Chapter Six: Dhammapada
Chapter Six: Dhammapada
76. If you meet a wise man who steers you away from the wrong path, follow him as you would one who can reveal hidden treasures. Only good can come out of it.
77. Let him admonish or instruct or restrain you from what is wrong. Such a man is loved by the good and hated by the bad.
78. Make friends with people who are good and true but not with those who are bad and false.
79. Those who follow Dharma, the truth revealed by the noble ones, live in joy with a serene mind.
80. Those who make waterways control the waters; arrow-makers make their arrows straight; carpenters carve wood, the wise shape their minds.
81. As a solid rock is not moved by the wind, the wise are not shaken by praise or by blame.
82. When they listen to the words of Dharma, their minds become pure and peaceful like the waters of a calm lake.
83. Wise people do not speak idle words. They remain same in pleasure or pain, in good fortune or bad.
84. If a man desires neither children nor power nor wealth or success by unfair means, he is good, virtuous and wise.
85. Few cross the river of time and are able to reach the other shore; most keep running up and down this shore.
86. But those who follow the True Path and are taught well will reach the other shore, the bank that is hard to reach and is beyond the realm of death.
87. They leave darkness behind and follow the light.
88. They give up home and leave the pleasure behind. Calling nothing their own.
89. They purify their hearts and rejoice. Well trained in the path to enlightenment, their senses disciplined and free from attachment and darkness, they shine as pure radiance.
As I Understand It
Daily we are faced with making decisions, small or big. At each crossroad we must choose whether to turn left or right. We can get easily lost if we are unable to distinguish between right and wrong. An immature person guesses when it is time to make decisions. He does not realize that one turn can make him happy and the other cause pain.
The immature must seek a mature person, someone wise, who can teach him right from wrong. The wise will teach him, may even reprimand or restrain him, but will direct him away from the wrong path. The immature must listen to his wisdom. The wise one will help the immature to gain self-knowledge and thus reveal hidden treasures. The immature must follow such a man.
The wise is like solid rock. He does not shift with praise or blame, with pain or pleasure. He does not care for power or prestige. He does not use empty words or gossip. Thus he is able to observe life objectively as if from the opposite bank of the river. If the immature follows the wise one, he too will begin to look objectively at himself and the world around him. In this way, by gaining self-awareness he begins the walk on the path to wisdom.
As the immature man grows towards maturity he will start removing undesirable traits to reshape his character. The wise can only point him towards the right direction. The follower must walk the path himself. Like the wise he too will shape his mind until it becomes a habit.
Once the immature grows into a mature person, a wise person he would be enlightened in the seven fields of Dharma: Mindfulness, Vigor, Joy, Serenity, Concentration, Equanimity and Penetration. Discernment will help him to make the right decision, to take the right turn, know what to choose when faced with a problem.
The wise has crossed the river leaving the chaos behind. He observes the world from the other shore. He dwells in the realm of light and shines with pure radiance.
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.