Dhammapada – Chapter 10 – Cruelty

The Dhammapada contains the solution to all our sufferings. Within this much-loved text are pearls of wisdom and nuggets of practical advice on how we can reduce and remove the suffering we cause to ourselves and others. 

Altogether there are twenty-six chapters. You will soon notice as you go through all the chapters that training the mind is the solution to end all suffering and it forms the basis of our spiritual cultivation, practice, and sadhana. From thought flows behaviour which then shapes our character. The Buddha’s fundamental teaching is that we are what we think. And all suffering comes from not knowing how to use our minds properly.

Of the many renditions of the Dhammapada, I have decided to share the one from The Still Point Dhammapada by Geri Larkin. I find it to be the most relevant to the struggles we face in our complicated, contemporary lives especially when we live in a city where chances are we build walls more than relationships. People matter and how we behave towards them begins with what goes on in our mind and heart. The only way out of our own suffering is actually to be inclusive. A heart big enough for all.


Chapter 10 – Cruelty

Everyone fears being hurt. All of us fear death. Knowing this, see others as yourself and cause no harm.

Everyone fears being hurt. Life is dear to all of us. Knowing this, see others as yourself and cause no harm.

A person seeking happiness who strikes others will find no happiness.

A person seeking happiness who protects others also seeking happiness will find happiness after death.

Do not use harsh words. They backfire. Angry words breed trouble. You will receive blow for blow.

Like a broken gong, be still. Know the stillness of awakening where there is no anger.

Like a shepherd with a staff who drives cows to pasture, old age and death drive each of us.

Fools committing mischief do not see the suffering their deeds bring to themselves. This suffering is as certain as the pain caused by fire.

A person who harms the harmless or hurts the innocent will experience the ten calamities: torment; illness; injury; pain; madness; danger from the government; unfair accusations; the loss of loved ones and of wealth; destruction of her house by fire; and — after death — she will be reborn in hell.

Even if you do penance, even if you fast, sleep on the ground, and sit unmoving, if you are not free of doubt you will attain peace.

He who — though richly adorned — lives with self-restraint, who is peaceful and virtuous, who does not harm or hurt or blame — he is pure.

Rarely in this world can one find a person restrained by modesty, a person who avoids reproach, constantly.

Like a well-trained horse who, when barely touched, moves forward with energy and power, be strenuous.

With your confidence and virtue, with your effort and concentration, with your investigation of the Dharma, with your willingness to see yourself, to act with restraint, and heedfully, you will free yourself of suffering.

As farmers channel water to their fields and carpenters shape their wood, so the virtuous fashion themselves.