Dhamma Letter No. 26

What is Dhamma?


Dhamma (see Dhamma Letter No. 1) has three main meanings to which the word can refer: 

  1. The universal and natural law of the cosmos

  2. The collective teachings of the Buddha i.e. Buddhism

  3. Objects and phenomena observed in the practice in and of themselves

Dharma (Sanskrit) or Dhamma (Pali) is a word often used by Buddhists. It refers to the second jewel among the three jewels of Buddhism: Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha. While this word is often defined as "the teaching of the Buddha," Dhamma is actually more than a Buddhist doctrine.

All of the Buddha's teachings can be summed up in one word: Dhamma. It means the truth. It also means 'law' that exists in a person's mind and consciousness. It shows the principle of rightness in the right view (see Dhamma Letter No. 6).

In Buddhism, Dhamma means "cosmic law and order" expressed in Buddha's teachings. In Buddhist philosophy, Dhamma is also a term for "phenomenon."

Dhamma is a concept commonly known as 'the teaching of the Buddha'. Following the teachings of Buddhism gives many people a sense and understanding of life.

It can only be understood through personal and intuitive insights by own practice. Then it will become more than a concept, but ultimate truth.

“Everyone talks about Dhamma but no one understands it.

Practicing purity of mind -- this is true Dhamma.”

- S. N. Goenka

May you understand ‘Dhamma’ through practice!

May you be well and happy!

with Metta,

Ayyā Kosallā & Mahāpajāpatī Bhikkhunī Sangha
Edited by Max Montgomery 


We have begun translating the English version of The Dhamma Letter to Korean. Please click here for the Korean version.

한국어로 담마레터를 읽고 싶으신 분은 여기를 클릭 해주세요.


If you have any questions related to dhamma, please feel free to ask. You can reach Ayya Kosalla directly at bhikkhuni.kosalla@gmail.com. We will answer your questions and include them in future Dhamma Letters.


Bhikkuni Kosalla Vipassini is the Abbess of Mahapajapati Monastery in Pioneertown, California. For monastery updates, please see Mahapajapati’s Facebook. Donations are gratefully accepted, whether you volunteer your time, offer funds, or provide needed requisites for the monastics. If you are inspired to donate, you may do so here.


Buddha Sāsanaṁ Ciraṁ Tiṭṭhatu! 
May the Buddha’s teachings last a long time!

​Bhavatu Sabba Sotiṁ ca Maṅgalaṁ ca!!  
May everyone be led on the path of peace and blessing!!

Sādhu Sādhu Sādhu !


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