Dhammapada – Chapter 9 – Evil

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 9 – Evil

Quickly do good. Protect your mind. The mind of one who is slow in doing good will give in to mischief.

If you commit an evil deed do not do it again. Avoid finding pleasures this way. In the end there will be misery.

If you perform good deeds do them again and again. Here is where pleasure lies – and bliss.

An evil person may experience happiness until the evil deed plays out, but when it does she will experience pain.

A person performing good deeds may still meet with suffering until his good deed bears fruit. But when it does there will be benefit.

Do not make light of harmful actions thinking, “It won’t circle back to me.” Water falling drop by drop will fill the largest pot. Likewise a fool who commits herself to harmful actions is gradually filled with evil.

Do not underestimate good deeds thinking, “They won’t circle back to me.” Water falling drop by drop will fill the largest pot. Likewise a person who performs good deeds becomes goodness itself.

In the same way that an executive with great wealth and few bodyguards avoids a dangerous place one should avoid evil. Avoid it the way a person wanting to live avoids poison.

If a person’s hand is free of wounds he can carry poison without being harmed. In the same way the pure come to no harm.

Whoever harms the harmless, the pure and innocent, will discover that evil comes back at him like a fine dust thrown against the wind.

Evildoers are reborn in miserable states. Those who do good are reborn in happy states. Those who are free from all clinging and craving go on to perfect peace.

Not in the sky, not in the ocean, not in a mountain cave. There is no place on earth where you can hide from the consequences of an evil deed.

Not in the sky, not in the ocean, not in a mountain cave. There is no place on earth where you can hide from your own doing.

If you perform good deeds do them again and again. Here is where pleasure lies — and bliss.

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