|(1). According to “The Harper Collins Dictionary of Religion”(J. Z. Smith, Gen. Ed., Harper Collins, 1995), dharma encompasses the following ten meanings:
1. elements or basic constituents of existence, 2. mental objects, 3. circumstances or conditions of life, 4. impermanence, 5. the Buddhist Path, 6. the goal of the path (namely, nirvana), 7. virtue or virtuous conduct, 8. principles of conduct or religious vows, 9. worldly laws and justice, and 10. quality.
(2). There are three more meanings commonly recognized by Chinese: things, objects, and places.
(3). Wikipedia provides this:
The meaning of word “dharma” depends on the context. In earliest texts, dharma meant cosmic law, the rules that created the universe from chaos, as well as rituals. Later, the word dharma was applied to diverse contexts such as human behaviors considered necessary for order of things in the universe, principles that prevent chaos, behaviors and action necessary to all life in nature, society, family as well as at the individual level. Dharma encompasses ideas such as duty, rights, character, vocation, religion, customs and all behavior considered appropriate, correct or morally upright.
(4). Monier-Williams Dictionary says:
Dharma: that which is established or firm, steadfast decree, statute, law, practice, custom, duty, right, justice, virtue, morality, ethics, religion, religious merit, good works, nature, character, quality, property, according to right or rule, rightly, justly, according to the nature of anything, holding to the law, doing one’s duty, peculiar condition or essential quality, mark, peculiarity, ceremony, sacrifice, etc. Yet, each of these definitions is incomplete, while combinations of these translations do not convey the total sense of the word. In common parlance, dharma means ‘right way of living’ and ‘path of rightness’
Therefore the meaning of Dharma in sutras must be chosen according to the context carefully in translation.