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  • What is Dharma? | with a guided meditation

    June 10, 2022 3 min read

    It’s one of the standard questions many of us are posed during childhood:

    “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

    My parents love to remind me that my answer to that question was anything but standard.

    “A piglet!” said my 6 year old self proudly. I guess no one explained the rules.

    At the time, my priorities were actually pretty cohesive with the lifestyle of a piglet. Firstly, they are pink (the best color of all, of course). Beyond that, they seemed to get quite a lot of affection from people. Plus, they were never short on snacks. I really thought I’d found my purpose.

    To the delight of my family, my aspirations have shifted. A little over two decades later, I’ve put a bit more depth behind my pursuit of purpose. The study and practice of yoga has become my greatest passion. I feel a deep connection to the physical asanas and a pure fascination with the rich historic and philosophical roots. When I’m on my mat I genuinely feel as though I’m doing what my soul was brought here to do - my dharma.

    What is Dhamma / Dharma ?

    Dharma is a key concept in Buddhism, Hindu tradition and yogic philosophy. Generally speaking, dharma can be categorized as law or principle that governs the universe. On an individual level, it can be understood as your personal mission or life’s purpose.

    Dharma is one of the Three Jewels of Buddhism (in addition to sangha and buddha) which pave the path to enlightenment. Dharma refers to the teachings of the Buddha and is the Buddhist doctrine about the nature of existence. It can also refer to the dharmic path a Buddhist takes (a path of right action, speech, thinking etc). Ethical behavior acts in accordance with dharma.

    In Hinduism, dharma means “morality” or “virtue”. It is a spiritual law that upholds the functioning of the universe and individual human behavior. Dharma implies that there are right and virtuous ways to act to best serve one another and ourselves. This closely relates to the path of service or “seva” in yoga - which is to act from a place of selfless service. According to the Bhagavad Gita, it is better to perform your own dharma imperfectly than to take on the dharma of another.

    Are Dhamma and Dharma the same thing?

    What is Dharma? | Mukha Yoga

    To properly answer this question it’s important to note that early Buddhism comes from texts written in two different languages: Pāli and Sanskrit. These two languages are very closely related and can actually be understood as dialects of one another, rather than two completely unique languages. The word “dhamma” is Pāli and “dharma” is Sanskrit.

    The majority of the early Buddhist texts are written in Pāli. Slightly later Buddhist texts are written in Sanskrit, Including the Mahayana Sutras.

    Some scholars including Richard Gombrich claim that this is the language the Buddha actually taught in. Others believe that the language he spoke wasn’t quite Pāli, but a dialect near to it. Sanskrit on the other hand, is a language that dates back even older, at least as far back as the Vedas and the Upanishads. The religious texts of Hinduism are written in Sanskrit.

    How do I find my Dharma?

    To discover what your dharma is, it can first be helpful to find out what it isn’t. Use your journal to take inventory. Begin by noting down any element of your life that makes you feel stuck, drained, or disingenuous. They may be accompanied by feelings of loneliness, anxiousness or the sense that something just isn’t quite right. Write down anything that comes up.

    Next, take note of the things that make you light up; the tasks and opportunities past or present that feel like they’re your natural gifts. These elements should bring about feelings of satisfaction, wholeness and freedom.

    From there, try to identify themes. Find the commonalities in the things that make you feel good and those that weigh you down. Use this knowledge to help guide your decisions and pursue opportunities that best align with your unique individual purpose. The better you know yourself, the more clear your dharma will become.

    Read our Journaing Tips for Beginners or our Journaling Prompts for Self-Discovery for guided journaling.

    Victoria Maybee l Mukha Yoga
    By Victoria Maybee; All Rights Reserved @2021

    Victoria Maybee l Mukha YogaBy Victoria Maybee; All Rights Reserved @2021