Dhammapada: Wisdom of the Buddha — trans. Harischandra Kaviratna

The Self — Canto XII

157. If a man esteems the self, let him guard himself with great care. Let the wise man keep vigil over himself, in one of the three watches (of life or of the night).

158. Let each first firmly establish himself in right conduct, then only may he admonish others. Such a wise man does not suffer blemish.

159. Let a man mold himself into what he admonishes others to be. Thus well-controlled he can control others. It is extremely difficult indeed to control one's own self.

160. The self is the master of the self. Who else can that master be? With the self fully subdued, one obtains the sublime refuge which is very difficult to achieve.

161. The sin committed by oneself, born of oneself, produced by oneself, crushes the evil-minded one as the diamond cuts the precious stone.

162. As the parasitic maluva creeper destroys the sal tree which it entwines, so the immoral conduct of a man gradually makes of him what his enemy would have him be.

163. It is quite easy to perform evil deeds which are not beneficial to oneself. But it is extremely difficult to perform a deed which is righteous and beneficial.

164. If an evil-minded one, by reason of his false views, reviles the teaching of the Arhats, the Noble Ones, and the virtuous, verily he brings forth the fruit of his own destruction, even as does the katthaka reed.

165. By self alone is evil done; by self alone is one defiled; by self alone is evil not done; by self alone is one purified. Purity and impurity depend on oneself; no one can purify another.

166. However much one is engaged in activities for the good of others, one should not neglect his own (spiritual) purpose. Having discerned one's own task, let him apply himself to that task with diligence.

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