Disclaimer: I have not studied the concept of Dharma for years on end. I have researched it, read some Hindu and Buddhist texts, and I have seen how I can apply it to my own life, through a Christian lens. Why a Christian lens? Because that’s my faith. However, I see Dharma, when not made brutally legalist, as a very good concept to living life.
What is Dharma?
A brief introduction to Dharma. Note that this is a very simplistic breakdown.
Everyone has a purpose. The goal in life is to follow the path of that purpose, fulfilling it to the best of a person’s ability. While previously it would be tied to royalty, priesthood, or commoner, today we each have a calling. That call is to live our best life (and I believe to live it to the glory of God). When we are able to find and thrive within our passions, and share that passion with the world, we build a great life for ourselves and, by proxy, we build a better world for others.
Dharma in my Life
After going through Simon Sinek on finding my why, I believe my why is to entertain and educate. I went into teaching. My writing is aimed to point people toward old or little known societies. There is so much to learn when we leave our bubble.
The more cultural ideas we have, the more lenses we can see the world through. This is my hope: that people can see the world through a dozen views, instead of one.
I work to fulfill this through the blog you are currently reading, the writing I’ve been pushing, as well as just telling people about the amazing stories of the past. Hopefully there will be a podcast in the near future (but I’ve been saying this for years, so don’t get excited).
Dharma in your Life
Traditionally, you were born into your dharma. At birth, based on your parents, you were given a caste which dictated your purpose in life. In the modern era, you aren’t born into it. Isn’t that fantastic? On top of that, while you might find your passion, and so find the path, you get to define how you fulfill that.
I would highly suggest starting with Simon Sinek. I would pick up his book, Start With Why. If, for whatever reason, you do not want to or cannot read the book, then I’d check out his videos. Below is a good starting point.
Then look into the book Find Your Why. It is not written by Sinek, but by people who were inspired by him, and with his guidance. It was awesome for pushing me.
Once you find your Why, figure out how to fulfill that within what you are doing. If you can’t, then find out how to live it out. Work hard to create your passion and live it. You owe it to both yourself and the world.
Ghost Monkey and Dharma
Ghost Monkey is why I explored the concept of Dharma. With it being based in Hindu lore and culture, I wanted to draw upon the idea of having a path for life. While in traditional Hindu people were born into their path, that hasn’t stopped.
It is the parent pushing a kid to play sports when they want to play the piano. Professions are passed down, and if your father, grandfather, and great grandfather did the job, you are expected to do the job. But you want to be a software engineer, and your great grandfather definitely wasn’t one of those. Today we see this struggle play out in a thousand ways, so it is a very relevant theme.
In Ghost Monkey, Sugriva’s family became outcaste. The path through his parents was that of a warrior, while the family member he ended up with after they were outcaste was a merchant. His battle is whether to follow the path of his parents, or that of his caretaker. As a shapeshifter, Sugriva is also expected to stick to monkey shifters. However, he loves the company of all species, and must skirt that desire as well.
If you have questions, feel free to reach out! I’d love to talk to you about finding my why, and figuring out how to guide you to find or construct your why.