The Dhammapada is the best known and most widely esteemed text in the Pali Tipitaka, the sacred scriptures of Theravada Buddhism. Acharya Buddharakkhita, a translator of The Dhammapada, wrote: “The work is included in the Khuddaka Nikaya ("Minor Collection") of the Sutta Pitaka, but its popularity has raised it far above the single niche it occupies in the scriptures to the ranks of a world religious classic. Composed in the ancient Pali language, this slim anthology of verses constitutes a perfect compendium of the Buddha's teaching, comprising between its covers all the essential principles elaborated at length in the forty-odd volumes of the Pali Canon. [Source: Preface “The Dhammapada: The Buddha's Path of Wisdom” translated from the Pali by Acharya Buddharakkhita /*\]
“According to the Theravada Buddhist tradition, each verse in the Dhammapada was originally spoken by the Buddha in response to a particular episode. Accounts of these, along with exegesis of the verses, are preserved in the classic commentary to the work, compiled by the great scholiast Bhadantacariya Buddhaghosa in the fifth century C.E. on the basis of material going back to very ancient times. The contents of the verses, however, transcend the limited and particular circumstances of their origin, reaching out through the ages to various types of people in all the diverse situations of life. For the simple and unsophisticated the Dhammapada is a sympathetic counsellor; for the intellectually overburdened its clear and direct teachings inspire humility and reflection; for the earnest seeker it is a perennial source of inspiration and practical instruction. Insights that flashed into the heart of the Buddha have crystallized into these luminous verses of pure wisdom. As profound expressions of practical spirituality, each verse is a guideline to right living. The Buddha unambiguously pointed out that whoever earnestly practises the teachings found in the Dhammapada will taste the bliss of emancipation.” /*\
“The Theravada Buddhist scholar Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote: “From ancient times to the present, the Dhammapada has been regarded as the most succinct expression of the Buddha's teaching found in the Pali Canon and the chief spiritual testament of early Buddhism. In the countries following Theravada Buddhism, such as Sri Lanka, Burma and Thailand, the influence of the Dhammapada is ubiquitous. It is an ever-fecund source of themes for sermons and discussions, a guidebook for resolving the countless problems of everyday life, a primer for the instruction of novices in the monasteries. Even the experienced contemplative, withdrawn to forest hermitage or mountainside cave for a life of meditation, can be expected to count a copy of the book among his few material possessions. Yet the admiration the Dhammapada has elicited has not been confined to avowed followers of Buddhism. Wherever it has become known its moral earnestness, realistic understanding of human life, aphoristic wisdom and stirring message of a way to freedom from suffering have won for it the devotion and veneration of those responsive to the good and the true. [Source: Bhikkhu Bodhi, Introduction of “The Dhammapada: The Buddha's Path of Wisdom” translated from the Pali by Acharya Buddharakkhita /*\]
“To his followers, the Buddha is neither a god, a divine incarnation, or a prophet bearing a message of divine revelation, but a human being who by his own striving and intelligence has reached the highest spiritual attainment of which man is capable- -perfect wisdom, full enlightenment, complete purification of mind. His function in relation to humanity is that of a teacher- -a world teacher who, out of compassion, points out to others the way to Nibbana (Sanskrit: Nirvana), final release from suffering. His teaching, known as the Dhamma, offers a body of instructions explaining the true nature of existence and showing the path that leads to liberation. Free from all dogmas and inscrutable claims to authority, the Dhamma is founded solidly upon the bedrock of the Buddha's own clear comprehension of reality, and it leads the one who practises it to that same understanding--the knowledge which extricates the roots of suffering. /*\
“The title "Dhammapada" which the ancient compilers of the Buddhist scriptures attached to our anthology means portions, aspects, or sections of Dhamma. The work has been given this title because, in its twenty-six chapters, it spans the multiple aspects of the Buddha's teaching, offering a variety of standpoints from which to gain a glimpse into its heart. Whereas the longer discourses of the Buddha contained in the prose sections of the Canon usually proceed methodically, unfolding according to the sequential structure of the doctrine, the Dhammapada lacks such a systematic arrangement. The work is simply a collection of inspirational or pedagogical verses on the fundamentals of the Dhamma, to be used as a basis for personal edification and instruction. In any given chapter several successive verses may have been spoken by the Buddha on a single occasion, and thus among themselves will exhibit a meaningful development or a set of variations on a theme. But by and large, the logic behind the grouping together of verses into a chapter is merely the concern with a common topic. The twenty-six chapter headings thus function as a kind of rubric for classifying the diverse poetic utterances of the Master, and the reason behind the inclusion of any given verse in a particular chapter is its mention of the subject indicated in the chapter's heading. In some cases (Chapter 4 and 23) this may be a metaphorical symbol rather than a point of doctrine. There also seems to be no intentional design in the order of the chapters themselves, though at certain points a loose thread of development can be discerned.” /*\
Websites and Resources on Buddhism: Buddha Net buddhanet.net/e-learning/basic-guide ; Religious Tolerance Page religioustolerance.org/buddhism ; Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; Internet Sacred Texts Archive sacred-texts.com/bud/index ; Introduction to Buddhism webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/buddhaintro ; Early Buddhist texts, translations, and parallels, SuttaCentral suttacentral.net ; East Asian Buddhist Studies: A Reference Guide, UCLA web.archive.org ; View on Buddhism viewonbuddhism.org ; Tricycle: The Buddhist Review tricycle.org ; BBC - Religion: Buddhism bbc.co.uk/religion ; Buddhist Centre thebuddhistcentre.com; A sketch of the Buddha's Life accesstoinsight.org ; What Was The Buddha Like? by Ven S. Dhammika buddhanet.net ; Jataka Tales (Stories About Buddha) sacred-texts.com ; Illustrated Jataka Tales and Buddhist stories ignca.nic.in/jatak ; Buddhist Tales buddhanet.net ; Arahants, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas by Bhikkhu Bodhi accesstoinsight.org ; Victoria and Albert Museum vam.ac.uk/collections/asia/asia_features/buddhism/index ; Theravada Buddhism: Readings in Theravada Buddhism, Access to Insight accesstoinsight.org/ ; Readings in Buddhism, Vipassana Research Institute (English, Southeast Asian and Indian Languages) tipitaka.org ; Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; Encyclopædia Britannica britannica.com ; Pali Canon Online palicanon.org ; Vipassanā (Theravada Buddhist Meditation) Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; Pali Canon - Access to Insight accesstoinsight.org ; Forest monk tradition abhayagiri.org/about/thai-forest-tradition ; BBC Theravada Buddhism bbc.co.uk/religion
Understanding the Dhammapada
In the introduction of a fairly recent translation of the Dhammapada, Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote: “The teachings of the Buddha, viewed in their completeness, all link together into a single perfectly coherent system of thought and practice which gains its unity from its final goal, the attainment of deliverance from suffering. But the teachings inevitably emerge from the human condition as their matrix and starting point, and thus must be expressed in such a way as to reach human beings standing at different levels of spiritual development, with their highly diverse problems, ends, and concerns and with their very different capacities for understanding. Thence, just as water, though one in essence, assumes different shapes due to the vessels into which it is poured, so the Dhamma of liberation takes on different forms in response to the needs of the beings to be taught. This diversity, evident enough already in the prose discourses, becomes even more conspicuous in the highly condensed, spontaneous and intuitively charged medium of verse used in the Dhammapada. The intensified power of delivery can result in apparent inconsistencies which may perplex the unwary. For example, in many verses the Buddha commends certain practices on the grounds that they lead to a heavenly birth, but in others he discourages disciples from aspiring for heaven and extolls the one who takes no delight in celestial pleasures (187, 417).1 Often he enjoins works of merit, yet elsewhere he praises the one who has gone beyond both merit and demerit (39, 412). Without a grasp of the underlying structure of the Dhamma, such statements viewed side by side will appear incompatible and may even elicit the judgement that the teaching is self-contradictory. [Source: Bhikkhu Bodhi, Introduction of “The Dhammapada: The Buddha's Path of Wisdom” translated from the Pali by Acharya Buddharakkhita /*\]
“The key to resolving these apparent discrepancies is the recognition that the Dhamma assumes its formulation from the needs of the diverse persons to whom it is addressed, as well as from the diversity of needs that may co-exist even in a single individual. To make sense of the various utterances found in the Dhammapada, we will suggest a schematism of four levels to be used for ascertaining the intention behind any particular verse found in the work, and thus for understanding its proper place in the total systematic vision of the Dhamma. This fourfold schematism develops out of an ancient interpretive maxim which holds that the Buddha's teaching is designed to meet three primary aims: human welfare here and now, a favourable rebirth in the next life, and the attainment of the ultimate good. The four levels are arrived at by distinguishing the last aim into two stages: path and fruit. /*\
“The four levels of teaching just discussed give us the key for sorting out the Dhammapada's diverse utterances on Buddhist doctrine and for discerning the intention behind its words of practical counsel. Interlaced with the verses specific to these four main levels, there runs throughout the work a large number of verses not tied to any single level but applicable to all alike. Taken together, these delineate for us the basic world view of early Buddhism. The most arresting feature of this view is its stress on process rather than persistence as the defining mark of actuality. The universe is in flux, a boundless river of incessant becoming sweeping everything along; dust motes and mountains, gods and men and animals, world system after world system without number--all are engulfed by the irrepressible current. There is no creator of this process, no providential deity behind the scenes steering all things to some great and glorious end. The cosmos is beginningless, and in its movement from phase to phase it is governed only by the impersonal, implacable law of arising, change, and passing away. /*\
“However, the focus of the Dhammapada is not on the outer cosmos, but on the human world, upon man with his yearning and his suffering, his immense complexity, his striving and movement towards transcendence. The starting point is the human condition as given, and fundamental to the picture that emerges is the inescapable duality of human life, the dichotomies which taunt and challenge man at every turn. Seeking happiness, afraid of pain, loss and death, man walks the delicate balance between good and evil, purity and defilement, progress and decline. His actions are strung out between these moral antipodes, and because he cannot evade the necessity to choose, he must bear the full responsibility for his decisions. Man's moral freedom is a reason for both dread and jubilation, for by means of his choices he determines his own individual destiny, not only through one life, but through the numerous lives to be turned up by the rolling wheel of samsara. If he chooses wrongly he can sink to the lowest depths of degradation, if he chooses rightly he can make himself worthy even of the homage of the gods. The paths to all destinations branch out from the present, from the ineluctable immediate occasion of conscious choice and action. /*\
“The recognition of duality extends beyond the limits of conditioned existence to include the antithetical poles of the conditioned and the unconditioned, samsara and Nibbana, the "near shore" and the "far shore." The Buddha appears in the world as the Great Liberator who shows man the way to break free from the one and arrive at the other, where alone true safety is to be found. But all he can do is indicate the path; the work of treading it lies in the hands of the disciple. The Dhammapada again and again sounds this challenge to human freedom: man is the maker and master of himself, the protector or destroyer of himself, the savior of himself (160, 165, 380). In the end he must choose between the way that leads back into the world, to the round of becoming, and the way that leads out of the world, to Nibbana. And though this last course is extremely difficult and demanding, the voice of the Buddha speaks words of assurance confirming that it can be done, that it lies within man's power to overcome all barriers and to triumph even over death itself. /*\
“The pivotal role in achieving progress in all spheres, the Dhammapada declares, is played by the mind. In contrast to the Bible, which opens with an account of God's creation of the world, the Dhammapada begins with an unequivocal assertion that mind is the forerunner of all that we are, the maker of our character, the creator of our destiny. The entire discipline of the Buddha, from morality to the highest levels of meditation, hinges upon training the mind. A wrongly directed mind brings greater harm than any enemy, a rightly directed mind brings greater good than any other relative or friend (42, 43). The mind is unruly, fickle, difficult to subdue, but by effort, mindfulness and unflagging self-discipline, one can master its vagrant tendencies, escape the torrents of the passions and find "an island which no flood can overwhelm" (25). The one who conquers himself, the victor over his own mind, achieves a conquest which can never be undone, a victory greater than that of the mightiest warriors (103-105). /*\
“What is needed most urgently to train and subdue the mind is a quality called heedfulness (appamada). Heedfulness combines critical self-awareness and unremitting energy in a process of keeping the mind under constant observation to detect and expel the defiling impulses whenever they seek an opportunity to surface. In a world where man has no saviour but himself, and where the means to his deliverance lies in mental purification, heedfulness becomes the crucial factor for ensuring that the aspirant keeps to the straight path of training without deviating due to the seductive allurements of sense pleasures or the stagnating influences of laziness and complacency. Heedfulness, the Buddha declares, is the path to the Deathless; heedlessness, the path to death. The wise who understand this distinction abide in heedfulness and experience Nibbana, "the incomparable freedom from bondage" (21-23). /*\
“As a great religious classic and the chief spiritual testament of early Buddhism, the Dhammapada cannot be gauged in its true value by a single reading, even if that reading is done carefully and reverentially. It yields its riches only through repeated study, sustained reflection, and most importantly, through the application of its principles to daily life. Thence it might be suggested to the reader in search of spiritual guidance that the Dhammapada be used as a manual for contemplation. After his initial reading, he would do well to read several verses or even a whole chapter every day, slowly and carefully, relishing the words. He should reflect on the meaning of each verse deeply and thoroughly, investigate its relevance to his life, and apply it as a guide to conduct. If this is done repeatedly, with patience and perseverance, it is certain that the Dhammapada will confer upon his life a new meaning and sense of purpose. Infusing him with hope and inspiration, gradually it will lead him to discover a freedom and happiness far greater than anything the world can offer.” /*\
First Level of Dhammapada Teaching
Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote: “The first level is the concern with establishing well-being and happiness in the immediately visible sphere of concrete human relations. The aim at this level is to show man the way to live at peace with himself and his fellow men, to fulfill his family and social responsibilities, and to restrain the bitterness, conflict and violence which infect human relationships and bring such immense suffering to the individual, society, and the world as a whole. The guidelines appropriate to this level are largely identical with the basic ethical injunctions proposed by most of the great world religions, but in the Buddhist teaching they are freed from theistic moorings and grounded upon two directly verifiable foundations: concern for one's own integrity and long-range happiness and concern for the welfare of those whom one's actions may affect (129-132). The most general counsel the Dhammapada gives is to avoid all evil, to cultivate good and to cleanse one's mind (183). But to dispel any doubts the disciple might entertain as to what he should avoid and what he should cultivate, other verses provide more specific directives. One should avoid irritability in deed, word and thought and exercise self-control (231-234). One should adhere to the five precepts, the fundamental moral code of Buddhism, which teach abstinence from destroying life, from stealing, from committing adultery, from speaking lies and from taking intoxicants; one who violates these five training rules "digs up his own root even in this very world" (246-247). The disciple should treat all beings with kindness and compassion, live honestly and righteously, control his sensual desires, speak the truth and live a sober upright life, diligently fulfilling his duties, such as service to parents, to his immediate family and to those recluses and brahmins who depend on the laity for their maintenance (332-333). [Source: Bhikkhu Bodhi, Introduction of “The Dhammapada: The Buddha's Path of Wisdom” translated from the Pali by Acharya Buddharakkhita /*\]
“A large number of verses pertaining to this first level are concerned with the resolution of conflict and hostility. Quarrels are to be avoided by patience and forgiveness, for responding to hatred by further hatred only maintains the cycle of vengeance and retaliation. The true conquest of hatred is achieved by non-hatred, by forbearance, by love (4-6). One should not respond to bitter speech but maintain silence (134). One should not yield to anger but control it as a driver controls a chariot (222). Instead of keeping watch for the faults of others, the disciple is admonished to examine his own faults, and to make a continual effort to remove his impurities just as a silversmith purifies silver (50, 239). Even if he has committed evil in the past, there is no need for dejection or despair; for a man's ways can be radically changed, and one who abandons the evil for the good illuminates this world like the moon freed from clouds (173). /*\
“The sterling qualities distinguishing the man of virtue are generosity, truthfulness, patience, and compassion (223). By developing and mastering these qualities within himself, a man lives at harmony with his own conscience and at peace with his fellow beings. The scent of virtue, the Buddha declares, is sweeter than the scent of all flowers and perfumes (55-56). The good man, like the Himalaya mountains, shines from afar, and wherever he goes he is loved and respected (303-304).” /*\
Second Level of Dhammapada Teaching
Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote: “In its second level of teaching, the Dhammapada shows that morality does not exhaust its significance in its contribution to human felicity here and now, but exercises a far more critical influence in moulding personal destiny. This level begins with the recognition that, to reflective thought, the human situation demands a more satisfactory context for ethics than mere appeals to altruism can provide. On the one hand our innate sense of moral justice requires that goodness be recompensed with happiness and evil with suffering; on the other our typical experience shows us virtuous people beset with hardships and afflictions and thoroughly bad people riding the waves of fortune (119-120). Moral intuition tells us that if there is any long-range value to righteousness, the imbalance must somehow be redressed. The visible order does not yield an evident solution, but the Buddha's teaching reveals the factor needed to vindicate our cry for moral justice in an impersonal universal law which reigns over all sentient existence. This is the law of kamma (Sanskrit: karma), of action and its fruit, which ensures that morally determinate action does not disappear into nothingness but eventually meets its due retribution, the good with happiness, the bad with suffering. [Source: Bhikkhu Bodhi, Introduction of “The Dhammapada: The Buddha's Path of Wisdom” translated from the Pali by Acharya Buddharakkhita /*\]
“In the popular understanding kamma is sometimes identified with fate, but this is a total misconception utterly inapplicable to the Buddhist doctrine. Kamma means volitional action, action springing from intention, which may manifest itself outwardly as bodily deeds or speech, or remain internally as unexpressed thoughts, desires and emotions. The Buddha distinguishes kamma into two primary ethical types: unwholesome kamma, action rooted in mental states of greed, hatred and delusion; and wholesome kamma, action rooted in mental states of generosity or detachment, goodwill and understanding. The willed actions a person performs in the course of his life may fade from memory without a trace, but once performed they leave subtle imprints on the mind, seeds with the potential to come to fruition in the future when they meet conditions conducive to their ripening. /*\
“The objective field in which the seeds of kamma ripen is the process of rebirths called samsara. In the Buddha's teaching, life is not viewed as an isolated occurrence beginning spontaneously with birth and ending in utter annihilation at death. Each single lifespan is seen, rather, as part of an individualised series of lives having no discoverable beginning in time and continuing on as long as the desire for existence stands intact. Rebirth can take place in various realms. There are not only the familiar realms of human beings and animals, but ranged above we meet heavenly worlds of greater happiness, beauty and power, and ranged below infernal worlds of extreme suffering. /*\
“The cause for rebirth into these various realms the Buddha locates in kamma, our own willed actions. In its primary role, kamma determines the sphere into which rebirth takes place, wholesome actions bringing rebirth in higher forms, unwholesome actions rebirth in lower forms. After yielding rebirth, kamma continues to operate, governing the endowments and circumstances of the individual within his given form of existence. Thus, within the human world, previous stores of wholesome kamma will issue in long life, health, wealth, beauty and success; stores of unwholesome kamma in short life, illness, poverty, ugliness and failure. /*\
“Prescriptively, the second level of teaching found in the Dhammapada is the practical corollary to this recognition of the law of kamma, put forth to show human beings, who naturally desire happiness and freedom from sorrow, the effective means to achieve their objectives. The content of this teaching itself does not differ from that presented at the first level; it is the same set of ethical injunctions for abstaining from evil and for cultivating the good. The difference lies in the perspective from which the injunctions are issued and the aim for the sake of which they are to be taken up. The principles of morality are shown now in their broader cosmic connections, as tied to an invisible but all-embracing law which binds together all life and holds sway over the repeated rotations of the cycle of birth and death. The observance of morality is justified, despite its difficulties and apparent failures, by the fact that it is in harmony with that law, that through the efficacy of kamma, our willed actions become the chief determinant of our destiny both in this life and in future states of becoming. To follow the ethical law leads upwards--to inner development, to higher rebirths and to richer experiences of happiness and joy. To violate the law, to act in the grip of selfishness and hate, leads downwards--to inner deterioration, to suffering and to rebirth in the worlds of misery. This theme is announced already by the pair of verses which opens the Dhammapada, and reappears in diverse formulations throughout the work (see, e.g. 15-18, 117-122, 127, 132-133, Chapter 22). /*\
“The ethical counsel based on the desire for higher rebirths and happiness in future lives is not the final teaching of the Buddha, and thus cannot provide the decisive program of personal training commended by the Dhammapada. In its own sphere of application, it is perfectly valid as a preparatory or provisional teaching for those whose spiritual faculties are not yet ripe but still require further maturation over a succession of lives. A deeper, more searching examination, however, reveals that all states of existence in samsara, even the loftiest celestial abodes, are lacking in genuine worth; for they are all inherently impermanent, without any lasting substance, and thus, for those who cling to them, potential bases for suffering. The disciple of mature faculties, sufficiently prepared by previous experience for the Buddha's distinctive exposition of the Dhamma, does not long even for rebirth among the gods. Having understood the intrinsic inadequacy of all conditioned things, his focal aspiration is only for deliverance from the ever-repeating round of births. This is the ultimate goal to which the Buddha points, as the immediate aim for those of developed faculties and also as the long-term ideal for those in need of further development: Nibbana, the Deathless, the unconditioned state where there is no more birth, ageing and death, and no more suffering.” /*\
Third Level of Dhammapada Teaching
Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote: “The third level of teaching found in the Dhammapada sets forth the theoretical framework and practical discipline emerging out of the aspiration for final deliverance. The theoretical framework is provided by the teaching of the Four Noble Truths (190-192, 273), which the Buddha had proclaimed already in his first sermon and upon which he placed so much stress in his many discourses that all schools of Buddhism have appropriated them as their common foundation. The four truths all centre around the fact of suffering (dukkha), understood not as mere experienced pain and sorrow, but as the pervasive unsatisfactoriness of everything conditioned (202-203). The first truth details the various forms of suffering--birth, old age, sickness and death, the misery of unpleasant encounters and painful separations, the suffering of not obtaining what one wants. It culminates in the declaration that all constituent phenomena of body and mind, "the aggregates of existence" (khandha), being impermanent and substanceless, are intrinsically unsatisfactory. The second truth points out that the cause of suffering is craving (tanha), the desire for pleasure and existence which drives us through the round of rebirths, bringing in its trail sorrow, anxiety, and despair (212-216, Chapter 24). The third truth declares that the destruction of craving issues in release from suffering, and the fourth prescribes the means to gain release, the Noble Eightfold Path: right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration (Chapter 20). [Source: Bhikkhu Bodhi, Introduction of “The Dhammapada: The Buddha's Path of Wisdom” translated from the Pali by Acharya Buddharakkhita /*\]
“If, at this third level, the doctrinal emphasis shifts from the principles of kamma and rebirth to the Four Noble Truths, a corresponding shift in emphasis takes place in the practical sphere as well. The stress now no longer falls on the observation of basic morality and the cultivation of wholesome attitudes as a means to higher rebirths. Instead it falls on the integral development of the Noble Eightfold Path a means to uproot the craving that nurtures the process of rebirth itself. For practical purposes the eight factors of the path are arranged into three major groups which reveal more clearly the developmental structure of the training: moral discipline (including right speech, right action and right livelihood), concentration (including right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration), and wisdom (including right understanding and right thought). By the training in morality, the coarsest forms of the mental defilements, those erupting as unwholesome deeds and words, are checked and kept under control. By the training in concentration the mind is made calm, pure and unified, purged of the currents of distractive thoughts. By the training in wisdom the concentrated beam of attention is focused upon the constituent factors of mind and body to investigate and contemplate their salient characteristics. This wisdom, gradually ripened, climaxes in the understanding that brings complete purification and deliverance of mind. /*\
“In principle, the practice of the path in all three stages is feasible for people in any walk of life. The Buddha taught it to laypeople as well as to monks, and many of his lay followers reached high stages of attainment. However, application to the development of the path becomes most fruitful for those who have relinquished all other concerns in order to devote themselves wholeheartedly to spiritual training, to living the "holy life" (brahmacariya). For conduct to be completely purified, for sustained contemplation and penetrating wisdom to unfold without impediments, adoption of a different style of life becomes imperative, one which minimizes distractions and stimulants to craving and orders all activities around the aim of liberation. Thus the Buddha established the Sangha, the order of monks and nuns, as the special field for those ready to dedicate their lives to the practice of his path, and in the Dhammapada the call to the monastic life resounds throughout. /*\
“The entry-way to the monastic life is an act of radical renunciation. The thoughtful, who have seen the transience and hidden misery of worldly life, break the ties of family and social bonds, abandon their homes and mundane pleasures, and enter upon the state of homelessness (83, 87-89, 91). Withdrawn to silent and secluded places, they seek out the company of wise instructors, and guided by the rules of the monastic training, devote their energies to a life of meditation. Content with the simplest material requisites, moderate in eating, restrained in their senses, they stir up their energy, abide in constant mindfulness and still the restless waves of thoughts (185, 375). With the mind made clear and steady, they learn to contemplate the arising and falling away of all formations, and experience thereby "a delight that transcends all human delights," a joy and happiness that anticipates the bliss of the Deathless (373-374). The life of meditative contemplation reaches its peak in the development of insight (vipassana), and the Dhammapada enunciates the principles to be discerned by insight-wisdom: that all conditioned things are impermanent, that they are all unsatisfactory, that there is no self or truly existent ego entity to be found in anything whatsoever (277-279). When these truths are penetrated by direct experience, the craving, ignorance and related mental fetters maintaining bondage break asunder, and the disciple rises through successive stages of realisation to the full attainment of Nibbana.” /*\
Forth Level of Dhammapada Teaching
Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote: “The fourth level of teaching in the Dhammapada provides no new disclosure of doctrine or practice, but an acclamation and exaltation of those who have reached the goal. In the Pali Canon the stages of definite attainment along the way to Nibbana are enumerated as four. At the first, called "Stream-entry" (sotapatti), the disciple gains his first glimpse of "the Deathless" and enters irreversibly upon the path to liberation, bound to reach the goal in seven lives at most. This achievement alone, the Dhammapada declares, is greater than lordship over all the worlds (178). Following Stream-entry come two further stages which weaken and eradicate still more defilements and bring the goal increasingly closer to view. One is called the stage of Once-returner (sakadagami), when the disciple will return to the human world at most only one more time; the other the stage of Non-returner (anagami), when he will never come back to human existence but will take rebirth in a celestial plane, bound to win final deliverance there. The fourth and final stage is that of the Arahat, the Perfected One, the fully accomplished sage who has completed the development of the path, eradicated all defilements and freed himself from bondage to the cycle of rebirths. This is the ideal figure of early Buddhism and the supreme hero of the Dhammapada. Extolled in Chapter 7 under his own name and in Chapter 26 (385-388, 396-423) under the name brahmana, "holy man," the Arahat serves as a living demonstration of the truth of the Dhamma. Bearing his last body, perfectly at peace, he is the inspiring model who shows in his own person that it is possible to free oneself from the stains of greed, hatred and delusion, to rise above suffering, to win Nibbana in this very life. [Source: Bhikkhu Bodhi, Introduction of “The Dhammapada: The Buddha's Path of Wisdom” translated from the Pali by Acharya Buddharakkhita /*\]
“The Arahat ideal reaches its optimal exemplification in the Buddha, the promulgator and master of the entire teaching. It was the Buddha who, without any aid or guidance, rediscovered the ancient path to deliverance and taught it to countless others. His arising in the world provides the precious opportunity to hear and practice the excellent Dhamma (182, 194). He is the giver and shower of refuge (190-192), the Supreme Teacher who depends on nothing but his own self-evolved wisdom (353). Born a man, the Buddha always remains essentially human, yet his attainment of Perfect Enlightenment elevates him to a level far surpassing that of common humanity. All our familiar concepts and modes of knowing fail to circumscribe his nature: he is trackless, of limitless range, free from all worldliness, conqueror of all, the knower of all, untainted by the world (179, 180, 353). Always shining in the splendour of his wisdom, the Buddha by his very being confirms the Buddhist faith in human perfectibility and consummates the Dhammapada's picture of man perfected, the Arahat.” /*\
Contents of The Dhammapada
Chapter I. The Twin-Verses (The Pairs, verses 1-20)
Chapter II. On Earnestness (Heedfulness, verses 21-32)
Chapter III. Thought (The Mind, verses 33-43)
Chapter IV. Flowers (verses 44-59)
Chapter V. The Fool (verses 60-75)
Chapter VI. The Wise Man (Pandita, verses 76-89)
Chapter VII. The Venerable (Arhat, The Perfected One, verses 90-99)
Chapter VIII. The Thousands (verses 100-115)
Chapter IX. Evil (verses 116-128)
Chapter X. Punishment (Violence, verses 129-145)
Chapter XI. Old Age (verses 146-156)
Chapter XII. Self (verses 157-166)
Chapter XIII. The World (verses 167-178)
Chapter XIV. The Buddha (The Awakened, verses 179-196)
Chapter XV. Happiness (verses 197-208)
Chapter XVI. Pleasure (Affection, verses 209-220)
Chapter XVII. Anger (verses 221-234)
Chapter XVIII. Impurity (verses 235-255)
Chapter XIX. The Just (verses 256-272)
Chapter XX. The Way (The Path, verses 273-289)
Chapter XXI. Miscellaneous (verses 290-305)
Chapter XXII. The Downward Course (The State of Woe, verses 306-319)
Chapter XXIII. The Elephant (verses 320-333)
Chapter XXIV. Thirst (Craving, verses 334-359)
Chapter XXV. The Bhikshu (Mendicant, (The Monk, verses 360-382)
Chapter XXVI. The Brahmana (Arhat, The Holy Man, verses 383-423)
Chapter I of The Dhammapada: The Twin-Verses
1. All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him, as the wheel follows the foot of the ox that draws the carriage. [Source: “The Dhammapada”, Author: Unknown, translated from Pali by Max Muller (1823-1900), Project Gutenberg]
2. All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.
3. "He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me,"—in those who harbour such thoughts hatred will never cease.
4. "He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me,"—in those who do not harbour such thoughts hatred will cease.
5. For hatred does not cease by hatred at any time: hatred ceases by love, this is an old rule.
6. The world does not know that we must all come to an end here;—but those who know it, their quarrels cease at once.
7. He who lives looking for pleasures only, his senses uncontrolled, immoderate in his food, idle, and weak, Mara (the tempter) will certainly overthrow him, as the wind throws down a weak tree.
8. He who lives without looking for pleasures, his senses well controlled, moderate in his food, faithful and strong, him Mara will certainly not overthrow, any more than the wind throws down a rocky mountain.
9. He who wishes to put on the yellow dress without having cleansed himself from sin, who disregards temperance and truth, is unworthy of the yellow dress.
10. But he who has cleansed himself from sin, is well grounded in all virtues, and regards also temperance and truth, he is indeed worthy of the yellow dress.
11. They who imagine truth in untruth, and see untruth in truth, never arrive at truth, but follow vain desires.
12. They who know truth in truth, and untruth in untruth, arrive at truth, and follow true desires.
13. As rain breaks through an ill-thatched house, passion will break through an unreflecting mind.
14. As rain does not break through a well-thatched house, passion will not break through a well-reflecting mind.
15. The evil-doer mourns in this world, and he mourns in the next; he mourns in both. He mourns and suffers when he sees the evil of his own work.
16. The virtuous man delights in this world, and he delights in the next; he delights in both. He delights and rejoices, when he sees the purity of his own work.
17. The evil-doer suffers in this world, and he suffers in the next; he suffers in both. He suffers when he thinks of the evil he has done; he suffers more when going on the evil path.
18. The virtuous man is happy in this world, and he is happy in the next; he is happy in both. He is happy when he thinks of the good he has done; he is still more happy when going on the good path.
19. The thoughtless man, even if he can recite a large portion (of the law), but is not a doer of it, has no share in the priesthood, but is like a cowherd counting the cows of others.
20. The follower of the law, even if he can recite only a small portion (of the law), but, having forsaken passion and hatred and foolishness, possesses true knowledge and serenity of mind, he, caring for nothing in this world or that to come, has indeed a share in the priesthood.
Chapter II of The Dhammapada: On Earnestness
21. Earnestness is the path of immortality (Nirvana), thoughtlessness the path of death. Those who are in earnest do not die, those who are thoughtless are as if dead already. [Source: “The Dhammapada”, Author: Unknown, translated from Pali by Max Muller (1823-1900), Project Gutenberg]
22. Those who are advanced in earnestness, having understood this clearly, delight in earnestness, and rejoice in the knowledge of the Ariyas (the elect).
23. These wise people, meditative, steady, always possessed of strong powers, attain to Nirvana, the highest happiness.
24. If an earnest person has roused himself, if he is not forgetful, if his deeds are pure, if he acts with consideration, if he restrains himself, and lives according to law,—then his glory will increase.
25. By rousing himself, by earnestness, by restraint and control, the wise man may make for himself an island which no flood can overwhelm.
26. Fools follow after vanity, men of evil wisdom. The wise man keeps earnestness as his best jewel.
27. Follow not after vanity, nor after the enjoyment of love and lust! He who is earnest and meditative, obtains ample joy.
28. When the learned man drives away vanity by earnestness, he, the wise, climbing the terraced heights of wisdom, looks down upon the fools, serene he looks upon the toiling crowd, as one that stands on a mountain looks down upon them that stand upon the plain.
29. Earnest among the thoughtless, awake among the sleepers, the wise man advances like a racer, leaving behind the hack.
30. By earnestness did Maghavan (Indra) rise to the lordship of the gods. People praise earnestness; thoughtlessness is always blamed.
31. A Bhikshu (mendicant) who delights in earnestness, who looks with fear on thoughtlessness, moves about like fire, burning all his fetters, small or large.
32. A Bhikshu (mendicant) who delights in reflection, who looks with fear on thoughtlessness, cannot fall away (from his perfect state)—he is close upon Nirvana.
Chapter III of The Dhammapada: Thought
33. As a fletcher makes straight his arrow, a wise man makes straight his trembling and unsteady thought, which is difficult to guard, difficult to hold back. [Source: “The Dhammapada”, Author: Unknown, translated from Pali by Max Muller (1823-1900), Project Gutenberg]
34. As a fish taken from his watery home and thrown on dry ground, our thought trembles all over in order to escape the dominion of Mara (the tempter).
35. It is good to tame the mind, which is difficult to hold in and flighty, rushing wherever it listeth; a tamed mind brings happiness.
36. Let the wise man guard his thoughts, for they are difficult to perceive, very artful, and they rush wherever they list: thoughts well guarded bring happiness.
37. Those who bridle their mind which travels far, moves about alone, is without a body, and hides in the chamber (of the heart), will be free from the bonds of Mara (the tempter).
38. If a man's thoughts are unsteady, if he does not know the true law, if his peace of mind is troubled, his knowledge will never be perfect.
39. If a man's thoughts are not dissipated, if his mind is not perplexed, if he has ceased to think of good or evil, then there is no fear for him while he is watchful.
40. Knowing that this body is (fragile) like a jar, and making this thought firm like a fortress, one should attack Mara (the tempter) with the weapon of knowledge, one should watch him when conquered, and should never rest.
41. Before long, alas! this body will lie on the earth, despised, without understanding, like a useless log.
42. Whatever a hater may do to a hater, or an enemy to an enemy, a wrongly-directed mind will do us greater mischief.
43. Not a mother, not a father will do so much, nor any other relative; a well-directed mind will do us greater service.
Chapter IV of The Dhammapada: Flowers
44. Who shall overcome this earth, and the world of Yama (the lord of the departed), and the world of the gods? Who shall find out the plainly shown path of virtue, as a clever man finds out the (right) flower? [Source: “The Dhammapada”, Author: Unknown, translated from Pali by Max Muller (1823-1900), Project Gutenberg]
45. The disciple will overcome the earth, and the world of Yama, and the world of the gods. The disciple will find out the plainly shown path of virtue, as a clever man finds out the (right) flower.
46. He who knows that this body is like froth, and has learnt that it is as unsubstantial as a mirage, will break the flower-pointed arrow of Mara, and never see the king of death.
47. Death carries off a man who is gathering flowers and whose mind is distracted, as a flood carries off a sleeping village.
48. Death subdues a man who is gathering flowers, and whose mind is distracted, before he is satiated in his pleasures.
49. As the bee collects nectar and departs without injuring the flower, or its colour or scent, so let a sage dwell in his village.
50. Not the perversities of others, not their sins of commission or omission, but his own misdeeds and negligences should a sage take notice of.
51. Like a beautiful flower, full of colour, but without scent, are the fine but fruitless words of him who does not act accordingly.
52. But, like a beautiful flower, full of colour and full of scent, are the fine and fruitful words of him who acts accordingly.
53. As many kinds of wreaths can be made from a heap of flowers, so many good things may be achieved by a mortal when once he is born.
54. The scent of flowers does not travel against the wind, nor (that of) sandal-wood, or of Tagara and Mallika flowers; but the odour of good people travels even against the wind; a good man pervades every place.
55. Sandal-wood or Tagara, a lotus-flower, or a Vassiki, among these sorts of perfumes, the perfume of virtue is unsurpassed.
56. Mean is the scent that comes from Tagara and sandal-wood;—the perfume of those who possess virtue rises up to the gods as the highest.
57. Of the people who possess these virtues, who live without thoughtlessness, and who are emancipated through true knowledge, Mara, the tempter, never finds the way.
58, 59. As on a heap of rubbish cast upon the highway the lily will grow full of sweet perfume and delight, thus the disciple of the truly enlightened Buddha shines forth by his knowledge among those who are like rubbish, among the people that walk in darkness.
Chapter V of The Dhammapada: The Fool
60. Long is the night to him who is awake; long is a mile to him who is tired; long is life to the foolish who do not know the true law. [Source: “The Dhammapada”, Author: Unknown, translated from Pali by Max Muller (1823-1900), Project Gutenberg]
61. If a traveller does not meet with one who is his better, or his equal, let him firmly keep to his solitary journey; there is no companionship with a fool.
62. "These sons belong to me, and this wealth belongs to me," with such thoughts a fool is tormented. He himself does not belong to himself; how much less sons and wealth?
63. The fool who knows his foolishness, is wise at least so far. But a fool who thinks himself wise, he is called a fool indeed.
64. If a fool be associated with a wise man even all his life, he will perceive the truth as little as a spoon perceives the taste of soup.
65. If an intelligent man be associated for one minute only with a wise man, he will soon perceive the truth, as the tongue perceives the taste of soup.
66. Fools of little understanding have themselves for their greatest enemies, for they do evil deeds which must bear bitter fruits.
67. That deed is not well done of which a man must repent, and the reward of which he receives crying and with a tearful face.
68. No, that deed is well done of which a man does not repent, and the reward of which he receives gladly and cheerfully.
69. As long as the evil deed done does not bear fruit, the fool thinks it is like honey; but when it ripens, then the fool suffers grief.
70. Let a fool month after month eat his food (like an ascetic) with the tip of a blade of Kusa grass, yet he is not worth the sixteenth particle of those who have well weighed the law.
71. An evil deed, like newly-drawn milk, does not turn (suddenly); smouldering, like fire covered by ashes, it follows the fool.
72. And when the evil deed, after it has become known, brings sorrow to the fool, then it destroys his bright lot, nay, it cleaves his head.
73. Let the fool wish for a false reputation, for precedence among the Bhikshus, for lordship in the convents, for worship among other people!
74. "May both the layman and he who has left the world think that this is done by me; may they be subject to me in everything which is to be done or is not to be done," thus is the mind of the fool, and his desire and pride increase.
75. "One is the road that leads to wealth, another the road that leads to Nirvana;" if the Bhikshu, the disciple of Buddha, has learnt this, he will not yearn for honour, he will strive after separation from the world.
Chapter VI of The Dhammapada: The Wise Man (Pandita)
76. If you see an intelligent man who tells you where true treasures are to be found, who shows what is to be avoided, and administers reproofs, follow that wise man; it will be better, not worse, for those who follow him. [Source: “The Dhammapada”, Author: Unknown, translated from Pali by Max Muller (1823-1900), Project Gutenberg]
77. Let him admonish, let him teach, let him forbid what is improper!—he will be beloved of the good, by the bad he will be hated.
78. Do not have evil-doers for friends, do not have low people for friends: have virtuous people for friends, have for friends the best of men.
79. He who drinks in the law lives happily with a serene mind: the sage rejoices always in the law, as preached by the elect (Ariyas).
80. Well-makers lead the water (wherever they like); fletchers bend the arrow; carpenters bend a log of wood; wise people fashion themselves.
81. As a solid rock is not shaken by the wind, wise people falter not amidst blame and praise.
82. Wise people, after they have listened to the laws, become serene, like a deep, smooth, and still lake.
83. Good people walk on whatever befall, the good do not prattle, longing for pleasure; whether touched by happiness or sorrow wise people never appear elated or depressed.
84. If, whether for his own sake, or for the sake of others, a man wishes neither for a son, nor for wealth, nor for lordship, and if he does not wish for his own success by unfair means, then he is good, wise, and virtuous.
85. Few are there among men who arrive at the other shore (become Arhats); the other people here run up and down the shore.
86. But those who, when the law has been well preached to them, follow the law, will pass across the dominion of death, however difficult to overcome.
87, 88. A wise man should leave the dark state (of ordinary life), and follow the bright state (of the Bhikshu). After going from his home to a homeless state, he should in his retirement look for enjoyment where there seemed to be no enjoyment. Leaving all pleasures behind, and calling nothing his own, the wise man should purge himself from all the troubles of the mind.
89. Those whose mind is well grounded in the (seven) elements of knowledge, who without clinging to anything, rejoice in freedom from attachment, whose appetites have been conquered, and who are full of light, are free (even) in this world.
Chapter VII of The Dhammapada: The Venerable (Arhat)
90. There is no suffering for him who has finished his journey, and abandoned grief, who has freed himself on all sides, and thrown off all fetters. [Source: “The Dhammapada”, Author: Unknown, translated from Pali by Max Muller (1823-1900), Project Gutenberg]
91. They depart with their thoughts well-collected, they are not happy in their abode; like swans who have left their lake, they leave their house and home.
92. Men who have no riches, who live on recognised food, who have perceived void and unconditioned freedom (Nirvana), their path is difficult to understand, like that of birds in the air.
93. He whose appetites are stilled, who is not absorbed in enjoyment, who has perceived void and unconditioned freedom (Nirvana), his path is difficult to understand, like that of birds in the air.
94. The gods even envy him whose senses, like horses well broken in by the driver, have been subdued, who is free from pride, and free from appetites.
95. Such a one who does his duty is tolerant like the earth, like Indra's bolt; he is like a lake without mud; no new births are in store for him.
96. His thought is quiet, quiet are his word and deed, when he has obtained freedom by true knowledge, when he has thus become a quiet man.
97. The man who is free from credulity, but knows the uncreated, who has cut all ties, removed all temptations, renounced all desires, he is the greatest of men.
98. In a hamlet or in a forest, in the deep water or on the dry land, wherever venerable persons (Arhanta) dwell, that place is delightful.
99. Forests are delightful; where the world finds no delight, there the passionless will find delight, for they look not for pleasures.
Chapter VIII of The Dhammapada: The Thousands
100. Even though a speech be a thousand (of words), but made up of senseless words, one word of sense is better, which if a man hears, he becomes quiet. [Source: “The Dhammapada”, Author: Unknown, translated from Pali by Max Muller (1823-1900), Project Gutenberg]
101. Even though a Gatha (poem) be a thousand (of words), but made up of senseless words, one word of a Gatha is better, which if a man hears, he becomes quiet.
102. Though a man recite a hundred Gathas made up of senseless words, one word of the law is better, which if a man hears, he becomes quiet.
103. If one man conquer in battle a thousand times thousand men, and if another conquer himself, he is the greatest of conquerors.
104, 105. One's own self conquered is better than all other people; not even a god, a Gandharva, not Mara with Brahman could change into defeat the victory of a man who has vanquished himself, and always lives under restraint.
106. If a man for a hundred years sacrifice month after month with a thousand, and if he but for one moment pay homage to a man whose soul is grounded (in true knowledge), better is that homage than sacrifice for a hundred years.
107. If a man for a hundred years worship Agni (fire) in the forest, and if he but for one moment pay homage to a man whose soul is grounded (in true knowledge), better is that homage than sacrifice for a hundred years.
108. Whatever a man sacrifice in this world as an offering or as an oblation for a whole year in order to gain merit, the whole of it is not worth a quarter (a farthing); reverence shown to the righteous is better.
109. He who always greets and constantly reveres the aged, four things will increase to him, viz. life, beauty, happiness, power.
110. But he who lives a hundred years, vicious and unrestrained, a life of one day is better if a man is virtuous and reflecting.
111. And he who lives a hundred years, ignorant and unrestrained, a life of one day is better if a man is wise and reflecting.
112. And he who lives a hundred years, idle and weak, a life of one day is better if a man has attained firm strength.
113. And he who lives a hundred years, not seeing beginning and end, a life of one day is better if a man sees beginning and end.
114. And he who lives a hundred years, not seeing the immortal place, a life of one day is better if a man sees the immortal place.
115. And he who lives a hundred years, not seeing the highest law, a life of one day is better if a man sees the highest law.
Chapter IX of The Dhammapada: Evil
116. If a man would hasten towards the good, he should keep his thought away from evil; if a man does what is good slothfully, his mind delights in evil. [Source: “The Dhammapada”, Author: Unknown, translated from Pali by Max Muller (1823-1900), Project Gutenberg]
117. If a man commits a sin, let him not do it again; let him not delight in sin: pain is the outcome of evil.
118. If a man does what is good, let him do it again; let him delight in it: happiness is the outcome of good.
119. Even an evil-doer sees happiness as long as his evil deed has not ripened; but when his evil deed has ripened, then does the evil-doer see evil.
120. Even a good man sees evil days, as long as his good deed has not ripened; but when his good deed has ripened, then does the good man see happy days.
121. Let no man think lightly of evil, saying in his heart, It will not come nigh unto me. Even by the falling of water-drops a water-pot is filled; the fool becomes full of evil, even if he gather it little by little.
122. Let no man think lightly of good, saying in his heart, It will not come nigh unto me. Even by the falling of water-drops a water-pot is filled; the wise man becomes full of good, even if he gather it little by little.
123. Let a man avoid evil deeds, as a merchant, if he has few companions and carries much wealth, avoids a dangerous road; as a man who loves life avoids poison.
124. He who has no wound on his hand, may touch poison with his hand; poison does not affect one who has no wound; nor is there evil for one who does not commit evil.
125. If a man offend a harmless, pure, and innocent person, the evil falls back upon that fool, like light dust thrown up against the wind.
126. Some people are born again; evil-doers go to hell; righteous people go to heaven; those who are free from all worldly desires attain Nirvana.
127. Not in the sky, not in the midst of the sea, not if we enter into the clefts of the mountains, is there known a spot in the whole world where death could not overcome (the mortal).
Chapter X of The Dhammapada: Punishment
129. All men tremble at punishment, all men fear death; remember that you are like unto them, and do not kill, nor cause slaughter. [Source: “The Dhammapada”, Author: Unknown, translated from Pali by Max Muller (1823-1900), Project Gutenberg]
130. All men tremble at punishment, all men love life; remember that thou art like unto them, and do not kill, nor cause slaughter.
131. He who seeking his own happiness punishes or kills beings who also long for happiness, will not find happiness after death.
132. He who seeking his own happiness does not punish or kill beings who also long for happiness, will find happiness after death.
133. Do not speak harshly to anybody; those who are spoken to will answer thee in the same way. Angry speech is painful, blows for blows will touch thee.
134. If, like a shattered metal plate (gong), thou utter not, then thou hast reached Nirvana; contention is not known to thee.
135. As a cowherd with his staff drives his cows into the stable, so do Age and Death drive the life of men.
136. A fool does not know when he commits his evil deeds: but the wicked man burns by his own deeds, as if burnt by fire.
137. He who inflicts pain on innocent and harmless persons, will soon come to one of these ten states:
138. He will have cruel suffering, loss, injury of the body, heavy affliction, or loss of mind,
139. Or a misfortune coming from the king, or a fearful accusation, or loss of relations, or destruction of treasures,
140. Or lightning-fire will burn his houses; and when his body is destroyed, the fool will go to hell.
141. Not nakedness, not platted hair, not dirt, not fasting, or lying on the earth, not rubbing with dust, not sitting motionless, can purify a mortal who has not overcome desires.
142. He who, though dressed in fine apparel, exercises tranquillity, is quiet, subdued, restrained, chaste, and has ceased to find fault with all other beings, he indeed is a Brahmana, an ascetic (sramana), a friar (bhikshu).
143. Is there in this world any man so restrained by humility that he does not mind reproof, as a well-trained horse the whip?
144. Like a well-trained horse when touched by the whip, be ye active and lively, and by faith, by virtue, by energy, by meditation, by discernment of the law you will overcome this great pain (of reproof), perfect in knowledge and in behaviour, and never forgetful.
145. Well-makers lead the water (wherever they like); fletchers bend the arrow; carpenters bend a log of wood; good people fashion themselves.
Chapter XI of The Dhammapada: Old Age
146. How is there laughter, how is there joy, as this world is always burning? Why do you not seek a light, ye who are surrounded by darkness? [Source: “The Dhammapada”, Author: Unknown, translated from Pali by Max Muller (1823-1900), Project Gutenberg]
147. Look at this dressed-up lump, covered with wounds, joined together, sickly, full of many thoughts, which has no strength, no hold!
148. This body is wasted, full of sickness, and frail; this heap of corruption breaks to pieces, life indeed ends in death.
149. Those white bones, like gourds thrown away in the autumn, what pleasure is there in looking at them?
150. After a stronghold has been made of the bones, it is covered with flesh and blood, and there dwell in it old age and death, pride and deceit.
151. The brilliant chariots of kings are destroyed, the body also approaches destruction, but the virtue of good people never approaches destruction,—thus do the good say to the good.
152. A man who has learnt little, grows old like an ox; his flesh grows, but his knowledge does not grow.
153, 154. Looking for the maker of this tabernacle, I shall have to run through a course of many births, so long as I do not find (him); and painful is birth again and again. But now, maker of the tabernacle, thou hast been seen; thou shalt not make up this tabernacle again. All thy rafters are broken, thy ridge-pole is sundered; the mind, approaching the Eternal (visankhara, nirvana), has attained to the extinction of all desires.
155. Men who have not observed proper discipline, and have not gained treasure in their youth, perish like old herons in a lake without fish.
156. Men who have not observed proper discipline, and have not gained treasure in their youth, lie, like broken bows, sighing after the past.
Chapter XII of The Dhammapada: Self
157. If a man hold himself dear, let him watch himself carefully; during one at least out of the three watches a wise man should be watchful. [Source: “The Dhammapada”, Author: Unknown, translated from Pali by Max Muller (1823-1900), Project Gutenberg]
158. Let each man direct himself first to what is proper, then let him teach others; thus a wise man will not suffer.
159. If a man make himself as he teaches others to be, then, being himself well subdued, he may subdue (others); one's own self is indeed difficult to subdue.
160. Self is the lord of self, who else could be the lord? With self well subdued, a man finds a lord such as few can find.
161. The evil done by oneself, self-begotten, self-bred, crushes the foolish, as a diamond breaks a precious stone.
162. He whose wickedness is very great brings himself down to that state where his enemy wishes him to be, as a creeper does with the tree which it surrounds.
163. Bad deeds, and deeds hurtful to ourselves, are easy to do; what is beneficial and good, that is very difficult to do.
164. The foolish man who scorns the rule of the venerable (Arahat), of the elect (Ariya), of the virtuous, and follows false doctrine, he bears fruit to his own destruction, like the fruits of the Katthaka reed.
165. By oneself the evil is done, by oneself one suffers; by oneself evil is left undone, by oneself one is purified. Purity and impurity belong to oneself, no one can purify another.
166. Let no one forget his own duty for the sake of another's, however great; let a man, after he has discerned his own duty, be always attentive to his duty.
Chapter XIII of The Dhammapada: The World
167. Do not follow the evil law! Do not live on in thoughtlessness! Do not follow false doctrine! Be not a friend of the world. [Source:“The Dhammapada”, Author: Unknown, translated from Pali by Max Muller (1823-1900), Project Gutenberg]
168. Rouse thyself! do not be idle! Follow the law of virtue! The virtuous rests in bliss in this world and in the next.
169. Follow the law of virtue; do not follow that of sin. The virtuous rests in bliss in this world and in the next.
170. Look upon the world as a bubble, look upon it as a mirage: the king of death does not see him who thus looks down upon the world.
171. Come, look at this glittering world, like unto a royal chariot; the foolish are immersed in it, but the wise do not touch it.
172. He who formerly was reckless and afterwards became sober, brightens up this world, like the moon when freed from clouds.
173. He whose evil deeds are covered by good deeds, brightens up this world, like the moon when freed from clouds.
174. This world is dark, few only can see here; a few only go to heaven, like birds escaped from the net.
175. The swans go on the path of the sun, they go through the ether by means of their miraculous power; the wise are led out of this world, when they have conquered Mara and his train.
176. If a man has transgressed one law, and speaks lies, and scoffs at another world, there is no evil he will not do.
177. The uncharitable do not go to the world of the gods; fools only do not praise liberality; a wise man rejoices in liberality, and through it becomes blessed in the other world.
178. Better than sovereignty over the earth, better than going to heaven, better than lordship over all worlds, is the reward of the first step in holiness.
Chapter XIV of The Dhammapada: The Buddha (The Awakened)
179. He whose conquest is not conquered again, into whose conquest no one in this world enters, by what track can you lead him, the Awakened, the Omniscient, the trackless? [Source: “The Dhammapada”, Author: Unknown, translated from Pali by Max Muller (1823-1900), Project Gutenberg]
180. He whom no desire with its snares and poisons can lead astray, by what track can you lead him, the Awakened, the Omniscient, the trackless?
181. Even the gods envy those who are awakened and not forgetful, who are given to meditation, who are wise, and who delight in the repose of retirement (from the world).
182. Difficult (to obtain) is the conception of men, difficult is the life of mortals, difficult is the hearing of the True Law, difficult is the birth of the Awakened (the attainment of Buddhahood).
183. Not to commit any sin, to do good, and to purify one's mind, that is the teaching of (all) the Awakened.
184. The Awakened call patience the highest penance, long-suffering the highest Nirvana; for he is not an anchorite (pravragita) who strikes others, he is not an ascetic (sramana) who insults others.
185. Not to blame, not to strike, to live restrained under the law, to be moderate in eating, to sleep and sit alone, and to dwell on the highest thoughts,—this is the teaching of the Awakened.
186. There is no satisfying lusts, even by a shower of gold pieces; he who knows that lusts have a short taste and cause pain, he is wise;
187. Even in heavenly pleasures he finds no satisfaction, the disciple who is fully awakened delights only in the destruction of all desires.
188. Men, driven by fear, go to many a refuge, to mountains and forests, to groves and sacred trees.
189. But that is not a safe refuge, that is not the best refuge; a man is not delivered from all pains after having gone to that refuge.
190. He who takes refuge with Buddha, the Law, and the Church; he who, with clear understanding, sees the four holy truths:—
191. Viz. pain, the origin of pain, the destruction of pain, and the eightfold holy way that leads to the quieting of pain;—
192. That is the safe refuge, that is the best refuge; having gone to that refuge, a man is delivered from all pain.
193. A supernatural person (a Buddha) is not easily found, he is not born everywhere. Wherever such a sage is born, that race prospers.
194. Happy is the arising of the awakened, happy is the teaching of the True Law, happy is peace in the church, happy is the devotion of those who are at peace.
195, 196. He who pays homage to those who deserve homage, whether the awakened (Buddha) or their disciples, those who have overcome the host (of evils), and crossed the flood of sorrow, he who pays homage to such as have found deliverance and know no fear, his merit can never be measured by anybody.
Chapter XV of The Dhammapada: Happiness
197. Let us live happily then, not hating those who hate us! among men who hate us let us dwell free from hatred! [Source: “The Dhammapada”, Author: Unknown, translated from Pali by Max Muller (1823-1900), Project Gutenberg]
198. Let us live happily then, free from ailments among the ailing! among men who are ailing let us dwell free from ailments!
199. Let us live happily then, free from greed among the greedy! among men who are greedy let us dwell free from greed!
200. Let us live happily then, though we call nothing our own! We shall be like the bright gods, feeding on happiness!
201. Victory breeds hatred, for the conquered is unhappy. He who has given up both victory and defeat, he, the contented, is happy.
202. There is no fire like passion; there is no losing throw like hatred; there is no pain like this body; there is no happiness higher than rest.
203. Hunger is the worst of diseases, the body the greatest of pains; if one knows this truly, that is Nirvana, the highest happiness.
204. Health is the greatest of gifts, contentedness the best riches; trust is the best of relationships, Nirvana the highest happiness.
205. He who has tasted the sweetness of solitude and tranquillity, is free from fear and free from sin, while he tastes the sweetness of drinking in the law.
206. The sight of the elect (Arya) is good, to live with them is always happiness; if a man does not see fools, he will be truly happy.
207. He who walks in the company of fools suffers a long way; company with fools, as with an enemy, is always painful; company with the wise is pleasure, like meeting with kinsfolk.
208. Therefore, one ought to follow the wise, the intelligent, the learned, the much enduring, the dutiful, the elect; one ought to follow a good and wise man, as the moon follows the path of the stars.
Chapter XVI of The Dhammapada: Pleasure
209. He who gives himself to vanity, and does not give himself to meditation, forgetting the real aim (of life) and grasping at pleasure, will in time envy him who has exerted himself in meditation. [Source: “The Dhammapada”, Author: Unknown, translated from Pali by Max Muller (1823-1900), Project Gutenberg]
210. Let no man ever look for what is pleasant, or what is unpleasant. Not to see what is pleasant is pain, and it is pain to see what is unpleasant.
211. Let, therefore, no man love anything; loss of the beloved is evil. Those who love nothing and hate nothing, have no fetters.
212. From pleasure comes grief, from pleasure comes fear; he who is free from pleasure knows neither grief nor fear.
213. From affection comes grief, from affection comes fear; he who is free from affection knows neither grief nor fear.
214. From lust comes grief, from lust comes fear; he who is free from lust knows neither grief nor fear.
215. From love comes grief, from love comes fear; he who is free from love knows neither grief nor fear.
216. From greed comes grief, from greed comes fear; he who is free from greed knows neither grief nor fear.
217. He who possesses virtue and intelligence, who is just, speaks the truth, and does what is his own business, him the world will hold dear.
218. He in whom a desire for the Ineffable (Nirvana) has sprung up, who is satisfied in his mind, and whose thoughts are not bewildered by love, he is called urdhvamsrotas (carried upwards by the stream).
219. Kinsmen, friends, and lovers salute a man who has been long away, and returns safe from afar.
220. In like manner his good works receive him who has done good, and has gone from this world to the other;—as kinsmen receive a friend on his return.
Chapter XVII of The Dhammapada: Anger
221. Let a man leave anger, let him forsake pride, let him overcome all bondage! No sufferings befall the man who is not attached to name and form, and who calls nothing his own. [Source: “The Dhammapada”, Author: Unknown, translated from Pali by Max Muller (1823-1900), Project Gutenberg]
222. He who holds back rising anger like a rolling chariot, him I call a real driver; other people are but holding the reins.
223. Let a man overcome anger by love, let him overcome evil by good; let him overcome the greedy by liberality, the liar by truth!
224. Speak the truth, do not yield to anger; give, if thou art asked for little; by these three steps thou wilt go near the gods.
225. The sages who injure nobody, and who always control their body, they will go to the unchangeable place (Nirvana), where, if they have gone, they will suffer no more.
226. Those who are ever watchful, who study day and night, and who strive after Nirvana, their passions will come to an end.
227. This is an old saying, O Atula, this is not only of to-day: `They blame him who sits silent, they blame him who speaks much, they also blame him who says little; there is no one on earth who is not blamed.'
228. There never was, there never will be, nor is there now, a man who is always blamed, or a man who is always praised.
229, 230. But he whom those who discriminate praise continually day after day, as without blemish, wise, rich in knowledge and virtue, who would dare to blame him, like a coin made of gold from the Gambu river? Even the gods praise him, he is praised even by Brahman.
231. Beware of bodily anger, and control thy body! Leave the sins of the body, and with thy body practise virtue!
232. Beware of the anger of the tongue, and control thy tongue! Leave the sins of the tongue, and practise virtue with thy tongue!
233. Beware of the anger of the mind, and control thy mind! Leave the sins of the mind, and practise virtue with thy mind!
234. The wise who control their body, who control their tongue, the wise who control their mind, are indeed well controlled.
Chapter XVIII of The Dhammapada: Impurity
235. Thou art now like a sear leaf, the messengers of death (Yama) have come near to thee; thou standest at the door of thy departure, and thou hast no provision for thy journey. [Source: “The Dhammapada”, Author: Unknown, translated from Pali by Max Muller (1823-1900), Project Gutenberg]
236. Make thyself an island, work hard, be wise! When thy impurities are blown away, and thou art free from guilt, thou wilt enter into the heavenly world of the elect (Ariya).
237. Thy life has come to an end, thou art come near to death (Yama), there is no resting-place for thee on the road, and thou hast no provision for thy journey.
238. Make thyself an island, work hard, be wise! When thy impurities are blown away, and thou art free from guilt, thou wilt not enter again into birth and decay.
239. Let a wise man blow off the impurities of his self, as a smith blows off the impurities of silver one by one, little by little, and from time to time.
240. As the impurity which springs from the iron, when it springs from it, destroys it; thus do a transgressor's own works lead him to the evil path.
241. The taint of prayers is non-repetition; the taint of houses, non-repair; the taint of the body is sloth; the taint of a watchman, thoughtlessness.
242. Bad conduct is the taint of woman, greediness the taint of a benefactor; tainted are all evil ways in this world and in the next.
243. But there is a taint worse than all taints,—ignorance is the greatest taint. O mendicants! throw off that taint, and become taintless!
244. Life is easy to live for a man who is without shame, a crow hero, a mischief-maker, an insulting, bold, and wretched fellow.
245. But life is hard to live for a modest man, who always looks for what is pure, who is disinterested, quiet, spotless, and intelligent.
246. He who destroys life, who speaks untruth, who in this world takes what is not given him, who goes to another man's wife;
247. And the man who gives himself to drinking intoxicating liquors, he, even in this world, digs up his own root.
248. O man, know this, that the unrestrained are in a bad state; take care that greediness and vice do not bring thee to grief for a long time!
249. The world gives according to their faith or according to their pleasure: if a man frets about the food and the drink given to others, he will find no rest either by day or by night.
250. He in whom that feeling is destroyed, and taken out with the very root, finds rest by day and by night.
251. There is no fire like passion, there is no shark like hatred, there is no snare like folly, there is no torrent like greed.
252. The fault of others is easily perceived, but that of oneself is difficult to perceive; a man winnows his neighbour's faults like chaff, but his own fault he hides, as a cheat hides the bad die from the gambler.
253. If a man looks after the faults of others, and is always inclined to be offended, his own passions will grow, and he is far from the destruction of passions.
254. There is no path through the air, a man is not a Samana by outward acts. The world delights in vanity, the Tathagatas (the Buddhas) are free from vanity.
255. There is no path through the air, a man is not a Samana by outward acts. No creatures are eternal; but the awakened (Buddha) are never shaken.
Chapter XIX of The Dhammapada: The Just
256, 257. A man is not just if he carries a matter by violence; no, he who distinguishes both right and wrong, who is learned and leads others, not by violence, but by law and equity, and who is guarded by the law and intelligent, he is called just. [Source: “The Dhammapada”, Author: Unknown, translated from Pali by Max Muller (1823-1900), Project Gutenberg]
258. A man is not learned because he talks much; he who is patient, free from hatred and fear, he is called learned.
259. A man is not a supporter of the law because he talks much; even if a man has learnt little, but sees the law bodily, he is a supporter of the law, a man who never neglects the law.
260. A man is not an elder because his head is grey; his age may be ripe, but he is called `Old-in-vain.'
261. He in whom there is truth, virtue, love, restraint, moderation, he who is free from impurity and is wise, he is called an elder.
262. An envious greedy, dishonest man does not become respectable by means of much talking only, or by the beauty of his complexion.
263. He in whom all this is destroyed, and taken out with the very root, he, when freed from hatred and wise, is called respectable.
264. Not by tonsure does an undisciplined man who speaks falsehood become a Samana; can a man be a Samana who is still held captive by desire and greediness?
265. He who always quiets the evil, whether small or large, he is called a Samana (a quiet man), because he has quieted all evil.
266. A man is not a mendicant (Bhikshu) simply because he asks others for alms; he who adopts the whole law is a Bhikshu, not he who only begs.
267. He who is above good and evil, who is chaste, who with knowledge passes through the world, he indeed is called a Bhikshu.
268, 269. A man is not a Muni because he observes silence (mona, i.e. mauna), if he is foolish and ignorant; but the wise who, taking the balance, chooses the good and avoids evil, he is a Muni, and is a Muni thereby; he who in this world weighs both sides is called a Muni.
270. A man is not an elect (Ariya) because he injures living creatures; because he has pity on all living creatures, therefore is a man called Ariya.
271, 272. Not only by discipline and vows, not only by much learning, not by entering into a trance, not by sleeping alone, do I earn the happiness of release which no worldling can know. Bhikshu, be not confident as long as thou hast not attained the extinction of desires.
Chapter XX of The Dhammapada: The Way
273. The best of ways is the eightfold; the best of truths the four words; the best of virtues passionlessness; the best of men he who has eyes to see. [Source: “The Dhammapada”, Author: Unknown, translated from Pali by Max Muller (1823-1900), Project Gutenberg]
274. This is the way, there is no other that leads to the purifying of intelligence. Go on this way! Everything else is the deceit of Mara (the tempter).
275. If you go on this way, you will make an end of pain! The way was preached by me, when I had understood the removal of the thorns (in the flesh).
276. You yourself must make an effort. The Tathagatas (Buddhas) are only preachers. The thoughtful who enter the way are freed from the bondage of Mara.
277. `All created things perish,' he who knows and sees this becomes passive in pain; this is the way to purity.
278. `All created things are grief and pain,' he who knows and sees this becomes passive in pain; this is the way that leads to purity.
279. `All forms are unreal,' he who knows and sees this becomes passive in pain; this is the way that leads to purity.
280. He who does not rouse himself when it is time to rise, who, though young and strong, is full of sloth, whose will and thought are weak, that lazy and idle man will never find the way to knowledge.
281. Watching his speech, well restrained in mind, let a man never commit any wrong with his body! Let a man but keep these three roads of action clear, and he will achieve the way which is taught by the wise.
282. Through zeal knowledge is gotten, through lack of zeal knowledge is lost; let a man who knows this double path of gain and loss thus place himself that knowledge may grow.
283. Cut down the whole forest (of lust), not a tree only! Danger comes out of the forest (of lust). When you have cut down both the forest (of lust) and its undergrowth, then, Bhikshus, you will be rid of the forest and free!
284. So long as the love of man towards women, even the smallest, is not destroyed, so long is his mind in bondage, as the calf that drinks milk is to its mother.
285. Cut out the love of self, like an autumn lotus, with thy hand! Cherish the road of peace. Nirvana has been shown by Sugata (Buddha).
286. `Here I shall dwell in the rain, here in winter and summer,' thus the fool meditates, and does not think of his death.
287. Death comes and carries off that man, praised for his children and flocks, his mind distracted, as a flood carries off a sleeping village.
288. Sons are no help, nor a father, nor relations; there is no help from kinsfolk for one whom death has seized.
289. A wise and good man who knows the meaning of this, should quickly clear the way that leads to Nirvana.
Chapter XXI. Miscellaneous
290. If by leaving a small pleasure one sees a great pleasure, let a wise man leave the small pleasure, and look to the great. [Source: “The Dhammapada”, Author: Unknown, translated from Pali by Max Muller (1823-1900), Project Gutenberg]
291. He who, by causing pain to others, wishes to obtain pleasure for himself, he, entangled in the bonds of hatred, will never be free from hatred.
292. What ought to be done is neglected, what ought not to be done is done; the desires of unruly, thoughtless people are always increasing.
293. But they whose whole watchfulness is always directed to their body, who do not follow what ought not to be done, and who steadfastly do what ought to be done, the desires of such watchful and wise people will come to an end.
294. A true Brahmana goes scatheless, though he have killed father and mother, and two valiant kings, though he has destroyed a kingdom with all its subjects.
295. A true Brahmana goes scatheless, though he have killed father and mother, and two holy kings, and an eminent man besides.
296. The disciples of Gotama (Buddha) are always well awake, and their thoughts day and night are always set on Buddha.
297. The disciples of Gotama are always well awake, and their thoughts day and night are always set on the law.
298. The disciples of Gotama are always well awake, and their thoughts day and night are always set on the church.
299. The disciples of Gotama are always well awake, and their thoughts day and night are always set on their body.
300. The disciples of Gotama are always well awake, and their mind day and night always delights in compassion.
301. The disciples of Gotama are always well awake, and their mind day and night always delights in meditation.
302. It is hard to leave the world (to become a friar), it is hard to enjoy the world; hard is the monastery, painful are the houses; painful it is to dwell with equals (to share everything in common) and the itinerant mendicant is beset with pain. Therefore let no man be an itinerant mendicant and he will not be beset with pain.
303. Whatever place a faithful, virtuous, celebrated, and wealthy man chooses, there he is respected.
304. Good people shine from afar, like the snowy mountains; bad people are not seen, like arrows shot by night.
305. He alone who, without ceasing, practises the duty of sitting alone and sleeping alone, he, subduing himself, will rejoice in the destruction of all desires alone, as if living in a forest.
Chapter XXII of The Dhammapada: The Downward Course
306. He who says what is not, goes to hell; he also who, having done a thing, says I have not done it. After death both are equal, they are men with evil deeds in the next world. [Source: “The Dhammapada”, Author: Unknown, translated from Pali by Max Muller (1823-1900), Project Gutenberg]
307. Many men whose shoulders are covered with the yellow gown are ill-conditioned and unrestrained; such evil-doers by their evil deeds go to hell.
308. Better it would be to swallow a heated iron ball, like flaring fire, than that a bad unrestrained fellow should live on the charity of the land.
309. Four things does a wreckless man gain who covets his neighbour's wife,—a bad reputation, an uncomfortable bed, thirdly, punishment, and lastly, hell.
310. There is bad reputation, and the evil way (to hell), there is the short pleasure of the frightened in the arms of the frightened, and the king imposes heavy punishment; therefore let no man think of his neighbour's wife.
311. As a grass-blade, if badly grasped, cuts the arm, badly-practised asceticism leads to hell.
312. An act carelessly performed, a broken vow, and hesitating obedience to discipline, all this brings no great reward.
313. If anything is to be done, let a man do it, let him attack it vigorously! A careless pilgrim only scatters the dust of his passions more widely.
314. An evil deed is better left undone, for a man repents of it afterwards; a good deed is better done, for having done it, one does not repent.
315. Like a well-guarded frontier fort, with defences within and without, so let a man guard himself. Not a moment should escape, for they who allow the right moment to pass, suffer pain when they are in hell.
316. They who are ashamed of what they ought not to be ashamed of, and are not ashamed of what they ought to be ashamed of, such men, embracing false doctrines enter the evil path.
317. They who fear when they ought not to fear, and fear not when they ought to fear, such men, embracing false doctrines, enter the evil path.
318. They who forbid when there is nothing to be forbidden, and forbid not when there is something to be forbidden, such men, embracing false doctrines, enter the evil path.
319. They who know what is forbidden as forbidden, and what is not forbidden as not forbidden, such men, embracing the true doctrine, enter the good path.
Chapter XXIII of The Dhammapada: The Elephant
320. Silently shall I endure abuse as the elephant in battle endures the arrow sent from the bow: for the world is ill-natured. [Source: “The Dhammapada”, Author: Unknown, translated from Pali by Max Muller (1823-1900), Project Gutenberg]
321. They lead a tamed elephant to battle, the king mounts a tamed elephant; the tamed is the best among men, he who silently endures abuse.
322. Mules are good, if tamed, and noble Sindhu horses, and elephants with large tusks; but he who tames himself is better still.
323. For with these animals does no man reach the untrodden country (Nirvana), where a tamed man goes on a tamed animal, viz. on his own well-tamed self.
324. The elephant called Dhanapalaka, his temples running with sap, and difficult to hold, does not eat a morsel when bound; the elephant longs for the elephant grove.
325. If a man becomes fat and a great eater, if he is sleepy and rolls himself about, that fool, like a hog fed on wash, is born again and again.
326. This mind of mine went formerly wandering about as it liked, as it listed, as it pleased; but I shall now hold it in thoroughly, as the rider who holds the hook holds in the furious elephant.
327. Be not thoughtless, watch your thoughts! Draw yourself out of the evil way, like an elephant sunk in mud.
328. If a man find a prudent companion who walks with him, is wise, and lives soberly, he may walk with him, overcoming all dangers, happy, but considerate.
329. If a man find no prudent companion who walks with him, is wise, and lives soberly, let him walk alone, like a king who has left his conquered country behind,—like an elephant in the forest.
330. It is better to live alone, there is no companionship with a fool; let a man walk alone, let him commit no sin, with few wishes, like an elephant in the forest.
331. If an occasion arises, friends are pleasant; enjoyment is pleasant, whatever be the cause; a good work is pleasant in the hour of death; the giving up of all grief is pleasant.
332. Pleasant in the world is the state of a mother, pleasant the state of a father, pleasant the state of a Samana, pleasant the state of a Brahmana.
333. Pleasant is virtue lasting to old age, pleasant is a faith firmly rooted; pleasant is attainment of intelligence, pleasant is avoiding of sins.
Chapter XXIV of The Dhammapada: Thirst
334. The thirst of a thoughtless man grows like a creeper; he runs from life to life, like a monkey seeking fruit in the forest. [Source: “The Dhammapada”, Author: Unknown, translated from Pali by Max Muller (1823-1900), Project Gutenberg]
335. Whomsoever this fierce thirst overcomes, full of poison, in this world, his sufferings increase like the abounding Birana grass.
336. He who overcomes this fierce thirst, difficult to be conquered in this world, sufferings fall off from him, like water-drops from a lotus leaf.
337. This salutary word I tell you, `Do ye, as many as are here assembled, dig up the root of thirst, as he who wants the sweet-scented Usira root must dig up the Birana grass, that Mara (the tempter) may not crush you again and again, as the stream crushes the reeds.'
338. As a tree, even though it has been cut down, is firm so long as its root is safe, and grows again, thus, unless the feeders of thirst are destroyed, the pain (of life) will return again and again.
339. He whose thirst running towards pleasure is exceeding strong in the thirty-six channels, the waves will carry away that misguided man, viz. his desires which are set on passion.
340. The channels run everywhere, the creeper (of passion) stands sprouting; if you see the creeper springing up, cut its root by means of knowledge.
341. A creature's pleasures are extravagant and luxurious; sunk in lust and looking for pleasure, men undergo (again and again) birth and decay.
342. Men, driven on by thirst, run about like a snared hare; held in fetters and bonds, they undergo pain for a long time, again and again.
343. Men, driven on by thirst, run about like a snared hare; let therefore the mendicant drive out thirst, by striving after passionlessness for himself.
344. He who having got rid of the forest (of lust) (i.e. after having reached Nirvana) gives himself over to forest-life (i.e. to lust), and who, when removed from the forest (i.e. from lust), runs to the forest (i.e. to lust), look at that man! though free, he runs into bondage.
345. Wise people do not call that a strong fetter which is made of iron, wood, or hemp; far stronger is the care for precious stones and rings, for sons and a wife.
346. That fetter wise people call strong which drags down, yields, but is difficult to undo; after having cut this at last, people leave the world, free from cares, and leaving desires and pleasures behind.
347. Those who are slaves to passions, run down with the stream (of desires), as a spider runs down the web which he has made himself; when they have cut this, at last, wise people leave the world free from cares, leaving all affection behind.
348. Give up what is before, give up what is behind, give up what is in the middle, when thou goest to the other shore of existence; if thy mind is altogether free, thou wilt not again enter into birth and decay.
349. If a man is tossed about by doubts, full of strong passions, and yearning only for what is delightful, his thirst will grow more and more, and he will indeed make his fetters strong.
350. If a man delights in quieting doubts, and, always reflecting, dwells on what is not delightful (the impurity of the body, &c.), he certainly will remove, nay, he will cut the fetter of Mara.
351. He who has reached the consummation, who does not tremble, who is without thirst and without sin, he has broken all the thorns of life: this will be his last body.
352. He who is without thirst and without affection, who understands the words and their interpretation, who knows the order of letters (those which are before and which are after), he has received his last body, he is called the great sage, the great man.
353. `I have conquered all, I know all, in all conditions of life I am free from taint; I have left all, and through the destruction of thirst I am free; having learnt myself, whom shall I teach?'
354. The gift of the law exceeds all gifts; the sweetness of the law exceeds all sweetness; the delight in the law exceeds all delights; the extinction of thirst overcomes all pain.
355. Pleasures destroy the foolish, if they look not for the other shore; the foolish by his thirst for pleasures destroys himself, as if he were his own enemy.
356. The fields are damaged by weeds, mankind is damaged by passion: therefore a gift bestowed on the passionless brings great reward.
357. The fields are damaged by weeds, mankind is damaged by hatred: therefore a gift bestowed on those who do not hate brings great reward.
358. The fields are damaged by weeds, mankind is damaged by vanity: therefore a gift bestowed on those who are free from vanity brings great reward.
359. The fields are damaged by weeds, mankind is damaged by lust: therefore a gift bestowed on those who are free from lust brings great reward.
Chapter XXV of The Dhammapada: The Bhikshu (Mendicant)
360. Restraint in the eye is good, good is restraint in the ear, in the nose restraint is good, good is restraint in the tongue. [Source: “The Dhammapada”, Author: Unknown, translated from Pali by Max Muller (1823-1900), Project Gutenberg]
361. In the body restraint is good, good is restraint in speech, in thought restraint is good, good is restraint in all things. A Bhikshu, restrained in all things, is freed from all pain.
362. He who controls his hand, he who controls his feet, he who controls his speech, he who is well controlled, he who delights inwardly, who is collected, who is solitary and content, him they call Bhikshu.
363. The Bhikshu who controls his mouth, who speaks wisely and calmly, who teaches the meaning and the law, his word is sweet.
364. He who dwells in the law, delights in the law, meditates on the law, follows the law, that Bhikshu will never fall away from the true law.
365. Let him not despise what he has received, nor ever envy others: a mendicant who envies others does not obtain peace of mind.
366. A Bhikshu who, though he receives little, does not despise what he has received, even the gods will praise him, if his life is pure, and if he is not slothful.
367. He who never identifies himself with name and form, and does not grieve over what is no more, he indeed is called a Bhikshu.
368. The Bhikshu who acts with kindness, who is calm in the doctrine of Buddha, will reach the quiet place (Nirvana), cessation of natural desires, and happiness.
369. O Bhikshu, empty this boat! if emptied, it will go quickly; having cut off passion and hatred thou wilt go to Nirvana.
370. Cut off the five (senses), leave the five, rise above the five. A Bhikshu, who has escaped from the five fetters, he is called Oghatinna, `saved from the flood.'
371. Meditate, O Bhikshu, and be not heedless! Do not direct thy thought to what gives pleasure that thou mayest not for thy heedlessness have to swallow the iron ball (in hell), and that thou mayest not cry out when burning, `This is pain.'
372. Without knowledge there is no meditation, without meditation there is no knowledge: he who has knowledge and meditation is near unto Nirvana.
373. A Bhikshu who has entered his empty house, and whose mind is tranquil, feels a more than human delight when he sees the law clearly.
374. As soon as he has considered the origin and destruction of the elements (khandha) of the body, he finds happiness and joy which belong to those who know the immortal (Nirvana).
375. And this is the beginning here for a wise Bhikshu: watchfulness over the senses, contentedness, restraint under the law; keep noble friends whose life is pure, and who are not slothful.
376. Let him live in charity, let him be perfect in his duties; then in the fulness of delight he will make an end of suffering.
377. As the Vassika plant sheds its withered flowers, men should shed passion and hatred, O ye Bhikshus!
378. The Bhikshu whose body and tongue and mind are quieted, who is collected, and has rejected the baits of the world, he is called quiet.
379. Rouse thyself by thyself, examine thyself by thyself, thus self-protected and attentive wilt thou live happily, O Bhikshu!
380. For self is the lord of self, self is the refuge of self; therefore curb thyself as the merchant curbs a good horse.
381. The Bhikshu, full of delight, who is calm in the doctrine of Buddha will reach the quiet place (Nirvana), cessation of natural desires, and happiness.
382. He who, even as a young Bhikshu, applies himself to the doctrine of Buddha, brightens up this world, like the moon when free from clouds.
Chapter XXVI of The Dhammapada: The Brahmana (Arhat)
383. Stop the stream valiantly, drive away the desires, O Brahmana! When you have understood the destruction of all that was made, you will understand that which was not made. [Source: “The Dhammapada”, Author: Unknown, translated from Pali by Max Muller (1823-1900), Project Gutenberg]
384. If the Brahmana has reached the other shore in both laws (in restraint and contemplation), all bonds vanish from him who has obtained knowledge.
385. He for whom there is neither this nor that shore, nor both, him, the fearless and unshackled, I call indeed a Brahmana.
386. He who is thoughtful, blameless, settled, dutiful, without passions, and who has attained the highest end, him I call indeed a Brahmana.
387. The sun is bright by day, the moon shines by night, the warrior is bright in his armour, the Brahmana is bright in his meditation; but Buddha, the Awakened, is bright with splendour day and night.
388. Because a man is rid of evil, therefore he is called Brahmana; because he walks quietly, therefore he is called Samana; because he has sent away his own impurities, therefore he is called Pravragita (Pabbagita, a pilgrim).
389. No one should attack a Brahmana, but no Brahmana (if attacked) should let himself fly at his aggressor! Woe to him who strikes a Brahmana, more woe to him who flies at his aggressor!
390. It advantages a Brahmana not a little if he holds his mind back from the pleasures of life; when all wish to injure has vanished, pain will cease.
391. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who does not offend by body, word, or thought, and is controlled on these three points.
392. After a man has once understood the law as taught by the Well-awakened (Buddha), let him worship it carefully, as the Brahmana worships the sacrificial fire.
393. A man does not become a Brahmana by his platted hair, by his family, or by birth; in whom there is truth and righteousness, he is blessed, he is a Brahmana.
394. What is the use of platted hair, O fool! what of the raiment of goat-skins? Within thee there is ravening, but the outside thou makest clean.
395. The man who wears dirty raiments, who is emaciated and covered with veins, who lives alone in the forest, and meditates, him I call indeed a Brahmana.
396. I do not call a man a Brahmana because of his origin or of his mother. He is indeed arrogant, and he is wealthy: but the poor, who is free from all attachments, him I call indeed a Brahmana.
397. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who has cut all fetters, who never trembles, is independent and unshackled.
398. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who has cut the strap and the thong, the chain with all that pertains to it, who has burst the bar, and is awakened.
399. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who, though he has committed no offence, endures reproach, bonds, and stripes, who has endurance for his force, and strength for his army.
400. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who is free from anger, dutiful, virtuous, without appetite, who is subdued, and has received his last body.
401. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who does not cling to pleasures, like water on a lotus leaf, like a mustard seed on the point of a needle.
402. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who, even here, knows the end of his suffering, has put down his burden, and is unshackled.
403. Him I call indeed a Brahmana whose knowledge is deep, who possesses wisdom, who knows the right way and the wrong, and has attained the highest end.
404. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who keeps aloof both from laymen and from mendicants, who frequents no houses, and has but few desires.
405. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who finds no fault with other beings, whether feeble or strong, and does not kill nor cause slaughter.
406. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who is tolerant with the intolerant, mild with fault-finders, and free from passion among the passionate.
407. Him I call indeed a Brahmana from whom anger and hatred, pride and envy have dropt like a mustard seed from the point of a needle.
408. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who utters true speech, instructive and free from harshness, so that he offend no one.
409. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who takes nothing in the world that is not given him, be it long or short, small or large, good or bad.
410. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who fosters no desires for this world or for the next, has no inclinations, and is unshackled.
411. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who has no interests, and when he has understood (the truth), does not say How, how? and who has reached the depth of the Immortal.
412. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who in this world is above good and evil, above the bondage of both, free from grief from sin, and from impurity.
413. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who is bright like the moon, pure, serene, undisturbed, and in whom all gaiety is extinct.
414. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who has traversed this miry road, the impassable world and its vanity, who has gone through, and reached the other shore, is thoughtful, guileless, free from doubts, free from attachment, and content.
415. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who in this world, leaving all desires, travels about without a home, and in whom all concupiscence is extinct.
416. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who, leaving all longings, travels about without a home, and in whom all covetousness is extinct.
417. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who, after leaving all bondage to men, has risen above all bondage to the gods, and is free from all and every bondage.
418. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who has left what gives pleasure and what gives pain, who is cold, and free from all germs (of renewed life), the hero who has conquered all the worlds.
419. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who knows the destruction and the return of beings everywhere, who is free from bondage, welfaring (Sugata), and awakened (Buddha).
420. Him I call indeed a Brahmana whose path the gods do not know, nor spirits (Gandharvas), nor men, whose passions are extinct, and who is an Arhat (venerable).
421. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who calls nothing his own, whether it be before, behind, or between, who is poor, and free from the love of the world.
422. Him I call indeed a Brahmana, the manly, the noble, the hero, the great sage, the conqueror, the impassible, the accomplished, the awakened.
423. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who knows his former abodes, who sees heaven and hell, has reached the end of births, is perfect in knowledge, a sage, and whose perfections are all perfect.
Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons
Text Sources: East Asia History Sourcebook sourcebooks.fordham.edu , “Topics in Japanese Cultural History” by Gregory Smits, Penn State University figal-sensei.org, Asia for Educators, Columbia University afe.easia.columbia, Asia Society Museum asiasocietymuseum.org , “The Essence of Buddhism” Edited by E. Haldeman-Julius, 1922, Project Gutenberg, Virtual Library Sri Lanka lankalibrary.com “World Religions” edited by Geoffrey Parrinder (Facts on File Publications, New York); “Encyclopedia of the World's Religions” edited by R.C. Zaehner (Barnes & Noble Books, 1959); “Encyclopedia of the World Cultures: Volume 5 East and Southeast Asia” edited by Paul Hockings (G.K. Hall & Company, New York, 1993); “ National Geographic, the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian magazine, Times of London, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Lonely Planet Guides, Compton's Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.
Last updated September 2018