The Tibetan Dhammapada: 1 – 15

buThe Tibetan Dhammapada, the Udanavarga – compiled by DHARMATRATA

Translated into English from Tibetan by Gareth Sparham with guidance from Lobsang Gyatso and Ngawang Thekchok. English editing by Beth Lee. First published in 1979 by The Tibetan Cultural Printing Press (Dharmasala, India). Published in 1983 by Mahayana Publications (New Delhi, India). Re-published in 1986 by Wisdom Publications (London, England) (out of print). The text herein has been checked against the Tibetan, lightly edited and reformatted. Preface, Introduction, Poem and endnotes are omitted.

The Tibetan Dhammapada

capp 1 – 15


1 I I will relate correctly here

The Conqueror’s indicative teachings.Dispel dullness and sleepiness

And listen well with a joyful mind.

2 The Protector, the All-knowing One,

The Mighty, the All-merciful,

The Holder of the last body,

The Bhagavan spoke out these words.

3 Alas! composites are impermanent,

They start to perish when they are produced.

Since having arisen they perish;

Calming them down is happiness.

4 How can any person know joy

Or pleasure in such a hot blaze

Why don’t those living in the dark

Make an effort to find a torch?

5 What joy is there in this [body], seeing

These pigeon-colored discarded bones

Just lying scattered here and there

Where they were tossed upon the ground?

6 From that same moment of the night

Humans first enter in the womb

The journey of their life to death begins.

Once gone there is no turning back.

7 At daybreak many people can be seen,

That evening one is gone from sight;

At evening many people can be seen,

Next morning one is gone from sight.

8 Since many girls and boys have died

While young and in the prime of life,

How can one feel secure and think,

‘I’m young so I have long to live’?

9 Some die when they are in the womb,

Some on the ground where they are born,

Some die just as they learn to crawl

And some just as they learn to walk.

10 Some die old, and some die young,

Some in the very prime of life.

All people pass away in turn

Just like the fall of ripened fruit.

11 As all ripe fruit

Always falls and rots,

So all who are born

Are always by their deaths destroyed.

12 Like every pot

A skilful potter moulds from clay,

Which finally is broken and destroyed,

So too is every person’s life.

13 Like weaving wool

Stretched back and forth across a loom

Finally runs out,

So too is every person’s life.

14 Like every step of one condemned

Brings nearer the gallows

Where that one will hang and die,

So too is every person’s life.

15 Just as a waterfall’s flow

Can never turn back on itself,

So a person’s life goes on forever

Without increase, without return.

16 So hard [to obtain] and yet so short

And yet with so much suffering,

Lives are obliterated so soon,

Like words written with a stick in water.

17 Just like the herder with a stick

Who drives the flocks into the fold,

So age and sickness drive all humans

On to the place where they will die.

18 Just like a little stream,

As days and nights pass by,

A person’s goods are quickly finished,

Life, furthermore, is transitory.

19 Nights are long when one can’t sleep,

The road seems long for those exhausted,

The cyclic world is long also for those

Who do not know the holy religion.

20 Thinking, ‘I have a child and wealth’?

The infantile are ruined.

Since in [or] out a self does not exist

What sense is there in ‘my’ child and ‘my’ wealth?

2I Even though they had everything in life,

Many hundred thousand men

And women from all walks of life

Must go beneath the power of death.

22 Collections in the end disperse,

Whatever rises must also fall.

All meetings end in separation,

The final end of life is death.

23 Since life at its end turns to death

All living beings, destined to die,

Move ever closer to all those

Results of good or bad they’ve done.

24 By doing bad [actions], people fall to hells;

By virtue, rise to happy realms.

Others meditate on the path and find

Uncontaminated liberation.

25 Since Buddha and all the Hearers [Sravakas]

And all Solitary Realizers [Pratyekabuddhas] too,

Give up the bodies that they have,

It’s definite that common folk do so too.

26 Wherever you go there is no place

But that death can find an entry:

Not earth, nor sky, nor ocean deep,

Not far within the mountain side.

27 Seeing that everyone

Who has been and is yet to be

Gives up the body and departs,

The wise have fear, follow religion,

and lead pure lives.

28 Seeing old age and the pain of disease,

And seeing the mind depart at death,

The steadfast give up the prison-like home

That common people like and can’t give up.

29 Even-splendid royal coaches perish

Similarly bodies grow old.

The holy Truth [Body] is supreme,

The best persons realize it and don’t age.

30 Old age you are a horrid fool,

And all the work you do is bad.

You completely overcome

The body that is beautiful.

31 Those who have lived a hundred years

Are led along by death himself.

They either become old, or else

Fall sick and are consumed by death.

32 Going ever on without return.

Devastated as nights and days pass by,

Having the pain of birth and death:

It’s like being a fish in a steaming pool.

33 Whether one sits or moves

This life is irreversible,

Just like a mighty river’s course

Going on and on both day and night.

34 Like fish inside a shallow pool,

With the passing of each day and night

This life becomes so very short ―

How can it be enjoyable?

35 Since death will be the end of life

This body grows completely old;

It is a house of sickness that will crumble soon,

A mass of gore that perishes.

36 Alas, unobstructed, this body,

Empty and without consciousness,

Is thrown out like a blackened log

That lies in a cremation ground.

37 It is right to give this body up,

Full of pain and always sick,

Tormented by old age and death

And always leaking filthy stuff.

38 Use this gore-filled bag of bones

That’s soon to perish, often sick,

To obtain accomplishments and bliss

And peace without comparison.

39 When childish people think, ‘I will

Do this next summer or next spring

Or when the winter comes around,’

They do not see the hindrance.

40 Just like a flood passing through a town,

Soon death arises and goes off

With all the family, goods and wealth

Of people whose minds still desire such things.

41 Your children cannot protect you when

The time has come for you to die,

Nor can your parents, nor your friends.

You have no refuge at that time.

42 ‘When I’ve done this then I’ll do that,

And after that is finished, then I’ll do this.’

Old age, sickness, and death consume

Those people who make such preparations

43 So always take joy in stability; placed

In equipoise, make effort, look to the end

Of life and death, completely crush all demon ranks.

O Bhikshus [fully ordained]! Do this and transcend life and death.

This completes the first chapter about IMPERMANENCE.

Chapter 2 – DESIRE

1 Desires arise from [wrong] conceptions

So know them as desire’s root.

Avoid conceptualizations

And then desire will not arise.

2 Lamenting arises from all desires,

From all desire comes fear,

If all desire is given up

There is neither fear nor lamenting.

3 Lamenting arises from all pleasure,

From all pleasure comes fear,

If all pleasure is discarded

There is neither fear nor lamenting.

4 Desire and liking ripen into pain

Like sweetness that becomes a bitter taste,

Or like the torch not thrown away

That in the end burns the foolish holder.

5 Superiors [Aryas] say, ‘Fetters

Of rope, or those of wood and iron

Are not as strong as attachments

To youths and jeweled earrings.’

6 They say, ‘Although desire’s bonds are loose

It’s hard to be completely free of them.’

The steadfast spurn desire’s happiness

And cut them all and quickly flee.

7 The world in its variety is not desirable.

It seems desirable through mental attraction.

The steadfast subdue longing,

Because the world remains in its variety.

8 They say, ‘There is no permanent human desire,

Whatever is desired is impermanent.

So to end future birth, mentally

Surrender them all and seek deathlessness.’

9 [They] say One Who Ascends has no

Attachment to any object of desire,

Does not long for and contaminate [objects]15

And [has] a fault-free mind and memory.

10 A wise person is like a silversmith

And gradually, step by step (moment by moment),

Refines and purifies the mind

Of even the smallest impurity.

11 Like a cobbler who first cures

The leather, then makes it into shoes,

There is a complete happiness

With the abandoning of each desire.

12 If you desire every joy,

Completely forsake all desire.

By forsaking completely all desire

A most excellent ecstasy is found.

13 As long as [you] follow desire

(For that long)Satisfaction is never found.

Whoever reverses desire,

With wisdom, attains satisfaction.

14 So satisfaction is precluded by desire

While wisdom gives rise to contentment.

All those whom wisdom satisfies

Don’t fall beneath the power of craving.16

15 Alas! Whoever longs for [objects of] desire

Enjoys [doing] what is not religious.

While there is just a bit of life

[They] do not see the hindrance.

16 The vile are overcome by pleasure

And do not try to go beyond.

Debased, the craving for desires

Brings harm to themselves and others.

17 Even though a rain of karshdpana falls

The greedy are not satisfied.

The wise are sure that great harm comes

From even very faint desire.

18 To Buddhas and the Hearers

Who take no pleasure in even

The objects that the gods desire,

The end of craving gives pleasure.

19 They understand that even a heap of gold

As big as a high snow mountain

Cannot satisfy even one person,

And therefore conduct themselves well.

20 Those who know this cause of suffering

Never take pleasure in desires.

Seeing the causes of pain in all worlds

They practice steadily to pacify them all.

This completes the chapter on DESIRE

Chapter 3 – CRAVING

1 Completely overcome by [wrong] conception

People develop irresistible attachments

And see [objects] as clean; the objects of

Attachment increase and their bonds ensnare them.

2 Those who enjoy calming wrong conception,

Always mindful to meditate

On ugliness, loosen their bonds

By completely giving up their craving.

3 All those enveloped by the net of murky desire,

Covered by craving’s covering,

Careless and ensnared by bonds

Are like fish in a boiling pool.

4 Craving grows like a vine

When people act without any caution.

They follow after old age and death

Like suckling calves wanting their mother’s milk.

5 Those who remember and cling to objects

And pine for mental happiness,

Wander in the cycle of life and death continuously

Like monkeys in an orchard after fruit.

6 And pine for mental happiness,

Become closer to birth and old age.

Beings led on by their craving

Are like rabbits struggling in a trap.

7 All those tied up by craving’s knot

Grow attached to real or unreal things,

Infants enjoying the taste of clasps (afflictive emotions)

Will meet suffering again and again.

8 Those without accomplishments and bliss,

Involved in doing the demon’s work,

Follow after their old age and death

Like suckling calves wanting their mother’s milk.

9 Through this [teaching], having given up such yearnings,

And freed from craving real or unreal things,

The fully ordained, who eclipse all existences,

Achieve non-residual nirvana.

10 Commanded by this sexual craving

So hard for worldly beings to cast away,

A person’s pain increases

Like weeds when rain has fallen.

11 Having cast away, like dew-drops from

A lotus flower in bloom, this sexual craving,

So hard for worldly beings to cast away,

A person’s pains are stopped.21

12 Therefore, you who have come are being told

To be as happy as you can.

Like weeds around an usira plant

Pull out all craving by its root.

13 Since those (person) who make friends with craving

Wander for ages [through the world],

Completely uproot craving:

Then there is neither misery nor fear.

14 Again and again they take birth,

Again and again they enter wombs.

First here, then elsewhere for awhile

Beings come and then wander on.

15 Give up craving so hard to cast away

And kill its seed here through this [teaching].

Those without craving do not

Go through the cycle [of birth and death] again.

16 Don’t waste the opportunity (freedom & endowments).

Born as human or god

One exists in thrall to yearning.

Rise above craving for objects.

17 Those who are born in hells

Regret their wasted opportunity.

Therefore unless one pacifies

The craving for objects ― cause of the sea of life,

The basis of [bad] fruit, the tormentor

That spreads a net of creeping vines

Continually arising suffering

Can never be completely stopped.

18 Though cut, a tree not torn out by the root

Will simply grow again.

Likewise, recurring suffering is not dislodged

Unless afflictive craving is torn out.

19 As with a weapon I myself have made

Used by robbers to murder me,

The craving that comes from within

Is what takes my life.

20 So having understood the fault

Of craving that brings forth pain,

Give it up. Then there is no attachment

And [one] is a mindful bhikshu in all things.

This completes the chapter on CRAVING

Chapter 4 – CAUTION

1 Caution is the ground of immortality

Carelessness the ground of death.

With caution death does not occur,

With carelessness there is always death.

2 When they understand this difference

All wise persons are cautious.

The ecstasy in being cautious

Is the pleasure known by Superiors.

3 Constantly meditating on this point,

Always subduing the other side,

The steadfast encounter bliss and power

And incomparable nirvana.

4 When wise persons overturn

Carelessness with their caution,

They arrive at wisdom’s mansion

And free of pain¤(sorrow), kindly and steadfast,

Survey from the mountain top,

The child-like people on the ground.

5 With effort and with caution,

Pure morality and calm,

The wise become as islands

And turn back the great rivers.

6 Wide spreads the fame of all who are cautious,

Who persevere and have remembrance,

Good conduct, thoughtful activity

Pure vows and a religious way of life.

7 Be concerned with the surpassing mind,

Training on all the bases of the Kings (Sages).

Nirvana is the protection

Of those who always remember peace.

8 Don’t have an inferior religion,

Growing familiar with carelessness.

Don’t have a liking for wrong views.

Do not increase the world.

9 Anyone be they great or small

Who holds the perfect worldly26 view

Does not migrate to lower realms

In a thousand future lives.

10 Infantile beings are those

Who are careless and ruin themselves.

The wise are prudent people

Like merchants who protect their goods.

11 Those who do not become careless,

Letting love for desires grow,

Who always think cautiously

Attain the end of contamination.

12 Though contamination’s end is not gained

Do not be careless at this time.

Like the lion by the female beast

All those who are careless are killed.

13 Four things beset careless people

Who go off with someone else’s spouse:

They gain no merit, do not sleep in peace,

Third [they] are despised and fourth [they] go to hell.

They do wrong, no merit is attained,

Worry and fear accompany slight bliss,

Then sentenced to death by the great king

They’re hanged and boil in the living hells.

14 All those who want personal happiness

Act [with caution] as [taught] above.

Steadfast ones do not become

Like an infant’s cart and meander off.

15 When, for example, the infant’s cart

Turns from the well-kept thoroughfares

On to rough streets, the axles break

And there is great sadness.

Likewise, infants who give up

Dharma and engage in wrong

Fall beneath the power of death

And like the broken axle are smashed.

16 Contamination increases for those who,

Confident in carelessness,

Have given up the work

And do all that ought not be done.

Those whose contamination has increased

Recede from the uncontaminated.

17 Those mindful of the body nature

Who always undertake what is good,

Continually doing the work,

Avoiding what ought not be done,

Aware and with remembrance

Will end all contamination.

Those who have ended contamination

Gain the uncontaminated.

Those who just talk a lot

Are not holding holy Dharma.

18 Those who take heed of the teaching

And physically actualize

The little bit that they have heard

Are holding the holy Dharma.

19 Although they may speak much that’s true,

Like shepherds counting someone else’s sheep

The careless, not doing what they preach,

Don’t amass the fortune of religious work.

20 Although they may speak but little of the truth,

Those who practise what the doctrine says

And give up hate, desire, and ignorance

Find the fortune of religious work.

21 By singing caution’s constant praise

And criticizing carelessness,

Caution becomes, among the gods,

More important than a hundred offerings,

22 Whether they do the work or not

The wise sing caution’s praise.

The wise and prudent ones

Attain both aims with complete ease.

23 In this way they realize

The aims of this life

And the aims of future lives also;

They are referred to as ‘the wise.’

24 The fully ordained, enjoying caution

And viewing carelessness with fear,

Pull themselves out from lower realms,

Like an elephant from the mud.

25 The fully ordained, enjoying caution

And viewing carelessness with fear

Shake off all that is wrong

Like wind shakes off the leaves from trees.

26 The fully ordained, enjoying caution

And viewing carelessness with fear

Deal with afflictions both coarse and fine,

Just like the burning of a fire.

27 The fully ordained, enjoying caution

And viewing carelessness with fear

Gradually experience

Freedom from every affliction.

28 The fully ordained, enjoying caution

And viewing carelessness with fear

Pacify the composites

And realize each state of peace.

29 The ordained, enjoying caution

And viewing carelessness with fear,

Will not degenerate because

They are close to nirvana.

30 Those who with effort and caution

Do religious work do good ―

By their religious work attain

Pleasure in this life and beyond.

31 For peace rely on the trainings,

Be enthusiastic and try hard.

Realize, everyone, that forgetfulness,

Carelessness and weak endeavors,

Not keeping vows and sleepiness,

A scattered mind and laziness

Are dangerous to the trainings,

And don’t squander that remembrance.

32 By keeping pure morality

And taking pleasure in caution,

Oh bhikshus, rest in all-knowing equipoise

And take good care of your minds.

33 Get to work and get away,

Engage yourself in what the Buddha said;

Like elephants do to mud houses,

Overcome the ranks of death.

34 All who conduct themselves with caution

In this religion of calming,

Abandon the cycle of births

And make an end of suffering.

This completes the chapter on CAUTION

Chapter 5 – BEAUTY

1 Sorrows arise from all beauty

From all beauty arises fear.

When all beauty is given up

Neither sorrow nor fear exists.

2 Sorrows arise from prettiness,

From the pretty, suffering and fear;

When all that prettiness changes,

Despondency arises.

3 Every worldly type of suffering,

Each anguished sorrowful lament

Arises contingent upon beauty.

When beauty is given up they arise no more.

4 There is happiness and no sorrow

In those places on earth where beauty has been forsaken.

So those who seek freedom from dust and pain

Are never concerned with beauty.

5 Beauty not seen brings suffering

Just as when ugliness is seen.

Therefore do not involve yourself

With beauty or even with ugliness.

6 Separation from beauty

And meeting with ugliness

Gives sorrow that is unbearable

To people who are getting old.

7 When someone beautiful dies,

The sorrow of intimate friends

And family lasts very long.

Parting from beauty brings suffering.

8 When ugliness and beauty are no more

Bonds to them are not found.

Therefore don’t treat as beautiful,

Beauty that has defilement.

9 Those who forsake their goals for beauty

Do not engage in what brings pleasure;

They do what brings unhappiness

Yet wish those acts would bring pleasure.

10 Those captivated by the pleasure

Of comely shapes, do wrong,

Sink from the state of human or god

And go under the power of age and death.

11 The cautious who both day and night

Abandon comely shapes, give up

That demon-food that’s hard to leave

And extirpate the root of wrongs.

12 Treating ugliness as beauty

And that which is not good as good,

Treating what is suffering as bliss

Those without caution are destroyed.

13 If one has concern for oneself,

And does wrong, one does not

Attain an easy happiness,

So do not pursue beauty here.

14 If one has concern for oneself

And does good, then, one simply

Attains an easy happiness.

So do not pursue wrong doing here.

15 Just as remote settlements

Surround themselves with secure moats,

If one has liking for oneself

Keep a guard here guarding carefully.

16 The concerned person,

Being intelligent, is a

Sentinel at all three times

And keeps the guard guarding carefully.

17 Just as the remote settlements

Protect themselves inside and out,

Similarly protect yourself;

Don’t waste this perfect human birth.

18 Besides taking rebirth in hell

One’s life is squandered and one feels regret.

Though searching all directions with my mind

I see none with more beauty than myself.

Since others also [see] themselves as beautiful,

Therefore I do not harm others.

20 Since everyone holds life

Most dear and fears its loss,

Consider how you hold yourself

And do not strike or kill.

21 The gods extol the virtues

Of those beings with good conduct;

None disparages them here

And they attain the bliss of heaven.

22 Just as a family and friends

Sing out for joy when they see

A long lost exiled relative

Coming without mishap from afar,

So those who have merit feel joy

As for a relative, at the approach

Of people who have made merits

As they go through this world.

23 So collect together merit

For what lies beyond this world;

Beyond this world merits become

The ground of every living being.

24 Dharma practices ― [kindness], complete morality,

Awareness and a sense of shame,

And truthful speech do my own work

And causes others happiness.

25 I undertake my purpose

And other beings become happy;

In this life there is praise,

And a happy rebirth in the next.

26 Holy beings feel happiness

When incorrect conduct is stopped;

Those beings who are not holy do not [feel happiness]

When taught [ethics], and told the inner [work].

27 So the excellent and the not-excellent

Are separated at their death;

Those not holy go to hell,

The holy beings proceed to high states.

This completes the chapter on BEAUTY

Chapter 6 – ETHICS

I Among seekers of the three [types of] happiness ―

The happiness of compliments,

Of getting wealth, and of an upper birth

Those who are wise protect ethics.

2 The wise who also see the ground

Of Superiors ― the ground of complete seeing,

And of the basis of calming

This world protect ethics.

3 From ethics happiness is gained,

There are no physical torments,

At night a peaceful sleep,

And happiness on waking up.

4 Benevolent and ethical,

With the merits from what they do,

The wise always find happiness

Here and in the beyond.

5 Ethics are a virtue even in old age,

And to remain faithful is good.

Widsom is the jewel of the human race

And thieves find merit hard to steal.

6 The fully ordained, abiding in ethics,

Who also restrain their senses

And know the measure of a meal,

And try to stay awake,

Never completely degenerate.

By their efforts in these areas

And not being lazy day or night,

They get closer to nirvana.

7 Monks who are ethical

Arid strive at the meditations

On mind and wisdom

They will obtain the end of suffering.

8 Therefore always have each mindfulness,

Awareness, and the guarding

Of ethics and stability,

Arid the practice of insight.

9 After affliction ended by these,

Parting from mind and ending the rest occurs.

Those with wisdom whose bodies have perished

Thus pass to infinite nirvana.

10 Those who have meditated well

On ethics, wisdom and stability,

Reaching the extremely stainless end,

Have no more pain.

They end future births

And being freed from the bonds of grasping

Give up the body. With their wisdom

They go beyond the demon’s land

Arid shine out radiant like the sun.

11 Those monks, carelessly self-assured

About inner and outer things

Do not become fully perfect

In ethics, wisdom and concentration.

12 Rain does not fall from a clear sky;

Rain falls from the cover of clouds.

So clear away the covering clouds

And then the rain will not fall

13 Similarly always be watching

And keep the ethics of the ordained,

And quickly make immaculate

The path that leads to liberation.

14 The fragrances of flowers, joss-sticks, herbs

And sandalwood don’t move without a breeze.

Holy fragrance is not diffused by wind

For the fragrance of the holy spreads everywhere.

15 The sweet fragrance of ethics transcends

That of every kind of incense:

Of joss-sticks and of sandalwood,

Of myrrh and blue water lilies.

16 The sweet fragrance of sandalwood

And joss-sticks lasts but briefly here;

That imbued with the sweet fragrance

Of ethics, spreads here and into heaven.

17 Therefore being cautious,

Achieve immaculate ethics.

When perfect wisdom sets one free

The path of demons is not found.

18 This is the path to happiness,

It is the purifying path;

Engaging in it meditate,

And abandon the demon’s bonds.

This completes the chapter of Ethics.

Chapter 7 – FINE CONDUCT

1 Keeping fine physical conduct

And giving up conduct that is wrong,

One guards against great physical wrongdoing

And the body becomes controlled.

2 By keeping fine verbal conduct

And giving up conduct that is wrong,

One guards against the wrongdoing of speech

And the speech becomes controlled.

3 By keeping fine mental conduct

And giving up conduct that is wrong,

One guards against the wrongdoing of mind

And the mind becomes controlled.

4 Give up bad physical conduct

And verbal conduct that is bad.

Give up bad mental conduct too

And any other of one’s faults.

5 Do every physical virtue, and

Virtues of speech both great and small.

Do every virtuous mental act

And possess the four immeasurables.

If all physical virtue is done

And speech and mind do virtue too,

In this and all your future lives

You always attain happiness.

6 Since they are constantly physically controlled

The Mighty do no harm.

They go to immortality

Where sorrow is not found.

7 Since they always control their words

The Mighty do no harm.

They go to immortality

Where sorrow is not found.

8 Since they always control their minds

The Mighty do no harm.

They go to immortality

Where sorrow is not found.

9 Since the steadfast are physically controlled

And since they have control

Over their speech and minds,

Since they retain complete control

They go to immortality

Where sorrow is not found.

10 Physical control is good,

And good, as well, control of speech.

Control of mind is also good

And good is control in everything:

That person who is fully controlled

Finds freedom from all suffering.

11 Guarding your speech, controlling well your mind,

Doing no physical non-virtues:

If these three action-paths are practised

You find the path of which the Sage has sung.

This completes the chapter on FINE CONDUCT

Chapter 8 – THE WORDS

1 Whoever says that happened which in fact did not,

And all those who lie, descend to hell.

When they go beyond, both are alike

In having degraded qualities.

2 Foul words, issuing from

The mouths of living beings

Become a verbal axe

With which those beings cut themselves.

3 Praising those who should be despised

And censuring who should be praised,

Storing up quarrels with their mouths,

The quarrelsome do not find happiness.

4 Quarrels of those who lose their wealth at dice

Are settled up here for just a trifle.

But those enraged at a Tathagata

Have picked a huge quarrel for life.

5 Because mind and speech are superior,

Scorn sends one for ten million

And forty-one thousand years to cold hells

Called blistering and burst-blister hells.

6 With a wicked mind, insulting the faultless

Just kills oneself and increases hell.

The faultless powerful ones are patient,

They do not even feel annoyed.

7 Because of their evil belief,

Those beings who lose their temper

Forsake what is superior

Foe Destroyers, teaching and religious life ―

And like the bamboo gone to seed

Are destroyed by their fruit.

8 When speaking, speak only good words;

Do not say anything wicked.

It is better to speak good words

Than wickedness which causes pain.

9 The infants who speak wickedly

Become fettered when they talk.

Superiors don’t say these things

Which, if uttered, give up another [good birth].

10 The monks’ speech is controlled,

Precise and without haughtiness.

11 Whoever teaches religion’s meaning

Speaks pleasingly.

Superiors speak [first],

The best eloquence;

[Second] Their speech is pleasant and not harsh,

[Third] True not false, and [fourth]

Is religious not vulgar speech.

12 These are the words to speak;

Utter eloquently these words

Which bring neither pain to yourself

Nor cause another person harm.

I3 Speak only those pleasant words

Which bring enjoyment to the one who hears,

Which create joy,

And which do not generate wrong.

14 True words are heavenly nectar

For true words reign supreme.

That grounded in religion and facts

Is called ‘truth’ by the holy beings.

15 Supreme among all words

Are those the Buddha speaks

To eliminate all suffering

True words which go beyond sorrow.

This completes the chapter on THE WORDS

Chapter 9 – ACTIONS

1 Transgressing that one value

That loses the next world,

There then remains no single wrong

The liar will not do.

2 Better to eat

A piece of food like molten iron

Than to eat alms from the public

As a hypocrite not keeping vows.

3 If you are scared of suffering

And if you do not relish pain

Do not do secretly or openly

What wicked people do.

4 If you have done something wrong

Or are involved in wrong

And run away hoping to hide the fact,

It is no use; there is no escape.

There exists no place at all

But what you have done will follow you:

In the oceans, through the skies,

Or far off in mountain caves.

5 Do not do the bad actions

You discover that others do ―

Do not do those things;

The wrongs you do will follow you.

6 Extremely violent acts, deceit

And swindling on weight and bulk,

Doing harm to other beings,

And enticing others to these wrongs:

The consequences of these actions

Hurl the one who does them from the cliff.

7 Whether it was good or bad,

The power of any action

Once performed is never lost;

The results arise accordingly.

8 While that collection [of virtue] remains

This one gives torment [to you].

Consider these torments

Which other tormenters will give [if you ruin them].

9 Infants say of the unconsidered wrong they do,

‘There is no consequence.’

Those who migrate due to wrong action

Will understand [this] in future lives.

10 Being without understanding,

Each bad action that infants do

Delivers its burning result

At an appropriate time.

11 It is your own actions that later on

Bring torment like a searing flame.

12 Unintelligent infantile beings

Treat themselves like enemies.

They do all the wrong actions

Which bring painful results.

13 Better to refrain from actions

Which ripen into resulting

Suffering and a veil of tears

That shroud the weeping face.

14 Better to perform actions

Which do not cause suffering

And which ripen into results

Of mental happiness and joy.

15 One will experience with tears

The fruition of each wrong action

That, wanting personal happiness,

One did with laughter.

I 6 Like milk [turning to curd], a definite bad deed

Does not cause change at once.

Like fire concealed beneath the ash

It burns infant-like beings.

17 Wrong actions do not necessarily

Cut immediately like swords.

Those who migrate through wrong actions

Actualize the result afterwards.

18 Those who migrate through wrong actions

Realize in a future life

Every painful fruition

Of their previous perverted deeds.

19 As rust forms on a piece of iron

And then corrodes that iron away,

Likewise through your thoughtless action

You go to a bad migration.

This completes the chapter on ACTIONS,

Chapter 10 – FAITH

1 The holy beings praise faith, and shame,

Ethics and benevolence.

They say, With these one treads

The path leading to the celestial world.”

2 Misers don’t migrate to celestial worlds.

Being infants, they don’t praise benevolence.

The steadfast who rejoice in benevolence

Experience joy in other lives.

3 It has been said, “Best of all tastes is truth,

Living by wisdom the best of lives.

In this life humanity’s finest jewel is faith.

Joy is gained here by religion.”

4 By generating faith in the Foe Destroyer’s

Religion which goes to nirvana,

The wise listen with reverence

And gain the wisdom of that and that.

5 With caution find freedom from the seas.

With faith find freedom from the rivers.

With effort eliminate suffering,

And with wisdom become completely pure.

6 The fully ordained ― who make a friend of faith,

Who are led along by intelligence

And strongly want nirvana

Sever all the binding ropes.

7 The wise who give up all faults

By a fine familiarity with faith,

Ethics and intelligence are said to have

The finest way of being faithful.

8 Offerings are made to those

With faith and excellent ethics;

Benevolent and freed from miserliness,

In each and every place they go.

9 The wise take faith and intelligence

For their security in life;

These are their finest wealth.

That other wealth is just commonplace.

10 Those who want superior ideas,

Who like to listen to doctrine,

And those freed from stains of avarice

Are those ‘who have faith’.

11 Take the provisions of the path of faith,

Which thieves of wealth cannot devour.

Stop the stealing of the thieves.

Religious beings take this up with joy.

Always feel happiness for the

Approach of wise religious beings.

12 A benefactor, out of faith,

Gives whatever possible of food

And drink to other beings.

Anyone who feels upset by that

Does not achieve stability (concentration)

Of mind by night or day.

13 Whoever cuts off such [envy],

Like cutting the palmyra tree bud,

Achieves stability of mind

Throughout day and night.

14 Do not rely on faithless people

Who are like dried-up springs,

Or if water yet bubbles out,

Give forth a putrid, stagnant smell.

15 The intelligent rely on those with faith,

Just as those who want water find

A lake that is both deep and clear,

Soothing and without turbulence.

16 Though neither love nor lack of love

Directs a Conqueror’s gaze,

The Victor abandons those without faith

And teaches to those who are faithful.

This completes the chapter on FAITH.


1 [True] Brahmins fully forsake desire,

With effort they cut the stream [of birth];

Without fully forsaking desire

The Conqueror [state] is not attained.

2 Inferior itinerants

Again amass afflictions in the future.

So always do this specific task

With unremitting steady work.

3 All the inferior actions,

All completely afflictive austerities,

And what is not perfect pure conduct

Seem meaningful but are not so.

4 Just as an arrow held wrongly

Injures a person’s hand,

So too, guarding badly

Religious behavior leads one to hell.

5 Just as an arrow held properly

Does not injure a person’s hand,

So too, properly guarding [vows]

Lifts the ordained person beyond pain.

6 For weak, remorseful beings

Who don’t know what religious behavior involves,

Transcendence and patience are hard

And many sufferings arise.

7 Without continual remorse,

And without removing the misconception

Under which the mind labors,

How can religious work be done?

8 Ordained ones who are bad, liking bad things,

Who stay at home, undertaking wrong

Cleave to unequalled suffering

And just store up the sorrow of rebirth.

9 Most persons who wear saffron robes

Don’t keep perfect ordination.

The bad like [to teach] what is bad

And wicked, and go to lower realms.

10 Like vines around a sala tree

All those with crooked ethics

Manage to treat themselves

Just as an enemy would do.

11 Someone’s hair merely turning to grey

Does not class that person among the venerable.

Virility having come to an end,

A person is said to be simply senile.

12 The virtuous who give up wrongs

And practise in a pure way,

Who work, free from the [future] crowd,

They are known as ‘venerable’.

13 A liar who does not keep morality

Is just someone bald without religion.

How can a fool running after desires

Ever really be religious?

14 A liar who does not keep morality

Is just someone bald without religion.

The wise know those who stop doing

All wrongs are religious.

15 A liar who does not keep morality

Is just someone bald without religion.

Those who fully identify

All gross and subtle immorality

And stop doing all wrong ―

They are called true religious persons (shramana)

16 A Brahmin is one freed from wrongs;

Someone with ordination vows,

Completely freed from stains of self

This one is called an ’ordained person’.

This completes the chapter of ORDAINED PERSON

Chapter 12 – THE PATH

1 At the time that wisdom sees

The four truths of Superiors,

This path is fully understood

And craving for existence fully cut.

2 Just as a shower of rain settles

Dust blown up by the wind,

When wisdom sees, then

Conceptualizations are calmed down.

3 ‘The foremost’ is worldly wisdom

Which is a definite bringer [of the path]:

The fine realization by which

The end of birth and death emerges.

4 Among all truths stand these four truths;

Among all paths this eightfold noble path;

Among the living the best is one who sees

Abandoning desire the best religion.

5 At the time when wisdom sees

That compounds are impermanent,

The mind renounces suffering,

The path becomes purified.

6 At the time when wisdom sees

That compounds are suffering,

The mind renounces suffering,

The path becomes purified.

7 At the time when wisdom sees

That compounds are in essence empty

The mind renounces suffering,

The path becomes purified.

8 At the time when wisdom sees

That compounds are without a self

The mind renounces suffering,

And the path becomes purified.

9 As One Thus Gone [Tathagata] and Teacher

The path that I am teaching you

Severs the pain of not knowing.

You are the ones who must do it.

10 As Tathagata and Teacher

The path that I am teaching you

Excludes the pain of [all] craving.

You are the ones who must do it.

11 There being no other path than this

To purify [wrong] view [of self]

Stay well in stabilization

And throw off the demon’s bonds.

12 This true surpassing single way

Like a swan’s unwavering flight onto a lake,

The Buddha realized in equipoise

And explained repeatedly to groups.

The One who knows the end of birth and death,

The Helper, out of love, teaches

This single path by which all the waters

Were and will be and are being crossed.

13 He who sees all teaches well this path

For the final stage, peace and purity,

To end the round of birth and death

And give full knowledge in all spheres.

I 4 Just as the stream of the river Ganga goes,

Flows down and merges in the sea,

The path taught by [the One with] broad wisdom

Is entered to attain the state of deathlessness.

15 I prostrate to Him who passed from existence,

That Refuge who pacifies gods and humans,

Who out of loving-kindness for all beings

Turned the wheel of the then unheard Dharma.

16 In guarding the three virtuous conceptions,

Eliminate the three non-virtuous ones.

As a shower settles the blowing dust,

Pacify rough and subtle conception.

Then conception is calmed in the mind

And the bliss of unsurpassed enlightenment is touched.

17 Turning the mind to the three stabilizations,

Meditate on the immeasurables born from truth.

Mindful wise ones pacify the demons

And cut off the three places with these three.

18 With the sword of wisdom, the strength of effort,

Remembrance, equipoise and joy in stability,

The arising and perishing of the world is seen

And liberation from all is known.

The last world is fully realized

And [when that is] left behind,

[The state attained is] called ‘gone beyond’.

19 By meditating thusly on the calm,

True, superior Eightfold Path,

Nectar is found, fame increases,

And longed-for happiness and praise attained.

This completes the chapter on THE PATH.


Chapter 13 – HONORS

1 Like the womb of the female mule,

Like the bamboo, and plantain fruit

By which the sources are themselves destroyed,

Honors disrupt the weak.

2 The foolish are completely ruined

As long as they are offered honors.

The infant’s white part becomes obscured,

That person’s level also surely declines.

3 Vile beings who want material wealth,

The monks who want a retinue,

Those who are greedy for a place,

Those [wanting] gifts from lineage other [than family],

And those who trick either the ordained

Or laity [into honoring] them,

Thinking, “I want them in my power

To do or not do work” ―

The greed increases in the minds

Of infants harboring such ideas.

The way of getting rich differs

From that by which nirvana is attained.”

4 Having seen what is meant by this,

Monks who are Buddhist Hearers

Take no pleasure in honors,

And gradually increase detachment.

5 Don’t seek anything at all,

Don’t trick any person [into honoring you].

Shun other manner of life,

Don’t treat religion like a trade.

6 Use those things that are given to you;

Don’t covet what your neighbor has.

Monks who covet others’ goods

Fail to achieve stabilization.

7 If you want to live a happy life

And view [things] as a religious person,

Enjoy the clothes and food and drink

Given to you as community.

8 If you want to live a happy life

And view [things] as a religious person,

Huddle in your pure sleeping place

Like a snake in a mouse’s hole.

9 If you want to live a happy life

And view [things] as a religious person,

Content yourself with meager things

And focus on one –pointed [concentration].

10 Although many are unaware that

One keeps good ethics and equipoise,

Those who know this give praise, saying,

This one lives purely and is not lazy.’

11 Thinking, “This person does not know a thing,”

Fools can even abuse someone holding

The three [categories of] uncontaminated knowledge

That overcome the Lord of Death.

12 [These fools] offer to people

Who have defilement

And who possess [much] food and drink

That which they [themselves] have been given.

13 Tonsured infants in saffron robes

Want food and drink,

Rich clothes and bedding:

They just find themselves more enemies.

14 Although food will not pacify the mind,

To keep alive, do not give up eating.

Go beg for alms, realizing that food

Will keep the body healthy and alive.

15 Having realized the harm

Of these terrifying honors,

There is less trickery, a relaxed mind,

Mindfulness, ordination, and the full going.

16 The homage and offerings by those of good lineage

Are like a subtle pain that’s hard to cure;

The honors [that the foolish] can’t resist

Should be realized to be like mud.

This completes the chapter on HONORS.

Chapter 14 – ANIMOSITY

1 Having animosity

Toward those who have done no wrong,

Taints all infantile beings

In this and in the future world.

2 First it ruins me, and then

Later ruins others as well,

Like birds used as falcon bait

Ruined and ruining others too.

3 By striking, one is struck.

By enmity, one finds those with enmity.

So too, by abuse one is abused.

Animosity breeds animosity.

4 Unlike the religious person, infants

Unskilled in the holy Dharma

Feel enmity over trifles

Even though life is very short.

5 Having thought, “This [reconciliation] is the best,”

[The wise] reconcile the arguments

[That arise] when community is divided

Through lack of power [of insight] and thought due to distress and fragility.

After battery and murder,

Cattle rustling and robbery,

Even the destruction of countries.

[The laity] become reconciled.

The wise speak considered words,

Which teach the object [close mindfulness].

If you understand this religion

Why don’t you [the ordained] act likewise?

6 The system [of you who argue] is not skilled.

The others do not understand

Because you are talking nonsense:

Therefore I am trying [to teach] this [Buddhist way].

7 Those who are skilled at this [teaching]

Calm the [others] with the appropriate words:

One is talking to and abusing oneself,

Engineering one’s own defeat.”

8 “Whoever becomes offended

Will never pacify enmity.

One is talking to and abusing oneself,

Engineering one’s own defeat.

Whoever does not take offense

Will pacify enmity.

Here [in this world] enmity will never pacify

Those who bear you enmity.

Patience pacifies enmity ―

That is the nature of Dharma.”

9 Enmity never calms those with enmity;

Those without enmity calm enmity down.

Since bearing resentment harms other beings,

The wise do not feel enmity.

10 If you find a firm, well-grounded

Skilful friend with whom to work,

Suppress every affliction

And work mindfully with a happy heart.

11 If you don’t find a firm, well-grounded,

Skilful friend with whom to work,

Work alone doing no wrong, like the king

Who gives up his lands and retinue.

12 If you don’t find a wholesome friend

With whom you work in harmony

Don’t befriend the infantile.

Work on steadily alone.

13 Do not befriend infant-like ones,

Working alone is easier.

Like the Matang elephant,

Work alone with a relaxed mind.

This completes the chapter on ANIMOSITY.

Chapter 15 – MINDFULNESS

1 As Buddha has taught, from fully

Completed fine meditation

On mindfulness of breathing in and out,

Gradually an appearance occurs,

Which like the unclouded sun and moon

Illuminates the entire world.

2 If, when standing, sitting, and at rest,

Body and likewise mind are positioned,

And mindfulness well placed [on breathing],

The monk will attain all the stages.

If all the stages come to be attained

Not even the King of Death will find [the practitioner].

3 After positioning close mindfulness

On the body, whoever then controls

The six sources of contact and always remains

In equipoise, will realize nirvana.

4 Those who always position close mindfulness

On the body in all of its aspects

Do not adhere to ‘self’ nor to ‘mine’;

No grasping to self or mine will arise.

Therefore monks in such equipoise

Quickly transcend all craving for objects.

5 Those who are sentries and work at Dharma

With mindfulness, awareness, equipoise,

Joy and great faith at the [right] times

Will, it is said, transcend birth and old age.

6 Always relying on such sentry duty,

Wise bhikshus with mindfulness and effort

Give up clasping to all births

And attain liberation in this [life].

7 Listen to me! You on sentry duty,

Wakers-up of those who sleep,

Being a sentry is easier than sleeping ―

There are no fears on sentry duty.

8 By persevering at this sentry duty,

Always practising day and night

And admiring deathlessness greatly,

All contamination comes to an end.

9 Whoever has recollection

Of the Buddha all day and night

Has taken refuge in the Buddha

And makes the discovery desired by the living.

10 Whoever has recollection

Of the Dharma all day and night

Has taken refuge in the Dharma

And makes the discovery desired by the living.

11 Whoever has recollection

Of the Community all day and night

Has taken refuge in the Community

And makes the discovery desired by the living.

12 Whoever has recollection

Of the Buddha all day and night

Is a Hearer of Gautama

Because [that one is] woken up, wide awake.

13 Whoever has recollection

Of the Dharma all day and night

Is a Hearer of Gautama

Because [that one is] woken up, wide awake.

14 Whoever has recollection

Of the Community all day and night

Is a Hearer of Gautama

Because [that one is] woken up, wide awake.

15 Whoever has recollection

Of ethics all day and night

Is a Hearer of Gautama

Because [that one is] woken up, wide awake.

16 Whoever has recollection

Of generosity all day and night

Is a Hearer of Gautama

Because [that one is] woken up, wide awake.

17 Whoever has recollection

Of the gods all day and night

Is a Hearer of Gautama

Because [that one is] woken up, wide awake.

18 Whoever is always mindful

Of the body all day and night

Is a Hearer of Gautama

Because [that one is] woken up, wide awake.

19 Whoever is always mindful

Of the four stabilizations all day and night

Is a Hearer of Gautama

Because [that one is] woken up, wide awake.

20 The one whose mind takes joy

In not doing harm all day and night

Is a Hearer of Gautama

Because [that one is] woken up, wide awake.

21 The one whose mind takes joy

In not thinking harm all day and night

Is a Hearer of Gautama

Because [that one is] woken up, wide awake.

22 The one whose mind takes joy

In meditating all day and night

Is a Hearer of Gautama

Because [that one is] woken up, wide awake.

23 The one whose mind takes joy

In emptiness, all day and night

Is a Hearer of Gautama

Because [that one is] woken up, wide awake.

24 The one whose mind takes joy

In signlessness all day and night

Is a Hearer of Gautama

Because [that one is] woken up, wide awake.

25 The one whose mind takes joy

In nothingness all day and night

Is a Hearer of Gautama

Because [that one is] woken up, wide awake.

26 The one whose mind takes joy

In definite emergence all day and night

Is a Hearer of Gautama

Because [that one is] woken up, wide awake.

27 The one whose mind takes joy

In detachment all day and night

Is a Hearer of Gautama

Because [that one is] woken up, wide awake.

28 The one whose mind takes joy

In nirvana all day and night

Is a Hearer of Gautama

Because [that one is] woken up, wide awake.

This completes the chapter on MINDFULNESS.