Dhammapada: Wisdom of the Buddha — trans. Harischandra Kaviratna

The Fool — Canto V

60. Long is the night to a sleepless person; long is the distance of a league to a tired person; long is the circle of rebirths to a fool who does not know the true Law.

61. If a genuine seeker, who sets forth in search of a superior friend, does not come in contact with such a one or at least an equal, then he should resolutely choose the solitary course, for there can be no companionship with the ignorant.

62. "I have children, I have wealth," thinking thus, the fool torments himself. But, when he is not the possessor of his own self, how then of children? How then of wealth?

63. The fool who knows of his ignorance, indeed, through that very consideration becomes a wise man. But that conceited fool who considers himself learned is, in fact, called a fool.

64. A fool who associates with a wise man throughout his life may not know the Dhamma any more than the ladle the taste of soup.

65. As the tongue detects the taste of the broth, so the intelligent person who associates with a wise man even for a moment comes to realize the essence of the Law.

66. The unwise, fools who are enemies to themselves, go about committing sinful deeds which produce bitter fruits.

67. Not well done is that deed which one, having performed, has to repent; whose consequence one has to face with tears and lamentation.

68. Well done is that deed which one, having performed, does not repent, and whose consequence one experiences with delight and contentment.

69. So long as an evil deed does not mature (bring disastrous results), the fool thinks his deed to be sweet as honey. But, when his evil deed matures, he falls into untold misery.

70. Though a fool (practicing austerity) may eat his food from the tip of a blade of kusa grass for months and months, he is not worth one-sixteenth part of those who have realized the Good Law.

71. As fresh-drawn milk from the cow does not soon curdle, so an evil deed does not produce immediate fruits. It follows the wrongdoer like a smoldering spark that burns throughout and then suddenly blazes up.

72. Whatever knowledge a fool acquires causes him only harm. It cleaves his head and destroys his good nature (through conceit).

73, 74. Unwise is the monk who desires undue adoration from others, lordship over other monks, authority among the monastic dwellings and homage even from outside groups. Moreover, he thinks, "May both laymen and monks highly esteem my action! May they be subject to me in all actions, great or small." Such is the grasping desire of a worldly monk whose haughtiness and conceit ever increase.

75. One path leads to worldly gain and honor; quite another path leads to nirvana. Having realized this truth, let not the monk, the true follower of the Enlightened One, yearn for homage from others, but let him cultivate serenity of mind and dispassion.

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