Dhammapada – Chapter 14 – Buddha

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 14 – Buddha, the Awakened

Those whose conquest of desire is complete cannot be moved by desire. They create no karma. For them there are no entanglements, no cravings for pleasure.

The wise, intent on meditation, delight in the peace that comes from letting go. Such mindful people even the gods cherish.

Rare it is to be born human. More rare still to hear the Dharma. Most rare to see a Buddha.

Shun evil. Cultivate good. Purify your heart. This is the teaching of the Buddha.

Patience that is enduring is the best discipline. One who practises such patience with her whole heart, letting go of her addiction to desire, harming no one, oppressing no one — Nirvana is hers.

Do not harm. Do not insult. Use the precepts to help yourself. Eat modestly. In solitude and intent on meditation follow the teaching of the Buddha.

Rain could turn into coins of gold, and we would still crave. Sensual pleasures are sweet and yet so painful.

Knowing this, the student of Buddha refuses to crave pleasure even in the form of heaven. Fear may lead a person to seek refuge in the mountains or in the forest, in groves of sacred trees or temples.

But these refuge are not safe because they are not the final refuge. The final refuge is the one taken in Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.

When we take that refuge, we come to see the Four Noble Truths of suffering, the cause of suffering, the possibility of the release of suffering, and the mechanics of that release – the Noble Eightfold Path.

This is the supreme refuge. By seeking refuge in these three jewels one is freed from all sorrow.

It is hard to find people with great wisdom. They are rare. Happy is the family into which one with wisdom is born. Blessed is the birth of the Buddha. Blessed is the teaching of the Dharma. Blessed is the refuge in Sangha. Blessed are those trained in these refuges.

Honor those who have overcome wrong views and rid themselves of sorrow — whether they are Buddha or his students. The value of this reverence is unimaginable beneficial.

Rare it is to be born human. More rare still to hear the Dharma. Most rare to see a Buddha.

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