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The Dhammapada - Chapter 13 - The World - v167 - 178

buddhafootbuddhafoot Veteran
edited December 2006 in Philosophy
Lokavagga
The World
Translated from the Pali by
Acharya Buddharakkhita
Alternate translation: Buddharakkhita Olendzki (excerpt) Thanissaro

167. Follow not the vulgar way; live not in heedlessness; hold not false views; linger not long in worldly existence.

168. Arise! Do not be heedless! Lead a righteous life. The righteous live happily both in this world and the next.

169. Lead a righteous life; lead not a base life. The righteous live happily both in this world and the next.

170. One who looks upon the world as a bubble and a mirage, him the King of Death sees not.

171. Come! Behold this world, which is like a decorated royal chariot. Here fools flounder, but the wise have no attachment to it.

172. He who having been heedless is heedless no more, illuminates this world like the moon freed from clouds.

173. He, who by good deeds covers the evil he has done, illuminates this world like the moon freed from clouds.

174. Blind is the world; here only a few possess insight. Only a few, like birds escaping from the net, go to realms of bliss.

175. Swans fly on the path of the sun; men pass through the air by psychic powers; the wise are led away from the world after vanquishing Mara and his host.

176. For a liar who has violated the one law (of truthfulness) who holds in scorn the hereafter, there is no evil that he cannot do.

177. Truly, misers fare not to heavenly realms; nor, indeed, do fools praise generosity. But the wise man rejoices in giving, and by that alone does he become happy hereafter.

178. Better than sole sovereignty over the earth, better than going to heaven, better even than lordship over all the worlds is the supramundane Fruition of Stream Entrance. 15

-bf

Comments

  • BrigidBrigid Veteran
    edited June 2006
    There's a ton of hope in this one. This is like a great pep talk to me.
  • 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 June 2006
    You 'n' me both Brigid... it's like a breath of fresh air, and a bucket of cold water, all at once....

    Very bracing....!!
  • BrigidBrigid Veteran
    edited June 2006
    LOL! Yes, that's a good analogy!
  • edited November 2006
    I still have sometimes problems to understand what is meant by "lingering not long in worldly existence". How do you all see this? Do we have stories or parables of what is considered a layman who lingers long in worldly existence, and a layman who does not?
  • edited November 2006
    Actually, I sometimes find it worthwhile not only to read the verses, but also the commentary.

    To all of you who are interested, you can find the Dhammapada verses with commentaries here: [url] http://www.tipitaka.net/pali/dhp/[/url]

    Enjoy everyone.

    PS: I found the original page i linked here some time ago thru google, the moment I typed in it is for free the moment it occured to me I should maybe check first. Instead of checking, I triggered submit. Then I was in a stressfull situation because I declared something I obviously did not know for sure. Another lesson that dukkha is rooted in ignorance!

    I provided you with a new link that is undoubtedly free for private use.

    Regards
  • buddhafootbuddhafoot Veteran
    edited November 2006
    fofoo wrote:
    I still have sometimes problems to understand what is meant by "lingering not long in worldly existence". How do you all see this? Do we have stories or parables of what is considered a layman who lingers long in worldly existence, and a layman who does not?

    I, myself, am not comfortable taking snippets of a sentence and then trying to gain something complete from the snippet. I've seen this done too much in other forms of religion - tailoring a teaching to meet your exact need of the moment.
    167. Follow not the vulgar way; live not in heedlessness; hold not false views; linger not long in worldly existence.

    168. Arise! Do not be heedless! Lead a righteous life. The righteous live happily both in this world and the next.

    169. Lead a righteous life; lead not a base life. The righteous live happily both in this world and the next.

    For me - and looking at some of the other scriptures that were associated with the statement of "linger not long in workly existence." - this is what the teaching means to me initially...

    Line 167 is talking about other teachings that were encompassed in the teaching of the Dhammapada. Heedfulness, Right View, eschewing the ways of fooleshness, etc.

    How many times has the Buddha taught of wordly views having nothing to do with helping oneself further along the Path? Spending time participating in the vulgar views and activities of what is common place in the world, does not help one to enlightenment. Do not be heedless - in the very next verse he states that we should lead a righteous life.
    Hold not false views of what and how "you" think things are. Linger not in in a worldly existence which incorporates these foolish, unrighteous and vulgar actions and views.

    At least, that's what it means to me.

    -bf
  • buddhafootbuddhafoot Veteran
    edited November 2006
    Now that I went to these links and actually checked on the discourse regarding verse 167 - I do like the changing of "worldly" to "samsara"!

    -bf
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited November 2006
    bf, fofoo,

    Yes, I agree with your assessment as it mirrors the worldly/samsara meaning quite well. I think that perhaps this line is also referring indirectly to the eight worldy conditions. From the Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines, by Nyanatiloka: loka-dhamma ('worldly conditions'). "Eight things are called worldly conditions, since they arise in connection with worldly life, namely: gain and loss, honour and dishonour, happiness and misery, praise and blame" (Vis.M. XXII). Cf. also A.VIII.5.

    Sincerely,

    Jason
  • edited November 2006
    I generally belief that there is a problem with the perception of "worldy life/existence". We with our judeo-christian background, might think than too much of the christian idea of worldly existence and its escape in a monastry. However, samsara is not merely worldly life in such a sense, it is associated with other things. It can be seen synomyous with suffering, or even cycle of suffering.

    Having said this, if a layman reads it, he might misapprehend it he has to becomea monk or at least live similar to one. I think that is not the case. The essence of "do not prolong samsara" is, do not prolong suffering, stop causing suffering to others, you should not do that. That is what i expound from verse 167.
  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran
    edited November 2006
    fofoo wrote:
    I generally belief that there is a problem with the perception of "worldy life/existence". We with our judeo-christian background, might think than too much of the christian idea of worldly existence and its escape in a monastry. However, samsara is not merely worldly life in such a sense, it is associated with other things. It can be seen synomyous with suffering, or even cycle of suffering.

    Having said this, if a layman reads it, he might misapprehend it he has to becomea monk or at least live similar to one. I think that is not the case. The essence of "do not prolong samsara" is, do not prolong suffering, stop causing suffering to others, you should not do that. That is what i expound from verse 167.

    The next verse gives the clue, I think, Fofoo:
    The righteous live happily both in this world and the next.
    One of the aspects of living as a Buddhist that has much to teach those who walk the Christian path is the love of the world and its beauty. This was shown in practice when I was in McLeodGanj where some monks have created a small garden among the litter and discarded plastic bags that decorate the deodars. And then I was taken to a picnic at the Norbulinka Institute which Gan Eden!

    I am told that Georges Bernanos, the Catholic writer, wrote, just before his death:"I have loved the kingdoms of this world more than I have ever dared to say." From very early on, Christian thought has 'demonised' the world around us, making it a source of temptation and sin. The result is our separation from nature and its processes, despite the seasonal rotation of the festivals and the calendar of saints.

    The Buddhist Dharma appears in the polluting West at a time of greatest need. Nothing so demonstrates the effects of ignoring the Noble Eightfold Path as globally as the results of gross industrialisation. And, immediately, we are challenged with a great paradox: the World is samsara and empty, but it is also the place where humans have the chance to Wake Up. It is a marvel and a wonder which we ignore or disrespect at our peril.

    Living happily in this world we neither use it entirely for our own ends nor do we discount its blessings.

  • edited December 2006
    Again, I think we must be careful not to project our ideas into terms such as "world" and "worldly". "the love of the world and its beauty" I hold to be a controversal statement.How pleasant a paricular world(loka) might seem, it is part of samsara, which I hasten to desribe as beautiful or worth to be loved.

    Regards
  • buddhafootbuddhafoot Veteran
    edited December 2006
    This is an interesting turn of discussions...

    Is there anything wrong with the love of this world and it's beauty?

    Before man created the word "beauty" - was not the Earth still beautiful? Before man was even around - was not this world still beautiful and majestic?

    Does anyone know what Buddha's teachings of "love of this world" were? I can't see that loving the Earth and taking care of it is a bad thing. Now, I just wonder if there is a difference between the discussion of "world" (worldly things created by man and by the mind of man) and this Earth.

    I did run across this:
    167. Follow not the vulgar way; live not in heedlessness; hold not false views; linger not long in worldly existence.

    168. Arise! Do not be heedless! Lead a righteous life. The righteous live happily both in this world and the next.

    169. Lead a righteous life; lead not a base life. The righteous live happily both in this world and the next.

    170. One who looks upon the world as a bubble and a mirage, him the King of Death sees not.

    171. Come! Behold this world, which is like a decorated royal chariot. Here fools flounder, but the wise have no attachment to it.

    172. He who having been heedless is heedless no more, illuminates this world like the moon freed from clouds.

    173. He, who by good deeds covers the evil he has done, illuminates this world like the moon freed from clouds.

    174. Blind is the world; here only a few possess insight. Only a few, like birds escaping from the net, go to realms of bliss.

    175. Swans fly on the path of the sun; men pass through the air by psychic powers; the wise are led away from the world after vanquishing Mara and his host.

    176. For a liar who has violated the one law (of truthfulness) who holds in scorn the hereafter, there is no evil that he cannot do.

    177. Truly, misers fare not to heavenly realms; nor, indeed, do fools praise generosity. But the wise man rejoices in giving, and by that alone does he become happy hereafter.

    178. Better than sole sovereignty over the earth, better than going to heaven, better even than lordship over all the worlds is the supramundane Fruition of Stream Entrance.

    -bf
  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran
    edited December 2006
    re: loving the world.

    Perhgaps this is the place to ask again for a reference to a story of the Buddha who is visited by bodhisattvas, etc. who complain about samsara. The Tathagata, having listened to it all, ends the debate by pointing out that this world of all the millions of worlds is the one in which he has chosen to turn the wheel of Dharma.

    I read it some years ago and cannot find it again.

    It reminded me of the verse that I have used for too many years to demand proper Christian respect for the world and the environment in which we live:
    God so loves the world that he gave his son for it.
    (John 3:16, with tense changed from the Greek)

    I believe that we must honour samsara because, without it, there would be no awakening. Neither clinging to it nor aversion from it seems very skillful or very compassionate.
  • edited December 2006
    I do not consider the absence of love linked with the arising of hatred or aversion. Love is a very romantic expression imo. Terms I often came across when reading about Buddhism are equability and compassion towards sentinent beings who are wandering samsara. There lies the difference imo. As for the caring, the christian termCaritas if expanded from humans to sentinent beings might describe that actually better than "love" for the world.

    Regards
  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran
    edited December 2006
    Fofoo, dear heart,

    I have spent so many fruitless years to find a word, in many languages, to express the notion underlying caritas. The fact is that the English word, as used in the Authorised Version of the Bible, is charity but it has been devalued in its own way, just as love has been devalued by 19th century romanticism.

    It would be interesting to try to rehabilitate charity as a useful, 'technical' term, although it may be peine perdue. I have exactly the same problem with the word "kingdom" in a world where we elect beauty queens!
  • edited December 2006
    I think every term shares that fate, when abused. to "loving-kindness", the same could happen at some point. Imo one gets the notion beyond mere phrases by instinct, looking at the deeds of those who utter it. :)

    The point I was trying to make here, since this is the Dhammapada chapter on the world (loka), is that the relation to world at least is ambivalent. Instead praising the world, we are called to see it as a bubble, to live nevertheless rightous, do good deeds, give with joy, abstain from lying and so on, as the rest of the verses tell us. :)
  • Bobby_LanierBobby_Lanier Veteran
    edited December 2006
    buddhafoot wrote:
    This is an interesting turn of discussions...

    Is there anything wrong with the love of this world and it's beauty?

    Before man created the word "beauty" - was not the Earth still beautiful? Before man was even around - was not this world still beautiful and majestic?

    Does anyone know what Buddha's teachings of "love of this world" were?

    The Greek philosophers certainly differentiated between profane love and the higher eros (Plato's Symposium is a nice place to begin to get a feel for eros). Not wishing to go out on a limb too much, the higher 'eros' of Buddhism is probably compassion (karuna). (Scotus Erigena thought of compassion as painless sympathy with pain.)

    As for the specific question asked about "love of this world", there are a lot of worldly things that one cannot love. War is one of those things which comes to mind. By and large, the Buddha's take on the world was that it is sahaloka which can be rendered as 'world of forbearance'.

    I am not aware of any religion that encourages profane love or love of the mundane world—love of God, wisdom, and truth—well, those are okay.

    St. Francis of Assisi taught the need to love the infidels rather than wage war against other religions. Where is he now that we need him?

    Compassion (karuna), which I use here as love, according to the Shraddhotpâda-shâstra (The Awakening of Faith), deals with the uprooting of sufferings of sattva (being or the sentient essence as embodied). The only way to do this is to follow the Buddha’s teachings which were originally given by the Buddha out of compassion or love.

    A least we forget, the world is suffering. It is hard to love suffering.


    Love ya'll,


    Bobby
  • PalzangPalzang Veteran
    edited December 2006
    It is important to remember that nirvana is not other than samsara. The key to overcoming samsara and achieving nirvana is not by hating samsara, but through boundless love for the beings suffering in it. It is the same love that drives bodhisattvas to take rebirth in samsara lifetime after lifetime, not because they like samsara, but out of compassion for those trapped in it.

    Palzang
  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran
    edited December 2006
    Palzang wrote:
    It is important to remember that nirvana is not other than samsara. The key to overcoming samsara and achieving nirvana is not by hating samsara, but through boundless love for the beings suffering in it. It is the same love that drives bodhisattvas to take rebirth in samsara lifetime after lifetime, not because they like samsara, but out of compassion for those trapped in it.

    Palzang

    Whilst I think you are quite right, Palzang, I wonder whether you go far enough. The thing that I experience, in a small and fragmentary way, is that compassion is without exceptions. As with the Tao, only when compassion is lost do 'better' and 'worse' arise. With most us, slow learners, metta is progressive or, perhaps, more accurately, awareness of it grows by small increments. There can be no difference in compassion towards suffering humanity or towards those 'blown out', having escaped samsara.
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