About Bite-size Dhamma

“Like a deep lake,
clear, unruffled, calm:
so the wise become clear, calm,
on hearing words of the Dhamma.”

Welcome, and thank you for visiting.

Dhamma (or Dharma) is a word meaning ‘teachings’. I use it in the context of the Buddhist teachings, which are sometimes referred to as Buddhadhamma.
I love the Buddhist teachings. I’ve considered myself a Buddhist for around 10 years and following that path has enriched my life immensely.

First and foremost, the Buddhist texts are the best source. But I also very much enjoy similes, stories, and sayings based on the teachings.

My love of these texts, similes, stories, and sayings led me to create this blog where I planned to compile as many as I could. Originally this was just for me, an easy-to-access collection I can go back to whenever I wanted to. But I also thought other people would enjoy them too. So here is the result of that!

Over time I’ve found myself wanting to add my own words to introduce the stories or talk about them so my posts are evolving a little these days. However I feel it’s important to note that I am not a Dhamma teacher or a monk/priest, so please consider what I say as merely the opinion of a Buddhist layperson who has limited understanding of the Dhamma.

The same goes for the stories etc. Interpret them yourself and, if you can see something positive there, put that insight into practice in your daily life to test it out. If it comes through, only then can you start to trust it. πŸ™‚

Without approval and without scorn, but carefully studying the sentences word by word, one should trace them in the Discourses and verify them by the Discipline. If they are neither traceable in the Discourses nor verifiable by the Discipline, one must conclude thus: β€˜Certainly, this is not the Blessed One’s utterance; this has been misunderstood by that bhikkhu β€” or by that community, or by those elders, or by that elder.’ In that way, bhikkhus, you should reject it.

– Buddha

Maha-parinibbana Sutta: Last Days of the Buddha.

For those of you who’d like to explore a few older posts you can find a full listing in the Bite-Size Dhamma archive.

29 thoughts on “About Bite-size Dhamma”

  1. Thank you for your kindness giving Dharma. I personally enjoy arising within big faith in Buddha . May be you like this as well? πŸ™‚

    β€œ Just as thunder spontaneously manifests from the sky when the necessary atmospheric conditions occur, so Buddhas spontaneously give perfect teachings whenever their unobstructed wisdom and compassion meet with receptive disciples.”

    Geshe Kelsang Gyatso,
    Ocean of Nectar

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Hi Sabine. Thank you for your message. I enjoyed your quote. If I understood it correctly I believe Geshe Kelsang Gyatso speaks of dependent origination in his quote, and applied it to describe the ideal conditions upon which ideal transmission of the dharma occurs.

      It’s important to understand and be receptive, otherwise the wisdom cannot reach you no matter how profound it is. Ajahn Fuang Jotiko once said “Meditators who live close to their teacher, but who don’t understand him, are like a spoon in a pot of curry: It’ll never know how sweet, sour, salty, rich or hot the curry is.” πŸ™‚

      I don’t have much experience with Tibetan traditions, but I will try to include more from those schools in the future.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. What a nice pun, putting the spoon in a (bowl of) curry. Now, I must go contemplate my lack of compassion for my spoons. I am but a single chopstick eating an elephant – first I must make friends with the elephant and then I well may have to contemplate finding another stick…my 40+-year Nichiren US Marine Corps pal Bruce Jewett whom I re-established contact with after a 30-year absence-by-coastal constraints, will help me with my too-perfect sense of confounding.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I am pleased to discover your blog and look forward to following it. (Thank you for following mine). I enjoyed several of the stories you put up recently, in particular the one about the man helping starfish on the beach as well as the one about the meditator and the hermit. Great stuff. I will go through some others later! Cheers from Osaka.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Hello again. I am wondering if I may mention and link to your blog in an upcoming post of mine. (I could not find a contact form on your blog, so I am asking here). If you’d like more information about my idea to do so, please contact me via my blog (on the home page there is a contact form) and I will reply. Contacting via email is preferable for me, so I hope this is not inconvenient for you. Many thanks.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. A question – if it pleases – Why in some cases you write at Bite-Size Dhamma and at others Bite-Size Dharma? I am a neophyte to neophytes and thus, uncuriously at all, I find myself flame-drawn in the midst of ignoring the dancing fingers all showering marvels from their centering palms? I still climb trees – at near 70 years – in search of the forests I have missed. I must go now to stew more crumbs before our many-tornadoed neighborhood whose lighting and thunder and bright winds have so thoroughly scrubbed our so-civilized air here just three sets of hand-miles from The Factory of Mouse(s) Walt Disney bequeathed Central Florida. The trees on my walk downtown this morning have shrugged off late-Fall’s old robes and ready themselves for a Jake’s Coat of Many Colors – and thus the wheel glides.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, good question!

      Essentially there is no difference between Dharma and Dhamma – just that one is the Sanrkit spelling and the other is the Pail, respectively.

      When I created this account some time ago I used the spelling Dharma more often than not, but interchanged also. Same with sutra and sutta, arhat and arahant, etc.

      As time went on and my study became more serious I became accustomed to seeing the Pali spelling – Dhamma, because of the texts and translations I was using.

      After a while (just a few months ago?) I made a decision to be consistent and rebranded various elements of the site to the spelling I was most used to – Dhamma. Only posts will still have Sanskrit spellings here and there.

      Sorry if it caused any confusion. πŸ™‚

      Sorry to hear about he troubles you’ve had with tornadoes. I hope you are all safe and looking forward to a calmer Spring season.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for the fulsome reply. I revel in confusion: that state offers marvelous toys with which to occupy mind and hands and other articles of being…and should some compost find its way into the mix so much the better. Sturdy old house with interior rooms – a sturdier bathtub and a nice thick down comforter emplaced to fend foreign flying objets, et cet. With papers, and tools stashed. I love standing in the eye of a hurricane or being outside surrounded by lightning – though incipient maturity making inroads on that last. Your learned exposition on Sanskrit and Pail most illuminating and entertaining. Late January through to mid-Spring our most-serious wild-weather season, butthat’s a wonderful reason to enjoy the weather. I pray if ever we do find ways to “control” weather, there remain some serious “opt-out” spaces for those who take theirs as it comes rather than as we like: I hold the conceit Old Bill Shakespear would like that.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I wrongly assumed spring would be calmer! Oops. But I’m glad you enjoy the wild weather at least! You can still look forward to Spring. I also enjoy a storm but compared to a tornado or hurricane our storms are tame.

        The way you write is fascinating to me, by the way. It seems to have layers and folds (dare I say boobytraps?) and I can’t say I feel like I fully understand your every meaning. But then could we honestly say we understand anyone’s every meaning, even our own?

        I noticed you either noticed my Pali/Pail typo and decided to have some mischief with replicating it, or your device made the same auto-“correction”. I hope the former! πŸ˜‰

        I’m by no means learned. Maybe just a neophyte like yourself. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Hey, Dhamma! When later I learned we had 16 – not 10 or 11 – tornado warns flying through our local ethers, and that not one scraped the dirt, I was amazed. Our patch of Central Florida – Tampa-to-Daytona Beach is known as The I(nterstate)-4 Corridor {oddly enough only H-1 on Oahu is equally without a second numeral designator, perhaps because both never leave one state’s border} and while Tampa is reputed to be The Northern Hemisphere’s Lightning Capital and the entire strip competes with Oklahoma, et al., as the national tornado magnet, most of ours are Enhanced Fujita(sp?) scale Zeros, or Ones – EF 0, EF 1, with winds rarely topping 120 mph and sometimes our hurricanes broach 150-160 mph even here in Sanford, I’ll take a ‘cane over a concentrated ‘nado anyday. As to the writing style, perhaps its layered-in if not hard-wired to write as I speak, with synaptic interruptions filled with collaterals and conjunctives both germane and (dare I say it? Yes!) italicized. When paid to write – journalist, editor, etc. – I set the throttle lower or actuate the throttling much higher; say, around the neck when temptations draw me into each inviting alley or byway. (Never could I pass an inviting mud-puddle on the way home from school! Still don’t though I would prefer my way goes by – and through – schools more often.) Pali/Pail, I must confess, was a deliberateness on my part, though I suspect in retrospect, I missed the typo until I had gone back a second time to make sure I had the spelling right and on the third reading of your commentary did I notice the two words’ differences: perhaps I assumed it what dramatic (dharmattic?) effect, Dhamma? Well, OK, I will call you accomplished vice learned though both obtain. We Neos Phyte! I think I authored once a declension of awareness long decades ago which ended, I thought, rather cleverly: The Articles of Awareness: Either direction is fine but I shall start at the foot of the ladder, so to climb:
        Stupid – unwilling to learn;
        Dumb – incapable (deaf and dumb type) of learning;
        Ignorant – Lacking information to learn;
        Intelligent – Access to information;
        Smart – Application of information (though I suspect intelligent and smart may switch positions and definitions at time);
        Wise – The successful application of information (often accomplished fifteen minutes, seconds or even smaller timeslices either side of death.
        I like to think I own portions of all but the last-written though I claim ownership and userhood of a self-hoisting petard.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I like the ladder. I suspect everyone has an appendage on most, if not all, rungs though. For example, by the definition above, I’m stupid about football, ignorant about who knows what, intelligent because of the internet?, smart at some things, etc.

        I’d like to think wisdom is attainable with more time to spare before death! By that definition, if I ever meet a wise man I should be concerned for his immediate welfare!

        Like

    1. Thank you too! I like your ‘planted and grow’ metaphor – I often think in the same way about this sort of thing. I find it one of the best ways to think about kamma/karma too – plant good seed in your life so one day you reside in a beautiful garden, not a thicket of thorns!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m by no means qualified to expound the dhamma, but sharing the words of those who were seems acceptable to me.

      I sometimes talk around the issues, but they are just the opinions and thoughts of a layperson. I’m not a Dhamma teacher and I’ve never claimed to be. On the contrary, in fact.

      If my thoughts come across in a tone of any authority then I’ve definitely missed my intended mark and would welcome the admonishment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Please avoid berating yourself; there are plenty of men out there who are more than happy to do just that. Keep being yourself; your teachers will appear in all shapes and sizes. But do tell me this, if I might be so bold, what is it exactly that allows you to recognise the words of the dhamma as being true or acceptable

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s a good question, and one I’ve asked myself before. “Am I doing the dhamma a disservice by possibly peddling bad information?” “Who am I to pass these things on as ‘wisdom’?”. Your comment resulted in me asking myself the same thing again last night. I added some extra text in the ‘About’ page as a result.

        When I pick something to share, I use three main guidelines:

        – the first is; if the information comes from a qualified teacher of some sort, such as Ajahn Chah, Thich Nhat Hanh, etc. and the attribution is by a trustworthy source, then I trust it and feel it’s acceptable to pass on. People wiser than me have seen dhamma in the words, whether it’s their own words, or they’ve seen it fit to pass on, and so that feels ok to me.

        The second is; if I’m confident it’s a retelling of something said by the Buddha or fits something in the texts, I feel it’s acceptable to pass on as long as the sentiment is there and it is not misleading. This one is the time consuming one as requires some research, but I enjoy this. I usually start with fakebuddhaquotes.com or searching Access for Insight, and then go from there. Most Zen stories are storyfied examples of a particular teaching in the suttas.

        – The third, and this is where is gets sketchy I’ll admit, is; that if it’s something that I feel contains dhamma because of personal experience, putting it into practice in my own lay life and gaining my own insights, then I feel it’s acceptable to pass on. However these are the ones I usually speak around and add my own inexpert commentary. This is where I’m acting really on good intentions, knowing full well I’m no expert. This is where I’d encourage others to apply their own discretion and ‘test it out’ before accepting it. In fact I’d encourage that in any case, as did the Buddha.

        Usually one or two of the above are enough to make me feel like sharing it is ok.

        If I ever felt I was misrepresenting or doing harm to the dhamma I would stop. At the moment, however, I think what I share is harmless and not misleading so I feel ok to continue for now. Maybe one day someone or something will show me that its actually unskilful, and my blog will come to a close. I’m open to that if it happens.

        What are your opinions on the matter?

        Liked by 2 people

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