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Ten Meanings of Dharma

Kyabjé Dudjom Rinpoche gives ten meanings for the term Dharma, quoting from Vasubandhu’s The Principles of Elucidation (Vyakhyayukti [Skt.], Namshé Rigpa [Tib.]):

  • an object of knowledge,
  • the path,
  • nirvana,
  • a mental object,
  • merit,
  • life,
  • teachings of the Buddha,
  • what is subject to age or change,
  • religious vows, and
  • spiritual tradition.

They all relate to the sense of ‘holding’, which is the meaning of dhr, the root of the word Dharma.