What is Dharma?

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
[N.B. This is the forum that was called ‘Exploring Buddhism’. The new name simply describes it better.]
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Aemilius
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Re: What is Dharma?

Post by Aemilius » Tue Aug 27, 2019 11:32 am

tobes wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:50 am
Simon E. wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:49 am
If we are talking about conventional language that is true. But if we are talking about Dharmic language then in fact words can have objective meaning. Sanskrit and that part of the Tibetan language derived from it contain Bija mantras which are audible representations of objective reality, those representations are not-different to that which they represent.
Which is one of the reasons why empowerment is vital in the Vajrayana, without it mantrams are simply words. It takes empowerment to give them their living quality.That is where the authority lies in the Vajrayana.

But we quickly reach the limit of what can be discussed on an open forum.
This is rather scandalous. It is the kind of thing that the Sanskrit grammarians tried very hard to establish (and also why learning Sanskrit is so hard).....but think about their motivation. The authority of the Vedas is predicated on the view of language you offer here. And in so many ways Buddha-dharma rejects this, most acutely and tersely in the Madhyamaka.

Nonetheless, from the Vajrayana point of view, there is some truth in what you say. So is there just a rather gaping inconsistency?

I don't know. I suspect that there possibility might just be.....
Charles Wikner explains in his Sanskrit Indroductory Course that sanskrit words are derived from dhatus, i.e. stems or roots, -Wikner uses them both for dhatu. There is a classical collection of sanskrit dhatus called Dhatupatha. After Wikner's course you should be able to use the Dhatupatha and Monier-William's dictionary. Wikner points out that a similar principle of formation from stems applies in all indoeuropean languages. He takes the english example tend--> attend, pretend, portend, extend, ...

http://www.danam.co.uk/Sanskrit/Sanskri ... ctory.html
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)

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tobes
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Re: What is Dharma?

Post by tobes » Wed Aug 28, 2019 1:08 am

Aemilius wrote:
Tue Aug 27, 2019 11:32 am
tobes wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:50 am
Simon E. wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:49 am
If we are talking about conventional language that is true. But if we are talking about Dharmic language then in fact words can have objective meaning. Sanskrit and that part of the Tibetan language derived from it contain Bija mantras which are audible representations of objective reality, those representations are not-different to that which they represent.
Which is one of the reasons why empowerment is vital in the Vajrayana, without it mantrams are simply words. It takes empowerment to give them their living quality.That is where the authority lies in the Vajrayana.

But we quickly reach the limit of what can be discussed on an open forum.
This is rather scandalous. It is the kind of thing that the Sanskrit grammarians tried very hard to establish (and also why learning Sanskrit is so hard).....but think about their motivation. The authority of the Vedas is predicated on the view of language you offer here. And in so many ways Buddha-dharma rejects this, most acutely and tersely in the Madhyamaka.

Nonetheless, from the Vajrayana point of view, there is some truth in what you say. So is there just a rather gaping inconsistency?

I don't know. I suspect that there possibility might just be.....
Charles Wikner explains in his Sanskrit Indroductory Course that sanskrit words are derived from dhatus, i.e. stems or roots, -Wikner uses them both for dhatu. There is a classical collection of sanskrit dhatus called Dhatupatha. After Wikner's course you should be able to use the Dhatupatha and Monier-William's dictionary. Wikner points out that a similar principle of formation from stems applies in all indoeuropean languages. He takes the english example tend--> attend, pretend, portend, extend, ...

http://www.danam.co.uk/Sanskrit/Sanskri ... ctory.html
For sure. But the Buddha did not teach in Sanskrit, and nor did he attempt to preserve the fundamental Vedic logic that reality stems from words. He was heterodox to all of that, and the Buddhadharma that followed was even more explicitly heterodox.

Sanskrit-Vedic approach: the word moon is moon.
Buddhist approach: the word moon is just a convention pointing to the moon.

I take it from your earlier posts what this is what generates the problem of 'what is Dharma?' - given that language is conventional.

Simon E.
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Re: What is Dharma?

Post by Simon E. » Wed Aug 28, 2019 6:26 am

I am no apologist for the Vedanta, but I know enough to know that it does not teach that that reality stems from language either. The objective nature of Bija mantra is never outside of the purview of the relative. Relative is not the opposite of subjective.
Like it or not the science of Bija mantra is taught within the Vajrayana, and by traditionalist teachers.

And fwiw the caution I spoke of with reference to Lama Govinda has nothing to do with any Theosophical position but to do with the fact that his guru was a Dolgyal follower..

Which of course raises all sorts of other questions along the lines of “ do you still watch the movies of Kevin Spacey, knowing what you know now”?
“Why don’t you close down your PC for a while and find out who needs your help?”

HH Tai Situ.

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Aemilius
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Re: What is Dharma?

Post by Aemilius » Wed Aug 28, 2019 12:50 pm

tobes wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 1:08 am
Aemilius wrote:
Tue Aug 27, 2019 11:32 am


Charles Wikner explains in his Sanskrit Indroductory Course that sanskrit words are derived from dhatus, i.e. stems or roots, -Wikner uses them both for dhatu. There is a classical collection of sanskrit dhatus called Dhatupatha. After Wikner's course you should be able to use the Dhatupatha and Monier-William's dictionary. Wikner points out that a similar principle of formation from stems applies in all indoeuropean languages. He takes the english example tend--> attend, pretend, portend, extend, ...

http://www.danam.co.uk/Sanskrit/Sanskri ... ctory.html
For sure. But the Buddha did not teach in Sanskrit, and nor did he attempt to preserve the fundamental Vedic logic that reality stems from words. He was heterodox to all of that, and the Buddhadharma that followed was even more explicitly heterodox.

Sanskrit-Vedic approach: the word moon is moon.
Buddhist approach: the word moon is just a convention pointing to the moon.

I take it from your earlier posts what this is what generates the problem of 'what is Dharma?' - given that language is conventional.
Not quite that, in the buddhist teaching of the three natures (svabhava) the imaginary nature (parikalpita) is dependent on words. Like for example the tree: you perceive a mental image of a "tree", that is dependent on the words in your memory together with the image of a tree. This image is projected on a dependent nature object, that is never separate from earth, sunlight, water or moisture and air, but the image "tree" exists separately from these causes in our imagination.
The everyday world of parikalpita is dependent on words in the Buddha's teaching. When we describe the reality of dependent nature we also use words. The tree itself is independent from the words for the elements, trees grow nonconceptually. But we describe the process of growth with words.
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)

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tobes
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Re: What is Dharma?

Post by tobes » Thu Aug 29, 2019 12:15 am

Simon E. wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 6:26 am
I am no apologist for the Vedanta, but I know enough to know that it does not teach that that reality stems from language either. The objective nature of Bija mantra is never outside of the purview of the relative. Relative is not the opposite of subjective.
Like it or not the science of Bija mantra is taught within the Vajrayana, and by traditionalist teachers.

And fwiw the caution I spoke of with reference to Lama Govinda has nothing to do with any Theosophical position but to do with the fact that his guru was a Dolgyal follower..

Which of course raises all sorts of other questions along the lines of “ do you still watch the movies of Kevin Spacey, knowing what you know now”?
Sure, but I did not say 'Vedanta' I said 'Sanskrit-Vedic'. That's vague and general, largely because my understanding is (very) vague and general. I was thinking about the Rg.Veda (i.e. pre-Buddhistic) and the relationship between order in the cosmos, ritual and language, which is extremely tight and precise. Then, much later, the Sanskrit grammarians such as Panini who attempted to ground all of this systematically in the grammar and pronunciation itself. I'm not sure, but in terms of more recent Hindu thinking, this probably accords more with the Nyaya and Mimamsa schools.

Simon E.
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Re: What is Dharma?

Post by Simon E. » Thu Aug 29, 2019 1:01 am

Not a clue what you are talking about mate. :shrug:

All I know is some highly traditionalist Vajrayana teachers use and teach the use of specific Bija mantras.
I know this because I have been taught by them.


I suspect that they were as clueless as I about the relationship between what they are teaching and the Rig Vedas.

Poor chaps.
“Why don’t you close down your PC for a while and find out who needs your help?”

HH Tai Situ.

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tobes
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Re: What is Dharma?

Post by tobes » Thu Aug 29, 2019 4:32 am

Well confusion often follows when the person posting (i.e. me) is clueless. Let's move on.

I still think the original question is excellent. Still very unsure how to answer it.

Maybe I'll try personal experience here: for all that has been taught, read, received, practiced, for all that is lofty and lowly ....the one thing which no matter what, I simply cannot deny even though I deeply wish to, is karma.

It's there whether I want to be there or not. The fact that it's there implies deep constraint. I do not like constraint; on some intrinsic level am always seeking freedom, even in degrees.

Maybe this is Dharma? At it's most simple and immutable level. We're unfree and we want to be free; we intuit that it is possible. Dharma is this possibility.

Simon E.
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Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 11:09 am

Re: What is Dharma?

Post by Simon E. » Thu Aug 29, 2019 4:34 am

Aye to that.
“Why don’t you close down your PC for a while and find out who needs your help?”

HH Tai Situ.

White Lotus
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Re: What is Dharma?

Post by White Lotus » Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:57 pm

What is Dharma?
this depends on your level of realisation.

for some people the teaching is grounded in and as reality. the dharma world is the dharmakaya. the dharma teaching is the dhamakaya.



for others the dharma is illusory, Maya, all things are illusory including the teaching.

the illusory nature of all things is seen only when the personal feeling of self of objects and subject is gone.

when self is gone the Dharma/teaching is pure awareness. that's all, without names, or judgement, just pure awareness.



parikalpita is names and forms... a subject object experience of things. all things are pure delusion, imagination. Maya.

parikalpita is vikalpa... judging what you see and hear to be real, or to be 'this' and 'that' or the other. here there and everywhere or nowhere... it is playing with words.

parinishpanna is where suchness is seen. ultimately this is pure awareness. object is not seen, nor subject. only awarness. And yet there is no abscence of subject and object.

(please be patient with my understanding of the three Svabhavas. i probably dont know what im talking about).



when we reach nirvikalpa jnana/non judgement we drop all concepts including this one and become ignorant in a wise manner. :smile:


as my experience develops so does my understanding. i may understand things differently from day to day this is because of the illusory nature of experience. parikalpita... its all just maya, all names and forms are illusory, dreamlike. this is why we have our own opinions or judgements, but all judgement is paratantra and is ignorant. drop it all! when we start to just see things as they are we have arrived at parinishpanna.

hope this is helpful!


best wishes, Tom x :anjali:

ps Aemillius that is a fiendishly difficult, but also a very good, question. its taken me weeks to understand how to answer! :juggling:
in any matters of importance. dont rely on me. i may not know what i am talking about. take what i say as mere speculation. i am not ordained. nor do i have a formal training. i do believe though that if i am wrong on any point. there are those on this site who i hope will quickly point out my mistakes.

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