What is Dharma?

‘Dhamma’ or ‘Dharma’ is a word that I have never full understood or questioned, I just accepted it as an aspirational state of being. But what does it mean? When I say “May all beings share my Dharma” during metta, what exactly am I sharing?

The word ‘Dharma’ means ‘a preventive measure accoding’ to Alexander Berzin:

“It’s something that we do in order to avoid problems. The first thing that we need to do in order to involve ourselves with Dharma practice is to recognize the various types of problems or difficulties we have in life. The next is to realize that Dharma practice is aimed at helping us to get rid of these problems.”

Many changes have occurred in my life since discovering Vipassana meditation. Through daily meditation practice and sitting or serving annual 10 day courses,  I was able to see the reality of how so much of my ‘misery’ was connected to my choice of career and its attachment to craving and my over bearing ego. What if I was to give it up and do something else? Was this Dharma speaking to me?

‘Dharma practice is not a hobby. It is not something that we do as a sport or for relaxation. We do not just go to a Dharma center to be part of a group or to be in a social atmosphere……. Dharma practice is a full-time job. We are talking about working on our attitudes toward everything in our lives.’

Changing your career in your mid thirties is no easy task, thankfully I was in a position without dependents or a mortgage to realise all I had to do was to choose to take a different path.

‘The Dharma path is not an easy one. It is dealing with the ugliness of life………….Dharma practice is not just working on our negative sides; it must be balanced. We need to work on reinforcing our positive sides too.”

The last three years have been challenging, but having been blessed with a supportive partner and Vipassana I believe have managed to get to the other side and today at least it feels amazing.

Is it Dharma that has got me to where I am or was it me?


Alexander Berzin ‘Dharma in Daily Life’

Alexander Berzin ‘Integrating Dharma into Our Lives’

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