lit. the 'bearer', constitution (or nature of a
thing), norm, law (jus), doctrine; justice, righteousness; quality;
thing, object of mind (s. Āyatana) 'phenomenon'. In all these meanings
the word 'dhamma' is to be met with in the texts.
The Com. to D.
instances 4 applications of this term
- guna (quality, virtue),
- pariyatti (text),
- nijjīvatā (soullessness, e.g.
"all dhammā, phenomena, are impersonal," etc.).
The Com. to Dhs. has
hetu (condition) instead of desanā.
Thus, the analytical knowledge of
the law (s. patisambhidā) is explained in Vis.M. XIV. and in Vibh. as
hetumhi-ñāna, knowledge of the conditions.
The Dhamma, as the liberating law discovered and proclaimed
by the Buddha, is summed up in the 4 Noble Truths (s.
sacca). It forms
one of the 3 Gems (ti-ratana) and one of the 10 recollections (anussati).
Dhamma, as object of mind (dhammāyatana, s.
may be anything past, present or future, corporeal or mental, conditioned or not
(cf. sankhāra, 4), real or imaginary.