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The Dhammapada - Chapter 9 - Evil - v. 116 - 128

buddhafootbuddhafoot Veteran
edited May 2006 in Philosophy
Papavagga
Evil
Translated from the Pali by
Acharya Buddharakkhita
Alternate translation: Buddharakkhita Thanissaro


116. Hasten to do good; restrain your mind from evil. He who is slow in doing good, his mind delights in evil.

117. Should a person commit evil, let him not do it again and again. Let him not find pleasure therein, for painful is the accumulation of evil.

118. Should a person do good, let him do it again and again. Let him find pleasure therein, for blissful is the accumulation of good.

119. It may be well with the evil-doer as long as the evil ripens not. But when it does ripen, then the evil-doer sees (the painful results of) his evil deeds.

120. It may be ill with the doer of good as long as the good ripens not. But when it does ripen, then the doer of good sees (the pleasant results of) his good deeds.

121. Think not lightly of evil, saying, "It will not come to me." Drop by drop is the water pot filled. Likewise, the fool, gathering it little by little, fills himself with evil.

122. Think not lightly of good, saying, "It will not come to me." Drop by drop is the water pot filled. Likewise, the wise man, gathering it little by little, fills himself with good.

123. Just as a trader with a small escort and great wealth would avoid a perilous route, or just as one desiring to live avoids poison, even so should one shun evil.

124. If on the hand there is no wound, one may carry even poison in it. Poison does not affect one who is free from wounds. For him who does no evil, there is no ill.

125. Like fine dust thrown against the wind, evil falls back upon that fool who offends an inoffensive, pure and guiltless man.

126. Some are born in the womb; the wicked are born in hell; the devout go to heaven; the stainless pass into Nibbana.

127. Neither in the sky nor in mid-ocean, nor by entering into mountain clefts, nowhere in the world is there a place where one may escape from the results of evil deeds.

128. Neither in the sky nor in mid-ocean, nor by entering into mountain clefts, nowhere in the world is there a place where one will not be overcome by death.

-bf

Comments

  • buddhafootbuddhafoot Veteran
    edited May 2006
    Interesting set of verses here.

    I know that there are many people who used to be Christian that, possibly, wondered why those that did evil or wrong to others - seemed to prosper.

    It is odd - especially for those that believed in a righteous "god" - whatever the hell that's supposed to mean.

    But, I can say, in my experience, I've known people that have "worked the system" or "gotten away with ripping someone off" or cheating anotther person, etc.

    I have also seen that, while these people seem to prosper initially, they are just biding their time until this "fruit" ripens. Fruit doesn't grow and ripen overnight. It is something that takes time.

    But, unfortunately, once this "fruit" ripens - once they have lived a lifetime of cheating, shorting, lying, conniving(sp?), etc. - it seems to ripen quickly and painfully.

    I honestly don't know how much good I do. But good is something that I do wish to sow in my life. For those around me and for my son to see and experience.

    And "not" because I don't wanna go to hell.

    -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 May 2006


    Can any scholar explain to me, the reference in ve. 126, please....?
    I'm not trying tp 'pick a fight' here.... just attempting to clarify....

    Can I sassume that, since the Buddha dissuaded his followers, disciples and Monks & Nuns from attempting to decipher the Four Imponderables, he was in fact here not denying the existence of heaven of hell, but merely expanding his explanation....? if so....How so?
  • buddhafootbuddhafoot Veteran
    edited May 2006
    I think Buddha was teaching for both Buddhist and Christian.

    -bf
  • buddhafootbuddhafoot Veteran
    edited May 2006
    Actually, I think some of Buddha's teachings spoke in allegories.

    Just as some here have spoken of "hell" being a reference to how their next life might be. Hell could be something like being born into a life which contained even more suffering than their previous life. Being born in the womb could be a life akin to their previous life. Heaven could be reborn in a life in which their previous good karma had significant effect.

    There are references to "heavens" and "hells" throughout Buddha's teachings - but, I believe, the ultimate achievement is awakening.

    But then... I could be wrong.

    -bf
  • not1not2not1not2 Veteran
    edited May 2006
    federica wrote:


    Can any scholar explain to me, the reference in ve. 126, please....?
    I'm not trying tp 'pick a fight' here.... just attempting to clarify....

    Can I sassume that, since the Buddha dissuaded his followers, disciples and Monks & Nuns from attempting to decipher the Four Imponderables, he was in fact here not denying the existence of heaven of hell, but merely expanding his explanation....? if so....How so?

    Here's what I found on the four imponderables:
    § 12. These four imponderables are not to be speculated about. Whoever speculates about them would go mad & experience vexation. Which four? The Buddha-range of the Buddhas [i.e., the range of powers a Buddha develops as a result of becoming a Buddha]...The jhana-range of one absorbed in jhana [i.e., the range of powers that one may obtain while absorbed in jhana]...The results of kamma...Speculation about [the first moment, purpose, etc., of] the cosmos is an imponderable that is not to be speculated about. Whoever speculates about these things would go mad & experience vexation.

    -- A.IV.77

    Speculation is one thing, seeing/realizing them is another. Speculation on these matters is highly inadvisable as the answers are not ascertainable by speculation. However, the buddha did go through all these issues in the brahmajala sutta. Here is a pertinent excerpt:
    "This, monks, the Tathágata understands...These, monks, are those other matters, profound, hard to see...which the Tathágata, having realized them by his own super-knowledge, proclaims, and about which those who would truthfully praise the Tathágata would rightly speak." (this phrase is repeated throughout this section of the sutta)

    ....

    "When those ascetics and Brahmins who are speculators about the past, the future, or both, having fixed views, put forward views in sixty-two different ways, that is conditioned by contact."

    "That all of these (Eternalists and the rest) should experience that feeling without contact is impossible."

    "With regard to all of these …, they experience these feelings by repeated contact through the six sense-bases; [71]feeling conditions craving; craving conditions clinging; clinging conditions becoming; becoming conditions birth; birth conditions ageing and death, sorrow, lamentation, sadness and distress. When, monks, a monk understands as they really are the arising and passing away of the six bases of contact, their attraction and peril, and the deliverance from them, he knows that which goes beyond all these views."[72]

    "Whatever ascetics and Brahmins who are speculators about the past or the future or both, having fixed views on the matter and put forth speculative views about it, these are all trapped in the net with its sixty-two divisions, and wherever they emerge and try to get out, they are caught and held in this net. Just as a skilled fisherman or his apprentice might cover a small piece of water with a fine-meshed net, thinking : ‘Whatever larger creatures there may be in this water, they are all trapped in the net, caught, and held in the net’, so it is with all these : they are trapped and caught in this net."

    Does this help, or is your question still unresolved? The buddha didn't really deny the existence of heaven or hell, though he did deny wrong notions and speculations about these issues. It is said that he had supramundane knowledge of all the planes of existence (as noted in the above quote) and had perfect knowledge of dependent co-arising and what actions cause a heavenly rebirth vs. a hellish rebirth. I imagine if you did a web-search on the 31 planes of existence you might get some more on this.

    _/\_
    metta
  • 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 May 2006
    I did a search on the 31 planes, but I couldn't get them all into my hangar....




    Sorry.

    Very helpful, BF and N1N2....Thank you both.
    I've got my poor little head round it now.

    As far as one can, that is :wtf: :D....
  • not1not2not1not2 Veteran
    edited May 2006
    In case you didn't find anything on the subject:

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sagga/loka.html
    The Thirty-one Planes of Existence

    The inescapable law of kamma guarantees that each and every one of our actions — whether it be of body, speech, or mind — has consequences in line with the skillfulness or unskillfulness of that action. We can often witness this process first-hand in our own lives, even if the effects may not be immediately apparent. But the Buddha also taught that our actions have effects that extend far beyond our present life, determining the quality of rebirth we can expect after death: act in wholesome, skillful ways and you are destined for a favorable rebirth; act in unwholesome, unskillful ways and an unpleasant rebirth awaits. Thus we coast for aeons through samsara, propelled from one birth to the next by the quality of our choices and our actions.

    The suttas describe thirty-one distinct "planes" or "realms" of existence into which beings can be reborn during this long wandering through samsara. These range from the extraordinarily dark, grim, and painful hell realms all the way up to the most sublime, refined, and exquisitely blissful heaven realms. Existence in every realm is impermanent; in Buddhist cosmology there is no eternal heaven or hell. Beings are born into a particular realm according to both their past kamma and their kamma at the moment of death. When the kammic force that propelled them to that realm is finally exhausted, they pass away, taking rebirth once again elsewhere according to their kamma. And so the wearisome cycle continues
    .

    Here is a link to the Google search I did:
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=31+planes+of+existence+buddhism

    _/\_
    metta
  • BrigidBrigid Veteran
    edited May 2006
    120. It may be ill with the doer of good as long as the good ripens not. But when it does ripen, then the doer of good sees (the pleasant results of) his good deeds.
    This is a nice explanation of why bad things happen to good people.

    As for the planes of existence, I'm passing right over them and keeping in mind that as far as I know my panic attacks may very well be my own hell realm, as well as the other suffering I've endured at the hands of others. But I'm still here. I made it through. And some of it was painful beyond description. But I made it through and I will again and I'll use the suffering to develop compassion and empathy and I'll find comfort in knowing that when I'm suffering I'm also burning off the results of bad karma.

    I don't find the law of karma to be senseless, but just the opposite. I'm beginning to view it as the highest form of wise love, with absolute impartiality, no loopholes, completely fair and just for all living beings. I can live with that. In fact, I really love it. It seems there really is no chaos.

    Now all I really care about is developing and pouring out as much love, compassion and empathy as I can. I know I've held back many times because of fear for myself and my lack of charity and those times are the only times I truly, truly regret. I don't mean charity in the Christian sense. I mean it in the sense that I know when I felt I couldn't afford to reach out emotionally and because of that I was uncharitable and withholding. I never want to be that way again. I want to be wisely magnanimous at all times, regardless of how deluded I may be to how much I can afford to give. If I have Buddhanature then I have everything to give. I will never be miserly again.

    I love this chapter the best so far. It's more weighty than the others and holds so much that I need to remember. It's words are very meaningful to me in a profound sense.
    I have also seen that, while these people seem to prosper initially, they are just biding their time until this "fruit" ripens. Fruit doesn't grow and ripen overnight. It is something that takes time.

    But, unfortunately, once this "fruit" ripens - once they have lived a lifetime of cheating, shorting, lying, conniving(sp?), etc. - it seems to ripen quickly and painfully.

    I honestly don't know how much good I do. But good is something that I do wish to sow in my life. For those around me and for my son to see and experience.

    And "not" because I don't wanna go to hell.

    -bf
    I really like this, BF. Having a child was a really good thing for you, wasn't it? It must have added good weight to your life.
    Thanks again, BTW.

    Brigid
  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran
    edited May 2006
    For those among us who still use the Bible as one of our spiritual treasures, it is worth going back to the Book of Job and actually reading it.

    When I did that, for the first time, years ago, it was after having heard references to it in sermons and read them in books. What I noticed was that the 'comforters' speak for the worldly: look at their advice and then ask yourself, "Is that how I want to behave towards those who are in trouble?"
  • buddhafootbuddhafoot Veteran
    edited May 2006
    It cannot be denied... there are excellent lessons and quotes to be gleamed from the Bible. I believe that books from many compassionate, enlightened minds all state pretty much the same thing in many areas.

    The lack of a life's luster when pursuing worldly things.
    Loving your enemy.
    Doing unto other as you would have them do unto you.
    Doing great things, but if you don't have love...

    Job is a wonderful example in someone sticking to their faith or belief. Job could be a great example of Buddha's teachings. It could be a wonderful assocation just with this thread and the discussion of these verses.

    In the end, when Job's fruit ripened he realized more family and more wealth than he had previously known.

    -bf
  • not1not2not1not2 Veteran
    edited May 2006
    I personally love the trilogy of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes & Song of Solomon. It's very reflective of the spiritual process. Proverbs is the beginning of the path, where one accumulates spiritual knowledge and begins to gain a grasp of it. The next is a seeing of the unsatisfactoriness of all worldly pursuits. "meaningless, meaningless, everything under the sun is meaningless". This is the hallmark of renunciation (and could be considered the 'dark night of the soul'). And finally we have the fruition of spiritual fulfillment (in the form of Ecstatic Judaism). This, to me, is the true demonstration of repentence (lit.-turning/changing of the mind) in the Judeau/Christian traditions. Good stuff here!

    I could go on, but I don't want to derail this thread too much.

    _/\_
    metta
  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran
    edited May 2006
    124. If on the hand there is no wound, one may carry even poison in it. Poison does not affect one who is free from wounds. For him who does no evil, there is no ill.


    An interesting one! An unwounded hand can carry poison safely because there is no 'portal' for the poison to enter. The analogy is attractive - but is it true?

    To the pure, Paul says, all things are pure (Titus) but I fear that it is only true as a mystical statement and one which requires the actual existence of perfect purity. It is also a trap into which many a guru has fallen. Paul knew it: he warned the Corinthians against it. Osho fell into the trap, and many more.

    In fact, to those who think themselves pure, all things are slightly or very dirty!
  • 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 May 2006
    I suppose we could say that there is absorption through the skin... and a 'Good' person constantly exposed to the poisons of 'evil' may well, ultimately be affected by them....
    But exposure would have to be repetitive, fairly constant and prolonged...the odd ocasional exposure, and the washing of hands, immediately afterwards, will do enough to prevent harm....

    This is all metaphoric...I see your argument, Simon, but I can also see a different perception....

    The monk incarcerated, misused and abused by the chinese for 14 solid years, was still compassioante and caring towards his malefactors....

    or am I missing something somewhere?
  • buddhafootbuddhafoot Veteran
    edited May 2006


    An interesting one! An unwounded hand can carry poison safely because there is no 'portal' for the poison to enter. The analogy is attractive - but is it true?

    To the pure, Paul says, all things are pure (Titus) but I fear that it is only true as a mystical statement and one which requires the actual existence of perfect purity. It is also a trap into which many a guru has fallen. Paul knew it: he warned the Corinthians against it. Osho fell into the trap, and many more.

    In fact, to those who think themselves pure, all things are slightly or very dirty!

    With Osho, and with others, do you think it's the desire for absolute power? Absolute adoration? Becoming used to more and more adoration - and people giving you power over them which causes the problem?

    Ultimate compassion and cessation of desire is probably one of the few ways to combat these pitfalls that people fall into.

    -bf
  • buddhafootbuddhafoot Veteran
    edited May 2006
    What are you two still doing up?

    Isn't it late in your neck of the woods?

    -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 May 2006
    I have 10:30pm....
  • not1not2not1not2 Veteran
    edited May 2006


    An interesting one! An unwounded hand can carry poison safely because there is no 'portal' for the poison to enter. The analogy is attractive - but is it true?

    To the pure, Paul says, all things are pure (Titus) but I fear that it is only true as a mystical statement and one which requires the actual existence of perfect purity. It is also a trap into which many a guru has fallen. Paul knew it: he warned the Corinthians against it. Osho fell into the trap, and many more.

    In fact, to those who think themselves pure, all things are slightly or very dirty!

    Good point, Simon. I think that last line is the key. I think a large problem here is the 'thinking themselves pure' thing. This sort of thinking itself could be considered a wound big enough for the poison to gain entry. In fact, as thinking is considered a conditioned dhamma, and is also quite unreliable, it could be said that believing such thoughts constitutes ignorance or delusion (one of the poisons). However, if one has a direct perception of their non-attachment to such things and does or accepts them with a decided indifferance, as opposed to merely thinking they are spiritual enough to not be attached, then it is possible that there will be no poisonous effects whatsoever. However, this is a very advanced state, so I am just speculating.

    I think a practical advise we can find in the line,
    124. If on the hand there is no wound, one may carry even poison in it. Poison does not affect one who is free from wounds. For him who does no evil, there is no ill.

    is to actually achieve purity of mind so that the three poisons (craving, hatred & delusion) can no longer influence our actions. This purity of mind can be achieved through meditation practices that cultivate a state of bare attention. This state is similar that of a mirror. When the object is there, it's there but when it leaves, there is no trace. Normally, these poisons are a cause for becoming, or rebirth into samsara. However, in this state of mind these poisons are simply witnessed (or held) by our awareness in a fully conscious manner. In this way, the poisons cannot find entry and the karma is expired.

    Still, this is just one manner of reflecting on this verse. I'm sure there are other ways of contemplating this line that will enhance our practice.

    _/\_
    metta
  • not1not2not1not2 Veteran
    edited May 2006
    It also reminded me of this koan:

    http://www.ashidakim.com/zenkoans/14muddyroad.html
    14. Muddy Road

    Tanzan and Ekido were once traveling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was still falling.

    Coming around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross the intersection.

    "Come on, girl" said Tanzan at once. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud.

    Ekido did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he no longer could restrain himself. "We monks don't go near females," he told Tanzan, "especially not young and lovely ones. It is dangerous. Why did you do that?"

    "I left the girl there," said Tanzan. "Are you still carrying her?"

    _/\_
  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran
    edited May 2006
    Not1not2,

    I am sure that you are right: it is about power! Indeed, the same process of ego-satisfaction can be seen among those who achieve secular power: many of them start out with the best intentions but, once in power, they appear to behave as if anything is now permitted. And the same obrtains when an Osho or a Jim Jones or, even, a Billy Graham finds that their message has brought wealth and power within the grasp.

    Some of us remember, with thanksgiving, that there have been exception:

    Dom Helder Camara:
    [SIZE=+1]Helder Câmara, former Archbishop of Olinda and Recife - the poorest and least developed region of Brazil - died on 27 August 1999, aged 90. He has been described as "one of the shapers of the Catholic Church in the second half of the twentieth century."[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+1]Born in Fortaleza on 7 February 1909, and ordained priest in August 1931, Dom Helder was made Archbishop of Olinda and Recife in 1964. During the Second Vatican Council, he worked closely with Cardinal Suenens, and was one of the most influential figures on the progressive wing of the Council.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+1]He was an outspoken champion of oppressed and indigent persons, not only in his native Brazil, but throughout the world.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+1]In his first message to the diocese of Recife, he said: "I am...a human creature who considers himself a brother in weakness and sin of all people of all races and all corners of the world. A Christian addressing Christians, but with my heart open, ecumenically, to all people of all creeds and all ideologies. A bishop of the Catholic Church who, in imitation of Christ, has not come to be served, but to serve."[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+1]In Recife, he struggled to implement his vision of the "Church of the Poor." "He avoided wearing the archbishop's purple sash, abandoned the palace in the pretentious suburbs for the aptly named 'church of the frontiers,' tucked away behind the city's inner ring road. He had his supper at the taxi drivers' stall across the road and hitched lifts around the city instead of running an official car. Nor were these mere gestures. Câmara gave away church land to provide a settlement for the landless, set up a credit union, brought clergy and laity into the running of the diocese, took the region's church students out of the seminary and put them in small communities in the parishes. He set up a theological institute in which future priests would study alongside lay people, and even receive lectures from women."[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+1][The above is based on an obituary by Francis Mc Donagh, in The Tablet of 4 September 1999][/SIZE]
  • buddhafootbuddhafoot Veteran
    edited May 2006
    Now THAT is the kind of stuff that makes one admire and person and their beliefs.

    It is refreshing to hear, someone of the clergy, still refer to themselves as a sinner and not act like a minor deity.

    Thanks for that, Simon.

    -bf
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