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The Dhammapada - The Path of Dhamma - The Pairs

buddhafootbuddhafoot Veteran
edited March 2006 in Philosophy
Okay... As I said in an earlier thread, I would be posting the Dhammapada for a group discussion. I will be doing this a chapter or two at a time. I may change the way I format this based upon interest.

Here is the site that I'm using this from and the translation I will be using is the Buddharakkhita version (although there is the Thanissaro version there for your viewing pleasure as well!) for this exercise.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/sutta/khuddaka/dhp/index.html

The Pairs - Heedfulness

1. Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox.

2. Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with a pure mind a person speaks or acts happiness follows him like his never-departing shadow

3. "He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me." Those who harbor such thoughts do not still their hatred.

4. "He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me." Those who do not harbor such thoughts still their hatred.

5. Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal.

6. There are those who do not realize that one day we all must die. But those who do realize this settle their quarrels.

7. Just as a storm throws down a weak tree, so does Mara overpower the man who lives for the pursuit of pleasures, who is uncontrolled in his senses, immoderate in eating, indolent, and dissipated. 1

8. Just as a storm cannot prevail against a rocky mountain, so Mara can never overpower the man who lives meditating on the impurities, who is controlled in his senses, moderate in eating, and filled with faith and earnest effort. 2

9. Whoever being depraved, devoid of self-control and truthfulness, should don the monk's yellow robe, he surely is not worthy of the robe.

10. But whoever is purged of depravity, well-established in virtues and filled with self-control and truthfulness, he indeed is worthy of the yellow robe.

11. Those who mistake the unessential to be essential and the essential to be unessential, dwelling in wrong thoughts, never arrive at the essential.

12. Those who know the essential to be essential and the unessential to be unessential, dwelling in right thoughts, do arrive at the essential.

13. Just as rain breaks through an ill-thatched house, so passion penetrates an undeveloped mind.

14. Just as rain does not break through a well-thatched house, so passion never penetrates a well-developed mind.

15. The evil-doer grieves here and hereafter; he grieves in both the worlds. He laments and is afflicted, recollecting his own impure deeds.

16. The doer of good rejoices here and hereafter; he rejoices in both the worlds. He rejoices and exults, recollecting his own pure deeds.

17. The evil-doer suffers here and hereafter; he suffers in both the worlds. The thought, "Evil have I done," torments him, and he suffers even more when gone to realms of woe.

18. The doer of good delights here and hereafter; he delights in both the worlds. The thought, "Good have I done," delights him, and he delights even more when gone to realms of bliss.

19. Much though he recites the sacred texts, but acts not accordingly, that heedless man is like a cowherd who only counts the cows of others — he does not partake of the blessings of the holy life.

20. Little though he recites the sacred texts, but puts the Teaching into practice, forsaking lust, hatred, and delusion, with true wisdom and emancipated mind, clinging to nothing of this or any other world — he indeed partakes of the blessings of a holy life.

-bf

Comments

  • buddhafootbuddhafoot Veteran
    edited March 2006

    1. Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought.


    What a statement to start things off!

    There is so much to do with the mind - going hand in hand with the Eightfold Path description of Right Mindfulness.

    5. Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal.

    We've talked about the "monkey-mind" during our meditation practices - which I feel helps us develop the "well developed mind" spoken of in this chapter. When meditating we sometimes realize that our mind is whirling with all sorts of thoughts that are hard to rein in - but this condition also exists (whether we realize it or not) in our day to day activities and interactions with others. If the mind is so hard to control when we are simply meditating - and we're extremely aware of our mind at this point - how much more so is it to control (with seedlings of anger, hatred, hurt, malice, passion, etc. that we have in our minds) when we are engaged in all the activities and noise around us when engaging in life?

    I was just thinking about this when reading this chapter. Controlling the mind. Developing a "well developed mind" - whether during meditation or when engaging in life with all it's noise, distractions, visual and audio input, interactions, relationships.... "life"!

    Just wondering what others thoughts are.

    -bf
  • 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
    edited March 2006
    Mindfulness, by virtue of the fact that we are never 'out of our Mind' is a perpetual process...therefore it should follow that we are always in a state of Mindfulness... Meditation is one way of stilling the Monkey, but as far as the teachings of TNH are concerned, we should be mindful at all times of that which we think, say and do.... He recommends being in a meditative state, wharever we are doing...In 'Present Moment Wonderful Moment' he gives countless examples of how we can remain Mindful....

    It is only when we're out of our minds that we go crazy....
  • buddhafootbuddhafoot Veteran
    edited March 2006
    federica wrote:
    ...therefore it should follow that we are always in a state of Mindfulness...


    Thus, my downfalling.

    I was thinking to myself as I was writing this how much the mind can wander when I'm meditating. And at that point - I'm not focusing on any other distractions - I'm away where it's quiet and peaceful - and even then - I have a hard time controlling my mind at times.

    In reading this, I realized I don't put enough mindfulness into my day-to-day interactions. Am I as mindful when not meditating as I am when I AM meditating?

    -bf
  • edited March 2006
    In addition to the value of another translation, by Narada Mahathera, this site has some comments by him and the incident that led to Buddha giving each verse.

    http://www.buddhistvihara.com/online/narada/01-Yamaka%20Vagga.htm


    And Dr. Kaviratna's translation:

    The Twin Verses -- CANTO I

    1. All the phenomena of existence have mind as their precursor, mind as their supreme leader, and of mind are they made. If with an impure mind one speaks or acts, suffering follows him in the same way as the wheel follows the foot of the drawer (of the chariot).

    2. All the phenomena of existence have mind as their precursor, mind as their supreme leader, and of mind are they made. If with a pure mind one speaks or acts, happiness follows him like his shadow that never leaves him.

    3. The hatred of those who harbor such ill feelings as, "He reviled me, assaulted me, vanquished me and robbed me," is never appeased.

    4. The hatred of those who do not harbor such ill feelings as, "He reviled me, assaulted me, vanquished me and robbed me," is easily pacified.

    5. Through hatred, hatreds are never appeased; through non-hatred are hatreds always appeased -- and this is a law eternal.

    6. Most people never realize that all of us here shall one day perish. But those who do realize that truth settle their quarrels peacefully.

    7. The pleasure-seeker who finds delight in physical objects, whose senses are unsubdued, who is immoderate in eating, indolent and listless, him Mara (the Evil One) prevails against, as does the monsoon wind against a weak-rooted tree.

    8. He who perceives no pleasure in physical objects, who has perfect control of his senses, is moderate in eating, who is unflinching in faith, energetic, him Mara does not prevail against any more than does the wind against a rocky mountain.

    9. He who dons the yellow robe without even cleansing himself of sensuality, who is devoid of self-restraint and truthfulness, is indeed not fit for the yellow robe.

    10. He who is purged of all sensuality, firmly established in moral virtues, possessed of self-restraint and truthfulness, is indeed fit for the yellow robe.

    11. Those who take the non-real for the real and the real for the non-real and thus fall victims to erroneous notions, never reach the essence of reality.

    12. Having realized the essential as the essential and the nonessential as the nonessential, they by thus following correct thinking attain the essential.

    13. As the monsoon rain pierces through the roof of an ill-thatched house, so lust enters the undisciplined mind.

    14. As the monsoon rain does not enter a well-thatched house, so lust does not enter a well-disciplined mind.

    15. The sinner laments here, laments hereafter, and he laments in both worlds. Having seen himself sullied by his sinful deeds, the evildoer grieves and is afflicted.

    16. The doer of wholesome deeds rejoices here and rejoices hereafter; thus he rejoices in both places. Having beheld his pure deeds he rejoices exceedingly.

    17. He repents here, repents hereafter, the evildoer repents in both worlds. "Evil has been committed by me," thinking thus he repents. Having taken the path of evil he repents even more.

    18. He rejoices here, he rejoices hereafter, the doer of wholesome deeds rejoices in both worlds. "Good has been committed by me," thinking thus he rejoices. Having taken the celestial path, he rejoices exceedingly.

    19. A heedless man, though he utters much of the Canon, but does not act accordingly, is like unto a cowherd who counts the cattle of others. He is, verily, not a sharer of the fruit of the monastic life.

    20. A man, though he recites only a little of the Canon, but acts according to the precepts of the Sacred Law, who, having got rid of lust, hatred and delusion, has firmly established himself in liberated thought, and clinging to no worldly possessions here or hereafter -- such a one becomes indeed a sharer of the true fruit of the monastic life.
  • BrigidBrigid Veteran
    edited March 2006
    Thanks for that link, Will. I love having the context. I'll be reading that tomorrow night so I'll confine my comments to general ones right now.

    BF,

    Have I told you how much I love this idea and how important I think it is? LOL! When I saw this thread I purposely left it to the end so I'd have something really good to look forward to.

    The Dhammapada is my favourite sutra and the one that I remember as being one of the first things I ever heard about Buddhism.

    Whenever I read parts of it I'm always reminded of when I asked my family doctor to refer me to someone to help me get over my grief, anger and anxiety after I had my heart badly broken. In the Canadian health care system psychiatrists are covered by national insurance but advanced therapists (like psychotherapists) are not, so I got sent to a psychiatrist. I had never heard any bad things about them at the time so I went with high hopes. Fast forward to several years later and I'm still coming across damage in myself that he caused. I'm not at all angry with him because I know his intentions were good and he did have some very wise things to say but whenever I read parts of the Dhammapada I think how much more quickly I would have healed if he'd told me some of the things that are in it. For example:

    "3. "He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me." Those who harbor such thoughts do not still their hatred.

    4. "He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me." Those who do not harbor such thoughts still their hatred."

    And especially:

    "5. Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal."

    (He also could have given me a quick lecture on attachment and how it causes suffering, but that's off topic. LOL!)

    I love this sutra because it's easy to understand and it's so straight forward. I remember thinking the Buddha was a straight shooter when I first came across it.

    I'll post more later.

    Love,
    Brigid
  • edited March 2006
    Thank you Buddha Foot for putting this thread together.

    I think the Dhammapada is the easiest sutra to read that I've found and also the most straightforward, IMHO.

    The following verses touch me the most in terms of my own experiences in practise:
    19. Much though he recites the sacred texts, but acts not accordingly, that heedless man is like a cowherd who only counts the cows of others — he does not partake of the blessings of the holy life.

    20. Little though he recites the sacred texts, but puts the Teaching into practice, forsaking lust, hatred, and delusion, with true wisdom and emancipated mind, clinging to nothing of this or any other world — he indeed partakes of the blessings of a holy life.

    I think that what the Buddha is saying here is entirely relevant to the happenings in our online sangha in the past few months. (Hmm... I'm sure enough has been said about that in other posts.)

    How much easier is it to memorize the teachings and rely upon recitation instead of solid practice grounded in everyday life! I think one of the main things that led me to Buddhism was the nature of the practise involved in the path.

    I could say more but I believe these verses say enough on their own!
  • 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
    edited March 2006
    BSF.... This could be said of many so-called experts irepresentative of many different religions... speaking from a personal point of view, being schooled in a RC Convent, I saw many examples of hypocrisy.... I'll leave it at that....

    I've gone through the link Will posted....
    Bookmarked it...
    thanks Will. ;)
  • buddhafootbuddhafoot Veteran
    edited March 2006
    BSF - very true.

    Oddly enough, there are other scriptures like this...

    "if you have not love, you are like tinkling cymbols and sounding brass..." or something like that - my mind fails me right now.

    I'm glad people are enjoying this post. While I agree that reading the teachings of Buddha - without practicing them - is not what Buddha intended. I also believe that taking the time on this forum to break down the teachings of Buddha - discussing them - and learning them allows us to absorb more of his teachings into our daily life and practice.

    -bf
  • 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
    edited March 2006
    "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal."

    (1 Corinthians Chapter 13: 1 - 13)
  • edited March 2006
    Controlling the mind. I love to do balance drills in my martial arts class. I begin by telling my students to extend one of their legs straight out in front of them and hold it off the ground at belt height ( a front kick ). During the drill I explain that now is a chance for them to be totally aware of their body. I ask them to notice every motion the body gives them and how the mind helps to bring it all together by telling each limb and muscle to shift this way and that to maintain balance. I remind them that they are in control. Once a student told me at the end of one such class how much they hated that drill. She told me how her legs get such a good work out and how it kicked her ass. I asked her if she had noticed a difference between her ability with this drill at present verses when she began. She told me she could hold the positions longer and did not tire as quick. I then asked her which had improved most, her focus or her ability (body wise). After a moments pause she replied to me "Both!"
    Once I saw a documentary on whale talk. It was interesting to me in that the research they had found showed that the whale speech of 5 years ago is very different than now. A more refined study even showed how much their language changed from year to year! There was much more to this show that helped me to see how these whales where also living in a relative consciousness as much as anything else! This just helped me to see that all things are indeed bound to the two truths. Now is the time to be awake! The distractions will always be there I guess it all depends on if we can really see them or not.
    Mike
  • buddhafootbuddhafoot Veteran
    edited March 2006
    Dharma-brother Mike...

    I too am reminded of HOW MUCH I HATED THAT DRILL.

    -bf

    P.S. A good example of mindfulness though!
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