Dhammapada – Chapter 21 – Scattered Themes

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 20 – Scattered Themes

By giving up a lesser happiness one may gain a much greater one. Let the wise give up the lesser to attain the greater.

A person who seeks her own happiness by inflicting pain on others ends up caught in hatred.

By doing things that should not be done and not doing things that should be done, the arrogant and unmindful will only deepen their corruptions.

Those who earnestly practice mindfulness will be aware of what they are doing. They will not do things that should not be done. Instead they will do what needs doing. As a result their corruptions will dissipate.

Having killed craving and conceit, having let go of attachment, the holy ones have no regrets.

Having killed craving and conceit, having destroyed the hindrances to their practice, the holy ones have no regrets.

From the time they arise, throughout the day, until they go to sleep, the followers of Buddha constantly take refuge in him.

From the time they arise, throughout the day, until they go to sleep, the followers of Buddha constantly take refuge in the Dharma.

From the time they arise, throughout the day, until they go to sleep, the followers of Buddha constantly take refuge in the Sangha.

From the time they arise, throughout the day, until they go to sleep, the followers of Buddha know not to be attached to their bodies.

From the time they arise, throughout the day, until they go to sleep, the followers of Buddha delight in doing no harm.

From the time they arise, throughout the day, until they go to sleep, the followers of Buddha delight in meditation.

In is hard to be wholly spiritual. It is difficult to delight in practicing spirituality all the time. But our earthly lives are also hard, and associating with people who are not spiritual can be difficult as well.

The main point is this: woe befalls people who live a completely worldly life. Do not pursue a life of woe.

A person who is confident and virtuous, who has fame and wealth, is honored wherever he may go.

Like the Himalayas the good are visible even from afar. Like bullets shot in the night the wicked cannot be seen even if they are right next to us.

Those who — with great energy — sit alone, rest alone, walk alone, and control themselves will find delight in the forest.

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