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The Dhammapada









This is the Dhammapada, the path of religion pursued by those who
are followers of the Buddha:

Creatures from mind their character derive; mind-marshalled are
they, mind-made. Mind is the source either of bliss or of
corruption.

By oneself 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. 3 You yourself must
make an effort. The Tathagatas are only preachers. The thoughtful
who enter the way are freed from the bondage of Mara.

He who does not rouse himself when it is time to rise; who,
though young and strong, is full of sloth; whose will and
thoughts are weak; that lazy and idle man will never find the way
to enlightenment.

If a man hold himself dear, let him watch himself carefully; the
truth guards him who guards himself.

If a man makes himself as he teaches others to be, then, being
himself subdued, he may subdue others; one's own self is indeed
difficult to subdue.

If some men conquer in battle a thousand times a thousand men,
and if another conquer himself, he is the greatest of conquerors.

It is the habit of fools, be they laymen or members of the
clergy, to think, "this is done by me. May others be subject to
me. In this or that transaction a prominent part should be played
by me." Fools do not care for the duty to be performed or the aim
to be reached, but think of their self alone. Everything is but a
pedestal of their vanity.

Bad deeds, and deeds hurtful to ourselves, are easy to do; what
is beneficial and good, that is very difficult.

If anything is to be done, let a man do it, let him attack it
vigorously!

Before long, alas! this body will lie on the earth, despised,
without understanding, like a useless log; yet our thoughts will
endure. They will be thought again, and will produce action. Good
thoughts will produce good actions, and bad thoughts will produce
bad actions.

Earnestness is the path of immortality, thoughtlessness the path
of death. Those who are in earnest do not die; those who are
thoughtless are as if dead already.

Those who imagine they find truth in untruth, and see untruth in
truth, will never arrive at truth, but follow vain desires. They
who know truth in truth, and untruth in untruth, arrive at truth,
and follow true desires.

As rain breaks through an ill-thatched house, passion will break
through an unreflecting mind. As rain does not break through a
well-thatched house, passion will not break through a
well-reflecting mind.

Well-makers lead the water wherever they like; fletchets bend the
arrow; carpenters bend a log of wood; wise people fashion
themselves; wise people falter not amidst blame and praise.
Having listened to the law, they become serene, like a deep,
smooth, and still lake.

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.

An evil deed is better left undone, for a man will repent of it
afterwards; a good deed is better done, for having done it one
will not repent.

If a man commits a wrong let him not do it again; let him not
delight in wrongdoing; pain is the outcome of evil. If a man does
what is good, let him do it again; let him delight in it;
happiness is the outcome of good.

Let no man think lightly of evil, saying in his heart, "It will
not come nigh unto me." As by the falling of water-drops a
water-pot is filled, so the fool becomes full of evil, though he
gather it little by little.

Let no man think lightly of good, saying in his heart, "It will
not come nigh unto me." As by the falling of water-drops a
water-pot is filled, so the wise man becomes full of good, though
he gather it little by little.

He who lives for pleasure only, his senses uncontrolled,
immoderate in his food, idle, and weak, him Mara, the tempter,
will certainly overthrow, as the wind throws down a weak tree. 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.

The fool who knows his foolishness, is wise at least so far. But
a fool who thinks himself wise, he is a fool indeed.

To the evil-doer wrong appears sweet as honey; he looks upon it
as pleasant so long as it bears no fruit; but when its fruit
ripens, then he looks upon it as wrong. And so the good man looks
upon the goodness of the Dharma as a burden and an evil so long
as it bears no fruit; but when its fruit ripens, then he sees its
goodness.

A hater may do great harm to a hater, or an enemy to an enemy;
but a wrongly-directed mind will do greater mischief unto itself.
A mother, a father, or any other relative will do much good; but
a well-directed mind will do greater service unto itself.

He whose wickedness is very great brings himself down to that
state where his enemy wishes him to be. He himself is his
greatest enemy. Thus a creeper destroys the life of a tree on
which it finds support.

Do not direct thy thought to what gives pleasure, that thou
mayest not cry out when burning, "This is pain." The wicked man
burns by his own deeds, as if burnt by fire.

Pleasures destroy the foolish; the foolish man by his thirst for
pleasures destroys himself as if he were his own enemy. The
fields are damaged by hurricanes and weeds; mankind is damaged by
passion, by hatred, by vanity, and by lust.

Let no man ever take into consideration whether a thing is
pleasant or unpleasant. The love of pleasure begets grief and the
dread of pain causes fear; he who is free from the love of
pleasure and the dread of pain knows neither grief nor fear.

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.

The fault of others is easily noticed, but that of oneself is
difficult to perceive. A man winnows his neighbor's faults like
chaff, but his own fault he hides, as a cheat hides the false die
from the gambler.

If a man looks after the faults of others, and is always inclined
to take offence, his own passions will grow, and he is far from
the destruction of passions.

Not about the perversities of others, not about their sins of
commission or omission, but about his own misdeeds and
negligences alone should a sage be worried.

Good people shine from afar, like the snowy mountains; had people
are concealed, like arrows shot by night.

If a man by causing pain to others, wishes to obtain pleasure for
himself, he, entangled in the bonds of selfishness, will never be
free from hatred.

Let a man overcome anger by love, let him overcome evil by good;
let him overcome the greedy by liberality, the liar by truth!

For hatred does not cease by hatred at any time; hatred ceases by
not-hatred, this is an old rule.

Speak the truth, do not yield to anger; give, if thou art asked;
by these three steps thou wilt become divine.

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.

Lead others, not by violence, but by righteousness and equity.

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.

As the bee collects nectar and departs without injuring the
flower, or its color or scent, so let a sage dwell in the
community.

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 fools.

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
religion.

Better than living a hundred years, not seeing the highest truth,
is one day in the life of a man who sees the highest truth.

Some form their Dharma arbitrarily and fabricate it artificially;
they advance complex speculations and imagine that good results
are attainable only by the acceptance of their theories; yet the
truth is but one; there are not different truths in the world.
Having reflected on the various theories, we have gone into the
yoke with him who has shaken off all sin. But shall we be able to
proceed together with him?

The best of ways is the eightfold path. This is the path. There
is no other that leads to the purifying of intelligence. Go on
this path! Everything else is the deceit of Mara, the tempter. If
you go on this path, you will make an end of pain! Says the
Tathagata, The path was preached by me, when I had understood the
removal of the thorn in the flesh.

Not only by discipline and vows, not only by much learning, do I
earn the happiness of release which no worldling can know.
Bhikkhu, be not confident as long as thou hast not attained the
extinction of thirst. The extinction of evil desire is the
highest religion.

The gift of religion exceeds all gifts; the sweetness of religion
exceeds all sweetness; the delight in religion exceeds all
delights; the extinction of thirst overcomes all pain.

Few are there among men who cross the river and reach the goal.
The great multitudes are running up and down the shore; but there
is no suffering for him who has finished his journey.

As the lily will grow full of sweet perfume and delight upon a
heap of rubbish, thus the disciple of the truly enlightened
Buddha shines forth by his wisdom among those who are like
rubbish, among the people that walk in darkness.

Let us live happily then, not hating those who hate us! Among men
who hate us let us dwell free from hatred!

Let us live happily then, free from all ailments among the
ailing! Among men who are ailing let us dwell free from ailments!

Let us live happily, then, free from greed among the greedy!
Among men who are greedy let us dwell free from greed!

The sun is bright by day, the moon shines by night, the warrior
is bright in his armor, thinkers are bright in their meditation;
but among all the brightest with splendor day and night is the
Buddha, the Awakened, the Holy, Blessed.





Next: The Two Brahmans

Previous: The Preacher's Mission



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Buddha's Gospels