Dhammapada – Chapter 3 – The Mind

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 3 – The Mind

A flickering, fickle mind is difficult to control. The wise person strengthens it with determination.

Like a fish thrown onto the shoreline, the mind thrashes and quivers when we do not transcend passions.

The mind is difficult to control. It flies from object to object, landing wherever it pleases. Thus it is good to tame the mind, for a well-tamed mind brings happiness.

The mind is also very difficult to perceive because it can be subtle — moving all over the place, stopping wherever it pleases. A wise man guards his mind, knowing that a guarded mind brings happiness.

The mind, quieted, frees us from all delusions.

A person whose mind is not steadfast, whose confidence wavers, who does not know how to quiet her mind, will never know perfect wisdom.

But a person whose mind is quiet and clear — who has transcended good and evil — for such a vigilant one there is no fear.

Knowing how fragile our bodies are, we need to make a fortress of our minds. In this way when temptation strikes, wisdom is the weapon that will defend us from anger, greed, and delusion.

Before long our bodies, deprived of consciousness, will lie on the earth, discarded like unwanted appliances.

Your own mind, untamed, can harm you more than anyone or anything, even your own worst enemy.

Neither your mother nor your father nor any relative can help you more than your own mind when it is calm and clear.

Direct it toward good.