Dhammapada – Chapter 13 – The World

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.

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Chapter 13 – The World

Do not live for pleasure — careless, deluded. Do not seek repeated births!

Pay attention to everything. Be meticulous. People who are heedful in this way are happy in this lifetime and beyond.

Follow the path of wisdom. Do not tread where there is evil. If you can live on the earth in this way, death will pass you by.

This world seems heavenly when it is really a trap for fools — a bubble, a mirage. Those who understand this are liberated.

A person who used to be lazy and ignorant but now lives heedfully lights up the whole world — just like the moon freed from a cloud.

Whoever dispels negative karma through sincere spiritual effort lights up the world indeed. He is the moon coming out from behind the clouds.

The few who understand what is real, like the handful of birds able to escape a trapper’s net, fly to the heavens.

Swans fly in the path of the sun. In the same way holy ones rise to the heavens when they leave this world. They have conquered temptation and illusion.

Scorning the world hereafter and violating the law of truth — there are no limits to the damage caused by a person’s mischief.

A fool makes fun of generosity. A mean person cannot enter heaven. The wise rejoice in giving. Happiness is their reward.

Better than ruling the world, better than going to heaven, better than being lord of all existing realms is the fruit of the sincere seeker’s efforts.

Whoever dispels negative karma through sincere spiritual effort lights up the world indeed. He is the moon coming out from behind the clouds.

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