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China: Buddhism: Dhammapada 4

Chapter XXII
The Downward Course

306. He who says what is not, goes to hell; he also who, having done a
thing, says I have not done it. After death both are equal, they are
men with evil deeds in the next world.

307. Many men whose shoulders are covered with the yellow gown are
ill-conditioned and unrestrained; such evil-doers by their evil deeds
go to hell.

308. Better it would be to swallow a heated iron ball, like flaring
fire, than that a bad unrestrained fellow should live on the charity
of the land.

309. Four things does a wreckless man gain who covets his neighbour's
wife,--a bad reputation, an uncomfortable bed, thirdly, punishment,
and lastly, hell.

310. There is bad reputation, and the evil way (to hell), there is the
short pleasure of the frightened in the arms of the frightened, and
the king imposes heavy punishment; therefore let no man think of his
neighbour's wife.

311. As a grass-blade, if badly grasped, cuts the arm, badly-practised
asceticism leads to hell.

312. An act carelessly performed, a broken vow, and hesitating
obedience to discipline, all this brings no great reward.

313. If anything is to be done, let a man do it, let him attack it
vigorously!  A careless pilgrim only scatters the dust of his passions
more widely.

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

315. Like a well-guarded frontier fort, with defences within and
without, so let a man guard himself.  Not a moment should escape, for
they who allow the right moment to pass, suffer pain when they are in

316. They who are ashamed of what they ought not to be ashamed of, and
are not ashamed of what they ought to be ashamed of, such men,
embracing false doctrines enter the evil path.

317. They who fear when they ought not to fear, and fear not when they
ought to fear, such men, embracing false doctrines, enter the evil

318. They who forbid when there is nothing to be forbidden, and forbid
not when there is something to be forbidden, such men, embracing false
doctrines, enter the evil path.

319. They who know what is forbidden as forbidden, and what is not
forbidden as not forbidden, such men, embracing the true doctrine,
enter the good path.

Chapter XXIII
The Elephant

320. Silently shall I endure abuse as the elephant in battle endures
the arrow sent from the bow: for the world is ill-natured.

321. They lead a tamed elephant to battle, the king mounts a tamed
elephant; the tamed is the best among men, he who silently endures

322. Mules are good, if tamed, and noble Sindhu horses, and elephants
with large tusks; but he who tames himself is better still.

323. For with these animals does no man reach the untrodden country
(Nirvana), where a tamed man goes on a tamed animal, viz. on his own
well-tamed self.

324. The elephant called Dhanapalaka, his temples running with sap,
and difficult to hold, does not eat a morsel when bound; the elephant
longs for the elephant grove.

325. If a man becomes fat and a great eater, if he is sleepy and rolls
himself about, that fool, like a hog fed on wash, is born again and

326. This mind of mine went formerly wandering about as it liked, as
it listed, as it pleased; but I shall now hold it in thoroughly, as
the rider who holds the hook holds in the furious elephant.

327. Be not thoughtless, watch your thoughts!  Draw yourself out of
the evil way, like an elephant sunk in mud.

328. If a man find a prudent companion who walks with him, is wise,
and lives soberly, he may walk with him, overcoming all dangers,
happy, but considerate.

329. If a man find no prudent companion who walks with him, is wise,
and lives soberly, let him walk alone, like a king who has left his
conquered country behind,--like an elephant in the forest.

330. It is better to live alone, there is no companionship with a
fool; let a man walk alone, let him commit no sin, with few wishes,
like an elephant in the forest.

331. If an occasion arises, friends are pleasant; enjoyment is
pleasant, whatever be the cause; a good work is pleasant in the hour
of death; the giving up of all grief is pleasant.

332. Pleasant in the world is the state of a mother, pleasant the
state of a father, pleasant the state of a Samana, pleasant the state
of a Brahmana.

333. Pleasant is virtue lasting to old age, pleasant is a faith firmly
rooted; pleasant is attainment of intelligence, pleasant is avoiding
of sins.

Chapter XXIV

334. The thirst of a thoughtless man grows like a creeper; he runs
from life to life, like a monkey seeking fruit in the forest.

335. Whomsoever this fierce thirst overcomes, full of poison, in this
world, his sufferings increase like the abounding Birana grass.

336. He who overcomes this fierce thirst, difficult to be conquered in
this world, sufferings fall off from him, like water-drops from a
lotus leaf.

337. This salutary word I tell you, `Do ye, as many as are here
assembled, dig up the root of thirst, as he who wants the sweet-
scented Usira root must dig up the Birana grass, that Mara (the
tempter) may not crush you again and again, as the stream crushes the

338. As a tree, even though it has been cut down, is firm so long as
its root is safe, and grows again, thus, unless the feeders of thirst
are destroyed, the pain (of life) will return again and again.

339. He whose thirst running towards pleasure is exceeding strong in
the thirty-six channels, the waves will carry away that misguided man,
viz. his desires which are set on passion.

340. The channels run everywhere, the creeper (of passion) stands
sprouting; if you see the creeper springing up, cut its root by means
of knowledge.

341. A creature's pleasures are extravagant and luxurious; sunk in
lust and looking for pleasure, men undergo (again and again) birth and

342. Men, driven on by thirst, run about like a snared hare; held in
fetters and bonds, they undergo pain for a long time, again and again.

343. Men, driven on by thirst, run about like a snared hare; let
therefore the mendicant drive out thirst, by striving after
passionlessness for himself.

344. He who having got rid of the forest (of lust) (i.e. after having
reached Nirvana) gives himself over to forest-life (i.e. to lust), and
who, when removed from the forest (i.e. from lust), runs to the forest
(i.e. to lust), look at that man! though free, he runs into bondage.

345. Wise people do not call that a strong fetter which is made of
iron, wood, or hemp; far stronger is the care for precious stones and
rings, for sons and a wife.

346. That fetter wise people call strong which drags down, yields, but
is difficult to undo; after having cut this at last, people leave the
world, free from cares, and leaving desires and pleasures behind.

347. Those who are slaves to passions, run down with the stream (of
desires), as a spider runs down the web which he has made himself;
when they have cut this, at last, wise people leave the world free
from cares, leaving all affection behind.

348. Give up what is before, give up what is behind, give up what is
in the middle, when thou goest to the other shore of existence; if thy
mind is altogether free, thou wilt not again enter into birth and

349. If a man is tossed about by doubts, full of strong passions, and
yearning only for what is delightful, his thirst will grow more and
more, and he will indeed make his fetters strong.

350. If a man delights in quieting doubts, and, always reflecting,
dwells on what is not delightful (the impurity of the body, &c.), he
certainly will remove, nay, he will cut the fetter of Mara.

351. He who has reached the consummation, who does not tremble, who is
without thirst and without sin, he has broken all the thorns of life:
this will be his last body.

352. He who is without thirst and without affection, who understands
the words and their interpretation, who knows the order of letters
(those which are before and which are after), he has received his last
body, he is called the great sage, the great man.

353. `I have conquered all, I know all, in all conditions of life I am
free from taint; I have left all, and through the destruction of
thirst I am free; having learnt myself, whom shall I teach?'

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

355. Pleasures destroy the foolish, if they look not for the other
shore; the foolish by his thirst for pleasures destroys himself, as if
he were his own enemy.

356. The fields are damaged by weeds, mankind is damaged by passion:
therefore a gift bestowed on the passionless brings great reward.

357. The fields are damaged by weeds, mankind is damaged by hatred:
therefore a gift bestowed on those who do not hate brings great

358. The fields are damaged by weeds, mankind is damaged by vanity:
therefore a gift bestowed on those who are free from vanity brings
great reward.

359. The fields are damaged by weeds, mankind is damaged by lust:
therefore a gift bestowed on those who are free from lust brings great

Chapter XXV
The Bhikshu (Mendicant)

360. Restraint in the eye is good, good is restraint in the ear, in
the nose restraint is good, good is restraint in the tongue.

361. In the body restraint is good, good is restraint in speech, in
thought restraint is good, good is restraint in all things.  A
Bhikshu, restrained in all things, is freed from all pain.

362. He who controls his hand, he who controls his feet, he who
controls his speech, he who is well controlled, he who delights
inwardly, who is collected, who is solitary and content, him they call

363. The Bhikshu who controls his mouth, who speaks wisely and calmly,
who teaches the meaning and the law, his word is sweet.

364. He who dwells in the law, delights in the law, meditates on the
law, follows the law, that Bhikshu will never fall away from the true

365. Let him not despise what he has received, nor ever envy others: a
mendicant who envies others does not obtain peace of mind.

366. A Bhikshu who, though he receives little, does not despise what
he has received, even the gods will praise him, if his life is pure,
and if he is not slothful.

367. He who never identifies himself with name and form, and does not
grieve over what is no more, he indeed is called a Bhikshu.

368. The Bhikshu who acts with kindness, who is calm in the doctrine
of Buddha, will reach the quiet place (Nirvana), cessation of natural
desires, and happiness.

369. O Bhikshu, empty this boat! if emptied, it will go quickly;
having cut off passion and hatred thou wilt go to Nirvana.

370. Cut off the five (senses), leave the five, rise above the five.
A Bhikshu, who has escaped from the five fetters, he is called
Oghatinna, `saved from the flood.'

371. Meditate, O Bhikshu, and be not heedless!  Do not direct thy
thought to what gives pleasure that thou mayest not for thy
heedlessness have to swallow the iron ball (in hell), and that thou
mayest not cry out when burning, `This is pain.'

372. Without knowledge there is no meditation, without meditation
there is no knowledge: he who has knowledge and meditation is near
unto Nirvana.

373. A Bhikshu who has entered his empty house, and whose mind is
tranquil, feels a more than human delight when he sees the law

374. As soon as he has considered the origin and destruction of the
elements (khandha) of the body, he finds happiness and joy which
belong to those who know the immortal (Nirvana).

375. And this is the beginning here for a wise Bhikshu: watchfulness
over the senses, contentedness, restraint under the law; keep noble
friends whose life is pure, and who are not slothful.

376. Let him live in charity, let him be perfect in his duties; then
in the fulness of delight he will make an end of suffering.

377. As the Vassika plant sheds its withered flowers, men should shed
passion and hatred, O ye Bhikshus!

378. The Bhikshu whose body and tongue and mind are quieted, who is
collected, and has rejected the baits of the world, he is called

379. Rouse thyself by thyself, examine thyself by thyself, thus self-
protected and attentive wilt thou live happily, O Bhikshu!

380. For self is the lord of self, self is the refuge of self;
therefore curb thyself as the merchant curbs a good horse.

381. The Bhikshu, full of delight, who is calm in the doctrine of
Buddha will reach the quiet place (Nirvana), cessation of natural
desires, and happiness.

382. He who, even as a young Bhikshu, applies himself to the doctrine
of Buddha, brightens up this world, like the moon when free from

Chapter XXVI
The Brahmana (Arhat)

383. Stop the stream valiantly, drive away the desires, O Brahmana!
When you have understood the destruction of all that was made, you
will understand that which was not made.

384. If the Brahmana has reached the other shore in both laws (in
restraint and contemplation), all bonds vanish from him who has
obtained knowledge.

385. He for whom there is neither this nor that shore, nor both, him,
the fearless and unshackled, I call indeed a Brahmana.

386. He who is thoughtful, blameless, settled, dutiful, without
passions, and who has attained the highest end, him I call indeed a

387. The sun is bright by day, the moon shines by night, the warrior
is bright in his armour, the Brahmana is bright in his meditation; but
Buddha, the Awakened, is bright with splendour day and night.

388. Because a man is rid of evil, therefore he is called Brahmana;
because he walks quietly, therefore he is called Samana; because he
has sent away his own impurities, therefore he is called Pravragita
(Pabbagita, a pilgrim).

389. No one should attack a Brahmana, but no Brahmana (if attacked)
should let himself fly at his aggressor!  Woe to him who strikes a
Brahmana, more woe to him who flies at his aggressor!

390. It advantages a Brahmana not a little if he holds his mind back
from the pleasures of life; when all wish to injure has vanished, pain
will cease.

391. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who does not offend by body, word,
or thought, and is controlled on these three points.

392. After a man has once understood the law as taught by the Well-
awakened (Buddha), let him worship it carefully, as the Brahmana
worships the sacrificial fire.

393. A man does not become a Brahmana by his platted hair, by his
family, or by birth; in whom there is truth and righteousness, he is
blessed, he is a Brahmana.

394. What is the use of platted hair, O fool! what of the raiment of
goat-skins?  Within thee there is ravening, but the outside thou
makest clean.

395. The man who wears dirty raiments, who is emaciated and covered
with veins, who lives alone in the forest, and meditates, him I call
indeed a Brahmana.

396. I do not call a man a Brahmana because of his origin or of his
mother.  He is indeed arrogant, and he is wealthy: but the poor, who
is free from all attachments, him I call indeed a Brahmana.

397. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who has cut all fetters, who never
trembles, is independent and unshackled.

398. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who has cut the strap and the thong,
the chain with all that pertains to it, who has burst the bar, and is

399. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who, though he has committed no
offence, endures reproach, bonds, and stripes, who has endurance for
his force, and strength for his army.

400. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who is free from anger, dutiful,
virtuous, without appetite, who is subdued, and has received his last

401. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who does not cling to pleasures,
like water on a lotus leaf, like a mustard seed on the point of a

402. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who, even here, knows the end of his
suffering, has put down his burden, and is unshackled.

403. Him I call indeed a Brahmana whose knowledge is deep, who
possesses wisdom, who knows the right way and the wrong, and has
attained the highest end.

404. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who keeps aloof both from laymen and
from mendicants, who frequents no houses, and has but few desires.

405. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who finds no fault with other
beings, whether feeble or strong, and does not kill nor cause

406. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who is tolerant with the intolerant,
mild with fault-finders, and free from passion among the passionate.

407. Him I call indeed a Brahmana from whom anger and hatred, pride
and envy have dropt like a mustard seed from the point of a needle.

408. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who utters true speech, instructive
and free from harshness, so that he offend no one.

409. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who takes nothing in the world that
is not given him, be it long or short, small or large, good or bad.

410. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who fosters no desires for this
world or for the next, has no inclinations, and is unshackled.

411. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who has no interests, and when he
has understood (the truth), does not say How, how? and who has reached
the depth of the Immortal.

412. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who in this world is above good and
evil, above the bondage of both, free from grief from sin, and from

413. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who is bright like the moon, pure,
serene, undisturbed, and in whom all gaiety is extinct.

414. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who has traversed this miry road,
the impassable world and its vanity, who has gone through, and reached
the other shore, is thoughtful, guileless, free from doubts, free from
attachment, and content.

415. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who in this world, leaving all
desires, travels about without a home, and in whom all concupiscence
is extinct.

416. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who, leaving all longings, travels
about without a home, and in whom all covetousness is extinct.

417. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who, after leaving all bondage to
men, has risen above all bondage to the gods, and is free from all and
every bondage.

418. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who has left what gives pleasure and
what gives pain, who is cold, and free from all germs (of renewed
life), the hero who has conquered all the worlds.

419. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who knows the destruction and the
return of beings everywhere, who is free from bondage, welfaring
(Sugata), and awakened (Buddha).

420. Him I call indeed a Brahmana whose path the gods do not know, nor
spirits (Gandharvas), nor men, whose passions are extinct, and who is
an Arhat (venerable).

421. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who calls nothing his own, whether
it be before, behind, or between, who is poor, and free from the love
of the world.

422. Him I call indeed a Brahmana, the manly, the noble, the hero, the
great sage, the conqueror, the impassible, the accomplished, the

423. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who knows his former abodes, who
sees heaven and hell, has reached the end of births, is perfect in
knowledge, a sage, and whose perfections are all perfect.

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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