Thursday, February 10, 2011

The fullness of the Dharma

I found this article to be so amazingly poignant and beautiful. The author, Raj Arumugam has put together what it is to be a Buddhist in very simple terms. If you are interested in following a wonderful path then read on!


The fullness of the Dharma

Raj Arumugam (Director, TTS –

Many Buddhist terms and ideas and the teachings of the Buddha, and these teachings as elucidated by contemporary teachers of Buddhism, have become quite widespread and common in popular culture.
So we hear often of compassion.
So we hear often of Buddhist meditation.
Or the Brahma viharas.
Or karuna.. Metta bhavanna.
And of so many other ideas and practices.
But Buddhism is not merely a collection of practices and ideas. For instance, Buddhism is not merely the ideas of karma and love.
These ideas are important but one must pursue each of these ideas to their full perfection. To hold each simply as an idea is merely an intellectual or academic exercise.
And pursuing each teaching to its fullness, one reaches the fullness of Buddhism.
And what is the fullness of Buddhism?


That is the question that one must ask in one’s exploration and pursuit of Buddhism.
One must endeavor to gain an understanding for oneself of what the fullness of Buddhism is. It is not an understanding someone passes on to us but an understanding each must develop and be willing to modify as one continues with one’s exploration of the dharma.
And one must do the same with each idea, through meditation, insight, study and enquiry. For each idea or teaching one must gain an understanding of its fullness.
Without that line of inquiry, without a constant asking of oneself of these questions – What is the fullness of Buddhism? What is the fullness of this teaching or dharma (say compassion or karma) that I am exploring?– one merely has an abstract idea, a teaching that makes no sense. One merely has another toy one plays with in the mind. A toy that satisfies one’s yearning for a while – but is never fully satisfactory.
Let us take the idea of karma, for example.
What is the fullness of the teaching of karma? Like all teachings in Buddhism, one gets to know what karma is over many explorations of the idea, not within a day. Sometimes it may take years, and dare I say, many births.
So again, what is the fullness of the teaching of karma?
Just to see karma as a law is not to see its fullness. Just to see it as cause and effect is not to see its fullness.
So again, what is the fullness of the teaching of karma?
Truly this question is best answered by the individual – but just to illustrate, I might say that the fullness of karma is to see that it relates to interdependence, to the origin of dhukka,and to see pure love and oneness – which in turn brings us to the fullness of Buddhism.

In this manner, if one contemplates on any teaching, fully and deeply, one will come to realize that the fullness of any teaching is the fullness of Buddhism.
So deep insight into karma in this instance is to see the fullness of Buddhism.
And again what is the fullness of Buddhism?
The fullness of Buddhism is completeness, of that stage when all things are done. There is nothing more to be done. The fullness of completeness is perfect knowledge. What is the fullness of perfect knowledge? It is fullness itself. It is completeness itself. This is nirvana. This is perfection. This is nirvana and, as the Buddha taught, there is no more striving beyond nirvana. There is no more beyond nirvana, for there is nothing beyond perfection.


So one can see the fullness of Buddhism through seeing the fullness of each idea and teaching.
To merely see each idea as an idea or as a technique or as a law is to merely see an abstraction that has no transformational power. It is merely a word that interests the mind. Like a new invention or a new form of entertainment that might interest one. To see the fullness of each teaching, however, is to see the fullness of Buddhism itself – which in itself is fullness and perfection.
There is nothing beyond fullness. One has arrived.
One must thus be constantly mindful of seeing the fullness, and this insight into the fullness of the teaching must come from within oneself. To have it pointed out to one and to merely read about it or to listen about it is simply exploring ideas. The teaching remains an uninspiring idea as when a student might learn in a classroom merely for an examination. And, to realize it for oneself, and to understand it oneself is to uphold the teaching of the Buddha. To merely repeat the words of the teacher or to merely accept the teaching of another is simply to follow without understanding. Following without understanding is not what the Buddha encouraged. The Buddha taught one to see the fullness of the dharma – which, in contemporary terms, is to see the fullness of Buddhism, to see perfection itself.


 Raj Arumugam (Director–TTS
(picture from

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