Dhammapada: Wisdom of the Buddha — trans. Harischandra Kaviratna

The Mendicant — Canto XXV

360. Restraint through the eye is good; good is restraint through the ear; restraint through the nose is good and good is restraint through the tongue.

361. Restraint in body is good and good is restraint in speech; restraint by the mind is good and good is restraint in all things. The mendicant who is restrained in every respect is liberated from all suffering.

362. He who is controlled in hand, foot, and in speech, who is well disciplined and practices the utmost restraint; he who delights inwardly, in concentration, who leads a solitary life and is content — him they call a bhikkhu (mendicant).

363. The mendicant who restrains his tongue, who speaks with wisdom, who is not conceited, who illuminates the inner meaning (and letter) of the Law (dhamma), sweet indeed is his utterance.

364. The mendicant who dwells in the Law, who glories in the Law, who meditates on the Law, who ever follows the Law, does not fall away from the true Dhamma.

365. Let the mendicant not underestimate the gift he has received; let him not feel envy for others. The mendicant who envies others does not attain tranquillity of mind.

366. Even the gods praise that mendicant who does not underestimate what he has received, however little, if he is pure and energetic in his life.

367. He who has not any attachment to name and form (mind and body), and does not grieve for what does not really exist — he, indeed, is called a real bhikkhu.

368. The mendicant who lives compassionately, who takes delight in the doctrine of the Enlightened One, will attain that exalted state of peace and happiness, which is the cessation of conditioned existence.

369. Empty this boat, O monk! When emptied, it will go lightly. Cutting off lust and hatred, you will reach nirvana.

370. (Of the fetters) cut off the five, renounce the five, and (of the virtues) cultivate the five. He who has gone beyond the five attachments is called a bhikkhu who has crossed the stream.

Note — The five fetters that one should cut off are: self-allusion, doubt, clinging to mere rules and rituals, sensuous craving and ill will.

The five fetters to be renounced are: craving for material existence, craving for immaterial existence, conceit, restlessness, and ignorance.

To destroy the fetters, the vigilant monk has to cultivate the five virtues: faith, mindfulness, energy, concentration, and wisdom.

The five attachments are: lust, hatred, delusion, pride, and false views.

371. Meditate, O monk! Be not heedless! Let not your mind wander among the pleasures of the senses, lest through your heedlessness you swallow the red-hot iron ball (in hell) and cry out, as you thus burn — "This is suffering."

372. There is no perfect contemplation for him who is not wise, and no wisdom for him who does not concentrate. He in whom there is both perfect contemplation and wisdom is, indeed, close to nirvana.

373. The mendicant who has withdrawn to a lonely spot, whose heart and mind are tranquil, who clearly perceives the Dhamma, his bliss (of contemplation) is more than human.

374. Whenever one clearly comprehends the origin and destruction of the five aggregates (khandha), he experiences bliss and happiness. (1) This is as the nectar (of immortality) to those who truly comprehend it.

375. In this world this becomes the first requisite for a wise monk: control of the senses, contentment, restraint according to the fundamental code of monastic law; cultivation of noble friends whose lives are pure and who are not indolent.

376. The mendicant who is hospitable and friendly, who really lives his ethics and is full of spiritual joy, thereby makes an end of his suffering.

377. Just as the jasmine sheds its withered flowers, even so, O mendicants, you should cast off passion and hatred.

378. That mendicant is called truly tranquil, who is calm in body, calm in speech, calm in mind, who is well-regulated in thoughts and has renounced all worldly allurements.

379. Rouse the self by the Self, restrain the self by the Self, self-guarded and mindful, O monk, you shall live happily.

380. For Self is indeed the protector of oneself; Self is indeed one's destiny. Therefore, curb yourself even as a wise merchant curbs a noble steed.

381. The mendicant who is full of spiritual delight and faith in the doctrine of the Enlightened One will attain the peaceful state (nirvana), the cessation of conditioned existence.

382. The mendicant, though young in years, who applies himself to the teaching of the Awakened One (Gotama), illumines the world, even as the moon when freed from the cloud.


1. The five aggregates (Skt. skandhas) are: 1) bodily form; 2) feeling; 3) perception; 4) mental formations; 5) consciousness. (See verse 202.) (return to text)

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