2023-01-02 What is the Dharma (1 of 5) The Dharma is Relationship
7:46PM Jan 3, 2023
Hello, everyone, and welcome to the first talk of the year and beginning of another week, a five part series. And what I like to do this week is to answer the question, what is the dharma. And I'm hoping this series will nicely create a nice foundation for what will follow, which isn't completely decided, but I would like it to build on this. And and so dharma is some ways it's a very important very central word in Buddhism. Because it could mean Buddhism, the dharma sometimes sometimes it's synonymous with the word Buddhism, the word Buddhism is kind of a modern Western invention. It didn't really exist, that that kind of way and as an ism word, and in Asia, in fact, even the word religion didn't quite exist. And so when some of the Asian languages and when they had contact with Western Western culture, they had to kind of invent a word for religion, to translate religion into their language. And so the word dharma sometimes holds all of that. But dharma also has more specific meetings. And, and, and has even the ancient times they said that had a lot of different meanings. And, and through through three list of three things that dog dharma means that's, I think, very evocative. That from the ancient commentaries, is that it's all kind of words that are built on words that are built on verbs, activities to make dynamic. And the first is pariyatti. I'm not sure if is one or two Ts, and pariyatti is usually taken to mean teachings. But it's based on a root word that has to do with obtaining, receiving, and sometimes pariyatti are understood to be at the act of learning. So first, there's learning which is an activity. The second is paṭipada, which means to practice, which is also a verb. And the last one is adhigama, which is to obtain or to attain something to reach something. So these are, so here's the dharma has three different activities. And, and so we have something dynamic, not something static, that's being emphasized. And that dynamic right now that dynamism of what dharma means, I would like to encapsulate that dharma means relatedness. The ancient way of saying it, back in the time of the Buddha, was through a little slogan, that goes, whoever sees the dharma, sees dependent arising. Who whoever sees dependent arising, sees the dharma. powerful statement dependent arising means that things occur, independent independence and other things. That things that things are not independent, they don't self exist, they don't just simply materialized in thin air for no reason at all, or no cause or no conditions at all. They're always there because of some some proceeding, condition, some event, some occurrence, that then is the possibility for the next thing to occur. And so human life itself is clearly dependent on many factors in the present moment and down through the ages, that had to occur in order to there be this physic physical and psychological mental life that we embody, we experienced we are. So, you know, we're in some ways, who we are as human beings can be said to be 100% dependent on something else existing. For us to be able to live breathing. You know, we have to ask to be oxygen, water. There has to be water has to be on this planet. How did that happen? How did the oxygen happen? It was a condition has had to build over millennia, billions and billions of years, for it to be conditions right for what we have as human life. And those have to persist. And so you can go layers and layers of in the present moment of things our lives depend on. And our psychological life, our inner life is dependent on all kinds of things as well. And some of them might be hormones and our biology affects our psychology quite a bit. What other what happens in the world and some people their moods is completely attached to connected to wedded to things in the world, what people do what other people are doing. Or substances that how they feel it really depended on having coffee or not coffee or, or drugs and not drugs or alcohol and not alcohol and, and so how the mood and how we feel is can be dependent on any things exercise or not exercise. And, but it's in that dependency and that not dependency in terms of like codependent, exactly psychological term. But the fact that things occur in relationships to other things occurring as well. And that relatedness between things. And that's how I would like to present this idea of dependent arising today is it has to do with the relatedness that dharma is the relationship, the relatedness between things that can be called things. In fact, in Buddhism, I think it's, it's fairly, it's a fair thing to say that there are no things in Buddhism, there are only dynamic processes, dynamic occurrences, events, that are moving and Act enacted in action and process. And, and so. So the, or at least that's what Buddhism focuses on, so much as that dynamic aspect of life. And in terms of our psychological, spiritual, mental, physical life, it's very much caught up in caught up in involved in this whole dynamic world of relatedness in relationships, that everything occurs through, partly because everything that happens, even happens through the dynamic process, the direct the dynamic activity, of perception. So a mountain might not seem so dynamic, it might seem like a real thing that's there. It is changing slowly over time. But not much in my lifetime, maybe. But the perception of the mountain is a dynamic activity. And everything that we experience in the world goes through our perception, deeper than our perception, it goes through our liking and not liking it, or our sense of taste is pleasant or unpleasant. Partly because our evaluation of things. Everything goes to happen to his ankles, through the way that the way that we know it, do we know it with contraction and tightness, and assertiveness and greed or generosity or without it. And so there's this whole dynamic world of things that happen in relationship to other things being there. And that is, that's the dharma. dharma is found there. And, and, and then caring for it. Because that is also where bondage occurs, where attachment and tightness where suffering occurs, is not there's no inherent suffering that just kind of pops up in the universe, like out of the blue. Suffering occurs in relationship to something else. It's a way of relating it's a relatedness. And, and freedom is a shift in that relationship. So this idea that the dharma is relatedness is a paradigm change, for my belief, how many people live their lives, where they live their lives as if I focus more on me myself in mind, what's happening to me, my ideas, my ideas of self, what's happening out there, who those people are, what they're doing. But there's a paradigm shift of appreciating what's happening between the people or between us in the world and nature and everything. Then what's the relatedness?
Also within ourselves? How do we relate to our inner experience? How are we relating to the outer experience, that's where the dharma is, begins to be discovered. And that is all to do with things of your fluid and dynamic. And because of that, they can be changed. Maybe not easily. But that's what dharma practice, the practice of relatedness. The practice, the practice of working with this whole nation notion of things arise dependent and other things is we can shift and change the relatedness that the dependencies, the dynamic, the dynamic quality of it, so that what supports our hearts or minds or our freedom is more present, than what supports attachment and clinging and, and suffering. So it's a paradigm shift. And so you might try stretching your mind to look at the kind of an invisible world, the world between and another person and you, what is the relationship that's being formed? Like, especially if you meet a stranger, maybe that's easiest there? What's that real? How's that relationship? Before you get to know them? Are you afraid of them? Or you're cautious? Are you eager? Are you curious? That's a way of being in relationship. As you talk with a stranger, do you feel more like closed down and pulling back? Or you feel more open and interested in? Is there kindness as their friendship going back and forth? Or the opposite? What is happening in that invisible world kind of that maybe each one of you don't necessarily see, but maybe you can feel? Maybe you can sense if that relatedness between you was music? Would it be beautiful music? Or not so beautiful? If it was color would be beautiful array of colors or? Or this unharmonious? Display of colors? How is that relatedness? So I would encourage you for today, to look at this world that's has to do with how you are in relationship to all things including yourself, what's the nature of that relationship? And that is dynamic that is shifting and changing throughout the day? And what kind of relating relatedness? What kind of meeting? Does things outside of you have towards you? How are things relating to you? The air that you breathe? How's it relating? Is it you know, me, you could say it's not relating at all, but it does have a relationship to you? What is that relationship? What is the relationship to the food that you eat? How does it impact you? And, and maybe there's a way that to do this paradigm shift here, that you really kind of are stretching yourself to be in the world from a very radically different perspective than how you usually go through the days. The perspective of what is the relatedness that's going on right here. And how do you want to relate? What is the beautiful way of relating? So the dharma is this is what arises in relationship. And if you can see how things arise in a related way, then you're seeing the dharma. You see the dharma, if you see how things arise in a related way. So thank you, and we'll continue this topic of what is the dharma tomorrow