Critical Dharma for Thinking Minds
What is dharma?
Is dharma only ‘the words of the Buddha?”
Only the Buddhist or Vedic scriptures?
Is it “natural law”?
Is it “natural phenomenon”, like science?
Is it ‘truth”?
Is it only Buddhist ‘truth’? or could it be western secular ‘truth’?
Could it be western secular ‘truth’ that happens to be congruent with Asian Buddhism?
Or could it be anything that we perceive as ‘true’ or ‘real’?
Is it ‘reality’?
How do we define ‘reality’?
Is dharma merely a reification of what is otherwise ordinary factual knowledge (cause and effect, impermanence) moral values or superstition?
Is it anything that we venerate as sacred, as having coercive power to make us think and act in particular ways?
Is it a collection of norms by which we evaluate aspects of life?
Is it the ‘canon’ of authoritative Buddhist scripture?
What about the ‘Western canon’? Is that dharma too?
Is it a kind of thought experiment that makes us see situations in new ways?
What is dharma to you?
A further point is that no dharma, whether orthodox Buddhism or [post]
modern dharma, is beyond questioning or critique. All dharma is subject to critical testing. So it almost doesn’t matter what you call it or how you define it; the point is that it must be subject to critique.