Dhammapada: Wisdom of the Buddha — trans. Harischandra Kaviratna

On Vigilance — Canto II

21. Vigilance is the path to immortality; non-vigilance is the path to death; the vigilant do not die; the non-vigilant, though alive, are like unto the dead.

22. Knowing this outstanding feature of vigilance, the wise delight in vigilance, rejoicing in the ways of the Noble Ones (ariya).

23. Those wise ones, contemplative, ever-striving sages of great prowess, realize nirvana, the incomparable bliss of yoga (union).

24. Greatly increasing is the glory of him who exerts himself, is thoughtful, pure in character, analytical, self-restrained, vigilant, and lives according to Dhamma (the Law).

25. Through diligence, vigilance, self-restraint and subjugation of the senses, the wise aspirant makes an island for himself that no flood could engulf.

26. Thoughtless men of great ignorance sink into negligence. But the wise man guards vigilance as his supreme treasure.

27. Betake yourselves not unto negligence; do not indulge in sensuous pleasures. For the vigilant and thoughtful aspirant acquires an amplitude of bliss.

28. When the wise man casts off laxity through vigilance, he is like unto a man who, having ascended the high tower of wisdom, looks upon the sorrowing people with an afflicted heart. He beholds suffering ignorant men as a mountaineer beholds people in a valley.

29. Vigilant among the heedless, wakeful among the sleeping ones, the wise man forges ahead, as a swift steed outstrips a horse of lesser strength.

30. Through vigilance, did Maghavan (Indra) attain to the sovereignty of the gods. Vigilance is ever praised and negligence is ever loathed by the sages.

31. The bhikkhu (monk) who delights in vigilance, who regards negligence with abhorrence, advances, consuming all subtle and gross fetters, like the fire.

32. The bhikkhu who delights in vigilance, who looks upon negligence with abhorrence, is not liable to fall back, because he is indeed close to nirvana.

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