chos

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dharma, elements of existence (general non-critical term), factors of reality, knowable factors, phenomena, mental objects, phenomenal existents, events and meanings, what is experienced, spiritual teachings, truth, message, teaching, doctrine, law, aspects of experience (the range of yid's activity), meaning, qualities, meaning of life, make, build, gnaw off, law, order, sustenance, manifestation, presentation, prepare, make ready, SA 'cha' ba, 'cho ba, 'chos pa, draw up, religious doctrine, religion, particular doctrine, tenet, precept, system of morality, ethics, manner, method, custom, usage, thing, substance, property, 1 of gnas pa dgu, grammatical predicate, topics [JV]

1) 'Chos pa!; 2) knowable, thing; 2) tradition; 3) Dharma [rang gi ngo bo 'dzin pa'i don, dharma w 19 meanings, like conditioned and unconditioned dharmas shes bya, like dharmas of the truth of the path lam, like the dharmas of the truth of cessation nirvana, like chos kyi skye mched mind objects, like btsun mo'i 'khor dang gzhon nu rnams dang lhan cig tu chos spyod ces pa lta bu merit, like byis pa ni mthong ba'i chos la gces par 'dzin pa time, like chos 'dul ba the teachings, like lus 'di rga ba'i chos yin no 'byung 'gyur, like dge sbyong gi chos bzhi nges pa, like lha chos dang mi chos lugs la 'jug pa as taught in rnam bshad rig pa, and well known: lugs dang gsung rab dang, shes bya dharma, phenomenon, thing, existent, truly real predicate, event, entity, element of existence, ultimate constituent of existence) [the] Dharma, religion, quality, attribute, property, characteristic, ability, a teaching, [the genuine awareness of] the doctrine, scripture, [sacred] text, right, virtue, duty, moral law, truth, order, law, practice, mental object, way of belief, topic, point, principle, meaning, value, content imp of 'chos make! create! correct! repair! reform! treat!, and 'cha' ; 5) of 16 aspects of the four holy truths 1 of the phyag rgya bzhi, = four mudras] [IW]

Dharma, phenomena, property [thd]

1) 'Chos pa!; 2) knowable, thing; 2) tradition; 3) Dharma [IW]

1) Dharma, reality 2) dharmas, phenomena 3) Dharma, the teaching of the Buddha; 1) dharma, phenomenon, thing, existent, [a truly real predicate, event, entity, element or ultimate constituent of existence]. 2) Dharma, [the Precious Dharma with eight qualities]. Religion. 3) the Dharma, the Teachings, the Doctrine. 4) quality, attribute, property, characteristic, ability. 5) a teaching, doctrine, text, scripture, sacred text. 6) right, virtue, duty, moral law, tenet, precept. 7) truth, order, law. 8) practice, dharma -, religious. 9) mental object, dharma. 10) religion, religious system, way of belief. 11) topic, point, principle. 12) meaning, value, sense, meaning, worth; content. 13) ex. +'chad, +shod, +smra, to preach, give religious teaching, +nyan, to hear, listen to religious teaching, +byed, to practice religion, live a religious life, +zhu, to receive religious instruction, t seek, ask for religious teaching. imp. of 'chos, and 'cha', 14) mind objects, 5 of 16 aspects of the 4 holy truths. one of the phyag rgya bzhi, four mudras; phenomenon; factor/ element; property/ quality/ attribute; spiritual teaching/ Buddhadharma/ dharma; don chos go bar byed pa'i gzhi]] imp. of 'chos pa; events; can that which has [certain] qualities or attributes, subject [in logic context]. phenomenon, phenomena, Dharma, teachings [RY]

phenomenon; factor/ element; property/ quality/ attribute/ aspect; spiritual teaching/ Buddhadharma/ dharma/ teaching of the Buddha; idea (mental phenomenon/ event); (spiritual) situation/ circumstances; isc. principle/ tenet [RB]

predicate of a subject chos can [in logic]; property [as in blo chos mental property and don chos real property] [ggd] [RY]

bsgrub bya'i chos conclusion [to be proven in logic] [RB]

phenomena, (snang ba). Anything that can be experienced, thought of, or known [RY]

Dharma (chos): this Sanskrit term is the normal word used to indicate the Doctrine of the Buddha. The Dharma of transmission refers to the corpus of verbal teachings, whether oral or written. The Dharma of realization refers to the spiritual qualities resulting from practising these teachings. [MR]

Discussion

dharma. Characterized as that which holds its own essence. The Sanskrit word dharma derives from the root dhar- meaning to hold; hence the common explanation of its etymology: "Because it holds its characteristics, it is called dharma."

Although in English usage, the word dharma generally refers to Buddhist or Hindu religion, the word has a much broader range of meanings in Buddhist philosophy. At its most basic level, it means phenomenon: anything that can be known with any of the six consciousnesses. In this meaning, it is equivalent to knowable, proven basis, and existent.

Dharma also refers to the Buddha dharma, both the path and cessation. In this context, it is often called the True Dharma of the Dharma Jewel.

Dharma also is commonly used to mean a property of a phenomenon. The phenomenon whose property it is, is called a dharma base or chos can. This is how the word is used in logic, where it is a shorthand for the phrase "dharma to prove," or bsgrub bya'i chos--another way to describe the predicate of a syllogism. Although this is the most common instance of such usage, the word dharma--and the related terms dharma base and dharma nature (dharmata)--are used in other contexts as well.

The Indian tradition distinguishes ten meanings of the word dharma. As explained in the Great Tibetan-Chinese Dictionary, 1) Knowables, as in compound and non-compound dharmas; 2) the path, as in the dharma of the truth of path; 3) nirvana, as in the dharma of the truth of cessation; 4) the object of the mind consciousness as in the sense base of dharmas; 5) merit, as in acting on dharmas together with a retinue of queens and youths; 6) life, as in childish beings cherishing the visible dharmas; 7) the scriptures, as in the dharma-vinaya; 8) the source-derived, as in ‘the body is an aging dharma;’ 9) realization, as in the four spiritual dharmas; and 10) tradition, as in divine dharma and human dharma. As the Great Dictionary notes, not all of these usages are common in Tibetan.

In translating the word dharma or chos, it seems reasonable to use the Sanskrit word dharma in all its usages, with phenomenon as an acceptable synonym when it means the knowable. However, care should be taken to use the word dharma in instances where the relationship between dharma, dharma base, dharma nature, and dharma expanse needs to be clearly maintained. In addition, the word phenomenon may have specific implications in Western philosophy which the word dharma does not have; using dharma avoids potential confusion in this arena.

Dharma is often translated as "law," particularly in texts from the East Asian traditions, but it seems unclear how that translation relates to the descriptions of the word dharma preserved in the Tibetan tradition. DKC