Buddha's Path of Wisdom
1. The Pairs
1. The Pairs (vv. 1-20)
2. Heedfulness (vv. 21-32)
3. The Mind (vv. 33-43)
4. Flowers (vv. 44-59)
5. The Fool (vv. 60-75)
6. The Wise Man (vv. 76-89)
7. The Arahant: The Perfected One (vv. 90-99)
8. The Thousands (vv. 100-115)
9. Evil (vv. 116-128)
10. Violence (vv. 129-145)
11. Old Age (vv. 146-156)
12. The Self (vv. 157-166)
13. The World (vv. 167-178)
14. The Buddha (vv. 179-196)
15. Happiness (vv. 197-208)
16. Affection (vv. 209-220)
17. Anger (vv. 221-234)
18. Impurity (vv. 235-255)
19. The Just (vv. 256-272)
20. The Path (vv. 273-289)
21. Miscellaneous (vv. 290-305)
22. The State of Woe (vv. 306-319)
23. The Elephant (vv. 320-333)
24. Craving (vv. 334-359)
25. The Monk (vv. 360-382)
26. The Holy Man (vv. 383-423)
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
4. "He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered
me, he robbed me." Those who do not harbor such thoughts still
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
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
21. Heedfulness is the path to the Deathless. Heedlessness
is the path to death. The heedful die not. The heedless are as if dead
22. Clearly understanding this excellence of heedfulness,
the wise exult therein and enjoy the resort of the Noble Ones.
23. The wise ones, ever meditative and steadfastly
persevering, alone experience Nibbana, the incomparable freedom from
24. Ever grows the glory of him who is energetic,
mindful and pure in conduct, discerning and self-controlled, righteous
25. By effort and heedfulness, discipline and self-mastery,
let the wise one make for himself an island which no flood can overwhelm.
26. The foolish and ignorant indulge in heedlessness,
but the wise one keeps his heedfulness as his best treasure.
27. Do not give way to heedlessness. Do not indulge
in sensual pleasures. Only the heedful and meditative attain great
28. 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.
29. Heedful among the heedless, wide-awake among
the sleepy, the wise man advances like a swift horse leaving behind
a weak jade.
30. By Heedfulness did Indra become the overlord
of the gods. Heedfulness is ever praised, and heedlessness ever despised.
31. The monk who delights in heedfulness and looks
with fear at heedlessness advances like fire, burning all fetters,
small and large.
32. The monk who delights in heedfulness and looks
with fear at heedlessness will not fall. He is close to Nibbana.
3. The Mind
33. Just as a fletcher straightens an arrow shaft,
even so the discerning man straightens his mind -- so fickle and unsteady,
so difficult to guard.
34. 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.
35. Wonderful, indeed, it is to subdue the mind,
so difficult to subdue, ever swift, and seizing whatever it desires.
A tamed mind brings happiness.
36. Let the discerning man guard the mind, so difficult
to detect and extremely subtle, seizing whatever it desires. A guarded
mind brings happiness.
37. 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.
38. Wisdom never becomes perfect in one whose mind
is not steadfast, who knows not the Good Teaching and whose faith wavers.
39. 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.
40. 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
41. Ere long, alas! this body will lie upon the
earth, unheeded and lifeless, like a useless log.
42. Whatever harm an enemy may do to an enemy, or
a hater to a hater, an ill-directed mind inflicts on oneself a greater
43. Neither mother, father, nor any other relative
can do one greater good than one's own well-directed mind.
44. 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
45. 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.
46. 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!
47. 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).
48. The Destroyer brings under his sway the person
of distracted mind who, insatiate in sense desires, only plucks the
flowers (of pleasure).
49. 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.
50. 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.
51. Like a beautiful flower full of color but without
fragrance, even so, fruitless are the fair words of one who does not
52. Like a beautiful flower full of color and also
fragrant, even so, fruitful are the fair words of one who practices
53. 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.
54. 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.
55. Of all the fragrances -- sandal, tagara, blue
lotus and jasmine -- the fragrance of virtue is the sweetest.
56. Faint is the fragrance of tagara and sandal,
but excellent is the fragrance of the virtuous, wafting even amongst
57. Mara never finds the path of the truly virtuous,
who abide in heedfulness and are freed by perfect knowledge.
58. Upon a heap of rubbish in the road-side ditch
blooms a lotus, fragrant and pleasing.
59. Even so, on the rubbish heap of blinded mortals
the disciple of the Supremely Enlightened One shines resplendent in
5. The Fools
60. 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.
61. 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.
62. The fool worries, thinking, "I have sons,
I have wealth." Indeed, when he himself is not his own, whence
are sons, whence is wealth?
63. A fool who knows his foolishness is wise at
least to that extent, but a fool who thinks himself wise is a fool
64. 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.
65. 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.
66. Fools of little wit are enemies unto themselves
as they move about doing evil deeds, the fruits of which are bitter.
67. Ill done is that action of doing which one repents
later, and the fruit of which one, weeping, reaps with tears.
68. Well done is that action of doing which one
repents not later, and the fruit of which one, reaps with delight and
69. 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.
70. 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.
71. 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.
72. To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for
it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness.
73. The fool seeks undeserved reputation, precedence
among monks, authority over monasteries, and honor among householders.
74. "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.
75. 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 Man
76. 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.
77. Let him admonish, instruct and shield one from
wrong; he, indeed, is dear to the good and detestable to the evil.
78. 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.
79. 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).
80. Irrigators regulate the rivers; fletchers straighten
the arrow shaft; carpenters shape the wood; the wise control themselves.
81. Just as a solid rock is not shaken by the storm,
even so the wise are not affected by praise or blame.
82. On hearing the Teachings, the wise become perfectly
purified, like a lake deep, clear and still.
83. 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.
84. 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.
85. 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.
86. But those who act according to the perfectly
taught Dhamma will cross the realm of Death, so difficult to cross.
87-88. 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.
89. 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 Arhant - the perfected
90. 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.
91. The mindful ones exert themselves. They are
not attached to any home; like swans that abandon the lake, they leave
home after home behind.
92. 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.
93. 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.
94. Even the gods hold dear the wise one, whose
senses are subdued like horses well trained by a charioteer, whose
pride is destroyed and who is free from the cankers.
95. 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.
96. Calm is his thought, calm his speech, and calm
his deed, who, truly knowing, is wholly freed, perfectly tranquil and
97. The man who is without blind faith, who knows
the Uncreate, 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.
98. Inspiring, indeed, is that place where Arahats
dwell, be it a village, a forest, a vale, or a hill.
99. Inspiring are the forests in which worldlings
find no pleasure. There the passionless will rejoice, for they seek
no sensual pleasures.
8. The Thousands
100. Better than a thousand useless words is one
useful word, hearing which one attains peace.
101. Better than a thousand useless verses is one
useful verse, hearing which one attains peace.
102. Better than reciting a hundred meaningless
verses is the reciting of one verse of Dhamma, hearing which one attains
103. Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand
men in battle, yet he indeed is the noblest victor who conquers himself.
104-105. Self-conquest is far better then 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
106. 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.
107. 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.
108. 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
109. To one ever eager to revere and serve the elders,
these four blessing accrue: long life and beauty, happiness and power.
110. Better it is to live one day virtuous and meditative
than to live a hundred years immoral and uncontrolled.
111. Better it is to live one day wise and meditative
than to live a hundred years foolish and uncontrolled.
112. Better it is to live one day strenuous and
resolute than to live a hundred years sluggish and dissipated.
113. Better it is to live one day seeing the rise
and fall of things than to live as hundred years without ever seeing
the rise and fall of things.
114. Better it is to live one day seeing the Deathless
than to live a hundred years without ever seeing the Deathless.
115. Better it is to live one day seeing the Supreme
Truth than to live a hundred years without ever seeing the Supreme
116. Hasten to do good; restrain your mind from evil.
He who is slow in doing good, his mind delights in evil.
117. 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.
118. Should a person do good, let him do it again
and again. let him fin pleasure therein, for blissful is the accumulation
119. 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.
120. 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.
121. 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.
122. 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.
123. 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.
124. 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.
125. Like fine dust thrown against the wind, evil
falls back upon that fool who offends an inoffensive, pure and guiltless
126. Some are born in the womb; the wicked are born
in hell; the devout go to heaven; the stainless pass into Nibbana.
127. 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.
128. 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 will not be overcome by death.
129. All tremble at violence; all fear death. Putting
oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another
130. 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.
131. One who, while himself seeking happiness, oppresses
with violence other beings who also desire happiness, will not attain
132. One who, while himself seeking happiness, does
not oppress with violence other beings who also desire happiness, will
find happiness hereafter.
133. Speak not harshly to anyone, for those thus
spoken to might retort. Indeed, angry speech hurts, and retaliation
may overtake you.
134. If, like a broken gong, you silence yourself,
you have approached Nibbana, for vindictiveness is no longer in you.
135. 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).
136. 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.
137. He who inflicts violence on those who are unarmed,
and offends those who are inoffensive, will soon come upon one of these
138-140 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.
141. 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.
142. Even though he be well-attired, yet if he is
posed, calm, controlled and established in the holy life, having set
aside violence towards all beings -- he, truly, is a holy man, a renunciate,
143. Only rarely is there a man in this world who,
restrained by modesty, avoids reproach, as a thoroughbred horse avoids
144. 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
145. Irrigators regulate the waters, fletchers straighten
arrow shafts, carpenters shape wood, and the good control themselves.
11. Old Age
146. When this world is ever ablaze, why this laughter,
why this jubilation? Shrouded in darkness, will you not see the light?
147. Behold this body -- a painted image, a mass
of heaped up sores, infirm, full of hankering -- of which nothing is
lasting or stable!
148. Fully worn out is this body, a nest of disease,
and fragile. This foul mass breaks up, for death is the end of life.
149. These dove-colored bones are like gourds that
lie scattered about in autumn. Having seen them, how can one seek delight?
150. This city (body) is built of bones, plastered
with flesh and blood; within are decay and death, pride and jealousy.
151. 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.
152. The man of little learning grows old like a
bull. He grows only in bulk, but, his wisdom does not grow.
153. Through many a birth in samsara have I wandered
in vain, seeking in the builder of this house (of life). Repeated birth
is indeed suffering!
154. 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.
155. Those who in youth have not led the holy life,
or have failed to acquire wealth, languish like old cranes in the pond
156. 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
157. 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.
158. One should first establish oneself in what
is proper; then only should one instruct others. Thus the wise man
will not be reproached.
159. 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.
160. 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.
161. The evil a witless man does by himself, born
of himself and produced by himself, grinds him as a diamond grinds
a hard gem.
162. 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.
163. Easy to do are things that are bad and harmful
to oneself. But exceedingly difficult to do are things that are good
164. 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.
165. 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.
166. 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
167. Follow not the vulgar way; live not in heedlessness;
hold not false views; linger not long in worldly existence.
168. Arise! Do not be heedless! Lead a righteous
life. The righteous live happily both in this world and the next.
169. Lead a righteous life; lead not a base life.
The righteous live happily both in this world and the next.
170. One who looks upon the world as a bubble and
a mirage, him the King of Death sees not.
171. Come! Behold this world, which is like a decorated
royal chariot. Here fools flounder, but the wise have no attachment
172. He who having been heedless is heedless no
more, illuminates this world like the moon freed from clouds.
173. He, who by good deeds covers the evil he has
done, illuminates this world like the moon freed from clouds.
174. Blind is the world; here only a few possess
insight. Only a few, like birds escaping from the net, go to realms
175. 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.
176. 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.
177. 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.
178. 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
179. 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?
180. 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?
181. 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.
182. 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.
183. To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to
cleanse one's mind -- this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
184. 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.
185. 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.
186-187. 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.
188. Driven only by fear, do men go for refuge to
many places -- to hills, woods, groves, trees and shrines.
189. 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.
190-191. 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
192. This indeed is the safe refuge, this the refuge
supreme. Having gone to such a refuge, one is released from all suffering.
193. Hard to find is the thoroughbred man (the Buddha);
he is not born everywhere. Where such a wise man is born, that clan
194. 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.
195-196. 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
197. Happy indeed we live, friendly amidst the hostile.
Amidst hostile men we dwell free from hatred.
198. Happy indeed we live, friendly amidst the afflicted
(by craving). Amidst afflicted men we dwell free from affliction.
199. Happy indeed we live, free from avarice amidst
the avaricious. Amidst the avaricious men we dwell free from avarice.
200. Happy indeed we live, we who possess nothing.
Feeders on joy we shall be, like the Radiant Gods.
201. Victory begets enmity; the defeated dwell in
pain. Happily the peaceful live, discarding both victory and defeat.
202. 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).
203. Hunger is the worst disease, conditioned things
the worst suffering. Knowing this as it really is, the wise realize
Nibbana, the highest bliss.
204. Health is the most precious gain and contentment
the greatest wealth. A trustworthy person is the best kinsman, Nibbana
the highest bliss.
205. 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.
206. Good is it to see the Noble Ones; to live with
them is ever blissful. One will always be happy by not encountering
207. 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.
208. 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.
209. 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.
210. 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.
211. Therefore hold nothing dear, for separation
from the dear is painful. There are no bonds for those who have nothing
beloved or unloved.
212. From endearment springs grief, from endearment
springs fear. From him who is wholly free from endearment there is
no grief, whence then fear?
213. From affection springs grief, from affection
springs fear. From him who is wholly free from affection there is no
grief, whence then fear?
214. From attachment springs grief, from attachment
springs fear. From him who is wholly free from attachment there is
no grief, whence then fear?
215. From lust springs grief, from lust springs
fear. From him who is wholly free from craving there is no grief; whence
216. From craving springs grief, from craving springs
fear. From him who is wholly free from craving there is no grief; whence
217. 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.
218. 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."
219. When, after a long absence, a man safely returns
from afar, his relatives, friends and well-wishers welcome him home
220. 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.
221. 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.
222. He who checks rising anger as a charioteer
checks a rolling chariot, him I call a true charioteer. Others only
hold the reins.
223. Overcome the angry by non-anger; overcome the
wicked by goodness; overcome the miser by generosity; overcome the
liar by truth.
224. 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.
225. Those sages who are inoffensive and ever restrained
in body, go to the Deathless State, where, having gone, they grieve
226. Those who are ever vigilant, who discipline
themselves day and night, and are ever intent upon Nibbana -- their
defilements fade away.
227. O Atula! Indeed, this is an ancient practice,
not one only of today: they blame those who remain silent, they blame
those speak much, they blame those who speak in moderation. There is
none in the world who is not blamed.
228. There never was, there never will be, nor is
there now, a person who is wholly blamed or wholly praised.
229. 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.
230. 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.
231. 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.
232. 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.
233. 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.
234. The wise are controlled in bodily action, controlled
in speech and controlled in thought. They are truly well-controlled.
235. 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!
236. 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.
237. 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
238. 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.
239. 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.
240. 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.
241. 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.
242. 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.
243. A worse taint than these is ignorance, the
worst of all taints. Destroy this one taint and become taintless, O
244. Easy for life is the shameless one who is impudent
as a crow, is backbiting and forward, arrogant and corrupt.
245. Difficult is life for the modest one who always
seeks purity, is detached and unassuming, clean in life, and discerning.
246-247. 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.
248. Know this, O good man: evil things are difficult
to control. Let not greed and wickedness drag you to protracted misery.
249. 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 of night.
250. But he in who this (discontent) is fully destroyed,
uprooted and extinct, he attains absorption, both by day and by night.
251. There is no fire like lust; there is no grip
like hatred; there is no net like delusion; there is no river like
252. 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.
253. He who seeks another's faults, who is ever
censorious -- his cankers grow. He is far from destruction of the cankers.
254. 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.
255. 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
256. Not by passing arbitrary judgments does a man
become just; a wise man is he who investigates both right and wrong.
257. 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.
258. One is not wise because one speaks much. He
who is peaceable, friendly and fearless is called wise.
259. 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.
260. 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.
261. 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.
262. Not by mere eloquence nor by beauty of form
does a man become accomplished, if he is jealous, selfish and deceitful.
263. But he in whom these are wholly destroyed,
uprooted and extinct, and who has cast out hatred -- that wise man
is truly accomplished.
264. 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?
265. He who wholly subdues evil both small and great
is called a monk, because he has overcome all evil.
266. He is not a monk just because he lives on others'
alms. Not by adopting outward form does one become a true monk.
267. 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.
268. 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.
269. The sage (thus) rejecting the evil, is truly
a sage. Since he comprehends both (present and future) worlds, he is
called a sage.
270. He is not noble who injures living beings.
He is called noble because he is harmless towards all living beings.
271-272. 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 (Arahatship) is reached.
20. The Path
273. 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
274. This is the only path; there is none other
for the purification of insight. Tread this path, and you will bewilder
275. 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.
276. You yourselves must strive; the Buddhas only
point the way. Those meditative ones who tread the path are released
from the bonds of Mara.
277. "All conditioned things are impermanent" --
when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering. This
is the path to purification.
278. "All conditioned things are unsatisfactory" --
when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering. This
is the path to purification.
279. "All things are not-self" -- when
one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering. This is the
path to purification.
280. 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
281. 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.
282. 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.
283. 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!
284. 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.
285. 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.
286. "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).
287. 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.
288. For him who is assailed by death there is no
protection by kinsmen. None there are to save him -- no sons, nor father,
289. Realizing this fact, let the wise man, restrained
by morality, hasten to clear the path leading to Nibbana.
290. If by renouncing a lesser happiness one may
realize a greater happiness, let the wise man renounce the lesser,
having regard for the greater.
291. Entangled by the bonds of hate, he who seeks
his own happiness by inflicting pain on others, is never delivered
292. 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.
293. 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.
294. 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.
295. 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.
296. Those disciples of Gotama ever awaken happily
who day and night constantly practice the Recollection of the Qualities
of the Buddha.
297. Those disciples of Gotama ever awaken happily
who day and night constantly practice the Recollection of the Qualities
of the Dhamma.
298. Those disciples of Gotama ever awaken happily
who day and night constantly practice the Recollection of the Qualities
of the Sangha.
299. Those disciples of Gotama ever awaken happily
who day and night constantly practice Mindfulness of the Body.
300. Those disciples of Gotama ever awaken happily
whose minds by day and night delight in the practice of non-violence.
301. Those disciples of Gotama ever awaken happily
whose minds by day and night delight in the practice of meditation.
302. 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.
303. He who is full of faith and virtue, and possesses
good repute and wealth -- he is respected everywhere, in whatever land
304. The good shine from afar, like the Himalaya
mountains. But the wicked are unseen, like arrows shot in the night.
305. 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. The State of Woe
306. 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
307. 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.
308. 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.
309. 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.
310. 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.
311. Just as kusa grass wrongly handled cuts the
hand, even so, a recluse's life wrongly lived drags one to states of
312. Any loose act, any corrupt observance, any
life of questionable celibacy -- none of these bear much fruit.
313. 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.
314. 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.
315. 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.
316. 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.
317. 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.
318. 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.
319. Those who discern the wrong as wrong and the
right as right -- upholding right views, they go to realms of bliss.
23. The Elephant
320. 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.
321. A tamed elephant is led into a crowd, and the
king mounts a tamed elephant. Best among men is the subdued one who
322. Excellent are well-trained mules, thoroughbred
Sindhu horses and noble tusker elephants. But better still is the man
who has subdued himself.
323. 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.
324. 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.
325. 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.
326. 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 [sic] an
elephant in rut.
327. 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.
328. 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.
329. 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.
330. Better it is to live alone; there is no fellowship
with a fool. Live alone and do no evil; be carefree like and elephant
in the elephant forest.
331. 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 Arahatship).
332. 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.
333. 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.
334. 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).
335. Whoever is overcome by this wretched and sticky
craving, his sorrows grow like grass after the rains.
336. But whoever overcomes this wretched craving,
so difficult to overcome, from him sorrows fall away like water from
a lotus leaf.
337. 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.
338. 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.
339. 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.
340. 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.
341. 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.
342. 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.
343. Beset by craving, people run about like an
entrapped hare. Therefore, one who yearns to be passion-free should
destroy his own craving.
344. There is one who, turning away from desire
(for household life) takes to the life of the forest (i.e., 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!
345-346. 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.
347. 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.
348. 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.
349. 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.
350. 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.
351. 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.
352. 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.
353. 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?
354. 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.
355. 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.
356. Weeds are the bane of fields, lust is the bane
of mankind. Therefore, what is offered to those free of lust yields
357. Weeds are the bane of fields, hatred is the
bane of mankind. Therefore, what is offered to those free of hatred
yields abundant fruit.
358. Weeds are the bane of fields, delusion is the
bane of mankind. Therefore, what is offered to those free of delusion
yields abundant fruit.
359. 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
360. Good is restraint over the eye; good is restraint
over the ear; good is restraint over the nose; good is restraint over
361. 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.
362. 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.
363. 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.
364. 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.
365. 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.
366. 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.
367. 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.
368. 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.
369. Empty this boat, O monk! Emptied, it will sail
lightly. Rid of lust and hatred, you shall reach Nibbana.
370. 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.
371. 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!"
372. 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.
373. 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.
374. 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.
375. 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.
From "Clearing Up Some Misconceptions about Buddhism," Ron Epstein,
Institute for World Religions and San Francisco State University. Published
in Vajra Bodhi Sea: A Monthly Journal of Orthodox Buddhism, Feb., 1999,