The Dhammapada

Dhammapada

Siddhartha Gautama

ca. 563 – ca. 483 BC

The Dhammapada, an anthology of 423 verses, has long been recognized as one of the masterpieces of early Buddhist literature. From ancient times to the present, the Dhammapada is regarded as the most concise expression of the Buddha’s teaching found in the Theravada Pali Canon of scriptures known as the Khuddaka Nikaya (“Minor Collection”) of the Sutta Pitaka.

Photo of Palm Leaf Manuscript

This Dhammapada palm leaf manuscript (44.5 * 6.5 cm) in Sinhalese characters, of which the first and last pages shown, are believed to be the oldest existent copy of the scripture. Photo: Courtesy of K. D. Paranavitana, Assistant Archivist, Department of National Archives, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Buddhist tradition has it that shortly after the passing away of the Buddha his disciples met in council at Rajagaha for recalling to mind the truths they had received from their beloved Teacher during the forty-five years of his ministry. Their hope was to implant the principles of his message so firmly in memory that they would become a lasting impetus to moral and spiritual conduct, for themselves, their disciples, and for all future disciples who would seek to follow in the footsteps of the Awakened One.

Dhammapada

1. Pairs

  1. Mind precedes all mental states.
    Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought.
    If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts
    suffering follows him
    like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox.
  2. Mind precedes all mental states.
    Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought.
    If with a pure mind a person speaks or acts
    happiness follows him like his never-departing shadow.
  3. “He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me.”
    Those who harbor such thoughts
    do not still their hatred.
  4. “He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me.”
    Those who do not harbor such thoughts
    still their hatred.
  5. Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world.
    By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased.
    This is a law eternal.
  6. There are those who do not realize
    that one day we all must die.
    But those who do realize this
    settle their quarrels.
  7. Just as a storm throws down a weak tree,
    so does Mara overpower the man
    who lives for the pursuit of pleasures,
    who is uncontrolled in his senses,
    immoderate in eating, indolent, and dissipated.
  8. Just as a storm cannot prevail against a rocky mountain,
    so Mara can never overpower the man
    who lives meditating on the impurities,
    who is controlled in his senses,
    moderate in eating, and filled with faith and earnest effort.
  9. Whoever being depraved,
    devoid of self-control and truthfulness,
    should don the monk’s yellow robe,
    he surely is not worthy of the robe.
  10. But whoever is purged of depravity,
    well-established in virtues
    and filled with self-control and truthfulness,
    he indeed is worthy of the yellow robe.
  11. Those who mistake the unessential to be essential
    and the essential to be unessential,
    dwelling in wrong thoughts,
    never arrive at the essential.
  12. Those who know the essential to be essential
    and the unessential to be unessential,
    dwelling in right thoughts,
    do arrive at the essential.
  13. Just as rain breaks through an ill-thatched house,
    so passion penetrates an undeveloped mind.
  14. Just as rain does not break through a well-thatched house,
    so passion never penetrates a well-developed mind.
  15. The evil-doer grieves here and hereafter;
    he grieves in both the worlds.
    He laments and is afflicted,
    recollecting his own impure deeds.
  16. The doer of good rejoices here and hereafter;
    he rejoices in both the worlds.
    He rejoices and exults,
    recollecting his own pure deeds.
  17. The evil-doer suffers here and hereafter;
    he suffers in both the worlds.
    The thought, “Evil have I done,” torments him,
    and he suffers even more when gone to realms of woe.
  18. The doer of good delights here and hereafter;
    he delights in both the worlds.
    The thought, “Good have I done,” delights him,
    and he delights even more when gone to realms of bliss.
  19. Much though he recites the sacred texts,
    but acts not accordingly,
    that heedless man is like a cowherd
    who only counts the cows of others —
    he does not partake of the blessings of the holy life.
  20. Little though he recites the sacred texts,
    but puts the Teaching into practice,
    forsaking lust, hatred, and delusion,
    with true wisdom and emancipated mind,
    clinging to nothing of this or any other world —
    he indeed partakes of the blessings of a holy life.

2. Heedfulness

  1. Heedfulness is the path to the Deathless.
    Heedlessness is the path to death.
    The heedful die not.
    The heedless are as if dead already.
  2. Clearly understanding this excellence of heedfulness,
    the wise exult therein
    and enjoy the resort of the Noble Ones.
  3. The wise ones, ever meditative and steadfastly persevering,
    alone experience Nibbana,
    the incomparable freedom from bondage.
  4. Ever grows the glory of him who is energetic,
    mindful and pure in conduct,
    discerning and self-controlled,
    righteous and heedful.
  5. By effort and heedfulness,
    discipline and self-mastery,
    let the wise one make for himself
    an island which no flood can overwhelm.
  6. The foolish and ignorant
    indulge in heedlessness,
    but the wise one
    keeps his heedfulness as his best treasure.
  7. Do not give way to heedlessness.
    Do not indulge in sensual pleasures.
    Only the heedful and meditative
    attain great happiness.
  8. Just as one upon the summit of a mountain
    beholds the groundlings,
    even so when the wise man casts away heedlessness
    by heedfulness
    and ascends the high tower of wisdom,
    this sorrowless sage
    beholds the sorrowing and foolish multitude.
  9. Heedful among the heedless,
    wide-awake among the sleepy,
    the wise man advances like a swift horse
    leaving behind a weak jade.
  10. By heedfulness did Indra become the overlord of the gods.
    Heedfulness is ever praised,
    and heedlessness ever despised.
  11. The monk who delights in heedfulness
    and looks with fear at heedlessness
    advances like fire,
    burning all fetters, small and large.
  12. The monk who delights in heedfulness
    and looks with fear at heedlessness
    will not fall.
    He is close to Nibbana.

3. The Mind

  1. Just as a fletcher straightens an arrow shaft,
    even so the discerning man straightens his mind —
    so fickle and unsteady,
    so difficult to guard.
  2. As a fish when pulled out of water
    and cast on land throbs and quivers,
    even so is this mind agitated.
    Hence should one abandon the realm of Mara.
  3. Wonderful, indeed, it is to subdue the mind,
    so difficult to subdue,
    ever swift, and seizing whatever it desires.
    A tamed mind brings happiness.
  4. Let the discerning man guard the mind,
    so difficult to detect and extremely subtle,
    seizing whatever it desires.
    A guarded mind brings happiness.
  5. Dwelling in the cave (of the heart),
    the mind, without form, wanders far and alone.
    Those who subdue this mind
    are liberated from the bonds of Mara.
  6. Wisdom never becomes perfect
    in one whose mind is not steadfast,
    who knows not the Good Teaching
    and whose faith wavers.
  7. There is no fear for an awakened one,
    whose mind is not sodden (by lust)
    nor afflicted (by hate),
    and who has gone beyond both merit and demerit.
  8. Realizing that this body is
    as fragile as a clay pot,
    and fortifying this mind
    like a well-fortified city,
    fight out Mara with the sword of wisdom.
    Then, guarding the conquest,
    remain unattached.
  9. Ere long, alas!
    this body will lie upon the earth,
    unheeded and lifeless,
    like a useless log.
  10. Whatever harm an enemy may do to an enemy,
    or a hater to a hater,
    an ill-directed mind
    inflicts on oneself a greater harm.
  11. Neither mother, father,
    nor any other relative
    can do one greater good
    than one’s own well-directed mind.

4. Flowers

  1. Who shall overcome this earth,
    this realm of Yama
    and this sphere of men and gods?
    Who shall bring to perfection
    the well-taught path of wisdom
    as an expert garland-maker
    would his floral design?
  2. A striver-on-the path
    shall overcome this earth,
    this realm of Yama
    and this sphere of men and gods.
    The striver-on-the-path
    shall bring to perfection
    the well-taught path of wisdom,
    as an expert garland-maker
    would his floral design.
  3. Realizing that this body is like froth,
    penetrating its mirage-like nature,
    and plucking out Mara’s flower-tipped arrows of sensuality,
    go beyond sight of the King of Death!
  4. As a mighty flood sweeps away the sleeping village,
    so death carries away the person of distracted mind
    who only plucks the flowers (of pleasure).
  5. The Destroyer brings under his sway
    the person of distracted mind who,
    insatiate in sense desires,
    only plucks the flowers (of pleasure).
  6. As a bee gathers honey from the flower
    without injuring its color or fragrance,
    even so the sage goes on his alms-round in the village.
  7. Let none find fault with others;
    let none see the omissions and commissions of others.
    But let one see one’s own acts,
    done and undone.
  8. Like a beautiful flower
    full of color but without fragrance,
    even so, fruitless are the fair words
    of one who does not practice them.
  9. Like a beautiful flower
    full of color and also fragrant,
    even so, fruitful are the fair words
    of one who practices them.
  10. As from a great heap of flowers
    many garlands can be made,
    even so should many good deeds
    be done by one born a mortal.
  11. Not the sweet smell of flowers,
    not even the fragrance of sandal, tagara, or jasmine
    blows against the wind.
    But the fragrance of the virtuous
    blows against the wind.
    Truly the virtuous man pervades all directions
    with the fragrance of his virtue.
  12. Of all the fragrances —
    sandal, tagara, blue lotus and jasmine —
    the fragrance of virtue is the sweetest.
  13. Faint is the fragrance of tagara and sandal,
    but excellent is the fragrance of the virtuous,
    wafting even amongst the gods.
  14. Mara never finds the path of the truly virtuous,
    who abide in heedfulness
    and are freed by perfect knowledge.
  15. Upon a heap of rubbish in the road-side ditch
    blooms a lotus,
    fragrant and pleasing.
  16. Even so, on the rubbish heap of blinded mortals
    the disciple of the Supremely Enlightened One shines
    resplendent in wisdom.

5. The Fool

  1. Long is the night to the sleepless;
    long is the league to the weary.
    Long is worldly existence to fools
    who know not the Sublime Truth.
  2. Should a seeker not find a companion
    who is better or equal,
    let him resolutely pursue a solitary course;
    there is no fellowship with the fool.
  3. The fool worries, thinking,
    “I have sons, I have wealth.”
    Indeed, when he himself is not his own,
    whence are sons, whence is wealth?
  4. A fool who knows his foolishness
    is wise at least to that extent,
    but a fool who thinks himself wise
    is a fool indeed.
  5. Though all his life
    a fool associates with a wise man,
    he no more comprehends the Truth
    than a spoon tastes the flavor of the soup.
  6. Though only for a moment
    a discerning person associates with a wise man,
    quickly he comprehends the Truth,
    just as the tongue tastes the flavor of the soup.
  7. Fools of little wit
    are enemies unto themselves
    as they move about doing evil deeds,
    the fruits of which are bitter.
  8. Ill done is that action of doing
    which one repents later,
    and the fruit of which
    one, weeping, reaps with tears.
  9. Well done is that action of doing
    which one repents not later,
    and the fruit of which
    one reaps with delight and happiness.
  10. So long as an evil deed has not ripened,
    the fool thinks it as sweet as honey.
    But when the evil deed ripens,
    the fool comes to grief.
  11. Month after month a fool may eat his food
    with the tip of a blade of grass,
    but he still is not worth a sixteenth part
    of the those who have comprehended the Truth.
  12. Truly, an evil deed committed
    does not immediately bear fruit,
    like milk that does not turn sour all at once.
    But smoldering,
    it follows the fool like fire covered by ashes.
  13. To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge,
    for it cleaves his head
    and destroys his innate goodness.
  14. The fool seeks undeserved reputation,
    precedence among monks,
    authority over monasteries,
    and honor among householders.
  15. “Let both laymen and monks think
    that it was done by me.
    In every work, great and small,
    let them follow me” —
    such is the ambition of the fool;
    thus his desire and pride increase.
  16. One is the quest for worldly gain,
    and quite another is the path to Nibbana.
    Clearly understanding this,
    let not the monk, the disciple of the Buddha,
    be carried away by worldly acclaim,
    but develop detachment instead.

6. The Wise

  1. Should one find a man
    who points out faults and who reproves,
    let him follow such a wise and sagacious person
    as one would a guide to hidden treasure.
    It is always better, and never worse,
    to cultivate such an association.
  2. Let him admonish,
    instruct and shield one from wrong;
    he, indeed, is dear to the good
    and detestable to the evil.
  3. Do not associate with evil companions;
    do not seek the fellowship of the vile.
    Associate with the good friends;
    seek the fellowship of noble men.
  4. He who drinks deep the Dhamma
    lives happily with a tranquil mind.
    The wise man ever delights in the Dhamma
    made known by the Noble One (the Buddha).
  5. Irrigators regulate the rivers;
    fletchers straighten the arrow shaft;
    carpenters shape the wood;
    the wise control themselves.
  6. Just as a solid rock is not shaken by the storm,
    even so the wise are not affected by praise or blame.
  7. On hearing the Teachings,
    the wise become perfectly purified,
    like a lake deep, clear and still.
  8. The good renounce (attachment for) everything.
    The virtuous do not prattle
    with a yearning for pleasures.
    The wise show no elation or depression
    when touched by happiness or sorrow.
  9. He is indeed virtuous, wise, and righteous
    who neither for his own sake
    nor for the sake of another (does any wrong),
    who does not crave for sons, wealth, or kingdom,
    and does not desire success by unjust means.
  10. Few among men are those
    who cross to the farther shore.
    The rest, the bulk of men,
    only run up and down the hither bank.
  11. But those who act according
    to the perfectly taught Dhamma
    will cross the realm of Death,
    so difficult to cross.
  12. Abandoning the dark way,
    let the wise man cultivate the bright path.
    Having gone from home to homelessness,
    let him yearn for that delight in detachment,
    so difficult to enjoy.
    Giving up sensual pleasures, with no attachment,
    let the wise man cleanse himself
    of defilements of the mind.
  13. Those whose minds have reached full excellence
    in the factors of enlightenment,
    who, having renounced acquisitiveness,
    rejoice in not clinging to things —
    rid of cankers, glowing with wisdom,
    they have attained Nibbana in this very life.

7. The Arahant

  1. The fever of passion
    exists not for him who has completed the journey,
    who is sorrowless and wholly set free,
    and has broken all ties.
  2. The mindful ones exert themselves.
    They are not attached to any home;
    like swans that abandon the lake,
    they leave home after home behind.
  3. Those who do not accumulate
    and are wise regarding food,
    whose object is the Void,
    the Unconditioned Freedom —
    their track cannot be traced,
    like that of birds in the air.
  4. He whose cankers are destroyed
    and who is not attached to food,
    whose object is the Void,
    the Unconditioned Freedom —
    his path cannot be traced,
    like that of birds in the air.
  5. Even the gods hold dear the wise one,
    whose senses are subdued
    ike horses well trained by a charioteer,
    whose pride is destroyed
    and who is free from the cankers.
  6. There is no more worldly existence
    for the wise one who,
    like the earth, resents nothing,
    who is firm as a high pillar
    and as pure as a deep pool free from mud.
  7. Calm is his thought, calm his speech,
    and calm his deed, who, truly knowing,
    is wholly freed,
    perfectly tranquil and wise.
  8. The man who is without blind faith,
    who knows the Uncreated,
    who has severed all links,
    destroyed all causes (for karma, good and evil),
    and thrown out all desires —
    he, truly, is the most excellent of men.
  9. Inspiring, indeed,
    is that place where Arahants dwell,
    be it a village, a forest, a vale, or a hill.
  10. Inspiring are the forests
    in which worldlings find no pleasure.
    There the passionless will rejoice,
    for they seek no sensual pleasures.

8. The Thousands

  1. Better than a thousand useless words
    is one useful word,
    hearing which one attains peace.
  2. Better than a thousand useless verses
    is one useful verse,
    hearing which one attains peace.
  3. Better than reciting a hundred meaningless verses
    is the reciting of one verse of Dhamma,
    hearing which one attains peace.
  4. Though one may conquer a thousand times
    a thousand men in battle,
    yet he indeed is the noblest victor
    who conquers himself.
  5. Self-conquest is far better
    than the conquest of others.
    Not even a god, an angel, Mara or Brahma
    can turn into defeat the victory
    of a person who is self-subdued
    and ever restrained in conduct.
  6. Though month after month for a hundred years
    one should offer sacrifices by the thousands,
    yet if only for a moment
    one should worship those of perfected minds
    that honor is indeed better
    than a century of sacrifice.
  7. Though for a hundred years
    one should tend the sacrificial fire in the forest,
    yet if only for a moment
    one should worship those of perfected minds,
    that worship is indeed better
    than a century of sacrifice.
  8. Whatever gifts and oblations
    one seeking merit
    might offer in this world for a whole year,
    all that is not worth one fourth of the merit
    gained by revering the Upright Ones,
    which is truly excellent.
  9. To one ever eager
    to revere and serve the elders,
    these four blessing accrue:
    long life and beauty, happiness and power.
  10. Better it is to live one day virtuous and meditative
    than to live a hundred years immoral and uncontrolled.
  11. Better it is to live one day wise and meditative
    than to live a hundred years foolish and uncontrolled.
  12. Better it is to live one day strenuous and resolute
    than to live a hundred years sluggish and dissipated.
  13. Better it is to live one day
    seeing the rise and fall of things
    than to live a hundred years
    without ever seeing the rise and fall of things.
  14. Better it is to live one day seeing the Deathless
    than to live a hundred years without ever seeing the Deathless.
  15. Better it is to live one day seeing the Supreme Truth
    than to live a hundred years without ever seeing the Supreme Truth.

9. Evil

  1. Hasten to do good;
    restrain your mind from evil.
    He who is slow in doing good,
    his mind delights in evil.
  2. Should a person commit evil,
    let him not do it again and again.
    Let him not find pleasure therein,
    for painful is the accumulation of evil.
  3. Should a person do good,
    let him do it again and again.
    Let him find pleasure therein,
    for blissful is the accumulation of good.
  4. It may be well with the evil-doer
    as long as the evil ripens not.
    But when it does ripen,
    then the evil-doer sees
    (the painful results of) his evil deeds.
  5. It may be ill with the doer of good
    as long as the good ripens not.
    But when it does ripen,
    then the doer of good sees
    (the pleasant results of) his good deeds.
  6. Think not lightly of evil, saying,
    “It will not come to me.”
    Drop by drop is the water pot filled.
    Likewise, the fool,
    gathering it little by little,
    fills himself with evil.
  7. Think not lightly of good, saying,
    “It will not come to me.”
    Drop by drop is the water pot filled.
    Likewise, the wise man,
    gathering it little by little,
    fills himself with good.
  8. Just as a trader
    with a small escort and great wealth
    would avoid a perilous route,
    or just as one desiring to live avoids poison,
    even so should one shun evil.
  9. If on the hand there is no wound,
    one may carry even poison in it.
    Poison does not affect one who is free from wounds.
    For him who does no evil,
    there is no ill.
  10. Like fine dust thrown against the wind,
    evil falls back upon that fool
    who offends an inoffensive, pure and guiltless man.
  11. Some are born in the womb;
    the wicked are born in hell;
    the devout go to heaven;
    the stainless pass into Nibbana.
  12. Neither in the sky nor in mid-ocean,
    nor by entering into mountain clefts,
    nowhere in the world is there a place
    where one may escape
    from the results of evil deeds.
  13. Neither in the sky nor in mid-ocean,
    nor by entering into mountain clefts,
    nowhere in the world is there a place
    where one will not be overcome by death.

10. Violence

  1. All tremble at violence;
    all fear death.
    Putting oneself in the place of another,
    one should not kill
    nor cause another to kill.
  2. All tremble at violence;
    life is dear to all.
    Putting oneself in the place of another,
    one should not kill
    nor cause another to kill.
  3. One who, while himself seeking happiness,
    oppresses with violence other beings
    who also desire happiness,
    will not attain happiness hereafter.
  4. One who, while himself seeking happiness,
    does not oppress with violence other beings
    who also desire happiness,
    will find happiness hereafter.
  5. Speak not harshly to anyone,
    for those thus spoken to might retort.
    Indeed, angry speech hurts,
    and retaliation may overtake you.
  6. If, like a broken gong,
    you silence yourself,
    you have approached Nibbana,
    for vindictiveness is no longer in you.
  7. Just as a cowherd
    drives the cattle to pasture with a staff,
    so do old age and death
    drive the life force of beings
    (from existence to existence).
  8. When the fool commits evil deeds,
    he does not realize (their evil nature).
    The witless man is tormented
    by his own deeds,
    like one burnt by fire.
  9. He who inflicts violence
    on those who are unarmed,
    and offends those who are inoffensive,
    will soon come upon one of these ten states:
  10. Sharp pain, or disaster, bodily injury,
    serious illness, or derangement of mind,
    trouble from the government, or grave charges,
    loss of relatives, or loss of wealth,
    or houses destroyed by ravaging fire;
    upon dissolution of the body
    that ignorant man is born in hell.
  11. Neither going about naked,
    nor matted locks, nor filth, nor fasting,
    nor lying on the ground,
    nor smearing oneself with ashes and dust,
    nor sitting on the heels (in penance)
    can purify a mortal
    who has not overcome doubt.
  12. Even though he be well-attired,
    yet if he is poised, calm, controlled
    and established in the holy life,
    having set aside violence towards all beings —
    he, truly, is a holy man, a renunciate, a monk.
  13. Only rarely is there a man in this world who,
    restrained by modesty, avoids reproach,
    as a thoroughbred horse avoids the whip.
  14. Like a thoroughbred horse touched by the whip,
    be strenuous, be filled with spiritual yearning.
    By faith and moral purity,
    by effort and meditation,
    by investigation of the truth,
    by being rich in knowledge and virtue,
    and by being mindful,
    destroy this unlimited suffering.
  15. Irrigators regulate the waters,
    fletchers straighten arrow shafts,
    carpenters shape wood,
    and the good control themselves.

11. Old Age

  1. When this world is ever ablaze,
    why this laughter,
    why this jubilation?
    Shrouded in darkness,
    will you not see the light?
  2. Behold this body — a painted image,
    a mass of heaped up sores,
    infirm, full of hankering —
    of which nothing is lasting or stable!
  3. Fully worn out is this body,
    a nest of disease, and fragile.
    This foul mass breaks up,
    for death is the end of life.
  4. These dove-colored bones are like gourds
    that lie scattered about in autumn.
    Having seen them, how can one seek delight?
  5. This city (body) is built of bones,
    plastered with flesh and blood;
    within are decay and death,
    pride and jealousy.
  6. Even gorgeous royal chariots wear out,
    and indeed this body too wears out.
    But the Dhamma of the Good does not age;
    thus the Good make it known to the good.
  7. The man of little learning
    grows old like a bull.
    He grows only in bulk,
    but, his wisdom does not grow.
  8. Through many a birth in samsara
    have I wandered in vain,
    seeking the builder of this house (of life).
    Repeated birth is indeed suffering!
  9. O house-builder, you are seen!
    You will not build this house again.
    For your rafters are broken
    and your ridgepole shattered.
    My mind has reached the Unconditioned;
    I have attained the destruction of craving.
  10. Those who in youth have not led the holy life,
    or have failed to acquire wealth,
    languish like old cranes in the pond without fish.
  11. Those who in youth have not lead the holy life,
    or have failed to acquire wealth,
    lie sighing over the past,
    like worn out arrows (shot from) a bow.

12. The Self

  1. If one holds oneself dear,
    one should diligently watch oneself.
    Let the wise man keep vigil
    during any of the three watches of the night.
  2. One should first establish oneself
    in what is proper;
    then only should one instruct others.
    Thus the wise man will not be reproached.
  3. One should do what one teaches others to do;
    if one would train others,
    one should be well controlled oneself.
    Difficult, indeed, is self-control.
  4. One truly is the protector of oneself;
    who else could the protector be?
    With oneself fully controlled,
    one gains a mastery that is hard to gain.
  5. The evil a witless man does by himself,
    born of himself and produced by himself,
    grinds him as a diamond grinds a hard gem.
  6. Just as a single creeper
    strangles the tree on which it grows,
    even so, a man who is exceedingly depraved
    harms himself as only an enemy might wish.
  7. Easy to do are things
    that are bad and harmful to oneself.
    But exceedingly difficult to do
    are things that are good and beneficial.
  8. Whoever, on account of perverted views,
    scorns the Teaching of the Perfected Ones,
    the Noble and Righteous Ones —
    that fool, like the bamboo,
    produces fruits only for self destruction.
  9. By oneself is evil done;
    by oneself is one defiled.
    By oneself is evil left undone;
    by oneself is one made pure.
    Purity and impurity depended on oneself;
    no one can purify another.
  10. Let one not neglect one’s own welfare
    for the sake of another, however great.
    Clearly understanding one’s own welfare,
    let one be intent upon the good.

13. The World

  1. Follow not the vulgar way;
    live not in heedlessness;
    hold not false views;
    linger not long in worldly existence.
  2. Arise! Do not be heedless!
    Lead a righteous life.
    The righteous live happily
    both in this world and the next.
  3. Lead a righteous life;
    lead not a base life.
    The righteous live happily
    both in this world and the next.
  4. One who looks upon the world
    as a bubble and a mirage,
    him the King of Death sees not.
  5. Come! Behold this world,
    which is like a decorated royal chariot.
    Here fools flounder,
    but the wise have no attachment to it.
  6. He who having been heedless
    is heedless no more,
    illuminates this world
    like the moon freed from clouds.
  7. He, who by good deeds
    covers the evil he has done,
    illuminates this world
    like the moon freed from clouds.
  8. Blind is the world;
    here only a few possess insight.
    Only a few,
    like birds escaping from the net,
    go to realms of bliss.
  9. Swans fly on the path of the sun;
    men pass through the air by psychic powers;
    the wise are led away from the world
    after vanquishing Mara and his host.
  10. For a liar who has violated
    the one law (of truthfulness)
    who holds in scorn the hereafter,
    there is no evil that he cannot do.
  11. Truly, misers fare not to heavenly realms;
    nor, indeed, do fools praise generosity.
    But the wise man rejoices in giving,
    and by that alone does he become happy hereafter.
  12. Better than sole sovereignty over the earth,
    better than going to heaven,
    better even than lordship over all the worlds
    is the supramundane Fruition of Stream Entrance.

14. The Buddha

  1. By what track can you trace
    that trackless Buddha of limitless range,
    whose victory nothing can undo,
    whom none of the vanquished defilements
    can ever pursue?
  2. By what track can you trace
    that trackless Buddha of limitless range,
    in whom exists no longer,
    the entangling and embroiling craving
    that perpetuates becoming?
  3. Those wise ones who are devoted to meditation
    and who delight in the calm of renunciation —
    such mindful ones, Supreme Buddhas,
    even the gods hold dear.
  4. Hard is it to be born a man;
    hard is the life of mortals.
    Hard is it to gain the opportunity
    of hearing the Sublime Truth,
    and hard to encounter
    is the arising of the Buddhas.
  5. To avoid all evil, to cultivate good,
    and to cleanse one’s mind —
    this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
  6. Enduring patience is the highest austerity.
    “Nibbana is supreme,” say the Buddhas.
    He is not a true monk who harms another,
    nor a true renunciate who oppresses others.
  7. Not despising, not harming,
    restraint according to the code of monastic discipline,
    moderation in food, dwelling in solitude,
    devotion to meditation —
    this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
  8. There is no satisfying sensual desires,
    even with the rain of gold coins.
    For sensual pleasures
    give little satisfaction and much pain.
    Having understood this,
    the wise man finds no delight
    even in heavenly pleasures.
    The disciple of the Supreme Buddha
    delights in the destruction of craving.
  9. Driven only by fear,
    do men go for refuge to many places —
    to hills, woods, groves, trees and shrines.
  10. Such, indeed, is no safe refuge;
    such is not the refuge supreme.
    Not by resorting to such a refuge
    is one released from all suffering.
  11. He who has gone for refuge to the Buddha,
    the Teaching and his Order,
    penetrates with transcendental wisdom
    the Four Noble Truths —
    suffering,
    the cause of suffering,
    the cessation of suffering,
    and the Noble Eightfold Path
    leading to the cessation of suffering.
  12. This indeed is the safe refuge,
    this the refuge supreme.
    Having gone to such a refuge,
    one is released from all suffering.
  13. Hard to find
    is the thoroughbred man (the Buddha);
    he is not born everywhere.
    Where such a wise man is born,
    that clan thrives happily.
  14. Blessed is the birth of the Buddhas;
    blessed is the enunciation
    of the sacred Teaching;
    blessed is the harmony in the Order,
    and blessed is the spiritual pursuit
    of the united truth-seeker.
  15. He who reveres those worthy of reverence,
    the Buddhas and their disciples,
    who have transcended all obstacles
    and passed beyond the reach of sorrow and lamentation —
    he who reveres such peaceful and fearless ones,
    his merit none can compute by any measure.

15. Happiness

  1. Happy indeed we live,
    friendly amidst the hostile.
    Amidst hostile men
    we dwell free from hatred.
  2. Happy indeed we live,
    friendly amidst the afflicted (by craving).
    Amidst afflicted men
    we dwell free from affliction.
  3. Happy indeed we live,
    free from avarice amidst the avaricious.
    Amidst the avaricious men
    we dwell free from avarice.
  4. Happy indeed we live,
    we who possess nothing.
    Feeders on joy we shall be,
    like the Radiant Gods.
  5. Victory begets enmity;
    the defeated dwell in pain.
    Happily the peaceful live,
    discarding both victory and defeat.
  6. There is no fire like lust
    and no crime like hatred.
    There is no ill like the aggregates (of existence)
    and no bliss higher than the peace (of Nibbana).
  7. Hunger is the worst disease,
    conditioned things the worst suffering.
    Knowing this as it really is,
    the wise realize Nibbana,
    the highest bliss.
  8. Health is the most precious gain
    and contentment the greatest wealth.
    A trustworthy person is the best kinsman,
    Nibbana the highest bliss.
  9. Having savored the taste of solitude
    and peace (of Nibbana),
    pain-free and stainless he becomes,
    drinking deep the taste of the bliss of the Truth.
  10. Good is it to see the Noble Ones;
    to live with them is ever blissful.
    One will always be happy
    by not encountering fools.
  11. Indeed, he who moves in the company of fools
    grieves for longing.
    Association with fools is ever painful,
    like partnership with an enemy.
    But association with the wise is happy,
    like meeting one’s own kinsmen.
  12. Therefore, follow the Noble One,
    who is steadfast, wise, learned, dutiful and devout.
    One should follow only such a man,
    who is truly good and discerning,
    even as the moon follows the path of the stars.

16. Affection

  1. Giving himself to things to be shunned
    and not exerting where exertion is needed,
    a seeker after pleasures,
    having given up his true welfare,
    envies those intent upon theirs.
  2. Seek no intimacy with the beloved
    and also not with the unloved,
    for not to see the beloved
    and to see the unloved,
    both are painful.
  3. Therefore hold nothing dear,
    for separation from the dear is painful.
    There are no bonds
    for those who have nothing beloved or unloved.
  4. From endearment springs grief,
    from endearment springs fear.
    From him who is wholly free from endearment
    there is no grief, whence then fear?
  5. From affection springs grief,
    from affection springs fear.
    From him who is wholly free from affection
    there is no grief, whence then fear?
  6. From attachment springs grief,
    from attachment springs fear.
    From him who is wholly free from attachment
    there is no grief, whence then fear?
  7. From lust springs grief,
    from lust springs fear.
    From him who is wholly free from craving
    there is no grief; whence then fear?
  8. From craving springs grief,
    from craving springs fear.
    From him who is wholly free from craving
    there is no grief; whence then fear?
  9. People hold dear him
    who embodies virtue and insight,
    who is principled,
    has realized the truth,
    and who himself does what he ought to be doing.
  10. One who is intent upon the Ineffable (Nibbana),
    dwells with mind inspired (by supramundane wisdom),
    and is no more bound by sense pleasures —
    such a man is called “One Bound Upstream.”
  11. When, after a long absence,
    a man safely returns from afar,
    his relatives, friends and well-wishers
    welcome him home on arrival.
  12. As kinsmen welcome a dear one on arrival,
    even so his own good deeds
    will welcome the doer of good
    who has gone from this world to the next.

17. Anger

  1. One should give up anger,
    renounce pride,
    and overcome all fetters.
    Suffering never befalls him
    who clings not to mind and body
    and is detached.
  2. He who checks rising anger
    as a charioteer checks a rolling chariot,
    him I call a true charioteer.
    Others only hold the reins.
  3. Overcome the angry by non-anger;
    overcome the wicked by goodness;
    overcome the miser by generosity;
    overcome the liar by truth.
  4. Speak the truth;
    yield not to anger;
    when asked, give even if you only have a little.
    By these three means
    can one reach the presence of the gods.
  5. Those sages who are inoffensive
    and ever restrained in body,
    go to the Deathless State,
    where, having gone, they grieve no more.
  6. Those who are ever vigilant,
    who discipline themselves day and night,
    and are ever intent upon Nibbana —
    their defilements fade away.
  7. O Atula! Indeed, this is an ancient practice,
    not one only of today:
    they blame those who remain silent,
    they blame those who speak much,
    they blame those who speak in moderation.
    There is none in the world who is not blamed.
  8. There never was, there never will be, nor is there now,
    a person who is wholly blamed or wholly praised.
  9. But the man whom the wise praise,
    after observing him day after day,
    is one of flawless character, wise,
    and endowed with knowledge and virtue.
  10. Who can blame such a one,
    as worthy as a coin of refined gold?
    Even the gods praise him;
    by Brahma, too, is he praised.
  11. Let a man guard himself
    against irritability in bodily action;
    let him be controlled in deed.
    Abandoning bodily misconduct,
    let him practice good conduct in deed.
  12. Let a man guard himself
    against irritability in speech;
    let him be controlled in speech.
    Abandoning verbal misconduct,
    let him practice good conduct in speech.
  13. Let a man guard himself
    against irritability in thought;
    let him be controlled in mind.
    Abandoning mental misconduct,
    let him practice good conduct in thought.
  14. The wise are controlled in bodily action,
    controlled in speech and controlled in thought.
    They are truly well-controlled.

18. Impurity

  1. Like a withered leaf are you now;
    death’s messengers await you.
    You stand on the eve of your departure,
    yet you have made no provision for your journey!
  2. Make an island for yourself!
    Strive hard and become wise!
    Rid of impurities and cleansed of stain,
    you shall enter the celestial abode of the Noble Ones.
  3. Your life has come to an end now;
    You are setting forth
    into the presence of Yama, the king of death.
    No resting place is there for you on the way,
    yet you have made no provision for the journey!
  4. Make an island unto yourself!
    Strive hard and become wise!
    Rid of impurities and cleansed of stain,
    you shall not come again to birth and decay.
  5. One by one, little by little, moment by moment,
    a wise man should remove his own impurities,
    as a smith removes his dross from silver.
  6. Just as rust arising from iron
    eats away the base from which it arises,
    even so, their own deeds
    lead transgressors to states of woe.
  7. Non-repetition is the bane of scriptures;
    neglect is the bane of a home;
    slovenliness is the bane of personal appearance,
    and heedlessness is the bane of a guard.
  8. Unchastity is the taint in a woman;
    niggardliness is the taint in a giver.
    Taints, indeed, are all evil things,
    both in this world and the next.
  9. A worse taint than these is ignorance,
    the worst of all taints.
    Destroy this one taint and become taintless, O monks!
  10. Easy is life for the shameless
    one who is impudent as a crow,
    is backbiting and forward,
    arrogant and corrupt.
  11. Difficult is life for the modest
    one who always seeks purity,
    is detached and unassuming,
    clean in life, and discerning.
  12. One who destroys life,
    utters lies,
    takes what is not given,
    goes to another man’s wife,
    and is addicted to intoxicating drinks —
    such a man digs up his own root
    even in this world.
  13. Know this, O good man:
    evil things are difficult to control.
    Let not greed and wickedness
    drag you to protracted misery.
  14. People give according to their faith or regard.
    If one becomes discontented
    with the food and drink given by others,
    one does not attain meditative absorption,
    either by day or by night.
  15. But he in who this (discontent) is fully destroyed,
    uprooted and extinct,
    he attains absorption, both by day and by night.
  16. There is no fire like lust;
    there is no grip like hatred;
    there is no net like delusion;
    there is no river like craving.
  17. Easily seen is the fault of others,
    but one’s own fault is difficult to see.
    Like chaff one winnows another’s faults,
    but hides one’s own,
    even as a crafty fowler
    hides behind sham branches.
  18. He who seeks another’s faults,
    who is ever censorious —
    his cankers grow.
    He is far from destruction of the cankers.
  19. There is no track in the sky,
    and no recluse outside (the Buddha’s dispensation).
    Mankind delights in worldliness,
    but the Buddhas are free from worldliness.
  20. There is not track in the sky,
    and no recluse outside (the Buddha’s dispensation).
    There are no conditioned things
    that are eternal,
    and no instability in the Buddhas.

19. The Just

  1. Not by passing arbitrary judgments
    does a man become just;
    a wise man is he
    who investigates both right and wrong.
  2. He who does not judge others arbitrarily,
    but passes judgment impartially
    according to the truth,
    that sagacious man is a guardian of law
    and is called just.
  3. One is not wise because one speaks much.
    He who is peaceable,
    friendly and fearless is called wise.
  4. A man is not versed in Dhamma
    because he speaks much.
    He who, after hearing a little Dhamma,
    realizes its truth directly
    and is not heedless of it,
    is truly versed in the Dhamma.
  5. A monk is not Elder because his head is gray.
    He is but ripe in age,
    and he is called one grown old in vain.
  6. One in whom there is truthfulness,
    virtue, inoffensiveness, restraint and self-mastery,
    who is free from defilements and is wise —
    he is truly called an Elder.
  7. Not by mere eloquence nor by beauty of form
    does a man become accomplished,
    if he is jealous, selfish and deceitful.
  8. But he in whom these are wholly destroyed,
    uprooted and extinct,
    and who has cast out hatred —
    that wise man is truly accomplished.
  9. Not by shaven head does a man
    who is indisciplined and untruthful
    become a monk. How can he
    who is full of desire and greed be a monk?
  10. He who wholly subdues evil both small and great
    is called a monk,
    because he has overcome all evil.
  11. He is not a monk
    just because he lives on others’ alms.
    Not by adopting outward form
    does one become a true monk.
  12. Whoever here (in the Dispensation)
    lives a holy life,
    transcending both merit and demerit,
    and walks with understanding in this world —
    he is truly called a monk.
  13. Not by observing silence does one become a sage,
    if he be foolish and ignorant.
    But that man is wise who,
    as if holding a balance-scale
    accepts only the good.
  14. The sage (thus) rejecting the evil,
    is truly a sage.
    Since he comprehends both
    (present and future) worlds,
    he is called a sage.
  15. He is not noble who injures living beings.
    He is called noble
    because he is harmless towards all living beings.
  16. Not by rules and observances,
    not even by much learning,
    nor by gain of absorption,
    nor by a life of seclusion,
    nor by thinking,
    “I enjoy the bliss of renunciation,
    which is not experienced by the worldling”
    should you, O monks, rest content,
    until the utter destruction of cankers
    (Arahantship) is reached.

20. The Path

  1. Of all the paths
    the Eightfold Path is the best;
    of all the truths
    the Four Noble Truths are the best;
    of all things
    passionlessness is the best:
    of men the Seeing One
    (the Buddha) is the best.
  2. This is the only path;
    there is none other
    for the purification of insight.
    Tread this path,
    and you will bewilder Mara.
  3. Walking upon this path
    you will make an end of suffering.
    Having discovered
    how to pull out the thorn of lust,
    I make known the path.
  4. You yourselves must strive;
    the Buddhas only point the way.
    Those meditative ones who tread the path
    are released from the bonds of Mara.
  5. “All conditioned things are impermanent” —
    when one sees this with wisdom,
    one turns away from suffering.
    This is the path to purification.
  6. “All conditioned things are unsatisfactory” —
    when one sees this with wisdom,
    one turns away from suffering.
    This is the path to purification.
  7. “All things are not-self” —
    when one sees this with wisdom,
    one turns away from suffering.
    This is the path to purification.
  8. The idler who does not exert himself when he should,
    who though young and strong is full of sloth,
    with a mind full of vain thoughts —
    such an indolent man
    does not find the path to wisdom.
  9. Let a man be watchful of speech,
    well controlled in mind,
    and not commit evil in bodily action.
    Let him purify these three courses of action,
    and win the path made known by the Great Sage.
  10. Wisdom springs from meditation;
    without meditation wisdom wanes.
    Having known these two paths of progress and decline,
    let a man so conduct himself
    that his wisdom may increase.
  11. Cut down the forest (lust), but not the tree;
    from the forest springs fear.
    Having cut down the forest
    and the underbrush (desire),
    be passionless, O monks!
  12. For so long as the underbrush of desire,
    even the most subtle,
    of a man towards a woman is not cut down,
    his mind is in bondage,
    like the sucking calf to its mother.
  13. Cut off your affection in the manner of a man
    plucks with his hand an autumn lotus.
    Cultivate only the path to peace, Nibbana,
    as made known by the Exalted One.
  14. “Here shall I live during the rains,
    here in winter and summer” —
    thus thinks the fool.
    He does not realize the danger
    (that death might intervene).
  15. As a great flood
    carries away a sleeping village,
    so death seizes and carries away
    the man with a clinging mind,
    doting on his children and cattle.
  16. For him who is assailed by death
    there is no protection by kinsmen.
    None there are to save him —
    no sons, nor father, nor relatives.
  17. Realizing this fact, let the wise man,
    restrained by morality,
    hasten to clear the path leading to Nibbana.

21. Miscellaneous

  1. If by renouncing a lesser happiness
    one may realize a greater happiness,
    let the wise man renounce the lesser,
    having regard for the greater.
  2. Entangled by the bonds of hate,
    he who seeks his own happiness
    by inflicting pain on others,
    is never delivered from hatred.
  3. The cankers only increase
    for those who are arrogant and heedless,
    who leave undone what should be done
    and do what should not be done.
  4. The cankers cease for those mindful
    and clearly comprehending ones
    who always earnestly practice
    mindfulness of the body,
    who do not resort
    to what should not be done,
    and steadfastly pursue what should be done.
  5. Having slain mother (craving),
    father (self-conceit),
    two warrior-kings (eternalism and nihilism),
    and destroyed a country
    (sense organs and sense objects)
    together with its treasurer
    (attachment and lust),
    ungrieving goes the holy man.
  6. Having slain mother, father,
    two brahman kings (two extreme views),
    and a tiger as the fifth
    (the five mental hindrances),
    ungrieving goes the holy man.
  7. Those disciples of Gotama ever awaken happily
    who day and night constantly practice
    the Recollection of the Qualities of the Buddha.
  8. Those disciples of Gotama ever awaken happily
    who day and night constantly practice
    the Recollection of the Qualities of the Dhamma.
  9. Those disciples of Gotama ever awaken happily
    who day and night constantly practice
    the Recollection of the Qualities of the Sangha.
  10. Those disciples of Gotama ever awaken happily
    who day and night constantly practice
    Mindfulness of the Body.
  11. Those disciples of Gotama ever awaken happily
    whose minds by day and night
    delight in the practice of non-violence.
  12. Those disciples of Gotama ever awaken happily
    whose minds by day and night
    delight in the practice of meditation.
  13. Difficult is life as a monk;
    difficult is it to delight therein.
    Also difficult and sorrowful
    is the household life.
    Suffering comes from association with unequals;
    suffering comes from wandering in samsara.
    Therefore, be not an aimless wanderer,
    be not a pursuer of suffering.
  14. He who is full of faith and virtue,
    and possesses good repute and wealth —
    he is respected everywhere,
    in whatever land he travels.
  15. The good shine from afar,
    like the Himalaya mountains.
    But the wicked are unseen,
    like arrows shot in the night.
  16. He who sits alone,
    sleeps alone,
    and walks alone,
    who is strenuous
    and subdues himself alone,
    will find delight
    in the solitude of the forest.

22. Hell

  1. The liar goes to the state of woe;
    also he who, having done (wrong), says,
    “I did not do it.”
    Men of base actions both,
    on departing they share the same destiny
    in the other world.
  2. There are many evil characters
    and uncontrolled men
    wearing the saffron robe.
    These wicked men
    will be born in states of woe
    because of their evil deeds.
  3. It would be better
    to swallow a red-hot iron ball,
    blazing like fire,
    than as an immoral and uncontrolled monk
    to eat the alms of the people.
  4. Four misfortunes befall the reckless man
    who consorts with another’s wife:
    acquisition of demerit,
    disturbed sleep,
    ill-repute,
    and (rebirth in) states of woe.
  5. Such a man acquires demerit
    and an unhappy birth in the future.
    Brief is the pleasure
    of the frightened man and woman,
    and the king imposes heavy punishment.
    Hence, let no man consort with another’s wife.
  6. Just as kusa grass wrongly handled cuts the hand,
    even so, a recluse’s life wrongly lived
    drags one to states of woe.
  7. Any loose act,
    any corrupt observance,
    any life of questionable celibacy —
    none of these bear much fruit.
  8. If anything is to be done,
    let one do it with sustained vigor.
    A lax monastic life
    stirs up the dust of passions all the more.
  9. An evil deed is better left undone,
    for such a deed torments one afterwards.
    But a good deed is better done,
    doing which one repents not later.
  10. Just as a border city is closely guarded
    both within and without, even so, guard yourself.
    Do not let slip this opportunity (for spiritual growth).
    For those who let slip this opportunity
    grieve indeed when consigned to hell.
  11. Those who are ashamed
    of what they should not be ashamed of,
    and are not ashamed
    of what they should be ashamed of —
    upholding false views,
    they go to states of woe.
  12. Those who see something to fear
    where there is nothing to fear,
    and see nothing to fear
    where there is something to fear —
    upholding false views,
    they go to states of woe.
  13. Those who imagine evil
    where there is none,
    and do not see evil where it is —
    upholding false views,
    they go to states of woe.
  14. Those who discern
    the wrong as wrong
    and the right as right —
    upholding right views,
    they go to realms of bliss.

23. The Elephant

  1. As an elephant in the battlefield
    withstands arrows shot from bows all around,
    even so shall I endure abuse.
    There are many, indeed, who lack virtue.
  2. A tamed elephant is led into a crowd,
    and the king mounts a tamed elephant.
    Best among men
    is the subdued one who endures abuse.
  3. Excellent are well-trained mules,
    thoroughbred Sindhu horses
    and noble tusker elephants.
    But better still is the man
    who has subdued himself.
  4. Not by these mounts, however,
    would one go to the Untrodden Land (Nibbana),
    as one who is self-tamed
    goes by his own tamed and well-controlled mind.
  5. Musty during rut,
    the tusker named Dhanapalaka is uncontrollable.
    Held in captivity,
    the tusker does not touch a morsel,
    but only longingly
    calls to mind the elephant forest.
  6. When a man is sluggish and gluttonous,
    sleeping and rolling around in bed
    like a fat domestic pig,
    that sluggard undergoes rebirth again and again.
  7. Formerly this mind wandered about as it liked,
    where it wished and according to its pleasure,
    but now I shall thoroughly master it
    with wisdom as a mahout controls with his ankus
    an elephant in rut.
  8. Delight in heedfulness!
    Guard well your thoughts!
    Draw yourself out of this bog of evil,
    even as an elephant draws himself out of the mud.
  9. If for company you find
    a wise and prudent friend
    who leads a good life,
    you should, overcoming all impediments,
    keep his company joyously and mindfully.
  10. If for company you cannot find
    a wise and prudent friend
    who leads a good life, then,
    like a king who leaves behind a conquered kingdom,
    or like a lone elephant in the elephant forest,
    you should go your way alone.
  11. Better it is to live alone;
    there is no fellowship with a fool.
    Live alone and do no evil;
    be carefree like an elephant
    in the elephant forest.
  12. Good are friends when need arises;
    good is contentment with just what one has;
    good is merit when life is at an end,
    and good is the abandoning of all suffering
    (through Arahantship).
  13. In this world,
    good it is to serve one’s mother,
    good it is to serve one’s father,
    good it is to serve the monks,
    and good it is to serve the holy men.
  14. Good is virtue until life’s end,
    good is faith that is steadfast,
    good is the acquisition of wisdom,
    and good is the avoidance of evil.

24. Craving

  1. The craving of one
    given to heedless living
    grows like a creeper.
    Like the monkey
    seeking fruits in the forest,
    he leaps from life to life
    (tasting the fruit of his kamma).
  2. Whoever is overcome
    by this wretched and sticky craving,
    his sorrows grow
    like grass after the rains.
  3. But whoever overcomes
    this wretched craving,
    so difficult to overcome,
    from him sorrows fall away
    like water from a lotus leaf.
  4. This I say to you:
    Good luck to all assembled here!
    Dig up the root of craving,
    like one in search
    of the fragrant root of the birana grass.
    Let not Mara crush you again and again,
    as a flood crushes a reed.
  5. Just as a tree,
    though cut down, sprouts up again
    if its roots remain uncut and firm,
    even so, until the craving
    that lies dormant is rooted out,
    suffering springs up again and again.
  6. The misguided man in whom
    the thirty-six currents of craving
    strongly rush toward pleasurable objects,
    is swept away by the flood
    of his passionate thoughts.
  7. Everywhere these currents flow,
    and the creeper (of craving) sprouts and grows.
    Seeing that the creeper has sprung up,
    cut off its root with wisdom.
  8. Flowing in (from all objects)
    and watered by craving,
    feelings of pleasure arise in beings.
    Bent on pleasures and seeking enjoyment,
    these men fall prey to birth and decay.
  9. Beset by craving, people run about
    like an entrapped hare.
    Held fast by mental fetters,
    they come to suffering
    again and again for a long time.
  10. Beset by craving, people run about
    like an entrapped hare.
    Therefore, one who yearns to be passion-free
    should destroy his own craving.
  11. There is one who, turning away from desire
    (for household life)
    takes to the life of the forest (of a monk).
    But after being freed from the household,
    he runs back to it.
    Behold that man! Though freed,
    he runs back to that very bondage!
  12. That is not a strong fetter, the wise say,
    which is made of iron, wood or hemp.
    But the infatuation and longing
    for jewels and ornaments,
    children and wives —
    that, they say, is a far stronger fetter,
    which pulls one downward and,
    though seemingly loose, is hard to remove.
    This, too, the wise cut off.
    Giving up sensual pleasure,
    and without any longing,
    they renounce the world.
  13. Those who are lust-infatuated fall back
    into the swirling current (of samsara)
    like a spider on its self-spun web.
    This, too, the wise cut off.
    Without any longing,
    they abandon all suffering
    and renounce the world.
  14. Let go of the past,
    let go of the future,
    let go of the present,
    and cross over
    to the farther shore of existence.
    With mind wholly liberated,
    you shall come no more to birth and death.
  15. For a person tormented by evil thoughts,
    who is passion-dominated
    and given to the pursuit of pleasure,
    his craving steadily grows.
    He makes the fetter strong, indeed.
  16. He who delights in subduing evil thoughts,
    who meditates on the impurities
    and is ever mindful —
    it is he who will make an end of craving
    and rend asunder Mara’s fetter.
  17. He who has reached the goal, is fearless,
    free from craving, passionless,
    and has plucked out the thorns of existence —
    for him this is the last body.
  18. He who is free from craving and attachment,
    is perfect in uncovering
    the true meaning of the Teaching,
    and knows the arrangement of the sacred texts
    in correct sequence —
    he, indeed, is the bearer of his final body.
    He is truly called the profoundly wise one,
    the great man.
  19. A victor am I over all, all have I known.
    Yet unattached am I to all
    that is conquered and known.
    Abandoning all, I am freed
    through the destruction of craving.
    Having thus directly comprehended all by myself,
    whom shall I call my teacher?
  20. The gift of Dhamma excels all gifts;
    the taste of the Dhamma excels all tastes;
    the delight in Dhamma excels all delights.
    The Craving-Freed vanquishes all suffering.
  21. Riches ruin only the foolish,
    not those in quest of the Beyond.
    By craving for riches
    the witless man ruins himself
    as well as others.
  22. Weeds are the bane of fields,
    lust is the bane of mankind.
    Therefore, what is offered
    to those free of lust
    yields abundant fruit.
  23. Weeds are the bane of fields,
    hatred is the bane of mankind.
    Therefore, what is offered
    to those free of hatred
    yields abundant fruit.
  24. Weeds are the bane of fields,
    delusion is the bane of mankind.
    Therefore, what is offered
    to those free of delusion
    yields abundant fruit.
  25. Weeds are the bane of fields,
    desire is the bane of mankind.
    Therefore, what is offered
    to those free of desire
    yields abundant fruit.

25. The Monk

  1. Good is restraint over the eye;
    good is restraint over the ear;
    good is restraint over the nose;
    good is restraint over the tongue.
  2. Good is restraint in the body;
    good is restraint in speech;
    good is restraint in thought.
    Restraint everywhere is good.
    The monk restrained in every way
    is freed from all suffering.
  3. He who has control over his hands,
    feet and tongue;
    who is fully controlled,
    delights in inward development,
    is absorbed in meditation,
    keeps to himself and is contented —
    him do people call a monk.
  4. That monk who has control over his tongue,
    is moderate in speech, unassuming
    and who explains the Teaching
    in both letter and spirit —
    whatever he says is pleasing.
  5. The monk who abides in the Dhamma,
    delights in the Dhamma,
    meditates on the Dhamma,
    and bears the Dhamma well in mind —
    he does not fall away
    from the sublime Dhamma.
  6. One should not despise
    what one has received,
    nor envy the gains of others.
    The monk who envies the gains of others
    does not attain to meditative absorption.
  7. A monk who does not despise
    what he has received,
    even though it be little,
    who is pure in livelihood
    and unremitting in effort —
    him even the gods praise.
  8. He who has no attachment whatsoever
    for the mind and body,
    who does not grieve for what he has not —
    he is truly called a monk.
  9. The monk who abides in universal love
    and is deeply devoted
    to the Teaching of the Buddha
    attains the peace of Nibbana,
    the bliss of the cessation
    of all conditioned things.
  10. Empty this boat, O monk!
    Emptied, it will sail lightly.
    Rid of lust and hatred,
    you shall reach Nibbana.
  11. Cut off the five, abandon the five,
    and cultivate the five.
    The monk who has overcome the five bonds
    is called one who has crossed the flood.
  12. Meditate, O monk! Do not be heedless.
    Let not your mind whirl on sensual pleasures.
    Heedless, do not swallow a red-hot iron ball,
    lest you cry when burning, “O this is painful!”
  13. There is no meditative concentration
    for him who lacks insight,
    and no insight for him
    who lacks meditative concentration.
    He in whom are found both
    meditative concentration and insight,
    indeed, is close to Nibbana.
  14. The monk who has retired
    to a solitary abode
    and calmed his mind,
    who comprehends the Dhamma with insight,
    in him there arises a delight
    that transcends all human delights.
  15. Whenever he sees with insight
    the rise and fall of the aggregates,
    he is full of joy and happiness.
    To the discerning one
    this reflects the Deathless.
  16. Control of the senses, contentment, restraint
    according to the code of monastic discipline —
    these form the basis of holy life
    here for the wise monk.
  17. Let him associate with friends
    who are noble, energetic, and pure in life,
    let him be cordial and refined in conduct.
    Thus, full of joy,
    he will make an end of suffering.
  18. Just as the jasmine creeper
    sheds its withered flowers,
    even so, O monks,
    should you totally shed lust and hatred!
  19. The monk who is calm in body,
    calm in speech,
    calm in thought,
    well-composed
    and who has spewn out worldliness —
    he, truly, is called serene.
  20. By oneself one must censure oneself
    and scrutinize oneself.
    The self-guarded and mindful monk
    will always live in happiness.
  21. One is one’s own protector,
    one is one’s own refuge.
    Therefore, one should control oneself,
    even as a trader controls a noble steed.
  22. Full of joy, full of faith
    in the Teaching of the Buddha,
    the monk attains the Peaceful State,
    the bliss of cessation of conditioned things.
  23. That monk who while young devotes himself
    to the Teaching of the Buddha
    illumines this world like the moon
    freed from clouds.

26. The Holy Man

  1. Exert yourself, O holy man!
    Cut off the stream (of craving),
    and discard sense desires.
    Knowing the destruction
    of all the conditioned things,
    become, O holy man, the knower
    of the Uncreated (Nibbana)!
  2. When a holy man has reached
    the summit of two paths
    (meditative concentration and insight),
    he knows the truth
    and all his fetters fall away.
  3. He for whom there is neither this shore
    nor the other shore, nor yet both,
    he who is free of cares and is unfettered —
    him do I call a holy man.
  4. He who is meditative, stainless and settled,
    whose work is done and who is free from cankers,
    having reached the highest goal —
    him do I call a holy man.
  5. The sun shines by day,
    the moon shines by night.
    The warrior shines in armor,
    the holy man shines in meditation.
    But the Buddha shines resplendent
    all day and all night.
  6. Because he has discarded evil,
    he is called a holy man.
    Because he is serene in conduct,
    he is called a recluse.
    And because he has renounced his impurities,
    he is called a renunciate.
  7. One should not strike a holy man,
    nor should a holy man,
    when struck, give way to anger.
    Shame on him who strikes a holy man,
    and more shame on him who gives way to anger.
  8. Nothing is better for a holy man
    than when he holds his mind back
    from what is endearing.
    To the extent the intent to harm wears away,
    to that extent does suffering subside.
  9. He who does no evil in deed, word and thought,
    who is restrained in these three ways —
    him do I call a holy man.
  10. Just as a brahman priest
    reveres his sacrificial fire,
    even so should one devoutly revere
    the person from whom one has learned
    the Dhamma taught by the Buddha.
  11. Not by matted hair, nor by lineage,
    nor by birth does one become a holy man.
    But he in whom truth and righteousness exist —
    he is pure, he is a holy man.
  12. What is the use of your matted hair,
    O witless man?
    What of your garment of antelope’s hide?
    Within you is the tangle (of passion);
    only outwardly do you cleanse yourself.
  13. The person who wears a robe made of rags,
    who is lean, with veins showing all over the body,
    and who meditates alone in the forest —
    him do I call a holy man.
  14. I do not call him a holy man
    because of his lineage or high-born mother.
    If he is full of impeding attachments,
    he is just a supercilious man.
    But who is free from impediments and clinging —
    him do I call a holy man.
  15. He who, having cut off all fetters,
    trembles no more, who has overcome
    all attachments and is emancipated —
    him do I call a holy man.
  16. He who has cut off the thong (of hatred),
    the band (of craving),
    and the rope (of false views),
    together with the appurtenances
    (latent evil tendencies),
    he who has removed the crossbar (of ignorance)
    and is enlightened —
    him do I call a holy man.
  17. He who without resentment endures abuse,
    beating and punishment;
    whose power, real might, is patience —
    him do I call a holy man.
  18. He who is free from anger, is devout,
    virtuous, without craving, self-subdued
    and bears his final body — him do I call a holy man.
  19. Like water on a lotus leaf,
    or a mustard seed on the point of a needle,
    he who does not cling to sensual pleasures —
    him do I call a holy man.
  20. He who in this very life realizes for himself
    the end of suffering,
    who has laid aside the burden
    and become emancipated —
    him do I call a holy man.
  21. He who has profound knowledge, who is wise,
    skilled in discerning the right or wrong path,
    and has reached the highest goal —
    him do I call a holy man.
  22. He who holds aloof
    from householders and ascetics alike,
    and wanders about with no fixed abode
    and but few wants —
    him do I call a holy man.
  23. He who has renounced violence
    towards all living beings, weak or strong,
    who neither kills nor causes others to kill —
    him do I call a holy man.
  24. He who is friendly amidst the hostile,
    peaceful amidst the violent,
    and unattached amidst the attached —
    him do I call a holy man.
  25. He whose lust and hatred,
    pride and hypocrisy have fallen off
    like a mustard seed from the point of a needle —
    him do I call a holy man.
  26. He who utters gentle,
    instructive and truthful words,
    who imprecates none —
    him do I call a holy man.
  27. He who in this world takes nothing
    that is not given to him,
    be it long or short,
    small or big, good or bad —
    him do I call a holy man.
  28. He who wants nothing
    of either this world or the next,
    who is desire-free and emancipated —
    him do I call a holy man.
  29. He who has no attachment,
    who through perfect knowledge
    is free from doubts
    and has plunged into the Deathless —
    him do I call a holy man.
  30. He who in this world has transcended
    the ties of both merit and demerit,
    who is sorrowless, stainless and pure —
    him do I call a holy man.
  31. He, who, like the moon, is spotless and pure,
    serene and clear,
    who has destroyed the delight in existence —
    him do I call a holy man.
  32. He who, having traversed
    this miry, perilous and delusive round of existence,
    has crossed over and reached the other shore;
    who is meditative, calm, free from doubt,
    and, clinging to nothing, has attained to Nibbana —
    him do I call a holy man.
  33. He who, having abandoned sensual pleasures,
    has renounced the household life
    and become a homeless one;
    has destroyed both sensual desire
    and continued existence —
    him do I call a holy man.
  34. He who, having abandoned craving,
    has renounced the household life
    and become a homeless one,
    has destroyed both craving
    and continued existence —
    him do I call a holy man.
  35. He who, casting off human bonds
    and transcending heavenly ties,
    is wholly delivered of all bondages —
    him do I call a holy man.
  36. He who, having cast off likes and dislikes,
    has become tranquil,
    is rid of the substrata of existence
    and like a hero has conquered all the worlds —
    him do I call a holy man.
  37. He who in every way knows
    the death and rebirth of all beings,
    and is totally detached,
    blessed and enlightened —
    him do I call a holy man.
  38. He whose track no gods, no angels, no humans trace,
    the arahant who has destroyed all cankers —
    him do I call a holy man.
  39. He who clings to nothing
    of the past, present and future,
    who has no attachment
    and holds on to nothing —
    him do I call a holy man.
  40. He, the Noble, the Excellent,
    the Heroic, the Great Sage,
    the Conqueror, the Passionless,
    the Pure, the Enlightened one —
    him do I call a holy man.
  41. He who knows his former births,
    who sees heaven and hell,
    who has reached the end of births
    and attained to the perfection of insight,
    the sage who has reached the summit
    of spiritual excellence —
    him do I call a holy man.

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