Righteous course of conduct. Can mean law, rule or duty. Beings that live in harmony with Dharma proceed quicker towards moksha. Dharma (Sanskrit: dharma, Pali: dhamma) is a key concept with multiple meanings in the Indian religions Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism. There is no single word translation for dharma in western languages.
Hinduism: Dharma signifies behaviors that are considered to be in accord with rta, the order that makes life and universe possible, and includes duties, rights, laws, conduct, virtues and "right way of living". In Buddhism dharma means "cosmic law and order", but is also applied to the teachings of the Buddha. In Buddhist philosophy, dhamma/dharma is also the term for "phenomena". In Jainism dharma refers to the teachings of the Jinas and the body of doctrine pertaining to the purification and moral transformation of human beings. For Sikhs, the word dharm means the "path of righteousness".
The Classical Sanskrit noun dharma is a derivation from the root dhṛ, which has a meaning of "to hold, maintain, keep". The word "dharma" was already in use in the historical Vedic religion, and its meaning and conceptual scope has evolved over several millennia. The antonym of dharma is adharma.
Buddhism: Often refers to the doctrines and teachings of the faith, but it may have broader uses. Also, it is an important technical term meaning something like "phenomenological constituent." This leads to the potential for confusion, puns, and double entendres, as the latter meaning often has negative connotations.
Dharma (Sanskrit) or Dhamma (Pali) in Buddhism can have the following meanings:
- The state of Nature as it is (yathā bhūta).
- The Laws of Nature considered both collectively and individually.
- The teaching of the Buddha as an exposition of the Natural Law applied to the problem of human suffering.
- A phenomenon and/or its properties.
Example video: Love and Power Retreat - Jack Kornfield Dharma Talk
Example via www.ramdass.org: Walking in the Dharma
Example via www.mindpodnetwork.com: Excerpt from the Dhammapada