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I shall return to this presently. Truth In certain contexts meanings such as 'teaching' or 'practice' seem not to fit; a meaning closer to 'truth' - the truth about the world or reality as directly realized and taught by the Buddha - seems to be required. Thus in a number of places in the Nikayas it is described how the Buddha by means of step by step instruction (anupubbl kathii) leads his listeners to a vision of the truth: he talks of giving, virtuous conduct, and heaven; he reveals the danger, vanity and impurity of sense desires, and the benefit of desirelessness; and when he sees that the hearts of his listeners are ready, open and without hindrance, are inspired and confident, then he reveals the teaching of the truth that is special to buddhas - suffering, its arising, its cessation, the path; and at the conclusion of such step by step instruction there arises in his listeners 'the clear and spotless vision of the truth (dhamma-cakkhu), ; 96 RUPERT OETHIN' the listeners are now 'ones who have seen the truth, gained the truth, known the truth , penetrated the truth, gone beyond doubt, removed their questioning, and acquired full 'confidence in what is taught by the Teacher without having to rely on others' .

He goes on to comment that these first 'foundations' can thus be understood as 'the model sacrifice instituted by the gods and repli­ cated in human performance' ; or, as he puts it later, 'they are the ritual precedents which the present rituals follow' . Halbfass likewise stresses the importance of the sense of the underlying root dhr: dharmas are thus things that 'support', 'uphold', 'maintain'; and referring to the work of Schayer, he characterises dharma in the Brahma�as as 'the continuous maintaining of the social and cosmic order and norm which is achieved by the Aryan through the per­ formance of his Vedic rites and traditional duties' .

Certain practices - primarily sacrificilll rites - as maintaining and supporting things - the cosmic and social order. The underlying assumption is, of course, that maintaining and supporting the cosmic and social order is · a good thing; dharmans are therefore prescribed practices. Another dharman or 'foundation' that the Rg Veda identifies is, suggests Brereton, the foundational authority especially of Varu�a and Mitra; this authority consists in the commandments of Varu�a and the alliances governed by Mitra.

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