in charge of dharma. Mythologically, he is said to have been born from the right breast of Brahma
Brahma
Brahma is the Hindu god of creation and one of the Trimurti, the others being Vishnu and Shiva. According to the Brahma Purana, he is the father of Mānu, and from Mānu all human beings are descended. In the Ramayana and the...

, is married to ten daughters of Daksha
Daksha
In Hinduism, Daksha, "the skilled one", is an ancient creator god, one of the Prajapatis, the Rishis and the Adityas. Daksha is said to be the son of Aditi and Brahma...

 and fathers Shama, Kama
Kama
Kāma is often translated from Sanskrit as sexual desire, sexual pleasure, sensual gratification, sexual fulfillment, or eros54654564+more broadly mean desire, wish, passion, longing, pleasure of the senses, the aesthetic enjoyment of life, affection, or love, without sexual connotations.-Kama in...

 and Harahsa. He is also the father of the celebrated Rishis Hari, Krishna, Nara-Narayana
Nara-Narayana
Nara-Narayana is a Hindu deity pair. Nara-Narayana is the twin-brother incarnation of the preserver-god Vishnu on earth, working for the preservation of dharma or righteousness...

.

In the epic Mahabharata
Mahabharata
The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India and Nepal, the other being the Ramayana. The epic is part of itihasa....

, he is incarnate as Vidura
Vidura
Vidura was an important figure in the Mahabharata, a major Hindu epic. He was half-brother to the kings Dhritarashtra and Pandu of Hastinapura, born the son of the sage Vyasa and a lady-in-waiting to the queens Ambika and Ambalika of the city...

. Also, Dharma is invoked by Kunti and she begets her eldest son Yudhisthira from him. As such, Yudhisthira
Yudhisthira
In the great Hindu epic Mahabharata, Yudhisthira , the eldest son of King Pandu and Queen Kunti, was king of Indraprastha and later of Hastinapura. He was the leader of the Pandava side in the Kurukshetra War...

 is known as Dharmaputra. There is also an assimilation of the god Dharma and Yama
Yama
Yama , also known as Yamarāja in India and Nepal, Shinje in Tibet, Yanluowang or simply Yan in China, Yeomla Daewang in South Korea and Enma Dai-Ō in Japan, is the lord of death, in Hinduism and then adopted into Buddhism and then further into Chinese mythology and Japanese mythology. First...

, the god responsible for the dead.

Technical literature

In technical literature, e.g., in Sanskrit grammar
Sanskrit grammar
The grammar of the Sanskrit language has a complex verbal system, rich nominal declension, and extensive use of compound nouns. It was studied and codified by Sanskrit grammarians from the later Vedic period , culminating in the Pāṇinian grammar of the 4th century BC.-Grammatical tradition:The...

, dharma also means "property" and dharmin means "property-bearer". In a Sanskrit sentence like , "sound is impermanent", "sound" is the bearer of the property "impermanence". Likewise, in the sentence , "here, there is a pot", "here" is the bearer of the property "pot-existence" – this shows that the categories of property and property-bearer are closer to those of a logical predicate and its subject-term, and not to a grammatical predicate and subject.

Buddhism

For many Buddhists, the Dharma most often means the body of teachings expounded by the Buddha
Gautama Buddha
Siddhārtha Gautama was a spiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. In most Buddhist traditions, he is regarded as the Supreme Buddha Siddhārtha Gautama (Sanskrit: सिद्धार्थ गौतम; Pali: Siddhattha Gotama) was a spiritual teacher from the Indian...

. The word is also used in Buddhist phenomenology as a term roughly equivalent to phenomenon
Phenomenon
A phenomenon , plural phenomena, is any observable occurrence. Phenomena are often, but not always, understood as 'appearances' or 'experiences'...

, a basic unit of existence and/or experience.

In East Asia, the translation for dharma is 法, pronounced in Mandarin, beop in Korean, in Japanese, and pháp in Vietnamese. However, the term dharma can also be transliterated from its original form.

Buddha's teachings

For practicing Buddhists, references to "dharma" (dhamma in Pali) particularly as "the Dharma", generally means the teachings of the Buddha, commonly known throughout the East as Buddha-Dharma.

The status of Dharma is regarded variably by different Buddhist traditions. Some regard it as an ultimate truth, or as the fount of all things which lies beyond the "three realms" (Sanskrit: tridhatu) and the "wheel of becoming" (Sanskrit: bhavacakra
Bhavacakra
The bhavacakra is a symbolic representation of samsara found on the outside walls of Tibetan Buddhist temples and monasteries in the Indo-Tibet region...

), somewhat like the pagan Greek and Christian logos
Logos
' is an important term in philosophy, psychology, rhetoric and religion. Originally a word meaning "a ground", "a plea", "an opinion", "an expectation", "word," "speech," "account," "reason," it became a technical term in philosophy, beginning with Heraclitus ' is an important term in...

: this is known as Dharmakaya
Dharmakaya
The Dharmakāya is a central idea in Mahayana Buddhism forming part of the Trikaya doctrine that was possibly first expounded in the Aṣṭasāhasrikā prajñā-pāramitā , composed in the 1st century BCE...

(Sanskrit). Others, who regard the Buddha as simply an enlightened human being, see the Dharma as the essence of the "84,000 different aspects of the teaching" (Tibetan: chos-sgo brgyad-khri bzhi strong) that the Buddha gave to various types of people, based upon their individual propensities and capabilities.

Dharma refers not only to the sayings of the Buddha, but also to the later traditions of interpretation and addition that the various schools of Buddhism
Schools of Buddhism
Buddhism is an ancient, polyvalent ideological system that originated in the Iron Age Indian subcontinent, referred to variously throughout history by one or more of a myriad of concepts – including, but not limited to any of the following: a Dharmic religion, a philosophy or quasi-philosophical...

 have developed to help explain and to expand upon the Buddha's teachings. For others still, they see the Dharma as referring to the "truth," or the ultimate reality of "the way that things really are" (Tib. Cho).

The Dharma is one of the Three Jewels
Three Jewels
The Three Jewels, also called the Three Treasures, the Siemese Triples, Three Refuges, or the Triple Gem , are the three things that Buddhists take refuge in, and look toward for guidance, in the process known as taking refuge.The Three Jewels are:* BuddhaTaking refuge in the Three Jewels is...

 of Buddhism in which practitioners of Buddhism seek refuge, or that upon which one relies for his or her lasting happiness. The Three Jewels of Buddhism are the Buddha
Buddhahood
In Buddhism, buddhahood is the state of perfect enlightenment attained by a buddha .In Buddhism, the term buddha usually refers to one who has become enlightened...

, meaning the mind's perfection of enlightenment, the Dharma
Dharma (Buddhism)
Dhamma or Dharma in Buddhism can have the following meanings:* The state of Nature as it is * The Laws of Nature considered collectively....

, meaning the teachings and the methods of the Buddha, and the Sangha
Sangha
Sangha is a word in Pali or Sanskrit that can be translated roughly as "association" or "assembly," "company" or "community" with common goal, vision or purpose...

, meaning those awakened beings who provide guidance and support to followers of the Buddha.

Qualities of Buddha Dharma

The Teaching of the Buddha also has six supreme qualities:
  1. Svakkhato (Pali). The Dharma is not a speculative philosophy, but is the Universal Law found through enlightenment and is preached precisely. Therefore it is Excellent in the beginning (Sīla — Moral principles), Excellent in the middle (Samadhi — Concentration) and Excellent in the end, the only end that could result through fate. (Pańña — Wisdom).
  2. Sanditthiko (Pali). The Dharma can be tested by practice and therefore he who follows it will see the result by himself through his own experience.
  3. Akāliko (Pali). The Dharma is able to bestow timeless and immediate results here and now, through no matter which means of travel, for which there is no need to wait until the future or next existence.
  4. Ehipassiko (Pali). The Dharma welcomes all beings to put it to the test and to experience it for themselves.
  5. Opāneyiko (Pali). The Dharma is capable of being entered upon and therefore it is worthy to be followed as a part of one's life.
  6. Paccattam veditabbo viññūhi (Pali). The Dharma may be perfectly realized only by the noble disciples (Pali: ariyas) who have matured and who have become enlightened in supreme wisdom.


Knowing these attributes, Buddhists hold that they will attain the greatest peace and happiness through the practice of Dharma. Each person is therefore fully responsible to engage in their own practice and commitment.

Buddhist phenomenology

Other uses include dharma, normally spelled with a small "d" (to differentiate), which refers to a phenomenon or constituent factor of human experience. This was gradually expanded into a classification of constituents of the entire material and mental world. Rejecting the substantial existence of permanent entities which are qualified by possibly changing qualities, Buddhist Abhidharma
Abhidharma
Abhidharma or Abhidhamma are ancient Buddhist texts which contain detailed scholastic and scientific reworkings of doctrinal material appearing in the Buddhist Sutras, according to schematic classifications...

 philosophers enumerated lists of dharmas which varied by school. They came to propound that these "constituent factors" are the only type of entity that truly exists (and only some thinkers gave dharmas this kind of existence). This notion is of particular importance for the analysis of human experience: Rather than assuming that mental states inhere in a cognizing subject, or a soul-substance, Buddhist philosophers largely propose that mental states alone exist as "momentary elements of consciousness" and that a subjective perceiver is assumed.

One of the central tenets of Buddhism, is the denial of a separate permanent "I", and is outlined in the three marks of existence
Three marks of existence
The Three marks of existence, within Buddhism, are three characteristics shared by all sentient beings, namely: impermanence ; suffering or unsatisfactoriness ; non-self .According to Buddhist tradition, a full understanding of these three can bring an end to suffering...

.
  1. Dukkha
    Dukkha
    Dukkha is a Pali term roughly corresponding to a number of terms in English including suffering, pain, discontent, unsatisfactoriness, unhappiness, sorrow, affliction, social alienation, anxiety,...

    - Suffering or unsatisfactoriness (Pali: Dukkha)
  2. Anitya - Change/Impermanence (Pali: Anicca)
  3. Anatman - Not-Self (Pali: Annatta)


At the heart of Buddhism is the understanding of all phenomena as dependently originated.

Later, Buddhist philosophers like Nāgārjuna
Nagarjuna
Nāgārjuna was an important Buddhist teacher and philosopher. Along with his disciple Āryadeva, he is credited with founding the Mādhyamaka school of Mahāyāna Buddhism...

 would question whether the dharmas (momentary elements of consciousness) truly have a separate existence of their own. (i.e. Do they exist apart from anything else?) Rejecting any inherent reality to the dharmas, he asked (rhetorically):











|



When all dharmas are empty, what is endless? What has an end?

What is endless and with an end? What is not endless and not with an end?

What is it? What is other? What is permanent? What is impermanent?

What is impermanent and permanent? What is neither?



Auspicious is the pacification of phenomenal metastasis, the pacification of all apprehending;

There is no dharma whatsoever taught by the Buddha to whomever, whenever, wherever.


--Mūlamadhyamakakārikā, , 25:22-24

Righteousness

According to S. N. Goenka
S. N. Goenka
Satya Narayan Goenka is a leading lay teacher of Vipassanā meditation and a student of U Ba Khin. He has trained more than 800 assistant teachers and each year more than 100,000 people attend Goenka sponsored Vipassana courses....

, teacher of Vipassana
Vipassana
Vipassanā or vipaśyanā in the Buddhist tradition means insight into the true nature of reality. A regular practitioner of Vipassana is known as a Vipassi . Vipassana is one of the world's most ancient techniques of meditation, the inception of which is attributed to Gautama Buddha...

 meditation
Meditation
Meditation is any form of a family of practices in which practitioners train their minds or self-induce a mode of consciousness to realize some benefit....

, the original meaning of dhamma is "dhareti iti dharmma", or "that which is contained". Dharma in the Buddhist scriptures has a variety of meanings, including "phenomenon" and "nature" or "characteristic".
Dharma also means "mental contents," and is paired with citta, which means heart-mind. The pairing is paralleled with the combining of kaya (body) and vedana (feelings or sensations which arise within the body but are experienced through the mind), in major sutras such as the Mahasatipatthana sutra.

Dharma is also used to refer to the teachings of the Buddha, especially the discourses on the fundamental principles (such as the Four Noble Truths
Four Noble Truths
The Four Noble Truths are an important principle in Buddhism, classically taught by the Buddha in the Dharmacakra Pravartana Sūtra....

 and the Noble Eightfold Path
Noble Eightfold Path
The Noble Eightfold Path , is one of the principal teachings of the Buddha, who described it as the way leading to the cessation of suffering and the achievement of self-awakening. It is used to develop insight into the true nature of phenomena and to eradicate greed, hatred, and delusion...

), as opposed to the parables and to the poems.

Ch'an

Dharma is employed in Ch'an in a specific context in relation to transmission of authentic doctrine, understanding and bodhi; recognized in Dharma transmission
Dharma transmission
Dharma transmission refers to "the manner in which the teaching, or Dharma, is passed from a Zen master to their disciple and heir...

.

Jainism

In Jainism
Jainism
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

, dharma is natural. Acharya
Acharya
In Indian religions and society, an acharya is a guide or instructor in religious matters; founder, or leader of a sect; or a highly learned man or a title affixed to the names of learned men...

 Samantabhadra
Samantabhadra
Samantabhadra , is a bodhisattva in Mahayana Buddhism associated with Buddhist practice and meditation. Together with Shakyamuni Buddha and fellow bodhisattva Manjusri he forms the Shakyamuni trinity in Buddhism...

 writes, Vatthu sahavo dhammo: "the dharma is the nature of an object". It is the nature of the soul to be free, thus for the soul, the dharma ia paralaukika, beyond worldly. However the nature of the body is to seek self-preservation and be engaged in pleasures. Thus there are two dharmas.

Two Dharmas

Acharya Haribhadra
Haribhadra
Haribhadra Suri was a Svetambara mendicant Jain leader and author.-History:There are multiple contradictory dates assigned to his birth. These include 459, 478, and 529. However, given his familiarity with Dharmakirti, a more likely choice would be sometime after 650...

 (approx. 6-7th cent.) discusses dharma in Dharma-Bindu. He writes (Translation by Y. Malaiya):


|

Because of the difference in practice, dharma is of two kinds,
for the householders and for the monks.



|

Of the householder's dharma, there are two kinds, "ordinary" and "special"



|

The ordinary dharma of the householder should be carried out according to tradition, such that it is not objectionable, according to ones abilities such as wealth, in accordance with nyaya (everyone treated fairly and according to laws).

Somadeva suri (10th c.) terms the "ordinary" and "special" dharmas laukika ("worldly") and pralaukika ("extra-worldly") respectively:

|

||

A householder follows both laukika and the paralaukika dharmas at the same time.

Sikhism

For Sikh
Sikh
A Sikh is a follower of Sikhism. It primarily originated in the 15th century in the Punjab region of South Asia. The term "Sikh" has its origin in Sanskrit term शिष्य , meaning "disciple, student" or शिक्ष , meaning "instruction"...

s, the word Dharm means the "path of righteousness". What is the "righteous path"? That is the question that the Sikh scriptures attempt to answer. The main holy scriptures of the Sikhs is called the Guru Granth Sahib
Guru Granth Sahib
Sri Guru Granth Sahib , or Adi Granth, is the religious text of Sikhism. It is the final and eternal guru of the Sikhs. It is a voluminous text of 1430 angs, compiled and composed during the period of Sikh gurus, from 1469 to 1708...

. It is considered to be more than a holy book of the Sikh
Sikh
A Sikh is a follower of Sikhism. It primarily originated in the 15th century in the Punjab region of South Asia. The term "Sikh" has its origin in Sanskrit term शिष्य , meaning "disciple, student" or शिक्ष , meaning "instruction"...

s. The Sikhs treat this Granth (holy book) as a living Guru
Guru
A guru is one who is regarded as having great knowledge, wisdom, and authority in a certain area, and who uses it to guide others . Other forms of manifestation of this principle can include parents, school teachers, non-human objects and even one's own intellectual discipline, if the...

. The holy text spans 1430 pages and contains the actual words spoken by the Sikh Gurus and various other Saint
Saint
A saint is a holy person. In various religions, saints are people who are believed to have exceptional holiness.In Christian usage, "saint" refers to any believer who is "in Christ", and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or in earth...

s from other religions including Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 and Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

.

Sikh Dharma is a distinct religion revealed through the teachings of ten Gurus who are accepted by the followers as if they were spiritually the same. The Gurus are considered "the divine light" and they conveyed Gurbani (the word of God) in the form of the Guru Granth Sahib to the world. In this faith, God is described as both Nirgun (transcendent) and Sargun (immanent). Further, God pervades in His creation and is omnipresent, but cannot be incarnate. The principal Sikh belief lays stress on one's actions and deeds rather than religious labels, rituals or outward appearance or signs.

Background

The primary object of a Sikh's life is to seek union with God and hence, liberation from the cycle of births and deaths (cycle of re-incarnation) which is dictated by a person's thought, deeds and actions in this life. Liberation can be achieved through meditating on God, truthful living and sharing ones wealth in the context of a normal family life and through divine grace. Amrit Pahul – Sikh baptism for both men and women – was instituted in 1699 by Guru Gobind Singh
Guru Gobind Singh
Guru Gobind Singh is the tenth and last Sikh guru in a sacred lineage of ten Sikh gurus. Born in Patna, Bihar in India, he was also a warrior, poet and philosopher. He succeeded his father Guru Tegh Bahadur as the leader of Sikhs at a young age of nine...

, the tenth Guru. All Sikhs, on taking Amrit
Amrit
Amrit, also known as Marathos or Marathus, was an ancient city located near Tartous in Syria. It was founded during the Amorites period, 3rd millennium BC....

, are enjoined to lead a disciplined life by following a code of ethics leading to a "Saint-Soldier" way of life. In 1708, Guru Gobind Singh vested spiritual authority in the Guru Granth Sahib (the Sikh scriptures) as the eternal Guru and hence Sikh Dharma acknowledges the end of human Guruship. At the same time, the temporal authority was vested in the Khalsa
Khalsa
+YouWebImagesVideosMapsNewsMailMoreTranslateFrom: ArabicTo: EnglishEnglishHindiEnglishAllow phonetic typingHindiEnglishArabicAssumptionGoogle Translate for Business:Translator ToolkitWebsite TranslatorGlobal Market Finder...

 Panth
(a community of Sikhs who have taken Amrit).

Other important aspects of a Sikh's life include Sewa
SEWA
The Self-Employed Women's Association of India is a trade union for poor, self-employed women workers in India. SEWA was founded in 1972 by the noted Gandhian and civil rights leader Dr Ela Bhatt. SEWA's main office is located in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, and it works in several states of India. SEWA...

(dedication to the service of God's creation) where the emphasis is often upon manual work, undertaking of goodwill towards other faiths and their followers, to defend for justice and assistance of the oppressed. In contrast to many other faiths, Sikhs believe that when all other means to achieve justice are exhausted, then it is just to wield the sword.

Congregational worship includes the following:
  1. Paath
    Paath
    Paath or Path, from the Sanskrit patha which means reading or recitation, is, in the religious context, reading or recitation of the holy texts. In Sikhism, it implies daily repetition of scriptural texts from the Guru Granth Sahib.-Background:...

    - Reading of the Holy scriptures
  2. Kirtan
    Kirtan
    Kirtan or Kirtana is call-and-response chanting or "responsory" performed in India's devotional traditions. A person performing kirtan is known as a kirtankar. Kirtan practice involves chanting hymns or mantras to the accompaniment of instruments such as the harmonium, tablas, the two-headed...

    - Singing of Shabads (hymns).
  3. Langar - A communal vegetarian meal also call free kitchen is an important feature of the Sikh way of life, and food is served to everyone at the end of a Sikh service.
  4. Ardas
    Ardas
    The Ardās is a Sikh prayer that is done before performing or after undertaking any significant task; after reciting the daily Banis ; or completion of a service like the Paath , kirtan program or any other religious program. In Sikhism, these prayers are also said before and after eating...

    - Sikhs conclude their prayers by doing the Ardas and invoking God's blessings on everyone – not just on Sikhs.

Scriptures and dharma

The Guru Granth Sahib lays down the foundation of this "righteous path" and various salient points are found.
  1. Sikh is bound by Dharma: The followers of this faith are bound by Dharma as advocated in their holy scriptures. The committed Sikh is encouraged to follow this path at all times. The first recitation of the Guru Granth Sahib called the Japji Sahib says the following: "The path of the faithful shall never be blocked. The faithful shall depart with honor and fame. The faithful do not follow empty religious rituals. The faithful people are fully bound to do whatever the Dharma wants them to do. Such is the Name of the Immaculate Lord. Only one who has faith comes to know such a state of mind." (14) (Guru Granth Sahib
    Guru Granth Sahib
    Sri Guru Granth Sahib , or Adi Granth, is the religious text of Sikhism. It is the final and eternal guru of the Sikhs. It is a voluminous text of 1430 angs, compiled and composed during the period of Sikh gurus, from 1469 to 1708...

     Japji page 3.)
  2. Deeds are recorded: The persons thoughts and deeds are said to be recorded and the faithful is warned that these will be read out in the presence of the "Lord of Dharma". Two scribes called Chitr and Gupt, the angels of the conscious and the subconscious mind are busy writing ones thought and deeds. On death, the soul of the person he brought before "Lord of Dharma" are these account are read out as recoded in this quote: "Day and night are the two nurses, in whose lap all the world is at play. Good deeds and bad deeds - the record is read out in the Presence of the Lord of Dharma. According to their own actions, some are drawn closer, and some are driven farther away."
  3. Dharma administered by God: The scriptures further outline how the "Judge of Dharma" administers justice depending on the way that one has conducted life on Earth. The soul is either "cleared" or "subject to God's command" depending on the review of the person history. The holy text says: "The Righteous Judge of Dharma, by the Hukam of God's Command, sits and administers True Justice". and those followers who "chant the name of the Lord" are cleared as outlined thus: "Her account is cleared by the Righteous Judge of Dharma, when she chants the Name of the Lord, Har, Har."

Daena

Daena (din in modern Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

) is the eternal Law, whose order was revealed to humanity through the Mathra-Spenta ("Holy Words"). Daena has been used to mean religion, faith, law, even as a translation for the Hindu and Buddhist term Dharma, often interpreted as "duty" or social order, right conduct, or virtue. The metaphor of the 'path' of Daena is represented in Zoroastrianism by the muslin undershirt Sudra, the 'Good/Holy Path', and the 72-thread Kushti
Kushti
Kushti is the sacred girdle worn by Zoroastrians around their waists. Along with the Sedreh, the Kushti is part of the ritual dress of the Zoroastrians....

girdle, the "Pathfinder".

Asha

Daena should not be confused with the fundamental principle asha
Asha
Asha is the Avestan language term for a concept of cardinal importance to Zoroastrian theology and doctrine. In the moral sphere, aša/arta represents what has been called "the decisive confessional concept of Zoroastrianism." ...

(Vedic rta), the equitable law of the universe, which governed the life of the ancient Indo-Iranians. For these, asha was the course of everything observable, the motion of the planets and astral bodies, the progression of the seasons, the pattern of daily nomadic herdsman life, governed by regular metronomic events such as sunrise and sunset. All physical creation (geti) was thus determined to run according to a master plan — inherent to Ahura Mazda — and violations of the order (druj) were violations against creation, and thus violations against Ahura Mazda. This concept of asha versus the druj should not be confused with the good-versus-evil battle evident in western religions, for although both forms of opposition express moral conflict, the asha versus druj concept is more systemic and less personal, representing, for instance, chaos (that opposes order); or "uncreation", evident as natural decay (that opposes creation); or more simply "the lie" (that opposes truth, righteousness). Moreover, in his role as the one uncreated creator of all, Ahura Mazda is not the creator of druj which is "nothing", anti-creation, and thus (likewise) uncreated. Thus, in Zoroaster's revelation, Ahura Mazda was perceived to be the creator of only the good (Yasna 31.4), the "supreme benevolent providence" (Yasna 43.11), that will ultimately triumph (Yasna 48.1).

In this schema of asha versus druj, mortal beings (humans and animals both) play a critical role, for they too are created. Here, in their lives, they are active participants in the conflict and it is their duty to defend order, which would decay without counteraction. Throughout the Gathas
Gathas
The Gathas are 17 hymns believed to have been composed by Zarathusthra himself. They are the most sacred texts of the Zoroastrian faith.-Structure and organization:...

, Zoroaster emphasizes deeds and actions, and accordingly asceticism
Asceticism
Asceticism describes a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from various sorts of worldly pleasures often with the aim of pursuing religious and spiritual goals...

 is frowned upon in Zoroastrianism. In later Zoroastrianism this was explained as fleeing from the experiences of life, which was the very purpose that the urvan (most commonly translated as the 'soul') was sent into the mortal world to collect. The avoidance of any aspect of life, which includes the avoidance of the pleasures of life, is a shirking of the responsibility and duty to oneself, one's urvan, and one's family and social obligations.

Thus, central to Zoroastrianism is the emphasis on moral choice, to choose between the responsibility and duty for which one is in the mortal world, or to give up this duty and so facilitate the work of druj. Similarly, predestination
Predestination
Predestination, in theology is the doctrine that all events have been willed by God. John Calvin interpreted biblical predestination to mean that God willed eternal damnation for some people and salvation for others...

 is rejected in Zoroastrian teaching. Humans bear responsibility for all situations they are in, and in the way they act to one another. Reward, punishment, happiness and grief all depend on how individuals live their life.

In Zoroastrianism, good transpires for those who do righteous deeds. Those who do evil have themselves to blame for their ruin. Zoroastrian morality is then to be summed up in the simple phrase, "good thoughts, good words, good deeds" (Humata, Hukhta, Hvarshta in Avestan), for it is through these that asha is maintained and druj is kept in check.

Through accumulation several other beliefs were introduced to the religion that in some instances supersede those expressed in the Gathas. In the late 19th century the moral and immoral forces came to be represented by Spenta Mainyu and its Satanic antithesis
Antithesis
Antithesis is a counter-proposition and denotes a direct contrast to the original proposition...

 Angra Mainyu
Angra Mainyu
Angra Mainyu is the Avestan-language name of Zoroastrianism's hypostasis of the "destructive spirit". The Middle Persian equivalent is Ahriman.-In Zoroaster's revelation:...

, the 'good spirit' and 'evil spirit' emanations of Ahura Mazda respectively. Although the names are old, this opposition is a modern western-influenced development popularized by Martin Haug
Martin Haug
Martin Haug was a German orientalist.-Biography:Haug was born at Ostdorf , Württemberg. He became a pupil in the gymnasium at Stuttgart at a comparatively late age, and in 1848 he entered the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, where he studied oriental languages, especially Sanskrit...

 in the 1880s, and was in effect a realignment of the precepts of Zurvanism
Zurvanism
Zurvanism is a now-extinct branch of Zoroastrianism that had the divinity Zurvan as its First Principle . Zurvanism is also known as Zurvanite Zoroastrianism....

 (Zurvanite Zoroastrianism), which had invented a third deity, Zurvan, in order to explain a mention of twinship (Yasna 30.3) between the moral and immoral. Although Zurvanism had died out by the 10th century the critical question of the "twin brothers" mentioned in Yasna 30.3 remained, and Haug's explanation provided a convenient defence against Christian missionaries who disparaged the Parsis (Indian Zoroastrians) for their 'dualism'. Haug's concept was subsequently disseminated as a Parsi interpretation, thus corroborating Haug's theory and the idea became so popular that it is now almost universally accepted as doctrine.

Achaemenid Era

Achaemenid era (648–330 BCE) Zoroastrianism developed the abstract concepts of heaven, hell, personal and final judgement, all of which are only alluded to in the Gathas
Gathas
The Gathas are 17 hymns believed to have been composed by Zarathusthra himself. They are the most sacred texts of the Zoroastrian faith.-Structure and organization:...

. Yasna 19 (which has only survived in a Sassanid era (226–650 CE) Zend commentary on the Ahuna Vairya
Ahuna Vairya
Ahuna Vairya is the Avestan language name of the most sacred of the Gathic hymns of the Avesta, the revered texts of Zoroastrianism....

invocation), prescribes a Path to Judgement known as the Chinvat Peretum or Chinvat bridge
Chinvat bridge
The Chinvat Bridge in Zoroastrianism is the bridge which separates the world of the living from the world of the dead. All souls must cross the bridge upon death....

(cf: As-Sirāt in Islam), which all souls had to cross, and judgement (over thoughts, words, deeds performed during a lifetime) was passed as they were doing so. However, the Zoroastrian personal judgement is not final. At the end of time, when evil is finally defeated, all souls will be ultimately reunited with their Fravashi
Fravashi
A fravashi is the guardian spirit mentioned in the Avesta of an individual, who sends out the urvan into the material world to fight the battle of good versus evil...

. Thus, Zoroastrianism can be said to be a universalist religion with respect to salvation.

In addition, and strongly influenced by Babylonian and Akkadian practices, the Achaemenids popularized shrines and temples, hitherto alien forms of worship. In the wake of Achaemenid expansion shrines were constructed throughout the empire and particularly influenced the role of Mithra
Mithra
Mithra is the Zoroastrian divinity of covenant and oath. In addition to being the divinity of contracts, Mithra is also a judicial figure, an all-seeing protector of Truth, and the guardian of cattle, the harvest and of The Waters....

, Aredvi Sura Anahita, Verethregna
Vahram
Verethragna is an Avestan language neuter noun literally meaning "smiting of resistance" . Representing this concept is the divinity Verethragna, who is the hypostasis of "victory", and "as a giver of victory Verethragna plainly enjoyed the greatest popularity of old" .The neuter noun verethragna...

 and Tishtrya
Tishtrya
Tishtrya is the Avestan language name of an Zoroastrian benevolent divinity associated with life-bringing rainfall and fertility. Tishtrya is Tir in Middle- and Modern Persian...

, all of which, in addition to their original (proto-)Indo-Iranian functions, now also received Perso-Babylonian functions.

Although the worship of images would eventually fall out of favour (and be replaced by the iconoclastic fire temple
Fire temple
A fire temple in Zoroastrianism is the place of worship for Zoroastrians. Zoroastrians revere fire in any form. In the Zoroastrian religion, fire , together with clean water , are agents of ritual purity...

s), the lasting legacy of the Achaemenids was a vast, complex hierarchy of Yazatas
Yazata
Yazata is the Avestan language word for a Zoroastrian concept. The word has a wide range of meanings but generally signifies a divinity...

 (modern Zoroastrianism's Angels) that were now not just evident in the religion, but firmly established, not least because the divinities received dedications in the Zoroastrian calendar
Zoroastrian calendar
This article treats of the reckoning of days, months and years in the calendar used by adherents of the Zoroastrian faith. Zoroastrian religious festivals are discussed elsewhere, but have a fixed relationship to Nawruz, the New Year festival, whose timing is discussed below...

, thus ensuring that they were frequently invoked. Additionally, the Amesha Spenta
Amesha Spenta
' is an Avestan language term for a class of divine entities in Zoroastrianism, and literally means "Bounteous Immortal" The noun is amesha "immortal", and spenta "furthering, strengthening, bounteous, holy" is an adjective of it...

, the six originally abstract terms that were regarded as direct emanations or aspects or "divine sparks" of Ahura Mazda, came to be personified as an archangel retinue.

See also

  • Tao
    Tao
    Dao or Tao is a Chinese word meaning 'way', 'path', 'route', or sometimes more loosely, 'doctrine' or 'principle'...

     (Chinese)
  • Perennial philosophy
    Perennial philosophy
    Perennial philosophy is the notion of the universal recurrence of philosophical insight independent of epoch or culture, including universal truths on the nature of reality, humanity or consciousness .-History:The idea of a perennial philosophy has great...

  • Mysticism
    Mysticism
    Mysticism is the knowledge of, and especially the personal experience of, states of consciousness, i.e. levels of being, beyond normal human perception, including experience and even communion with a supreme being.-Classical origins:...

  • Rta
    Rta
    In the Vedic religion, Ṛta is the principle of natural order which regulates and coordinates the operation of the universe and everything within it. In the hymns of the Vedas, Ṛta is described as that which is ultimately responsible for the proper functioning of the natural, moral and sacrificial...

  • Hindu philosophy
    Hindu philosophy
    Hindu philosophy is divided into six schools of thought, or , which accept the Vedas as supreme revealed scriptures. Three other schools do not accept the Vedas as authoritative...

  • Buddhist philosophy
    Buddhist philosophy
    Buddhist philosophy deals extensively with problems in metaphysics, phenomenology, ethics, and epistemology.Some scholars assert that early Buddhist philosophy did not engage in ontological or metaphysical speculation, but was based instead on empirical evidence gained by the sense organs...

  • Karma
    Karma
    Karma in Indian religions is the concept of "action" or "deed", understood as that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect originating in ancient India and treated in Hindu, Jain, Buddhist and Sikh philosophies....

  • Dhammapada
    Dhammapada
    The Dhammapada is a versified Buddhist scripture traditionally ascribed to the Buddha himself. It is one of the best-known texts from the Theravada canon....

  • Dharmacakra
    Dharmacakra
    The Dharmachakra , lit. "Wheel of Dharma" or "Wheel of Life" is a symbol that has represented dharma, the Buddha's teaching of the path to enlightenment, since the early period of Indian Buddhism. A similar symbol is also in use in Jainism...

  • Dharma Maharaja
  • Dharmasankat
    Dharmasankat
    Dharmasankat is a term in Indian religious and spiritual contexts implying a moral or ethical quandary, where choosing any of several options would result in a breach of one's dharma...

  • Dharma transmission
    Dharma transmission
    Dharma transmission refers to "the manner in which the teaching, or Dharma, is passed from a Zen master to their disciple and heir...

  • Yuga Dharma
    Yuga Dharma
    Yuga Dharma is one aspect of Dharma, as understood by Hindus. Yuga dharma is that aspect of dharma that is valid for a Yuga, an epoch or age as established by Hindu tradition...

  • Mitzvah
    Mitzvah
    The primary meaning of the Hebrew word refers to precepts and commandments as commanded by God...

     (Jewish)
  • Fard
    Fard
    also is an Islamic term which denotes a religious duty. The word is also used in Persian, Turkish, and Urdu in the same meaning....

     (Islamic)
  • Themis
    Themis
    Themis is an ancient Greek Titaness. She is described as "of good counsel", and is the embodiment of divine order, law, and custom. Themis means "divine law" rather than human ordinance, literally "that which is put in place", from the verb τίθημι, títhēmi, "to put"...

     (Greek)
  • Essence
    Essence
    In philosophy, essence is the attribute or set of attributes that make an object or substance what it fundamentally is, and which it has by necessity, and without which it loses its identity. Essence is contrasted with accident: a property that the object or substance has contingently, without...

  • Ma'at (Egyptian)
  • Spontaneous order
    Spontaneous order
    Spontaneous order, also known as "self-organization", is the spontaneous emergence of order out of seeming chaos. It is a process found in physical, biological, and social networks, as well as economics, though the term "self-organization" is more often used for physical and biological processes,...


Further reading

  • Murthy, K. Krishna. "Dharma - Its Etymology." The Tibet Journal, Vol. XXI, No. 1, Spring 1966, pp. 84–87.
  • Radhakrishnan, S. (1923): "Indian Philosophy Vol.1" (2nd Edition). New Delhi: Oxford India Paperbacks (Oxford University Press).
  • Hume, R.E.: (1921): "The Thirteen Principal Upanishads" (2nd Edition, Revised). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Easwaran, E. (1987): "The Upanishads" (Seventh Printing). Tomales, CA: Nilgiri Press.
  • Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi : "Hindu Dharma: The Universal Way of Life". Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Press.
  • Sâdhus, going beyond the dreadlocks, by Patrick Levy, published by Prakash Books, Delhi, 2010.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK