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 15 – Happiness or Being at Ease
Truly we are happy. Others may hate. We will not. Even when surrounded by people who hate we do not.
Truly we are happy. Others are happy. Others are sick. We are not. Even when surrounded by sick people we live free from sickness.
Truly we are happy. Others may wrestle with life. We do not. Surrounded by unhappy people we live free from struggle.
Truly we are happy. Free of obstacles to happiness we feed on joy. Victory produces hostility, because the ones who are defeated live in grief. Letting go of victory and defeat, the tranquil mind lives in happiness.
Desire is a fire without equal. Hatred is the greatest evil. There is no happiness greater than peace.
Hunger is the most difficult disease. Conditioned things cause the greatest suffering. When we understand this and can see clearly, we grow spiritually.
Health is the highest prize, contentment the greatest wealth. A loyal friend is the best relative and Nirvana is supreme peace.
When you taste the sweetness of solitude and tranquility you become free of sorrow and sin, fully savouring the sweetness of the way.
It is good to see the holy ones: to live with them brings happiness. Not spending time with the unskilful and unwise also brings happiness.
Therefore, like the moon following its ordained path, let each one keep company with people who are wise, steadfast, loyal, and pure.
~ ॐ ~