Friday, August 25, 2017

075. Overcome All Things Through Discipline Of Mind And Heart

The Dhammapada is a collection of the teachings of Buddha (~600BC), assembled by his disciples after his death. They represent only his essential teachings, as the extent of Buddhist scripture is much more vast, exceeding the Bible many times over in volume. Extensive excerpts from the Dhammapada are included in this and the next several posts, taken from the translation by Eknath Easwaran (1985). The reader is encouraged to obtain their own copy and read it for his or herself. Although the text is divided into many smaller chapters, the divisions across these posts are my own.

Dhammapada Part I

Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. Suffering follows an evil thought as the wheels of a cart follow the oxen that draw it. (1) Joy follows a pure thought like a shadow that never leaves. (2)

"He was angry with me, he attacked me, he defeated me, he robbed me" -- those who dwell on such thoughts will never be free from hatred. (3) -- those who do not dwell on such thoughts will surely become free from hatred. (4)

For hatred can never put an end to hatred; love alone can. This is an unalterable law. (5)

People forget that their lives will come to an end soon. For those who remember, quarrels come to an end. (6)

As the strongest wind cannot shake a mountain, Mara (i.e., the adversary/tempter) cannot shake those who are self-disciplined and full of faith. (8)

Those who put on the saffron robe without purifying the mind, who lack truthfulness and self-control, are not fit to wear the saffron robe. (9)

But those who have purified their minds, who are endowed with truth and self-control, are truly fit to wear the saffron robe. (10)

The deluded, imagining trivial things to be vital to life, follow their vain fancies and never attain the highest knowledge. (11)

But the wise, knowing what is trivial and what is vital, set their thoughts on the supreme goal and attain the highest knowledge. (12)

As rain seeps through an ill-thatched hut, passion will seep through an untrained mind. (13) As rain cannot seep through a well-thatched hut, passion cannot seep through a well-trained mind. (14)

Those who are selfish suffer here and hereafter; they suffer in both worlds from the results of their own actions. (15) But those who are selfless rejoice here and hereafter. They rejoice in both worlds from the results of their own actions. (16)

Those who are selfish suffer in this life and in the next. They suffer seeing the results of the evil they have done, and more suffering awaits them in the next life. (17)

But those who are selfless rejoice in this life and in the next. They rejoice seeing the good they have done, and more joy awaits them in the next life. (18)

Those who recite many scriptures, but fail to practice their teachings are like a cowherd(er) counting another's cows. They do not share in the joys of the spiritual life. (19) But those who know few scriptures yet practice their teachings, overcoming all lust, hatred, and delusion, live with a pure mind in all the highest wisdom. They stand without external supports and share in the joys of the spiritual life. (20)

Be vigilant and go beyond death. If you lack vigilance, you cannot escape death. Those who strive earnestly will go beyond death; those who do not can never come to life. (21) The wise understand this, and rejoice in the wisdom of the noble ones. (22) Meditating earnestly and striving for nirvana, they attain the highest joy and freedom. (23)

If you meditate earnestly, pure in mind and kind in deeds, leading a disciplined life in harmony with the dharma (i.e., law, unity of life, the Way), you will grow in glory. (24) If you meditate earnestly, through spiritual discipline you can make an island for yourself that no flood can overwhelm. (25)

The immature lose their vigilance, but the wise guard it as their greatest treasure. (26) Do not fall into the ways of sloth and lust. (27)

Overcoming sloth through earnestness, the wise climb beyond suffering to the peaks of wisdom. They look upon the suffering multitude as one from a mountaintop looks on the plains below. (28)

Earnest among those who are indolent, awake among those who slumber, the wise advance like a racehorse, leaving others behind. (29)

Hard it is to train the mind, which goes where it likes and does what it wants. But a trained mind brings health and happiness. (35) The wise can direct their thoughts, subtle and elusive, wherever they choose: a trained mind brings health and happiness. (36)

Those who can direct thoughts, which are unsubstantial and wander so aimlessly, are freed from the bonds of Mara (i.e., the adversary/tempter). (37)

They are not wise whose thoughts are not steady and minds are not serene, who do not know dharma (i.e., law, unity of life, the Way), the law of life. (38) They are wise whose thoughts are steady and minds serene, unaffected by good and bad. They are awake and free from fear. (39)

Remember, this body is like a fragile clay pot. Make your mind a fortress and conquer Mara with the weapon of wisdom. Guard your conquest always. (40) Remember that this body will soon lie in the earth without life, without value, useless as a burned log. (41)

More than those who hate you, more than all your enemies, an undisciplined mind does greater harm. (42) More than your mother, more than your father, more than all your family, a well-disciplined mind does greater good. (43)

As a flood sweeps away a slumbering village, death sweeps away those who spend their lives gathering flowers. (47) Death sweeps them away while they are still gathering, caught in the pursuit of pleasure. (48) But the wise live without injuring nature, as the bee drinks nectar without harming the flower. (49)

Do not give your attention to what others do or fail to do; give it to what you do or fail to do. (50)

Like a lovely flower, full of color but lacking in fragrance, are the words of those who do not practice what they preach. (51) Like a lovely flower full of color and fragrance are the words of those who practice what they preach. (52)

If you find no one to support you on the spiritual path, walk alone. There is not companionship with the immature. (61) They think, "These children are mine; this wealth is mine." They cannot even call themselves their own, much less their children or wealth. (62)

The immature who know they are immature have a little wisdom. But the immature who look on themselves as wise are utterly foolish. (63)

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