Chapter Five: Dhammapada
Chapter Five: Dhammapada
60. Long is the night for the watchman; long is the road to the weary.
Long is the cycle of birth and death to the one who does not know the dharma.
61. If on the spiritual path you find no one to support you, travel alone. The immature cannot be your traveling companion.
62. He thinks, “These are my sons. This is my wealth.” He cannot call himself his own, much less his sons and wealth.
63. If the immature knows that he is immature, he has a little wisdom. But the immature who thinks he is wise, is indeed foolish.
64. An immature cannot understand dharma even if he spends his whole life with the wise. How can the spoon know the taste of soup?
65. But if the mature spends even a short time with the wise, he understands dharma just as tongue knows the taste of soup.
66. The immature is his own enemy. He does selfish deeds that end in bitter fruit.
67. The selfish deeds bring remorse and suffering.
68. One does not repent after a good deed. Such deed brings sweet fruit.
69. The selfish deeds seem sweet to the immature until he sees its results; when he sees the results, he suffers.
70. Even if he fasts for months eating only with the tip of a blade of grass, he is not worth sixteenth part of the one who truly understands dharma.
71. A selfish deed takes time to result in sorrow just as fresh milk takes time to curdle. Like smoldering fire under the ashes, it slowly consumes the immature.
72. When the immature picks up a little knowledge, he misuses it and instead of benefiting from it, breaks his head with it.
73. The immature has desire for false prestige-superiority among the monks, authority in the monasteries and prestige from all.
74. “Listen monks and householders, I can do this; I can do that. I do it right. You do it wrong.” Thus his pride and passion increases.
75. Choose the path that leads to Nirvana; avoid the road to profit and pleasure. O disciples of the Buddha! Remember this: strive always for wisdom.
As I Understand It
Life is dreary for those who do not have a path to follow. The way on the Right Path is lonely. If the person who wants to accompany you on the Path is still being guided by his ego don’t keep his company. He won’t be open to learning. Keep your portals of learning open; you’re bound to learn.
The one who thinks he is already wise continues to remain ignorant. If by chance he gains a little knowledge, he breaks his head with it. This stupidity begets more stupidity and ends in suffering.
The immature does not notice his mistakes and does not recognize his bad deeds. His passion is out of control. He wants to lead and be powerful. He wants people to praise him. But in this unstable and constantly changing world the immature drowns, while the mature continues to grow.
The immature never focuses on his own flaws. He points out others’. If another makes a mistake, the immature never forgives. He perpetually desires to be in the forefront.
Having said all that, if an immature person tries hard and long, and follows the example of a wise person he would grow from immaturity to maturity. He will not suffer. He will enjoy fruit of his wisdom.
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.