Chapter Ten: Dhammapada
Chapter Ten: Dhammapada
129. All fear punishment; all fear death, just as you do. Therefore do not kill or cause to kill.
130. All fear punishment; all love life, just as you do. Therefore do not kill or cause to kill.
131. For the sake of happiness if you hurt others who also want happiness, you will never find happiness here and hereafter.
132. For the sake of happiness if you do not hurt others who also want happiness, you will find happiness here and hereafter.
133 Speak quietly to others and they too will be gentle in their speech. Harsh words are painful and come back to the speaker.
134 If your mind is silent like a broken gong, you have entered Nirvana, leaving all quarrels behind.
135. As a cowherd drives his cows to fresh fields, old age and death drive living beings to new lives.
136. The foolish, doing evil deeds, do not know what is in store for them. They are burned as if with fire with the result of their own deeds.
137-140 If one harms the innocent the suffering will come to him in these ten ways: grief, infirmity; painful accident, terrible disease, loss of the mind, legal prosecution, fearful accusation, family bereavement, financial loss, or his house may burn down, and after death he may be thrown into fire of suffering.
141. Going about in matted hair or without bath or fasting, or sleeping on the ground smeared with dust, or sitting motionless-no amount of penance can help a person whose mind is not purified.
142. But one whose mind is pure, whose senses are controlled and who is non-violent-such a one is true Brahmin, a true monk, even if he wears fine clothes.
143. As a well-trained horse needs no whip, a well-trained mind needs no prodding from the world to be good.
144. Be like a noble horse, swift and spirited, and go beyond sorrow through faith, meditation and practice of dharma.
145 As an irrigator guides water to his fields, as an archer aims an arrow, as a carpenter carves wood, the wise shape their lives.
As I Understand It:
This chapter reflects upon a few of the eight Training Treatments of the Buddha’s Eightfold Path such as Right Speech, Right Conduct and such. It emphasizes making the right choice. “All we are is the result of what we have thought, (said and done).” If we make wrong choices they accumulate and result in suffering. But if we control our senses, think with clear minds and do the right thing we are better than the highest Brahmin having muddled mind and unbridled senses.
In this life we not only face the consequences of our immediate deeds but also the result of our karma that has been accumulated from our past lives. The physical and mental events are intertwined. Disasters and misfortunes are delayed karmic reactions.
The karmic consequences of our good habits are as strong as the bad ones. We must not let our will become an accomplice to our evil deeds because it eventually bears fruit. Little by little we can shape our lives by making right decisions. A life led with awareness and sensible choices is a content and happy life.
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.