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Writings and Readings Blog

Madhu Bazaz Wangu

Twenty-Second Chapter:Dhammapada

The Downward Path 306. He who says what is not true, he who denies what he has done, both go towards downward path. After death these two become partners in falsehood. 307-08. Those who put on saffron robe but remain undisciplined and ill mannered are dragged down by their evil deeds. It is better for an undisciplined monk to swallow red-hot iron rather than to live on the charity of good people. 309-10. Adultery leads to loss of sleep, loss of merit, condemnation and suffering. What pleasure can there be in the embrace of frightened couple fearing punishment? Therefore do not commit adultery. 311. Just as a blade of kusha grass can cut the finger when it is wrongly held, the life of a monk without discrimination can send one on the...

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Is Silence Sacred?

A decade or two ago, whatever little time we use to have to ourselves, walking, driving, shopping, biking, gardening or any other such activity seems to have been replaced by the hurly-burly of cell-phones, speakerphones, texting and twittering. Experiencing silence has become remote, even counter culture. We have become a culture of din and distraction in which it has become increasingly hard to find time to be by ourselves. In doing so we have lost a precious gift. Since time immemorial mystics and ascetics have experienced sublime in silence. In silence they discovered mystery that was greater than them. When they sat with themselves they paid attention to themselves. Similarly, when we sit by ourselves regularly we become aware of ourselves. We realize how important it is that we cultivate our...

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Twenty-First Chapter: Dhammapada

Twenty-first Chapter: Dhammapada Miscellaneous 290. By forsaking a lesser happiness one may find a greater one. Let the wise give up the lesser to attain the greater. 291. A person who seeks happiness by making others unhappy ends up in the churn of hatred. 292. By not doing what should be done, and by doing what should not be done, the unmindful and arrogant only deepen their thoughtlessness. 293. Those who practice mindfulness will be aware what they are doing. They will not do what should not be done. They will do what needs doing. As a result their sinful desires will come to an end. 294-95. Having killed mother lust and father self-will, kill the kings of carnal passions and you will be freed from sins. The true brahmin has killed lust and...

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Twentieth Chapter: Dhammapada

Twentieth Chapter: Dhammapada The Path 273. The best path is the Eightfold Path. The best truth is the Fourfold Truth. The best mental state is detachment. The best man is the illumined one. 274-75. This is the path; there is no other that leads to the purification of mind. Follow this path and conquer Mara. This path will lead to the end of suffering. I showed this path after the arrows of sorrow fell away. 276. All the efforts must be made by you; Buddhas only show the way. Those who follow this path and practice meditation, go beyond the bondage of Mara. 277. All created things are transitory; those who realize this are freed of suffering. This is the path that leads to pure wisdom. 278. All created things are involved with sorrow;...

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Nineteenth Chapter: Dhammapada

Righteousness: Dharma 256-57. Those who do not follow Dharma resort to violence to achieve their purpose. But those who lead others through nonviolent means, knowing right and wrong, may be called guardians of Dharma or Dharmic. 258. One is not wise because he is articulate. One is wise because he is patient, free from hate and fear. 259. Dharma is not upheld by talking about it. Dharma is upheld by living in harmony with it even if one is not learned. 260-61. Gray hair does not make an elder; one can grow old and still be immature. A true elder is the one who is truthful, virtuous, gentle, self-controlled and pure in mind. 262-63. Neither pleasant words nor a pretty face can make a man handsome. A person is not beautiful if she is jealous,...

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Eighteenth Chapter: Dhammapada

Purifying the Mind 235-36. You are like an autumn leaf, knowing you'll someday fall and travel far away. Have you prepared for the long journey? Light the lamp within; be your own island and strive hard to attain wisdom. Free of flaws and impurities you'll enter the realm of light. 237-38. You're at the end of your life; death is at your door. There is no place to rest. How can you be so unprepared? Light the lamp within; be your own island and strive hard to attain wisdom. Free of flaws and impurities you'll be free from cycles of birth and death. 239. Wise remove their flaws from their mind like a good silversmith who removes impurities from silver: little by little, one by one, again and again. 240-42. Just as...

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Seventeenth Chapter: Dhammapada

Seventeenth Chapter: Dhammapada On Anger 221. Give up anger, give up pride, and free yourself from the worldly bondage. No sorrow can touch those who try not to possess people and things. 222. Those who hold back their anger--a speeding chariot, are real charioteers. Others merely hold the reins. 223. Overcome anger by peacefulness, overcome unkindness by kindness, overcome greed through generosity and falsehood by truth. 224. Do not yield to anger. Give freely even if you have but little: this will lead you to gods. 225. The wise do not hurt any living being and are self-controlled. They enter the state of peace beyond sorrow. 226. Those who are watchful, who observe themselves day and night, and strive continually for Nirvana, enter the state of peace beyond all selfish passions. 227. There is an old saying:...

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Sixteenth Chapter: Dhammapada

Sixteenth Chapter: Dhammapada
Transient Pleasures

209. Don’t run after transient pleasures or neglect the practice of sitting quietly. Those who forget the aim of life and sink into the worldly pleasures, come to envy those who put meditation first.

210. Not seeing what is pleasant brings pain; seeing what is unpleasant brings pain. Therefore go beyond pleasure and pain.

211. Don’t get selfishly attached to anything, for its loss will bring you pain. When you have neither likes nor dislikes, you are free.

212. Selfish attachment brings suffering. Selfish attachment brings fear. Be detached, and you will be free from suffering and fear.

213. Selfish bonds cause sorrow. Selfish bonds cause fear. Be unselfish, and you will be free from sorrow and fear.

214. Selfish enjoyments lead to frustration; selfish enjoyments lead to fear. Be unselfish, and you will be free from frustration and fear.

215. Selfish desires give rise to anxiety; selfish desires give rise to fear. Be unselfish, and you will be free from anxiety and fear.

216. Cravings bring pain; craving brings fear. Don’t yield to cravings, and you will be free from pain and fear.

217. Those who have character and discrimination, who are honest and good and follow the dharma with devotion, win the respect of the entire world.

218. If you long to know what is hard to know and can resist the temptations of the world, you will cross the river of life.

219-220. As your family and friends welcome you with joy when you return from a long journey; so will your good deeds receive you when you go from this life to the next, where they will be waiting for you with joy like your relatives and friends.
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As I Understand It:
Buddha taught loving others without selfish attachment. He recognized suffering as human dilemma and concluded that the only way to lead a peaceful life was to stay away from cravings. Self-centered bonds with people, things and places lead to sorrow and pain. Love is not an obstacle to spiritual growth but possessiveness is.

Pleasant and unpleasant feelings are obverse and reverse of life. In time, what is fresh, withers. What was once delightful becomes melancholy. All the things that please are fleeting. Addiction to pleasurable things blocks spiritual growth because we desire only for one side of the coin. How is that possible?

We can lose ourselves in pleasant things and abandon our quest for life’s true aim. And when the time comes to face the inevitable unpleasantness of life–and sooner or later it will–we suffer all the more. Be aware that pleasant things are bound to change. If we want to be free from fear and frustration, free from pain and sorrow, we must learn to be selfless and detached.

In our daily lives when we sense outer stimuli our nervous system is emotionally charged. We react positively or negatively to them. They make us happy or unhappy. But if we choose not to react to the stimuli, they would loosen their hold over us.

If we face life’s sorrows or pleasures without the emotional response of attachment or aversion–with equanimity, we will experience what is beyond pain and pleasure, beyond dualities. Living beyond dualities frees us from life’s suffering.

Only good deeds remain. Good deeds and spiritual practice are closely related.
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Suggested Reading:
The Dhammapada: The Path of Perfection, Translation and Introduction by Juan Mascaro, Penguin Books. 1973. Penguin Group, England.
The Dhammapada, Translated for the Modern Reader by Eknath Easwaran, Nilgiri Press. 1985. Blue Mountain Center of Meditation, California.

Fifteenth Chapter:Dhammapada

Chapter Fifteenth: Dhammapada Happiness and Absolute Joy 197. Let us live in joy, never hating those who hate us. Let us live in freedom, without hatred even among those who hate. 198. Let us live in joy, never falling ill like those who are ill. Let us live in freedom, without disease even among those who are ill. 199. Let us live in joy, never attached among those who are selflessly attached. Let us live in freedom even among those who are bound by selfish attachments. 200. Let us live in joy, never hording things among those who hoard. Let us live in growing joy like the spirits of light. 201. Victory brings hatred for the defeated live in sorrow. Let us be neither conqueror nor defeated, and live in peace and joy. 202-03. There...

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Four Phases of Life

Four Stages of Life in Ancient India Depending on what kind of person you are and what stage of life you are in, Hindus believe that your life parallels a day in your life. Morning, afternoon, evening and night:as are your days, so is your life. An ideal life, Hindus say, is hundred years and it passes through four phases, each a quarter of a century long. Each phase has its demands and expects certain behavior. From the time you are born to the time you are in your mid twenties the focus of your life is being a student. Your primary responsibility is to get educated, to learn. At this stage your only obligation is to pay attention to what the teacher says or shows. Good study habits are...

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