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The first lines of the Dhammapada

DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diemswitzerland Veteran

The first lines of the Dhammapada point out the cause-effect relationship between a person's thoughts and their experience of reality.
Or how the ethical colour of our thoughts create our subjective experience of the world.
These are some of the different translations that can be found on different forums online:

Mind is the forerunner of (all evil) states.
Mind is chief; mind-made are they.
If one speaks or acts with wicked mind, because of that,
suffering follows one, even as the wheel follows the hoof of the draught-ox.
(Narada)

Phenomena are preceded by the heart,
ruled by the heart,
made of the heart.
If you speak or act
with a corrupted heart,
then suffering follows you —
as the wheel of the cart,
the track of the ox
that pulls it.
(Thanissaro)

All mental phenomena have mind as their forerunner;
they have mind as their chief; they are mind-made.
If one speaks or acts with an evil mind, 'dukkha'
follows him just as the wheel follows the hoofprint of the ox that draws the cart.
(Daw Mya Tin)

All that we are is the result of what we have thought:
it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts.
If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him,
as the wheel follows the foot of the ox that draws the carriage.
(Müller)

Mind precedes its objects.
They are mind-governed and mind-made.
To speak or act with a defiled mind is to draw pain after oneself,
like a wheel behind the feet of the animal drawing it.
(John Richards)

We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our
thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.
Speak or act with an impure mind
And trouble will follow you
As the wheel follows the ox that draws
the cart.
(Byrom)

Mind creates the world;
what you see arises with your thoughts.
If you speak and act with a confused mind,
trouble will follow you as certainly
as a cart follows the ox that pulls it.
(Mitchell)

All experience is preceded by mind,
Led by mind,
Made by mind.
Speak or act with a corrupted mind,
And suffering follows
As the wagon wheel follows the hoof of the ox.
All experience is preceded by mind,
Led by mind, Made by mind.
Speak or act with a peaceful mind,
And happiness follows
Like a never-departing shadow.
(Gil Fronsdal)

Different conclusions have been that we are the result of what we have thought, that we are shaped by our thoughts and become what we think, that our life is shaped by our mind.
Or that it is mind that shapes action: our volitional thoughts precede our deeds.

Bodhipaksa concludes:
"Thoughts arise, are the root, which we need to address, to transform our suffering into happiness."

I find these verses to be a key Buddhist teaching in how the choice from dukkha to sukkha lies solely in our mind, in our subjective perception of reality, in our steadfast development of insight, in our disciplined practice to attain some makeshift wisdom.
And cessation of dukkha lies solely within us, not outside ourselves.
As it is, Dukkha is in the eye of the beholder.
💕🐉🌹

NirvanaHozanDavidShoshinlobsterFosdickSnakeskinCarlita

Comments

  • NirvanaNirvana aka BUBBA   `     `     ` `     ` Outa Range Fridays thru Sundays South Carolina, USA Veteran

    Phenomena are preceded by the heart,
    made of the heart.
    If you speak or act
    with a corrupted heart,
    then suffering follows you —
    as the wheel of the cart,
    the track of the ox
    that pulls it.
    (Thanissaro)

    The second one —the one that suits me best! Direct and simply elegant.>

    @DhammaDragon said:

    Different conclusions have been that we are the result of what we have thought, that we are shaped by our thoughts and become what we think, that our life is shaped by our mind.
    Or that it is mind that shapes action: our volitional thoughts precede our deeds.

    Bodhipaksa concludes:
    _"Thoughts arise, are the root, which we need to address, to transform our suffering into happiness." _

    I find these verses to be a key Buddhist teaching in how the choice from dukkha to sukkha lies solely in our mind, in our subjective perception of reality, in our steadfast development of insight, in our disciplined practice to attain some makeshift wisdom.
    And cessation of dukkha lies solely within us, not outside ourselves.
    💕🐉🌹

    Very Deep.

    ShoshinDhammaDragonHozanSnakeskin
  • techietechie India Veteran

    We shouldn't read too much into it. Those things were written a long time ago. Neuroscience has confirmed that the brain automatically processes information using thought, imagination, etc. Control is possible, but only for a specific duration. It can't be sustained.

    Snakeskin
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @techie said:
    We shouldn't read too much into it. Those things were written a long time ago. Neuroscience has confirmed that the brain automatically processes information using thought, imagination, etc. Control is possible, but only for a specific duration. It can't be sustained.

    Who is the controller @techie ?

    DhammaDragonHozanSnakeskinCarlita
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    Just to add two more to the mix;

    Our life is shaped by our mind; we become
    what we think. Suffering follows an evil thought as the wheels of a cart follow the oxen that draw it.

    Our life is shaped by our mind; we become
    what we think. Joy follows a pure thought like a shadow that never leaves.
    (Eknath Easwaran)

    Preceded by mind
    are phenomena,
    led by mind,
    formed by mind.
    If with mind polluted
    one speaks or acts,
    then pain follows,
    as a wheel follows
    the draft ox's foot.

    Preceded by mind
    are phenomena,
    led by mind,
    formed by mind.
    If with mind pure
    one speaks or acts,
    then ease follows,
    as an ever present shadow.
    (Glenn Wallis)

    Right now I am reminded of someone I know that keeps getting screwed over, always has issues with her family and can't find a good guy to settle down with even as she claims she is seeking one.

    Today her profile was her giving us all the finger.

    Didn't that new age Law of Attraction kind of run off of this?

    BunksDhammaDragonHozanSnakeskin
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    It would be fair to say he speaks even before allowing himself the process of thinking, processing or digesting.

    The words may be ancient; their truth is timeless, ageless and about as much a bullseye as you could get.

    DhammaDragonHozan
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @techie said:
    We shouldn't read too much into it. Those things were written a long time ago. Neuroscience has confirmed that the brain automatically processes information using thought, imagination, etc. Control is possible, but only for a specific duration. It can't be sustained.

    Have you tried telling HHDL that? Or even this guy?
    Contact them. Let them know.
    Good luck with that... ;)

    DhammaDragon
  • techietechie India Veteran
    edited November 14

    @Shoshin said:

    @techie said:
    We shouldn't read too much into it. Those things were written a long time ago. Neuroscience has confirmed that the brain automatically processes information using thought, imagination, etc. Control is possible, but only for a specific duration. It can't be sustained.

    Who is the controller @techie ?

    Is there a controller? According to Buddha as well as neuroscience, there is none. There are thoughts, no thinker. So far so good. But what the buddha says in the OP ... it sort of contradicts this truth. Which is why I said, we can accept his teachings insofar as it doesn't contradict neuroscience. Even the Dalai lama weighs the teaching against science.

    Snakeskin
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    No, be accurate. What the Dalai Lama actually said was:

    "If scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims.”

    Nothing you claim has apparently done so, or otherwise those claims would be abandoned.
    And he's pretty up-front about that.

    DhammaDragonHozanSnakeskin
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    So @techie, putting your premise forward as something we can work on - how do you incorporate it into your life on a daily basis? How do you, in accordance with what you state, continue your day-to-day existence?
    How does it help you interact with others and help your progress on the Buddhist path?
    This is, after all, why you're here, isn't it?
    To explore, discuss and live by Buddhist principles?

    Snakeskin
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem switzerland Veteran

    @David said:
    Right now I am reminded of someone I know that keeps getting screwed over, always has issues with her family and can't find a good guy to settle down with even as she claims she is seeking one.

    Today her profile was her giving us all the finger.

    Didn't that new age Law of Attraction kind of run off of this?

    Absolutely.
    How you perceive reality -and create your reality- has a lot to do with the thoughts you choose to nourish and that you use as personal sieve to filter the world.
    Choose unskilful (new agey: negative) thoughts, dukkha follows.
    Choose skillful (new agey: uplifting) thoughts, no dukkha.
    I would bet your friend is creating lots of dukkha for herself...

    lobsterDavidSnakeskin
  • HozanHozan Veteran
    edited November 14

    Awesome post @DhammaDragon . Thank you for sharing. Brilliant to take it back to the opening lines of the Dhammapada. Simple yet profound truth. As a scientist I have no issues with buddhist truths whatsoever. The proof is in the pudding/practise.
    @techie I disagree with you entirely on this one but much Metta to you. We can agree to disagree.

    DhammaDragonDavidSnakeskinShoshin
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited November 14

    @techie said:

    @Shoshin said:

    @techie said:
    We shouldn't read too much into it. Those things were written a long time ago. Neuroscience has confirmed that the brain automatically processes information using thought, imagination, etc. Control is possible, but only for a specific duration. It can't be sustained.

    Who is the controller @techie ?

    Is there a controller? According to Buddha as well as neuroscience, there is none. There are thoughts, no thinker. So far so good.

    This is the one extreme of nihilism but it isn't what Buddha taught I don't think. It isn't that there is no controller, it's that the distinction is an illusion. The controller and the controlled are aspects of the same process and as such, both are present in the action.

    Control is limited but developing skillful means of living would be impossible without it.

    As for neuroscience, I'd need to see something that's passed peer review because I doubt there are too many conclusions in the field claiming people have absolutely no control over our lives.

    But what the buddha says in the OP ... it sort of contradicts this truth. Which is why I said, we can accept his teachings insofar as it doesn't contradict neuroscience. Even the Dalai lama weighs the teaching against science.

    That reasoning is based on faulty premise on two accounts... or is that three?

    Three I think. What Buddha taught, what H.H. said and the findings of neuroscience.

    DhammaDragonSnakeskin
  • SnakeskinSnakeskin Texas, USA Explorer

    @Nirvana said:
    (Thanissaro)
    The second one —the one that suits me best! Direct and simply elegant.>

    As for clarity & concision, I'm liking John Richards. I looked him up. He was an Anglican priest who served in Wales and died this year. I'm looking for an epub of his translation, but might have to settle for pdf.

    DhammaDragon
  • Awesome post @DhammaDragon. Thank you for sharing.

    Indeed. <3

    We have karma and beneficial conduct/virtue.

    Initially this is about filtering and mind focus. In other words practice choice.

    However on a more subtle level we may let go of the need for good karma, and even our desire for peace of mind. In other words a Boddhisatva may generate 'difficulties' for themselves as a result of others great needs and getting involved with their mind stream ... o:)

    DhammaDragonHozanCarlita
  • SnakeskinSnakeskin Texas, USA Explorer

    Thus have I heard:

    @techie said:
    We shouldn't read too much into it. Those things were written a long time ago. Neuroscience has confirmed that the brain automatically processes information using thought, imagination, etc. Control is possible, but only for a specific duration. It can't be sustained.

    … we can accept his teachings insofar as it doesn't contradict neuroscience.

    Thus have I also heard:

    The Dhamma is well expounded by the Blessed One,
    Directly visible, immediate,
    Inviting one to come and see,
    Worthy of application,
    To be personally experienced by the wise.

    By Buddhism’s standards we can accept the Buddha’s teachings only through personal verification, but scientific standards require peer review and personal experience can’t be peer reviewed, so his teachings are outside the scope of science.

    I don't think that makes the two incompatible. They just cover different areas, sometimes intersecting. Ultimately, though, science aims to understand, as best we can, what the world is and how it works; whereas Buddhism guides us through various means to see for ourselves what it’s not.

    DhammaDragonperson
  • CarlitaCarlita Riding the waves! United States Veteran

    @DhammaDragon said:
    The first lines of the Dhammapada point out the cause-effect relationship between a person's thoughts and their experience of reality.
    Or how the ethical colour of our thoughts create our subjective experience of the world.
    These are some of the different translations that can be found on different forums online:

    Mind is the forerunner of (all evil) states.
    Mind is chief; mind-made are they.
    If one speaks or acts with wicked mind, because of that,
    suffering follows one, even as the wheel follows the hoof of the draught-ox.
    (Narada)

    Phenomena are preceded by the heart,
    ruled by the heart,
    made of the heart.
    If you speak or act
    with a corrupted heart,
    then suffering follows you —
    as the wheel of the cart,
    the track of the ox
    that pulls it.
    (Thanissaro)

    All mental phenomena have mind as their forerunner;
    they have mind as their chief; they are mind-made.
    If one speaks or acts with an evil mind, 'dukkha'
    follows him just as the wheel follows the hoofprint of the ox that draws the cart.
    (Daw Mya Tin)

    All that we are is the result of what we have thought:
    it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts.
    If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him,
    as the wheel follows the foot of the ox that draws the carriage.
    (Müller)

    Mind precedes its objects.
    They are mind-governed and mind-made.
    To speak or act with a defiled mind is to draw pain after oneself,
    like a wheel behind the feet of the animal drawing it.
    (John Richards)

    We are what we think.
    All that we are arises with our
    thoughts.
    With our thoughts we make the world.
    Speak or act with an impure mind
    And trouble will follow you
    As the wheel follows the ox that draws
    the cart.
    (Byrom)

    Mind creates the world;
    what you see arises with your thoughts.
    If you speak and act with a confused mind,
    trouble will follow you as certainly
    as a cart follows the ox that pulls it.
    (Mitchell)

    All experience is preceded by mind,
    Led by mind,
    Made by mind.
    Speak or act with a corrupted mind,
    And suffering follows
    As the wagon wheel follows the hoof of the ox.
    All experience is preceded by mind,
    Led by mind, Made by mind.
    Speak or act with a peaceful mind,
    And happiness follows
    Like a never-departing shadow.
    (Gil Fronsdal)

    Different conclusions have been that we are the result of what we have thought, that we are shaped by our thoughts and become what we think, that our life is shaped by our mind.
    Or that it is mind that shapes action: our volitional thoughts precede our deeds.

    Bodhipaksa concludes:
    "Thoughts arise, are the root, which we need to address, to transform our suffering into happiness."

    I find these verses to be a key Buddhist teaching in how the choice from dukkha to sukkha lies solely in our mind, in our subjective perception of reality, in our steadfast development of insight, in our disciplined practice to attain some makeshift wisdom.
    And cessation of dukkha lies solely within us, not outside ourselves.
    As it is, Dukkha is in the eye of the beholder.
    💕🐉🌹

    These are actually good mantra verses. 1-3,8 are good. Not too much to say they are too the point and very true.

    DhammaDragon
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem switzerland Veteran

    @Snakeskin said:
    As for clarity & concision, I'm liking John Richards.

    I have several versions and love to compare similarities and differences.
    My favourites, for whatever reason, are Max Müller's (I have the 1872, 1881 and 1924 editions) and Bhikkhu Silacara's (1915).
    The most recent I have are Gil Fronsdal's (not in the picture) and Ananda Maitreya's.
    Then, Narada Thera's (1959), Albert J. Edmunds' (1902) and Wagiswara's (1920).

    The most curious, and rarer, is the book with the green cover: Samuel Beal's Chinese Dhammapada (1878), with similar material but in different chapter order, and supplemented with more information than the traditional Dhammapada.

    Walpola Rahula and Christmas Humphreys have some good selections, though not complete translations.

    HozanlobsterSnakeskin
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem switzerland Veteran

    Some years ago, I posted a thread on neural plasticity.
    Maybe @techie would find it useful:

    http://newbuddhist.com/discussion/22183/is-delusion-hardwired#latest

    Hozan
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    I recently ordered a copy (Gil Frondsal) as it comes highly recommended.

    DhammaDragonHozan
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem switzerland Veteran

    Fronsdal's is a pretty good version, Fede.
    But I do love my Max Müller and Bhikkhu Silacara versions beyond reason.... <3

    HozanNirvana
  • NirvanaNirvana aka BUBBA   `     `     ` `     ` Outa Range Fridays thru Sundays South Carolina, USA Veteran

    @DhammaDragon said:
    Fronsdal's is a pretty good version, Fede.
    But I do love my Max Müller and Bhikkhu Silacara versions beyond reason.... <3

    I like the way the men in Jane Austen (who will not say they love inanimate things) express their strong affinities: "I am excessively fond of [cottages].

    DhammaDragon
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem switzerland Veteran

    @Nirvana said:

    @DhammaDragon said:
    Fronsdal's is a pretty good version, Fede.
    But I do love my Max Müller and Bhikkhu Silacara versions beyond reason.... <3

    I like the way the men in Jane Austen (who will not say they love inanimate things) express their strong affinities: "I am excessively fond of [cottages].

    I adore Jane Austen's books.
    And I do love inanimate things too.
    Though in this case, Max Müller and Bhikkhu Silacara are more like dear old friends to me.
    Let's say I love them as well as the books they translated <3

    lobsterHozanNirvana
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    I like Gay Watson's take on the "Twin Verses" in her "The Dialogue Between Buddhism, Psychotherapy and the Mind Sciences"

    DhammaDragon
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    @techie said:
    We shouldn't read too much into it. Those things were written a long time ago. Neuroscience has confirmed that the brain automatically processes information using thought, imagination, etc.

    I think I agree with you on the science. But people change, their mental states and dispositions change. If the mind is what the brain is doing then it must be the brain that is changing.

    Control is possible, but only for a specific duration. It can't be sustained.

    It can be repeated though, and when repeated enough it gradually becomes habit.

    NirvanaDhammaDragon
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    My first introduction to the "Dhammapada" was when I was giving this illustrated copy from a Taiwanese nun from a Buddhist temple I was contracted to do some work at in Auckland, (that was almost 20 years ago :) )...I was wandering around their library and asked if there were any books in English and a nun lead me to this book, she "gave" me the book... after which I did donate some money...It's quite a large book, "A" 4 size pages and quite heavy...I have had a few different copies since then, but this one stands out and is one of my 'favourites' ...(if Buddhist practitioners can have favourites ;) )



    DhammaDragonNirvanalobster
  • NirvanaNirvana aka BUBBA   `     `     ` `     ` Outa Range Fridays thru Sundays South Carolina, USA Veteran

    ^ Absitively, Posolutely Beauteous! Thanks!

    ShoshinDhammaDragon
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