Are you sure that you know the deep hidden meaning behind this verse? Or are you agree with the commonly given interpretation to this verse? Let’s explore what should be the most suitable meaning to this simple verse which is giving a strong dhamma message.
Most of the people believes on a worldly, physical and material protection through the Dhamma as we say “The Dhamma protects the one who lives by the Dhamma”. When one says this, that person expect a protection from sicknesses or accidents or death or other natural disasters or stealing or something similar and physically or worldly protection…
Because of the expectation of this illusory protection many people misunderstand the dhamma as a weapon to protect them from such incidents. And when dhamma is not so supportive to fulfill their requirement they sometime happen to put blame on dhamma and sometimes leave the dhamma to practice some another religion which they believe to be good. But at the end of the day this noble verse doesn’t express such an illusory meaning at all. So what can be the hidden deep meaning behind this noble verse?
First of all we should find out about the person who lives by the Dhamma and what is the Dhamma that person lives by… most of the people believes that lives by dhamma means to do some offering of flowers, oil lamps, incense sticks or some chanting or observing some precepts etc… or they do offering to Bodhi tree or visit the temples as much as possible and believe they are living with dhamma. Unfortunately this is not what we call “lives by dhamma”…
Let’s understand what dhamma is first. Dhamma is realizing the dependent origination theory and knowing the way of applying it. In another way when a person realize this dependent origination theory / cause & effect theory for the first time that person also identify as an “Stream Enterer / Sotapanna” person. That is the first noble level which one should be achieve to become an enlighten one.
This is the level one is entering to the noble eight fold path for the first time. That person enters to the path by knowing what dhamma is and after then only he / she practice and lives by the dhamma. So without knowing the dhamma one cannot lives by the dhamma. Because we cannot practice something which we don’t know.
Before one knows the dhamma that person is in an illusion of categorizing the world under beings, people, natural & material things. But when one realize the dependent origination dhamma / cause & effect theory that person aware of what is reality. Then that one practice to get rid of the illusion which he / she used to be.
A person who lives by the Dhamma recognize the danger of forms he /she sees, sounds he / she listen, fragrance he / she smell, tastes he / she tastes, touches he / she feels and the thoughts he / she thinks before they trapped him / her. That person recognize them as a trap and a bait which brings loads of troubles, inconvenience, stress and unsatisfactory.
Real danger comes with the existence. The craving makes you to keep in touch with the existence. When there is existence means you have to go through the sicknesses, old age, all kind of changes, death and all kind of unsatisfactory feelings, stress, restlessness and other kind of sufferings. So Dhamma is for cease the existence and get rid from the real danger. It’s not promoting suffering or the path of suffering. Dhamma is promoting the happiness and the path of true happiness. But unfortunately knowingly or unknowingly many are concentrating only on suffering & path of suffering.
So Dhamma is to recognize the difference between the illusion & the reality. And the one who lives by the Dhamma means the person who recognized that difference and practice that Dhamma to gain pure happiness.
That person doesn’t pray for a healthy life or that person doesn’t worry when he or she is sick. Coz he / she knows the reality through dhamma. When that person has to go through an accident or some another disaster that person has no worries as he / she knows and lives by dhamma. There is no stress. No restlessness. There is no unsatisfactory feelings. There is no suffering and mind is at peace. That’s the protection which one should have isn’t it?
If one has a shaking mind for each circumstance which we go through that person doesn’t know the bliss of a peaceful mind. So dhamma is to give you that peaceful mind which is not shaking through the profits or losses, wealth or poverty, suffering or comforts, critics or compliments.
When one knows Dhamma that one begins to lives with that Dhamma. Then his / her mind, body & words behave according to the Dhamma. And Dhamma begins to guide him / her throughout the time which he / she come across any kind of forms, sounds, fragrances, tastes, touches & thoughts. And Dhamma is in action to protect him or her from getting in to trap of 5 senses which brings the tiresome existence.
So that the noble verse of “The Dhamma protects the one who lives by the Dhamma” actually means and don’t you think that you have to be hurry to realize such a wonderful Dhamma and get the real protection to life? May triple gem bless you for the noble Dhamma and for the best!!!