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China: Buddhism: Dhammapada 1

The Dhammapada

Translation by F. Max Muller


Chapter I
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.

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

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

Chapter II
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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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
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.

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

73. Let the fool wish for a false reputation, for precedence among the
Bhikshus, for lordship in the convents, for worship among other

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

Chapter VI
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.

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

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

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
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.

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

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

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.

Lamma Island * Lantau Island * Cheung Chau Island
Hong Kong * Mui Wo * Peng Chau Island
Tung Chung * Shenzhen * Nanning * Hunan Province
Bobcaygeon * Pointe Claire * Montreal
Peterborough * Lake Sturgeon * Ontario
Vancouver * Richmond * British Columbia

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