The meaning of the word Dhammapala (from the Pali language) is ‘guardian or protector of the Dhamma’, the teachings of the Buddha.
The term Dhamma (Sanskrit: dharma) is multi-layered in its meaning and central to the teachings of the Buddha. In its most profound and comprehensive sense it points to the ‘natural order of all things’ or to the ‘flow of universal laws’. As the teachings of the Buddha are in harmony with this natural order and are generally understood as an expression of it, the more specific meaning of the term ‘Dhamma‘ is exactly that: the teachings of the Buddha.
These teachings point in great detail to a path of liberation, which is available to all human beings and which consists of the exploration and realization of the laws governing our existence. A deeper understanding of the various contextual layers of our lives enables us to have a more effective orientation in life with regards the liberation of the heart, and therefore to an increasing amount of happiness, clarity, compassion and inner freedom. For this purpose the teachings of the Buddha offer inspiration, effective help and sustainable education of the heart.
Besides the virtues of generosity, active compassion and wisdom one of the most transformative aspects of this education is meditation (bhavana = ‘mind development’). This is understood to be a continuous deepening of insight into the nature of the mind and also into its content, based on mindfulness, stillness and clarity.
The purification of the heart, the cherishing of wholesome states of mind, the resulting insight (vipassana) and their application in daily life, are all central to the monastic life and to the content of many of our events. The fruits of insight meditation do not consist of specific intellectual knowledge, but lie more in a dynamic, profound and, at the same time, practical wisdom.
Embedded in an appreciation of applied virtue and social responsibility, this form of meditation is the most effective instrument on the way to the liberation of the heart.