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.
Indulging in transient pleasures while failing to do the real work of our lives leads us to envy the ones who have spent time and energy on their spiritual work.
Let a man be free from clinging to pleasure and his aversion to pain, for clinging to pleasure creates sorrow. And both pain and aversion to it create sorrow as well.
Sorrow arises out of pleasure. So does fear. So freeing yourself from clinging to pleasure will free you from fear and sorrow. From passion spring grief and fear. Those who transcend passion’s bonds have no grief or fear.
From sensuous delight come grief and fear. Those who transcend the bonds of sensuous delight have no grief or fear.
From lust, grief. From lust, fear. Those who transcend lust’s bonds have no grief or fear. Any kind of craving causes grief and fear. Let go of craving to be free of both.
The woman who possesses character, insight, wisdom, and compassion, who is just, speaks the truth, and focuses on her own work, is a woman held dear by the world.
The man in whom a desire for enlightenment has surfaced, whose mind is driven to wake up, whose thoughts are not confused by sensuality — this man is called uddham-soto, “he who goes upstream.”
Just as a person who has been gone for a long time is welcomed on his safe return home with joy by his relatives, friends, and well-wishers, so will you be welcomed, when you move beyond this life, by the good deeds you have done in this lifetime.
~ ॐ ~