The Meaning of Dhamma, no 7
The Saddaniti explains dhamma as pariyatti, the scriptures and dhamma as
nissattanijjiivataa, without a being, without a living soul, in the same way
as the Atthasaalinii (38).
We read with regard to dhamma as pariyatti:
<Idha bhikkhu dhamma.m jaanaati sutta.m geyya.m veyyaakara.nan"ti-aadiisu
In such passages as ³Here a monk knows dhamma as sutta, geyya, veyyaakara,
etc.² dhamma means the scriptures. >
We read with regard to dhamma as nissattanijjiivata:
<Tasmi.m kho pana samaye dhammaa honti.
At that time there are dhammas.
Dhammesu dhammaanupassii viharatii"ti-aadiisu nissattanijjiivataaya.m.
He abides contemplating dhammas in dhammas, in such passages dhamma refers
to: without a being, without a living soul. >
The Saddaniti explains dhamma as vikaara, alteration, subject to change:
<Jaatidhammaa jaraadhammaa mara.nadhammaa"ti-aadiisu vikaare.
In such passages as dhammas as birth, as decay, as death, dhamma means
The Saddaniti explains dhamma as gu.na, merit, virtue:
<Channa.m buddhadhammaanan"ti-aadiisu gu.ne.
In the passage such as ³ of the six dhammas of the Buddha², dhamma means
excellent quality, virtue.>
The PED mentions under buddhadhamma, that they are classified as six or as
The Saddaniti explains dhamma as condition, paccaya, in the same way as
hetu, cause, when it refers to the analytical knowledge of cause,
<Hetumhi ~naa.na.m dhammapa.tisambhidaa"ti-aadiisu paccaye.
In such passage as ³the knowledge of cause is analytical knowledge of
dhamma², dhamma means cause.
The Saddaniti explains dhamma as what is subject to conditions,
paccayupanna, as follows:
<.Thitaavasaa dhaatu dhamma.t.thitataa dhammaniyaamataa"ti-aadiisu
In the passage such as ³Beyond control because of the causal law of dhamma,
the natural order of dhamma², dhamma means what is subject to conditions. >
.thita: firm, fixed.
vaasa: condition, control.
avaasa: without control.
niyaama: natural order.
Ven. Nyanatiloka explains niyaama:
Fixedness of Law regarding all things.
There is a fivefold natural order, that governs:
1. temperature, season.
2. plant life.
4. functions of citta in the processes.
5. certain events occurring in the lives of the Buddhas.
N: As regards kamma: akusala kamma produces an undesirable result and kusala
kamma produces a desirable result, and this is niyaama, a fixed order of
dhammas. It cannot be altered.
As regards functions of citta: cittas which experience objects through the
senses and the mind-door arise in series or processes of citta. Each of the
cittas arising in a process performs its own function. For example, when
cittas in the eye-door process experience visible object,
seeing-consciousness performs the function of seeing, and shortly afterwards
kusala cittas or akusala cittas arise in that process, which perform their
own function. There is a certain fixed order of cittas, citta niyama, within
a process and this order cannot be altered.
The ³Gradual Sayings² (I, 285) Ch XIV, §134, Appearance states:
<Monks, whether there be an appearance or non-appearance of a Tathaagata,
this causal law of nature (dhaatudhamma.t.thitataa), this orderly fixing of
things (dhammaniyaamataa) prevails, namely, All phenomena are
The same is said with regard to the nature of dukkha and anattaa.