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Dharmalaya FAQ for Visitors & Volunteers > About Dharmalaya > What is the meaning of the name 'Dharmalaya'?

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The name Dharmalaya could be translated in several ways, due to the richness of meaning of the two Sanskrit words from which it is formed: dharma and alaya.

Dharma is a word with many levels of meaning. One literal rendering is ‘that which is held’, and traditionally it is used to refer to both philosophical understandings and meditative practice. Dharma also means duty or responsibility, so a modern, secular definition of ‘practicing dharma’ could be ‘living responsibly and cultivating awareness’, or acting in accord with what the Dalai Lama calls ‘universal responsibility’ and ‘secular ethics’.

Alaya also has different layers of meaning. The literal meaning is ‘abode’ or ‘repository’. The deeper meaning is something that could be described as a reservoir of energy, knowledge, experience, memory, or potential.

Thus, taking all these meanings together, we translate ‘Dharmalaya’ as ‘a place to live responsibly, learn deeply, and work with joyful diligence to activate our great potential for the benefit of all’.

Last updated on 14 Apr, 2015 by Dharmalaya Institute