Buddha’s teachings are known as “Dharma”. He taught that wisdom, kindness, patience, generosity and compassion were important virtues.
The Dhamma, as taught by the Buddha, is about overcoming dissatisfaction or suffering, which Buddhists call dukkha. The Dhamma refers to Buddhist doctrine and is often interpreted to mean the ‘teachings of the Buddha’.
This doctrine was originally passed through word of mouth from the Buddha to his group of followers. These teachings were not written down for many years. They first appeared in written form in the Pali canon, also known as the Tipitaka. Other teachings followed, including the Theravada and Mahayana Sutras.
The Dhamma reveals truths as taught by the Buddha. It also gives people a way to live life that can lead them towards achieving enlightenment. It encourages Buddhists to follow the Noble Eightfold Path and to practise meditation. Buddhists believe that following the Dhamma in their daily practice, can help them to overcome suffering.
The Dhamma is one of the ‘Three Refugees’ of Buddhism, which are the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha. Buddhists see these refuges as ways through which they can be protected from suffering they encounter in the world.
The majority of Buddhists believe the same things about the Buddha and his teachings.
Dhamma means ‘to uphold’, and therefore it is central to Buddhist belief as it ‘holds up’ the religion and Buddhists may also believe that it upholds the natural order of the universe. Dhamma is based upon the actions and teachings of the Buddha, which Buddhists are encouraged to follow. For example, a Buddhist may follow the Noble Eightfold Path to overcome extremes of behaviour.
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