By Patrick Olivelle (editor)
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Additional info for Dharma - Studies in its Semantic, Cultural and Religious History (selected chapters)
About the teachings of the Buddha. RUPERT GETHIN the meditator. While, once again, I think the way this account ties together different senses of the word dhamma has geilUine resonances with the early Buddhist understanding of dhamma, I do not think it works as an account of the history of the way the word dhamma is used - for two reasons . First, because I think taking dhamma in the sense of the teaching of the Buddha as the starting point for the history of its usage is problematic. Secondly, because, as we saw above, apart from the four truths the dhammas that the text spells out as objects of contemplation are not in fact the teachings of the Buddha as such; certainly the Buddha of the Nikayas teaches about the hindrances, the aggregates, the senses and their objects, etc .
Padahati. uppannlinal!! plipaklinal!! akusallinal!! dhammlinOl!! pahlinliya . . padaltati. anuppannlinal!! kusallinal!! dhammlinOl!! upplidliya . . padahati. upp annlinal!! kusallinOl!! dhammlinal!! thitiyli asdinmosliya bhiyyobhlivliya vepullliya bhlivanliya pliripuriyli . . padahati. This is the stock account of the 'four right endeavours' and again occurs in many places. 24 D II 290: bhikkhu . . dhammesu dhammlinupassl viharati. This is the stock description of the fourth way of establishing mindfulness and once more occurs in many places.
In fact I have already -suggested that the early Buddhist under standing of dhammas as the basic mental and physical qualities that constitute experience or reality is to be related to the usage of dham ma at the end of a bahuvrzhi compound in the sense of a particular nature or quality possessed by something. To this extent the basic qualities of early Buddhist thought and the attributes of Nyaya Vai§e�ika are the same things. The crucial difference, however, is that instead of understanding these particular natures or qualities as attributes that belong to some underlying substance, early Buddhist thought takes them as natural qualities in their own right, emphas ising how they arise dependent on other qualities rather than on a substratum that is somehow more real than they are.