Dhammapada – Chapter 2 – Heedfulness

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 2 – Heedfulness

Heedfulness is the path to the deathless; inattention the path to death. The heedful do not die. Those who are inattentive are already dead.

Understanding this, the wise rejoice in heedfulness.

The woman who is constantly heedful is freed. The man who is constantly heedful is freed. Both attain Nirvana.

Happiness steadily increases for the person who is energetic, heedful, pure in conduct, and kind.

Persevere. With your sustained effort, earnestness, discipline, and self-control, you will make for yourself an island which no flood can destroy.

Fools indulge in inattention while the wise guard their heedfulness as the most important thing in their lives.

Do not lose your focus. Do not become inattentive. Do not let yourself become addicted to sensual pleasures.

In the strength of your resolve you will discover true bliss.

Replacing inattention with heedfulness, the wise woman is free from sorrow. From her place of wisdom she can see the sorrow of the world.

Heedful among the inattentive, watchful among the sleeping, the wise man surpasses the foolish man just as a young racehorse outruns an old steed.

Through heedfulness Indra became king of the gods.

Attention is always praised. Inattention is always blamed.

The person on a spiritual path who delights in heedfulness and fears inattention advances like fire, burning everything that is holding her back.

The person on a spiritual path who delights in heedfulness and fears inattention cannot fail. He has found the path to happiness.