Chapter Nine: Dhammapada
Chapter Nine: Dhammapada
“Evil and Good”
116. Hasten to do good; stay away from evil. If you neglect the good, evil will enter your mind.
117. If you do wrong, do not repeat it, or take pleasure in it as a habit. An evil habit results in suffering.
118. If you do something good, keep repeating it and make it a habit. A good habit causes nothing but joy.
119. An evil-doer may find pleasure in his habits as long as he has not reaped what he has sown, but when he does he suffers.
120. A good man may suffer as long as he has not reaped what he has sown, but when he does, pleasure prevails over him.
121. Let no one who has done wrong say to himself, “Sorrow will not come to me.” Little by little a man becomes evil as drops of water fill a jar.
122. Let no one who does good say to himself, “Joy will not come to me.” Little by little a man becomes good as drops of water fill a jar.
123 As a rich merchant traveling alone avoids dangerous roads, as a lover of life avoids poison, let everyone avoid evil deeds.
124 If you have no wound on your hand you can touch poison without being harmed. No harm comes to him who does no harm.
125. If you harm a pure and innocent person, you harm yourself, as spit thrown against the wind comes back to the thrower.
126. We are re-born; those caught in evil ways are born in a state of suffering, those who have done good enter a state of joy. But those pure in heart are not reborn. They enter Nirvana.
127. Neither in the sky nor deep in the ocean or in a mountain cave, is there a place anywhere where a man can hide from his evil deeds.
128. Neither in the sky nor in the ocean or in a mountain cave is there a place where one can hide from death.
As I Understand It:
According to Dhammapada there is no one watching and judging our thoughts, actions and words; no one to punish for our wrong deeds or to reward us for our good ones. We are rewarded or punished according to our karma-the accumulated sum of good and bad we have done, the choices we have made.
The law of karma (an ancient Hindu idea continues in Buddhism) states that we reap what we sow; everything we think, say and do have consequences. Sooner or later they come back to us.
Only those karmas that we consciously desire have consequences. Children do wrong things frequently but they do not accumulate karma because their actions are not accompanied by a conscious will either to harm or to do good. Their actions do not bear fruit. But our actions do because at each turn in our life we willing choose to follow a certain path.
It may take years before we see the results of our karma. But it does return. Physical and mental events are intertwined. Disasters and misfortunes are believed to be delayed karmic reactions of accumulated deeds of our past lives.
Repetition of good or bad actions develops into habits of thinking (samskaras). Such habits lock us into patterns of behavior. Good samskaras do not come easily and naturally. When we are angry patience is the last thing on our mind. If we hate someone love is not what we’re feeling. It is common sense to develop good samskaras instead we tend to follow our impulses and immediate responses because it is easy to do.
Let’s take a few moments to make the right choice-the choice we will not regret.
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.