Dhammapada: Wisdom of the Buddha translated by Harischandra Kaviratna
Theosophical University Press Online Edition

The Path — CANTO XX

273. Of paths the Eightfold is the best; of truths the Four Noble Truths are the best; of all states Detachment is the best; of men (1) the Seeing One (Buddha) is the foremost.

274. This is the path; there is no other path that leads to purity of insight. Follow this path, for this path bewilders the Evil One (Mara).

275. Having entered upon the path you will come to an end of your suffering. Having myself recognized this, I proclaimed this path which removes all thorns.

276. You yourself must make the effort. The Tathagatas (Buddhas) can only point the way. Those who have entered the path and become meditative are freed from the fetters of Mara.

277. "Transient are all composite things"; he who perceives the truth of this gets disgusted with this world of suffering. This is the path to purity.

278. "Sorrowful are all composite things"; he who perceives the truth of this gets disgusted with this world of suffering. This is the path to purity.

279. "All forms of existence are unreal" (an-atta); he who perceives the truth of this gets disgusted with this world of suffering. This is the path to purity.

280. He who does not get up when it is time to do so; who, although youthful and strong, is yet given to indolence, is weak in resolution and thought — such an idle and lazy person does not find the path to wisdom.

281. One should be watchful over his speech, well-restrained in mind, and commit no unwholesome deed with his body. Let him purify this threefold avenue of action (karma), and he will tread the path made known by the sages.

282. Verily, from devotion (yoga) arises wisdom, from nondevotion springs the loss of wisdom. Having become aware of this twofold path that leads to progress and decline, let him place himself in such a way that his wisdom increases.

283. Cut down the whole forest (of desires), not just a tree. From the forest arises fear. Cut down the forest and its brushwood, O monks, and be emancipated.

284. As long as the brushwood of a man's lust towards women is not completely destroyed, even to the last seedling, so long is his mind fettered as a suckling calf is bound to its mother.

285. Cut off the love of self as one would pluck an autumnal white lotus. Proceed then upon that (Eightfold) path of peace — the nirvana as expounded by Sugata (Buddha).

286. "Here shall I dwell in the rainy season; here shall I dwell in winter and summer." Thus the fool muses, but never reflects on the dangers that might befall him.

287. As a great flood carries off a sleeping village, so death seizes and carries off a man who is distracted and overly attached to his children and cattle.

288. Sons are no protection, neither father nor kinsfolk; when one is assailed by death, there is no protection among one's kin.

289. Having perceived this significant fact, let the wise and self-restrained man quickly clear the path that leads to nirvana.


FOOTNOTES:

1. Dipadana (from dvi+pada), "bipeds" (men). (return to text)


Canto XXI

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