The Dharma

The Buddha's teaching is called the Dhamma (Dharma). Dhamma comes from the Pali root dar, which means to support, to sustain, to hold up.

  • In the most basic sense, Dhamma is the true nature of things—the fundamental element of lawfulness operating in the universe, structuring all events, all experience and all phenomena.
  • Dhamma also means the fundamental principle of righteousness, the cosmic law of virtue and goodness.
  • Dhamma also has a practical sense, something applicable to our own life. Dhamma is that which sustains us, which supports us, or which upholds our own effort to live in virtue and goodness. In this sense Dhamma is the path. It is both the lower path of virtue and the supramundane path, the higher path that leads to realization of the true nature of things, that brings the attainment of truth.
  • The Buddha's teaching is called the Dhamma, because this teaching makes known the true nature of things, disclosing the true nature of all existence.

The Buddha's Dhamma
Bhikkhu Bodhi

Qualities of the Dhamma
Bhikkhu Bodhi – from the Ashoka course The Buddha's Teaching As It Is