Dhammapada – Chapter 26 – The Noble One

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 26 – The Noble One

Cut off the stream of craving with diligence. Abandon all sense-desires. Know the end of conditioned experience. Know Nirvana.

With tranquility and insight-meditation a noble one will move far along the spiritual path, and all fetters that have been holding him back will pass away.

A person who is free of fear and attachments, who is unstressed and free from moral defilements — this person is a noble one.

The sun shines during the day. The moon shines at night. The king shines in his regalia. The follower shines in meditation. The Buddha, in his glory, shines day and night.

Because she has rejected evil she is called a noble one. Because he lives in peace he is called calm. Because she gives up impurities she is known as someone who has uprooted her defilements.

One should not physically harm a noble one, nore should a noble one get angry at someone who has struck him.  Shame on the person who hits! Shame on the person who gives in to anger!

For someone who is noble, not needing to retaliate is a great gift. When the mind is weaned from desire, when the intent to harm stops, sorrow will subside.

The person who does no evil — not with her body, not with her speech, not with her mind — the person who is skilled in all these ways; her I call noble.

Anyone who helps you to understand the teachings of the Buddha should be revered in the same way that some traditions revere sacrificial fire.

One does not become noble by looking the part. One does not become noble by being born into the right family. One does not become noble just because she was lucky enough to have a human birth. But where both truth and wisdom exist in a person, that person is truly noble.

What’s the use of shaving your head? What’s the point of dressing the part? Inside you are overflowing with desire, and yet you dress like a spiritual seeker.

A person who wears any type of clothing, even rags, who is lean, whose effort is clear, who can meditate alone even in a forest: him I call noble.

I do not call a person noble just because he was born into a wealthy family. A person continues to cling to things, people, places, and senses I can only call dear. Only a person freed from defilements, a person who has cut off all clinging, do I call noble.

He who has cut out all that holds him back, who is fearless, who has gone beyond all attachments: him I call a noble one. The person who has cut the strap of hatred, the rope of lust, the cage of heresies, who has thrown up the crossbar of delusion, who is enlightened: him I call a noble one.

The person who deals with abuse without anger, whose patience is undefeatable by the strongest army: her I call a noble one.

The person who is dutiful, virtuous, self-controlled, free from anger, and free from craving will not need to live as a human again: him I call a noble one.

The person who, in this world, is able to end sorrow, who puts down the burden of his defilements and is freed of them: him I call a noble one.

She whose knowledge is deep, who is wise, who knows right from wrong and acts accordingly, who has awakened: her I call a noble one.

Whoever detaches himself both from laity and from spiritual wanderers having simple needs: him I call a noble one.

The person who has completely given up the use of force with all beings, weak or strong, who neither harms nor kills: her I call a noble one.

The person who is friendly among the hostile, peaceful among the violent, unattached from the attached: him I call a noble one. The person in whom desire, hatred, pride, and detraction have fallen away: her I call a noble one.

He whose words are gentle, instructive, and true, the one who offends no one through his speech: him I call a noble one.

She who, in this world, takes nothing that has not been given to her — long or short, big or small, good or bad: her I call a noble one.

The person who has no desire for this world or the next, who is free from craving and moral defilements: him I call a noble one.

He who has transcended both good and bad, and attachments as well, who is free from sorrow, stainless, and pure: him I call a noble one.

She who is clear as the moon, who is pure, serene, unperturbed, who has destroyed craving for becoming: her I call a noble one.

He who has crossed the dangerous swamp of passion, the difficult road of defilements, the ocean of life, and the darkness of ignorance has reached the other shore – Nirvana.

She who practices tranquility, heedfulness, meditation, who is free from craving and doubt, who clings to nothing and remains in perfect peace: her I call a noble one.

Giving up sense-desires, he who has renounced the worldly life and become a spiritual seeker; he who has destroyed sense-desires and has come to the end of his existence: him I call a noble one.

Giving up craving, she who would renounce worldly life and become a spiritual seeker; she who has destroyed craving and has come to the end of her existence: her I call a noble one.

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