Dhammapada – Chapter 17 – Anger

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 17 – Anger

Forsake anger. Forsake pride. Sorrow cannot touch a person who has moved beyond himself.

The person who controls her anger, reining it in as though it were a runaway chariot, is a true charioteer, unlike those who loosely hold on to the reins.

Overcome anger with friendliness. Overcome evil with good deeds. Overcome stinginess with generosity. Overcome lies with truth. Tell the truth. Do not give in to anger. Give what you can, even if you own but a little. These three steps will lead you to the heavens.

People who do no harm, who are restrained in their actions, reach a state of Nirvana where they no longer suffer.

If a person guards his behaviour day and night, keeping his intentions pure, hindrances will drop away. There is an old saying: “They blame the person who is silent. They blame the person who speaks often. They even blame the person who says little.” No one is exempt from being blamed for something.

In this world there is not now, there has never been, nor will there ever be a person who is always blamed or always praised.

On the other hand, a person who lives a quiet and kind life every day, who is intelligent, wise, and virtuous — this person will be praised by the wise. Even the gods praise such a person.

Be heedful of the role your body plays in your life. Give up the actions that lead to sorrow. Instead do the things that lead to joy.

Be heedful of your speech. Restrain it. Watch out for angry words. Trade them in for virtuous ones.

Watch closely for anger in your thinking: restrain it; then let it go. Use your mind as a tool for compassion and wisdom. Always. Do what you need to do to keep your mind clear and awake.

Pay attention to your intentions. Control your body, tongue, and mind. This is the restraint of wisdom.