Dharma Name

Last Updated: May 1, 2018

Definition - What does Dharma Name mean?

A dharma name is a sacred name that a student or disciple of a religious or spiritual tradition is given to mark his/her initiation or other special occasions. Someone being ordained as a monk or nun may also be given a dharma name.

Most common in Buddhist traditions, the dharma name is also called a precept name, refuge name, dhamma name, or sangha name. Dharma is a Sanskrit word meaning “duty,” “virtue” and “righteousness.” It also refers to the ethical precepts of Buddhism.

Yogapedia explains Dharma Name

The student receives the dharma name from a guru or other spiritual leader. It may be bestowed during the initiation ceremony known as a diksha or during a separate ceremony later. The name is designed to help connect the student with his/her inner, true nature, rather than the external world. It also reminds the student of his/her spiritual commitment.

Examples of dharma names are:

  • Ando (peaceful way)
  • Abhaya (fearless)
  • Danan (giving)
  • Shokan (authentic insight)
  • Meishin (luminous heart)
  • Karuna (compassion)
  • Sangpo (good-hearted)
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