THIS is the Dharmapada, the path of religion pursued by those who are followers of the Buddha: Creatures from mind their character derive; mind-marshaled 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. 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 themselves 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. lead the water wherever they like; fletchers 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 wagon. 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 to me.” As by the falling of waterdrops 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 to 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 on it as pleasant so long as it bears no fruit; but when its fruit ripens, then he looks on it as wrong. And so the good man looks on 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 to itself. A mother, a father, or any other relative will do much good; but a well-directed mind will do greater service to 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 your thought to what gives pleasure, that you may 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 offense, 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; bad 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 you are asked; by these three steps you will 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 colour or scent, so let a sage dwell in the community.
If a traveler 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 you have 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 on 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!
We will be kind and gentle to every living thing and protect all who are weaker than ourselves.
We will think pure and beautiful thoughts, say pure and beautiful words, and do pure and beautiful deeds.
May everyone be bright and strong, and may we all attain perfect peace.
Sadhu sadhu sadhu
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