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What is Dharma?

Dharma can be defined according to the context in which it is expressed as:

  1. The doctrine of guiding principles, which hold back the manifesting of suffering through the skilful means of liberation in accordance to the teachings of the Buddha;
  2. A course of righteous conducts of body, speech and mind which give rise to the accumulation of noble virtue;
  3. A stage of karmic evolution wherein cause and effect appear similar as viewed from its causal side;
  4. A phenomenon as viewed from its aspect of effect, which illuminates the true nature of existence in the universe;
  5. Ultimate Reality as the personification of the Single Truth, of which its essence is emptiness (Dharmakaya), its nature is luminescence (Sambhogakaya) and its all- pervasive energy is compassion (Nirmanakaya).