key concept in Indian philosophy and Eastern religions, with multiple meanings

Dharma (or dhamma) is part of many religions or spiritual beliefs that began in South Asia. Hinduism, Buddhism, Ayyavazhi, Jainism, and Sikhism believe in that idea. It means the law of spiritual growth of believers.

In Buddhism




Basic terms




In Buddhism, the word "Dharma" also means the very old teachings of the Buddha. For example, The Four Noble Truths.

In Hinduism


In Hinduism, dharma is the spiritual law for human beings. It is the way of goodness, truth and duty. For example, a child's dharma is to be a good student. Parents’ dharma is to raise and support their family. A teacher’s dharma is to teach, and the dharma of the police is to protect others. Each age brings new responsibilities, so dharma will change over your lifetime. It is everyone’s dharma to be honest, kind and religious, to do no harm to others and to be a good citizen. Hindus believe that following dharma fulfills the highest purpose on earth. When people follow dharma, they feel good about themselves.[1]


  1. Saivite Hindu Religion, Book Four for Children Ages 8 to 10