What does it mean by "Dhamma arising in one's mind"?

I have been reading quite a few articles about buddhism, and also some scriptures. There I constantly find the phrase “Dhamma arising in one’s mind”, What does it really mean?

“Upon hearing the first two lines, there
arose in the wanderer Upatissa the dust-free, stainless vision of the
Dhamma - the first glimpse of the Deathless, the path of Stream-entry -
and to the ending of the last two lines he already listened as a

  • Great Disciples of the Buddha
    by Hellmuth Hecker &
    Nyanaponika Thera

Hi Charith

To me this phrase is referring to a felt experience.

The Dhamma ceases to be just a perception of things external to you. It ceases to be a perception of how you might even view yourself.

The use of such strong phrasing (Dhamma arising in one’s mind) seems to indicate that this a potent, powerful experience - something deeply, profoundly transformative and one’s mind is never the same again.

Perhaps it is very slightly similar to those ordinary moments in our life when we suddenly realise something we didn’t realise before and the new realisation suddenly seems to arise up.


normally in the suttas the formula goes as follows

virajaṃ vītamalaṃ dhammacakkhuṃ udapādi: “yaṃ kiñci samuda­ya­dhammaṃ sabbaṃ taṃ nirodhadhamman”ti

the dustless, stainless Dhamma eye arose within him, “Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.”

“Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.” is the content of the direct experience, that is experience of anicca, impermanence

from that point on this realization colors a person’s entire worldview, governs his/her way of thinking and thus propels one along the Path

in Zen terms, i’d call it satori, not the final but an intermediate realization

Hello Charith, the phrase “Dhamma arising in one’s mind” or put another way “the dust-free, stainless vision of the Dhamma” means the one seeing the Dhamma has had their first glimpse of Nibbana otherwise known as the realization of Stream-entry.

with metta,


Does it kind of happen bypassing the attainment of any of the 4 jhanas?

to my meagre knowledge description of the Dhamma-eye opening isn’t associated with jhanas

however to me it’s obvious that the mind must by that time be conditioned

jhanas (or practice towards them) is a means to condition the mind, so they must be of help

there’s an article by Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi on whether attainment of stream-entry necessitates mastering jhanas


those Cha/Zen monks who experienced satori i surmise were meditators, since zo chan/zazen is a practice customary to the cloister routine of this sect