Twenty-Sixth Chapter: Dhammapada
Twenty-Sixth Chapter: Dhammapada
383. Cross the river, brahmin, conquer all your passions. Go beyond the world of dualities and know the deathless nirvana.
384. Cross the river, brahmin, conquer all your passions. Go beyond your likes and dislikes and all fetters will be broken.
385. Who is a genuine brahmin? The genuine brahmin is the one who has no likes or dislikes, and who is beyond fear.
386. Who is a genuine brahmin? The genuine brahmin is the one who has trained his mind to be calm and reached the supreme goal of life.
387. The sun shines in the day, the moon shines in the night. The warrior shines in the battleground, the brahmin in meditation. But the Buddha shines day and night in the radiance of love for all.
388. The genuine Brahmin is the one who has put away evil, the genuine recluse is the one whose mind is serene, and a genuine wonderer whose heart is pure.
389. The genuine Brahmin is the one who has shed anger, who never hurts others even when they harm him.
390. The genuine brahmin is the one who clings not to pleasure. He does not cause sorrow and no sorrow comes to him.
391. The genuine brahmin is the one who does not hurt others with thoughts, words or deeds. His body and mind are under his control.
392. The genuine brahmin is the one who follows the path of the Buddha. Who lights his torch from the fire of sacrifice.
393-94. Neither his matted hair nor his birth makes a Brahmin, but the truth with which his heart is full and the love for all life. What use is tangled hair? What use is the antelope skin on which he sits for meditation, if his heart seethes with lust?
395. Saffron robe and outward show do not make a brahmin, but training of the mind and senses through practice of mediation makes a brahmin.
396. Neither riches nor high caste will make you a brahmin. Free yourself from selfish desires and possessions and you will become a brahmin.
397. He who is a Brahmin has cut off all fetters and he does not tremble in fear. No selfish bonds ensnare him; no impure thoughts pollute his mind.
398. The genuine brahmin is the one who has cut through the strap, the thong and the chain of karma. He has got up from sleep and is fully awake.
399. The genuine brahmin is the one who fears neither prison nor death. He has endurance and power of life no army can defeat.
400. The genuine brahmin is the one who is never angry and is faithful to his spiritual vows. He is virtuous and self-controlled. His present mortal body is his last.
401-02. The genuine brahmin is the one who clings not to sensuous pleasures–no more than water to a lotus leaf or mustard seed to the tip of a needle. For him this is the end of sorrow. No more burdens will fall on him.
403. The genuine brahmin is the one whose wisdom is profound and whose understanding is deep. He has followed the right path, avoided the wrong and has reached the highest goal.
404. The genuine brahmin is the one whose wants are few and who is detached from householders and homeless mendicants alike.
405. The genuine brahmin is the one who hurts no living being. He neither kills nor helps others to kill.
406. The genuine brahmin is the one who is tolerant to the intolerant, detached among selfish and at peace among those at war.
407. The genuine brahmin is the one from whom lust and hate and arrogance and insincerity has fallen away like mustard seed from the point of a needle.
408-09. The genuine brahmin is the one who is ever true, ever kind. He never asks what life can give, only what he can give to life.
410-11. The genuine brahmin is the one who has found heaven by being free from all selfish desire, free from every impurity. Who does not doubt, does not want, and is master of his body and mind. He has gone beyond time and death.
412. The genuine brahmin is the one has gone beyond good and evil and is free from sorrow, passion and impurity.
413. The genuine brahmin is the one who has risen above the duality of this world, free from sorrow and free from sin. He shines like a full moon in a cloudless sky.
414. The genuine brahmin is the one who has crossed the river that is difficult and dangerous to cross and has reached the other shore.
415. The genuine brahmin is the one who is homeless but ever at home; who is egoless but is ever full.
416. Self-will has left his mind; it will never return. Sorrow has left his life; it will never return.
417. The genuine brahmin is the one who has overcome the urge to possess even heavenly things. He is free from all selfish attachments.
418. The genuine brahmin is the one who is free from bondage to human beings and to nature alike, the hero who has conquered the inner world.
419. The genuine brahmin is the one who is free from I, me and mine, who knows the rise and fall of life. He is awake: he will not fall asleep again.
420. The genuine brahmin is the one whose path no one can know. He lives free from past and future; he lives free from decay and death.
421. The genuine Brahmin is the one who possesses nothing, desires nothing for his own pleasure or his own profit; he has become a force for good, working for the freedom of all.
422. The genuine brahmin is the one who is fearless, unshakable, heroic, the all-seer, who has conquered death and attained life’s goal.
423. He has reached the end of the path; he has crossed the river of life. All that he had to do is done: he has become one with all life.
As I Understand It:
The last chapter of Dhammapada speaks to the Brahmins, the members of the highest Hindu caste. The Buddha sought to change the Hindu tradition for better.
While a Bhikshu, the Buddha’s spiritual best, gives up every kind of worldly ambition to dedicate his life to the Eightfold Noble Path, a Brahmin, a member of the priestly caste, is given the highest honor simply because he was born of a Brahmin father. The Buddha teaches not to judge a person because of his birth or caste status. A genuine Brahmin, he says, is not noble because of his heredity but because he has earned respectability and status due to his words and actions. He is a genuine Brahmin because of his dedication to his emotional and spiritual growth. The lessons of right action, right speech and right thought apply to householders as readily as to Bhikshus.
Many Brahmins and Bhikshus alike practice the methods of strangling the senses, breaking down the self-will or crushing the spirit. The Buddha teaches against harsh treatment of the body or indulgence in sensuous pleasures. He says that such methods are not conducive to spiritual growth and diametrically opposed to the spirit of the Middle Path.
The Buddha advocates a healthy and balanced life in the service of all living beings. The joyful states of consciousness that the Buddha teaches are still within our reach. The simplicity and joy of the Middle Path outlines an innovative way of life that, if followed, animates individual spiritual goals.
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.