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 6 – The Wise
A wise person who admonishes you for your faults is a good person to follow. Following such a one is like following a guide to a buried treasure. Simply being with that person is helpful to you.
Let the wise woman advise and instruct; let her dissuade you from that which is wrong. Such a woman is held dear by the good; she is disliked only by the bad.
Do not spend time with evil friends or with people who are mean. Instead associate with those who are noble.
He who drinks deeply of the Dharma lives happily. His mind is tamed. In fact, the wise delight in the Dharma as it is revealed to them.
As a farmer channels water and carpenters shape wood, so the wise tame their minds.
In the same way that a solid rock is unshaken by the wind, the wise are unshaken by praise and blame.
Just as a deep lake is clear and still, the wise, on hearing the teachings, become filled with peace.
The wise give up their attachments to everything. Unshaken by craving, they are calm with feelings of pleasure and pain. Unjust means are never used by the wise to obtain success, children, wealth, or land. In fact unjust means are never used — even for the sake of others.
Few people are able to cross the shore to enlightenment. Most spend their lives running up and down the shoreline on this side.
But those who practice according to the Dharma will awaken. They will be able to swim across the river of passions, a river difficult to cross.
The wise woman, giving up craving with enlightenment as her goal, must give up all dark states and cultivate pure, good ones.
She should seek great delight in solitude and detachment. She should let go of sensual pleasures and, clinging to nothing, cleanse herself of all mental impurities.
The people whose minds are well developed in the Factors of Enlightenment and who have rid themselves of all craving rejoice in their abandonment of grasping.
Such people, with all defilements eradicated, are powerful. They have awakened in this world.
~ ॐ ~