In my previous question I discussed what is your Dhamma which some people interpreted as what is your religion or whether you are a Buddhist. Some people said one discovers Dhamma when one walks on the Noble Eightfold Path. Some people said Dhamma is how the Nature operates.

From religion point of view I am no longer a true believer of Hinduism. I neither a Buddhist because I have not adopted the Buddha , Dhamma and Sangha(although I believe in the Buddha). I am neither a Christian or Muslim.

From Eightfold Path view : I am not aware whether I am following the Eightfold Path. If I believe in Eightfold Path then my Dhamma becomes to follow the Eightfold Path. But this Dhamma is not something natural. It is learned. Not everyone walks on this Dhamma naturally. According to this theory Dhamma is discovered. And the discovery is Eightfold Path. It is discovered through learning.According to this definition I have not yet discovered my Dhamma.

From natural order of things point of view: If Dhamma is natural order of things then why do we find people who do opposite of what Buddha discovered as natural dhamma? Wny naturally one believes in Self? Clearly if Dhamma means teachings of Buddha then Dhamma is not something innately present all the time.

In short , I have become confused about my Dhamma. Can anyone help me realize my Dhamma?

Following the Dhamma towards the end of suffering, is not doing the natural thing. It's actually doing what's opposite to what's natural. It's going against the current. What is natural is to follow cravings.

From Itivuttaka 109:

"Suppose, bhikkhus, a man was being borne along by the current of a river that seemed pleasant and agreeable. But upon seeing him, a keen-sighted man standing on the bank would call out to him: 'Hey, good man! Although you are being borne along by the current of a river that seems pleasant and agreeable, lower down there is a pool with turbulent waves and swirling eddies, with monsters and demons. On reaching that pool you will die or suffer close to death.' Then, bhikkhus, upon hearing the words of that person, that man would struggle against the current with hands and feet.

"I have made use of this simile, bhikkhus, to illustrate the meaning. And this is the meaning here: 'The current of the river' is a synonym for craving. 'Seeming pleasant and agreeable' is a synonym for the six internal sense-bases. 'The pool lower down' is a synonym for the five lower fetters. 'Turbulent waves' is a synonym for anger and frustration. 'Swirling eddies' is a synonym for the five strands of sensual pleasure. 'Monsters and demons' is a synonym for womenfolk (i.e. sexual attraction). 'Against the current' is a synonym for renunciation. 'Struggling with hands and feet' is a synonym for instigating energy. 'The keen-sighted man standing on the bank' is a synonym for the Tathagata, the Arahant, the Fully Enlightened One."

The Buddha recognized in the Ayacana Sutta that the masses who delight in attachment, excited by attachment and enjoy attachment, would not easily understand the Dhamma.

"This Dhamma that I have attained is deep, hard to see, hard to realize, peaceful, refined, beyond the scope of conjecture, subtle, to-be-experienced by the wise. But this generation delights in attachment, is excited by attachment, enjoys attachment. For a generation delighting in attachment, excited by attachment, enjoying attachment, this/that conditionality and dependent co-arising are hard to see. This state, too, is hard to see: the resolution of all fabrications, the relinquishment of all acquisitions, the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding. And if I were to teach the Dhamma and if others would not understand me, that would be tiresome for me, troublesome for me."

We should not underestimate how "natural" it is for the masses to indulge in sensual pleasures. From the Magandiya Sutta:

"Now suppose that there was a leper covered with sores & infections, devoured by worms, picking the scabs off the openings of his wounds with his nails, cauterizing his body over a pit of glowing embers. The more he cauterized his body over the pit of glowing embers, the more disgusting, foul-smelling, & putrid the openings of his wounds would become, and yet he would feel a modicum of enjoyment & satisfaction because of the itchiness of his wounds. In the same way, beings not free from passion for sensual pleasures — devoured by sensual craving, burning with sensual fever — indulge in sensual pleasures. The more they indulge in sensual pleasures, the more their sensual craving increases and the more they burn with sensual fever, and yet they feel a modicum of enjoyment & satisfaction dependent on the five strings of sensuality.

Ananda Sutta (SN22.83) paraphrased here, tells that the self ("I am") is also very natural, as long as one clings to the five aggregates.

If somebody should want to see his reflection or image, he could do so only through a cause, namely a mirror or a clear body of water. In the same way do the five aggregates reflect the image of "I am." As long as one depends on them and is supported by them, so long will an "I" be reflected. Only when one does not rely on them any longer, will the image of "I" disappear.

In the Mallikaa Sutta, we find that another most natural thing is that the most dear person to oneself is oneself. So, it's also quite natural to be self-centered.

However, in general, people tend to feel an underlying sense of dissatisfaction, because despite pursuing pleasures, it never lasts, and ageing, disease, decay and death cannot be avoided. This sense of dissatisfaction, which is sensing suffering, is what drives some people to consider the Dhamma, and pursue the path that is not natural, going against the current of the river of samsara, towards the end of suffering.

What is my dhamma? I guess by that, you mean, what is my destiny?

By default, your "natural" destiny is to go along with the current of craving and clinging, on the river of samsara, towards the destination of suffering. It's up to you to decide to go against the current, and change your destiny, towards the end of suffering, which is on the stable river bank of Nirvana, where the Buddha stood.

In other words, instead of asking "what is my destiny?", you would have to ask "how can I change my destiny?", "how can I change my fate?".

Your dhamma is to decide your own destiny, for you are your own refuge, according to Dhammapada 380.

Dhp 160. One truly is the protector of oneself; who else could the protector be? With oneself fully controlled, one gains a mastery that is hard to gain.

Dhp 165. By oneself is evil done; by oneself is one defiled. By oneself is evil left undone; by oneself is one made pure. Purity and impurity depend on oneself; no one can purify another.

Dhp 380. One is one's own protector, one is one's own refuge. Therefore, one should control oneself, even as a trader controls a noble steed.

  • Correct me if I am wrong but it seems to me that no Dhamma can be adopted forever. No destiny can be lived forever. That is because Sabbe Dhamma Anatta. That is All Dhammas are non-self. No Dhamma can be said to me , my or mine. No destiny can be said to be me , my or mine. – Dheeraj Verma Jan 21 at 7:24
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    @DheerajVerma You are right. You cannot hold on to the Dhamma forever. According to the raft simile, the Dhamma is like the boat that takes you to the shore of Nirvana. After that, you let go of the boat. The word "Dhamma" in the context of the raft simile, applies to the Buddha's teachings. The word "dhamma" in the context of "sabbe dhamma anatta" means "phenomena" or "thing". "Dhamma" in Buddhism has many meanings. See Ajahn Sujato's answer. – ruben2020 Jan 21 at 7:50

Your Dhamma is to be yourself, obviously. To be yourself means to trust oneself. To trust oneself means, you can consult many books, and hear opinions of people, but the final decision is yours. You make it to the best of your ability, and then you take a stance on it. To trust oneself also means, to know oneself, to know when your own thought is sincere or when it is driven by anger or desire or by ego wanting to look better.

When you trust yourself like that, you can go forward without inner conflict, be spontaneously yourself without doubts, and create your own future. That's fulfilling your Dhamma.

  • What do you mean by trust yourself ? I trust whatever can be trusted. I distrust whoever needs to distrusted. Sometimes I do not trust my own conclusion. Sometimes I trust others. The stance I take on any subject is driven by my sanskhara. The sense of merit and demerit is Annica. It won't last therefore is not Self. – Dheeraj Verma Jan 21 at 5:38
  • Alright, so everything is already perfect and you are fulfilling your Dhamma. – Andrei Volkov Jan 21 at 14:25

Natural does not necessarily mean wholesome or proper. If you interpret natural as something that happens easily in nature, a robber wanting to steal is natural. A hateful person wanting to kill is natural. A lustful person wanting to rape is natural. A dumb person thinking ignorant thoughts is also natural. An animal wanting to kill another animal is natural.

The Buddha never taught doing what naturally comes to the mind leads to end of suffering.

“Ye dhamma hetuppa bhava tesam hetum tathagato aha tesanca yo nirodho evam vadi maha samano. ” - The Tathagata has declared the cause and also the cessation of all phenomena which arise from a cause. This is the doctrine held by the Great Samana.

  • According to you there are no naturally occurring Dhamma. What about Kama or Sex ? Can we not say that Sex is a natural instance of Dhamma ?(it may be a wrong dhamma but it is a dhamma) – Dheeraj Verma Jan 21 at 13:28
  • Define "normally occurring Dhamma"? – Sankha Kulathantille Jan 21 at 14:44
  • Human tendency to have empathy for another human being is an example of natural Dhamma.(also it is a normal dhamma.) – Dheeraj Verma Jan 22 at 13:23
  • That's compassion. So by natural or normal Dhamma, do you mean wholesome mind states? – Sankha Kulathantille Jan 23 at 0:34
  • Truly I can only guess. If I understand what is my Dhamma then I can conclude that that Dhamma is not worth realizing as Self!! Because Sabbe Dhamma Anatta. – Dheeraj Verma Jan 23 at 1:11

So let us examine the one of Dhamma; "ashta loka dhamma"(eight worldly conditions) as example out of 84000 thousand Dhamma

Gain and non-gain, disrepute and fame, blame and praise, happy and sorrow: these conditions found among people are impermanent, transient, subject to change.

so this is the behavior of nature.(or how it is operated or processed or any other better suggestions of the word) and it has wholesome and unwholesome aspects. it is obvious that we have to interact with above nature.Also prove that existence of wholesome and unwholesome. When some one say If you interpret natural as something that happens easily in nature, a robber wanting to steal is natural.Also stealing is not sustainable and harm the society and it can overcome by ethics. So Dhamma can't be explained as single isolated event it's a process and interconnected phenomena.

the initial question has a discrepancy by saying "your Dhamma" and "my Dhamma" pretend individuals and nature are two different things. Dhamma must be seen as a whole thing. E.g. one's experiences,realizations,way of reactions to outer world and all phenomena include in Dhamma.

In other way wholesome and unwholesome exists and unwholesome phenomena lack of sustainability and it can overcome by wholesome acts. This also a Dhamma. Purpose of Dhamma(As teaching of Buddha) is realizing things as it is and how to escape from suffering.

If simplified thief in today has potential to be Arahath in future.Think that hungry person steal food and someone understand the motive behind stealing and offer some food with kind way and convince him not to steal- which is the process of Dhamma.Just stealing and kindness are not. In same way; murderer today has potential to become Arahath in future (E.g motive behind killing as a blind faith on his teacher in Angulimala story) with the exact realization of Dhamma.

If we go further it obvious that existence of violence and non-violence and violence cease by non-violence. so that is the nature and Dhamma. so proper understanding of violence and non-violence (distinguish of two) is vital to get wholesome results.

  • You have explained the meaning of Dhamma but you have not answered the question what is my Dhamma...? If you think individual Dhamma doesn't exist then I guess it is as wrong as saying there is no Self. Individual dhamma exists but it is impermanent , changeable and cause of suffering. Therefore Buddha says "Sabbe Dhamma Anatta." If I begin by saying there no self worth identifying as myself then there is no Dhamma worth identifying as my Dhamma. Dhamma is an illusion just as Ego is an illusion. – Dheeraj Verma Jan 21 at 13:22
  • what is my Dhamma...? the initial question has a discrepancy by saying "your Dhamma" and "my Dhamma" pretend individuals and nature are two different things. Dhamma must be seen as a whole thing. E.g. one's experiences,realizations,way of reactions to outer world and all phenomena include in Dhamma. Have you spotted the discrepancy of your question? – danuka shewantha Jan 22 at 15:32
  • your mind is your creator- Dhamma is an illusion. ok. Now my mind is my creator and I say Dhamma is everything in my perceptive world including me. So what would be your respond? – danuka shewantha Jan 22 at 16:04

What Is Natural?

Claiming they want their practice to be "natural," some people complain that this way of life does not fit their nature.

Nature is the tree in the forest. But if you build a house, it is no longer natural, is it? Yet if you learn to use the tree, making wood and building a house, it has more value to you. Or perhaps the dog is natural, running here and there, following its nose. Throw food to dogs and they rush to it, fighting each other. Is that what you want to be like?

The true meaning of natural can be discovered with our discipline and practice. This natural is beyond our habits, our conditioning, our fears. If the human mind is left to so-called natural impulses, untrained, it is full of greed, hatred, and delusion and suffers accordingly. Yet through practice we can allow our wisdom and love to grow naturally until it blossoms in any surroundings.

To take refuge into the Three Gems means to seek refuge into the Buddha (Awakening and an Awakened), into his Dhamma (teaching and his advices to arrive there), and into the Sangha (those who followed him and practiced good, to have orientation on side).

When one sees the dangers in the world and comes to know someone knowing a way out, that is when one goes for refuge.

To take ones own ways of thoughts, ideas as refuge is normal, but as one could figure out, does as good as never leads out.

Only by taking refuge in the tripple gems and follow the advices, train one self, one might, by seeing the Dhamma for oneself, make it his own as well. From this point on, the way out has become naturally to that extend, that he is bound to reach the other shore within most seven existences.

Even then effort is the cause of reaching further paths and fruit and it goes all against the normal habits (the natural ones).

Beings take usually refuge in sign and eye, sound and ear, smell and nose, taste and tongue, touch and body, ideas and intelect. Buy since all of that is not real, not lasting, subject to decay, they are lost in their refuge, grasping after something without heartwood. Once seeing that this phenomenas are not real, one is open to see the unconditioned.

So it is said:

At Savatthi. "Monks, the eye is inconstant, changeable, alterable. The ear... The nose... The tongue... The body... The mind is inconstant, changeable, alterable.

"One who has conviction & belief that these phenomena are this way is called a faith-follower: one who has entered the orderliness of rightness, entered the plane of people of integrity, transcended the plane of the run-of-the-mill. He is incapable of doing any deed by which he might be reborn in hell, in the animal womb, or in the realm of hungry shades. He is incapable of passing away until he has realized the fruit of stream-entry.

"One who, after pondering with a modicum of discernment, has accepted that these phenomena are this way is called a Dhamma-follower: one who has entered the orderliness of rightness, entered the plane of people of integrity, transcended the plane of the run-of-the-mill. He is incapable of doing any deed by which he might be reborn in hell, in the animal womb, or in the realm of hungry shades. He is incapable of passing away until he has realized the fruit of stream-entry.

"One who knows and sees that these phenomena are this way is called a stream-enterer, steadfast, never again destined for states of woe, headed for self-awakening."

At this point your refuge grows firm and no more to slight far away. Nature, by given the cause for it, is now on your conductive side.

[Note: This is a gift of Dhamma, not meant for commercial use or other lower wordily gains by ways of exchange or trade]

I do not know what is my Dhamma anymore

Part of the dhamma says that all dhammas are anatta (dhammas are not "me", and not "mine").

So the question, with the word "my" in it, looks wrong to me. Here it is again without "my":

I do not know what is Dhamma anymore; Can anyone help?

Some people said one discovers Dhamma when one walks on the Noble Eightfold Path. Some people said Dhamma is how the Nature operates.

From religion point of view I am no longer a true believer of Hinduism. I neither a Buddhist because I have not adopted the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha (although I believe in the Buddha). I am neither a Christian or Muslim.

From Eightfold Path view : I am not aware whether I am following the Eightfold Path. If I believe in Eightfold Path, then Dhamma becomes to follow the Eightfold Path. But this Dhamma is not something natural. It is learned. Not everyone walks on this Dhamma naturally. According to this theory Dhamma is discovered. And the discovery is Eightfold Path. It is discovered through learning. According to this definition I have not yet discovered Dhamma.

From natural order of things point of view: If Dhamma is natural order of things then why do we find people who do opposite of what Buddha discovered as natural dhamma? Wny naturally one believes in Self? Clearly if Dhamma means teachings of Buddha then Dhamma is not something innately present all the time.

In short, I have become confused about Dhamma. Can anyone help me realize Dhamma?

Like that, without "my", I'd understand it as asking about the Buddha's Dhamma (i.e. "I don't know what the Buddha's teaching is", not "I don't know what my Dharma is"), which might be clearer. People can't easily tell you what your Dhamma is, they might try to explain the (Buddha's) Dhamma[s].

Some people see the Buddha's dharma is being true now which is why it's worth learning.


But this Dhamma is not something natural. It is learned.

I think it's seen as:

  • A reality, a truth, a property of existence, a description of the world-as-it-is
  • Discovered or understood by the Buddha
  • The Buddha understood is so well that he was able to teach it (some people may have been able to understand or practice it but without teaching it as well as the Buddha did)

So it is natural (a property of the world). And it is learned (taught by the Buddha).

Not everyone walks on this Dhamma naturally.

Being able to swim (in water) instead of drowning is maybe natural too, also an acquired skill ... not everyone can swim (though maybe every can learn to swim if they're taught and if they practice).

Wny naturally one believes in Self?

Now you're starting to ask about (specifically) anatta instead of (more generally) dhamma.

I think an answer might be that one maybe usually doesn't believe in Self -- many hours, many instants might occur without that belief -- but when the belief does occur (for example, "That cookie is mine!") then that belief is dukkha so it's better to not hold that view.

Also, remember the Three poisons: ignorance, delusion, confusion are blamed as a root cause.

  • Why naturally one believes in Self? because individuals are filled with ignorance due to imperfection and lack of wisdom due to complexity. that's the nature and Dhamma. – danuka shewantha Jan 22 at 15:26

I might get into trouble but imho fwiw; "Hinduism" - Bunch of teachers more or less teaching Samatha Meditation, beliefs are traced to those meditative attainments and the interpretation of those. "Buddhism" - Bunch of teachers more or less teaching based on the teachings of a Perfect being who fully explained the Samatha techniques and attainments and discovered a higher meditative state than what was not previously known to "Hindu teachers". The practice leading to that exalted state is called the "8 Fold Path".

If you have confidence in that meditation techniques allow one to reach the special states and that one can learn valuable lessons from these experiences that would make one more or less of a Hindu or Buddhist depending on the level learning, poundering with reason, coming to agreement and personal verification. In regards to rebirth and other claims like that depend on conviction a lot so as i see it they dont really make or break a "buddhist" as most Buddhists have skeptical doubt periodically.

Id recommend taking a look at Brahmajāla Sutta: The All-embracing Net of Views https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.01.0.bodh.html It is quite dense but im sure it will be illuminating.

  • You know, I don't wish to dampen your enthusiasm in answering all of these very old questions but in answering them, the forum becomes difficult to find the new questions. The Buddha said: "Do not go back to the past, nor the future, but discern the present realities". MN 136 – Dhammadhatu Jan 22 at 10:25
  • I advice you to stop taking so lightly to using fathers authority to validate your agenda. – Ruslan Jan 22 at 12:04
  • @Dhammadhatu You can use https://buddhism.stackexchange.com/questions?sort=newest if you only want to see new questions ... or https://buddhism.stackexchange.com/questions?sort=active if you want to see newest answers too. – ChrisW Jan 22 at 12:13
  • @Inb4dead If someone posts a comment on your answer, and you don't think that the comment is helpful (a "helpful comment" is usually a comment which suggests how to improve the answer), instead of replying to that comment you can just "flag" it for a moderator's attention. – ChrisW Jan 22 at 13:29
  • that quote, did you paraphrase it? where is it from? cant find in MN 136. – Ruslan Jan 22 at 14:46

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