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 8 – The Thousands
Though a thousand verses of useless words may be offered, better is a single sound that, heard, brings peace.
Though a thousand verses of useless words may be offered, better is a single verse that, heard, brings peace.
Though a thousand verses of useless words may be recited, it is better to listen to a single word of the Dharma. This is where one finds peace.
Better than conquering a million soldiers in a battle is victory over oneself. Self-conquest is a far greater victory than conquering others. No one, not even a demon, can win back the victory of such a person. He is self-subdued. She lives in continuous restraint.
You could make a thousand sacrifices, month after month, for a hundred years and not honor the teachings as much as showing respect — for a single moment — to a person who has conquered herself.
You could tend sacred fires in the woods for a century and not honor the teachings as deeply as a moment of reverence given to a person who has conquered himself.
In this world the gifts a person seeking merit might give in a year are not worth a fraction of a moment’s reverence to one who has conquered herself.
Those in the habit of constantly honoring and protecting people whose spirituality has matured experience the four blessings of a long life, beauty, joy, and strength.
Better than a hundred years of immorality and unrestraint is a single day in the life of one who is moral and sits in meditation.
Better than a hundred years without wisdom and control is a single day in the life of one who is wise and sits in meditation.
Better than a hundred years of living in idleness and inactivity is a single day spent in intense effort.
Even if you live a hundred years, unless you understand how all things arise and pass away, a single day in the life of a person who understands impermanence is more valuable.
Even if you live a hundred years, unless you perceive the deathless state, a single day in the life of a person who sees and understands the deathless state is more valuable.
Even if you live a hundred years, unless you understand what is true, a single day in the life of a person who does understand is more valuable.
~ ॐ ~