dhárma (SKT) - moral duty.:- In contrast to the oriental idea of marga (SKT) or tao 道 (CH), the Way, there is the more prevalent, and constraining, notion of dhárma, or moral duty. In India this idea depends on a person's age, class, occupation, and gender. It is a derivation from Proto-Indo-Iranian root *dhar- ("to fasten, to support, to hold"), in turn reflecting Proto-Indo-European root *dher- ("to hold"). Etymologically it is related to Avestan √dar- ("to hold"), Old Persian ("to hold, have"), Latin √dar- ("rein, horse tack"), Lithuanian frēnum derė́ti ("to be suited, fit") and Lithuanian dermė (agreement), darna ("harmony"). Further east in China and Japan the best equivalent would probably be the character for law, 法. In Japanese this can be used to denote the Budda's Law, 仏法 (bupou) or secular law, 法 律 (houritsu). The character 法 combines water (three dashes on left) with container and has connotations of watertight container. This notion was extended to mean restraint of human behavior and is also found for instance in the word for grammar, 文法 (bunpou).
(Rather nullifying the above line of thought, in Oriental Mythology p23-5, J.Campbell equates dhárma with Tao as a conception of how the universe works. And as the Tao Te Ching has said of the tao, so say the Indians of dhárma: its yonder side is beyond definition; its hither side is the mother, support and bearer of all things.
Title: A Guide to Remembering Japanese Characters - - Authors: Kenneth G. Henshall Pub: Charles E.Tuttle Company - ISBN: 4-8053-0509-6
Title: The Masks of God - Oriental Mythology - - Authors: Joseph Campbell Pub: Arkana - ISBN: 0-14-019442-8
Title: Wikipedia Articles - - Authors: Various Pub: Wikipedia, - ISBN: n/a