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The Dhammapada, continued...

The Just If you determine your course With force or speed, You miss the way of the dharma. Quietly consider What is right and what is wrong. Receiving all opinions equally, Without haste, wisely, Observe the dharma. Who is wise, The eloquent or the quiet man? Be quiet, And loving and fearless. For the mind talks. But the body knows. Gray hairs do not make a master. A man may grow old in vain. The true master lives in truth, In goodness and restraint, Nonviolence, moderation and purity. Fine words or fine features Cannot make a master Out of a jealous and greedy man. Only when envy and selfishness Are rooted out of him May he grow in beauty. A man may shave his head But if he still lies and neglects his work, If he clings to desire and attachment, How can he follow the way? The true seeker Subdues all waywardness. He has submitted his nature to quietness. He is a true seeker Not because he begs But because he follows the lawful way, Holding back nothing, holding to nothing, Beyond good and evil, Beyond the body and beyond the mind. Silence cannot make a master out of a fool. But he who weighs only purity in his scales, Who sees the nature of the two worlds, He is a master. He harms no living thing. And yet it is not good conduct That helps you upon the way, Nor ritual, nor book learning, Nor withdrawal into the self, Nor deep meditation. None of these confers mastery or joy. O seeker! Rely on nothing Until you want nothing. The Way The way is eightfold. There are four truths. All virtue lies in detachment. The master has an open eye. This is the only way, The only way to the opening of the eye. Follow it. Outwit desire. Follow it to the end of sorrow. When I pulled out sorrow's shaft I showed you the way. It is you who must make the effort. The masters only point the way. But if you meditate And follow the dharma You will free yourself from desire. "Everything arises and passes away." When you see this, you are above sorrow. This is the shining way. "Existence is sorrow." Understand, and go beyond sorrow. This is the way of brightness. "Existence is illusion." Understand, and go beyond. This is the way of clarity. You are strong, you are young. It is time to arise. So arise! Lest through irresolution and idleness You lose the way. Master your words. Master your thoughts. Never allow your body to do harm. Follow these three roads with purity And you will find yourself upon the one way, The way of wisdom. Sit in the world, sit in the dark. Sit in meditation, sit in light. Choose your seat. Let wisdom grow. Cut down the forest. Not the tree. For out of the forest comes danger. Cut down the forest. Fell desire. And set yourself free. While a man desires a woman, His mind is bound As closely as a calf to its mother. As you would pluck an autumn lily, Pluck the arrow of desire. For he who is awake Has shown you the way of peace. Give yourself to the journey. "Here shall I make my dwelling, In the summer and the winter, And in the rainy season." So the fool makes his plans, Sparing not a thought for his death. Death overtakes the man Who, giddy and distracted by the world, Cares only for his flocks and his children, Death fetches him away As a flood carries off a sleeping village. His family cannot save him, Not his father nor his sons. Know this. Seek wisdom, and purity. Quickly clear the way. Out of the Forest There is pleasure And there is bliss. Forgo the first to possess the second. If you are happy At the expense of another man's happiness, You are forever bound. You do not what you should. You do what you should not. You are reckless, and desire grows. But the master is wakeful. He watches his body. In all his actions he discriminates, And he becomes pure. He is without blame Though once he may have murdered His mother and his father, Two kings, a kingdom, and all its subjects. Though the kings were holy And their subjects among the virtuous, Yet he is blameless. The followers of the awakened Awake And day and night they watch And meditate upon their master. Forever wakeful, They mind the dharma. They know their brothers on the way. They understand the mystery of the body. They find joy in all beings. They delight in meditation. It is hard to live in the world And hard to live out of it. It is hard to be among the many. And for the wanderer, how long is the road Wandering through many lives! Let him rest. Let him not suffer. Let him not fall into suffering. If he is a good man, A man of faith, honored and prosperous, Wherever he goes he is welcome. Like the Himalayas Good men shine from afar. But bad men move unseen Like arrows in the night. Sit. Rest. Work. Alone with yourself, Never weary. On the edge of the forest Live joyfully, Without desire. The Dark One man denies the truth. Another denies his own actions. Both go into the dark. And in the next world suffer For they offend truth. Wear the yellow robe. But if you are reckless You will fall into darkness. If you are reckless, Better to swallow molten iron Than eat at the table of the good folk. If you court another man's wife You court trouble. Your sleep is broken. You lose our honor. You fall into darkness. You go against the law, You go into the dark. Your pleasures end in fear And the king's punishment is harsh. But as a blade of grass held awkwardly May cut your hand, So renunciation may lead you into the dark. For if in your renunciation You are reckless and break your word, If your purpose wavers, You will not find the light. Do what you have to do Resolutely, with all your heart. The traveler who hesitates Only raises dust on the road. It is better to do nothing Than to do what is wrong. For whatever you do, you do to yourself. Like a border town well guarded, Guard yourself within and without. Let not a single moment pass Lest you fall into darkness. Feel shame only where shame is due. Fear only what is fearful. See evil only in what is evil. Lest you mistake the true way And fall into darkness. See what is. See what is not. Follow the true way. Rise. The Elephant I shall endure harsh words As the elephant endures the shafts of battle. For many people speak wildly. The tamed elephant goes to battle. The king rides him. The tamed man is the master. He can endure hard words in peace. Better than a mule Or the fine horses of Sindh Or mighty elephants of war Is the man who had mastered himself. Not on their backs Can he reach the untrodden country. But only on his own. The mighty elephant Dhanapalaka Is wild when he is in rut, And when bound he will not eat, Remembering the elephant grove. The fool is idle. He eats and he rolls in his sleep Like a hog in a sty. And he has to live life over again. "My own mind used to wander Wherever pleasure or desire or lust led it. But now I have it tamed, I guide it, As the keeper guides the wild elephant." Awake. Be the witness of your thoughts. The elephant hauls himself from the mud. In the same way drag yourself out of your sloth. If the traveler can find A virtuous and wise companion Let him go with him joyfully And overcome the dangers of the way. But if you cannot find Friend or master to go with you, Travel on alone - Like a king who has given away his kingdom, Like an elephant in the forest. Travel on alone, Rather than with a fool for company. Do not carry with you your mistakes. Do not carry your cares. Travel on alone. Like an elephant in the forest. To have friends in need is sweet And to share happiness. And to have done something good Before leaving this life is sweet, And to let go of sorrow. To be a mother is sweet, And a father. It is sweet to live arduously, And to master yourself. O how sweet it is to enjoy life, Living in honesty and strength! And wisdom is sweet, And freedom. Desire If you sleep, Desire grows in you Like a vine in the forest. Like a monkey in the forest You jump from tree to tree, Never finding the fruit - From life to life, Never finding peace. If you are filled with desire Your sorrows swell Like the grass after the rain. But if you subdue desire Your sorrows shall fall from you Like drops of water from a lotus flower. This is good counsel And it is for everyone: As the grass is cleared for the fresh root, Cut down desire Lest death after death crush you As a river crushes the helpless reeds. For if the roots hold firm, A felled tree grows up again. If desires are not uprooted, Sorrows grow again in you. Thirty-six streams are rushing toward you! Desire and pleasure and lust... Play in your imagination with them And they will sweep you away. Powerful streams! They flow everywhere. Strong vine! If you see it spring up, Take care! Pull it out by the roots. Pleasures flow everywhere. You float upon them And are carried from life to life. Like a hunted hare you run, The pursuer of desire pursued, Harried from life to life. O seeker! Give up desire, Shake off your chains. You have come out of the hollow Into the clearing. The clearing is empty. Why do you rush back into the hollow? Desire is a hollow And people say "Look! He was free. But now he gives up his freedom." It is not iron that imprisons you Nor rope nor wood, But the pleasure you take in gold and jewels, In sons and wives. Soft fetters, Yet they hold you down. Can you snap them? There are those who can, Who surrender to the world, Forsake desire, and follow the way. O slave of desire, Float upon the stream. Little spider, stick to your web. Or else abandon your sorrows for the way. Abandon yesterday, and tomorrow, And today. Cross over to the father shore, Beyond life and death. Do your thoughts trouble you? Does passion disturb you? Beware of this thirstiness Lest your wishes become desires And desire binds you. Quieten your mind. Reflect. Watch. Nothing binds you. You are free. You are strong. You have come to the end. Free from passion and desire, You have stripped the thorns from the stem. This is you last body. You are wise. You are free from desire And you understand words And the stitching together of words. And you want nothing. "Victory is mine, Knowledge is mine, And all purity, All surrender. "I want nothing. I am free. I found my way. What shall I call Teacher? The gift of truth is beyond giving. The taste beyond sweetness, The joy beyond joy. The end of desire is the end of sorrow. The fool is his own enemy. Seeking wealth, he destroys himself. Seek rather the other shore. Weeds choke the field. Passion poisons the nature of man, And hatred, illusion, and desire. Honor the man who is without passion, Hatred, illusion, and desire. What you give to him Will be given back to you, And more. The Seeker Master your senses, What you taste and smell, What you see, what you hear. In all things be a master Of what you do and say and think. Be free. You are a seeker. Delight in the mastery Of your hands and your feet, Of your words and your thoughts. Delight in meditation And in solitude. Compose yourself, be happy. You are a seeker. Hold your tongue. Do not exalt yourself But lighten the way For your words are sweet. Follow the truth of the way. Reflect upon it. Make it your own. Live it. It will always sustain you. Do not turn away what is given you Not reach out for what is given to others, Lest you disturb your quietness. Give thanks For what had been given to you, However little. Be pure, never falter. You have no name and no form. Why miss what you do not have? The seeker is not sorry. Love and joyfully Follow the way, The quiet way to the happy country. Seeker! Empty the boat, Lighten the load, Passion and desire and hatred. And sail swiftly. There are five at the door To turn away, and five more, And there are five to welcome in. And when fivež have been left Stranded on the shore, The seeker is called oghatinnoti - "He who has crossed over." Seeker! Do not be restless. Meditate constantly. Or you will swallow fire And cry out: "No more!" If you are not wise, How can you steady the mind? If you cannot quieten yourself, What will you ever learn? How will you become free? With a quiet mind Come into that empty house, your heart, And feel the joy of the way Beyond the world. Look within - The rising and the falling. What happiness! How sweet to be free! It is the beginning of life, Of mastery and patience, Of good friends along the way, Of a pure and active life. So life in love. Do your work. Make an end of sorrow. For see how the jasmine Releases and lets fall Its withered flowers. Let fall willfulness and hatred. Are you quiet? Quieten your body. Quieten your mind. You want nothing. Your words are still. You are still. By your own efforts Waken yourself, watch yourself. And live joyfully. You are the master, You are the refuge. As a merchant breaks in a fine horse, Master yourself. How gladly you follow The words of the awakened. How quietly, how surely You approach the happy country, The heart of stillness. However young, The seeker who sets out upon the way Shines bright over the world. Like the moon, Come out from behind the clouds! Shine. The True Master Wanting nothing With all your heart Stop the stream. When the world dissolves Everything becomes clear. Go beyond This way or that way, To the farther shore Where the world dissolves And everything becomes clear. Beyond this shore And the father shore, Beyond the beyond, Where there is no beginning, No end. Without fear, go. Meditate. Live purely. Be quiet. Do your work, with mastery. By day the sun shines, And the warrior in his armor shines. By night the moon shines, And the master shines in meditation. But this day and night The man who is awake Shines in the radiance of the spirit. A master gives up mischief. He is serene. He leaves everything behind him He does not take offense And he does not give it. He never returns evil for evil. Alas for the man Who raises his hand against another, And even more for him Who returns the blow. Resist the pleasures of life And the desire to hurt - Till sorrows vanish. Never offend By what you think or say or do. Honor the man who is awake And shows you the way. Honor the fire of his sacrifice. Matted hair or family or caste Do not make a master But the truth and goodness With which he is blessed. Your hair is tangled And you sit on a deerskin. What folly! When inside you are ragged with lust. The master's clothes are in tatters. His veins stand out, He is wasting away. Alone in the forest He sits and meditates. A man is not born to mastery. A master is never proud. He does not talk down to others. Owning nothing, he misses nothing. He is not afraid. He does not tremble. Nothing binds him. He is infinitely free. So cut through The strap and the thong and the rope. Loosen the fastenings. Unbolt the doors of sleep And awake. The master endures Insults and ill treatment Without reacting. For his spirit is an army. He is never angry. He keeps his promises. He never strays, he is determined. This body is my last, he says! Like water on the leaf of a lotus flower Or a mustard seed on the point of a needle, He does not cling. For he has reached the end of sorrow And has laid down his burden. He looks deeply into things And sees their nature. He discriminates And reaches the end of the way. He does not linger With those who have a home Nor with those who stray. Wanting nothing, He travels on alone. He hurts nothing. He never kills. He moves with love among the unloving, With peace and detachment Among the hungry and querulous. Like a mustard seed from the point of a needle Hatred has fallen from him, And lust, hypocrisy and pride. He offends no one. Yet he speaks the truth. His words are clear But never harsh. Whatever is not his He refuses, Good or bad, great or small. He wants nothing from this world And nothing from the next. He is free. Desiring nothing, doubting nothing, Beyond judgment and sorrow And the pleasures of the senses, He had moved beyond time. He is pure and free. How clear he is. He is the moon. He is serene. He shines. For he has traveled Life after life The muddy and treacherous road of illusion. He does not tremble Or grasp or hesitate. He has found peace. Calmly He lets go of life, Or home and pleasure and desire. Nothing of men can hold him. Nothing of the gods can hold him. Nothing in all creation can hold him. Desire has left him, Never to return. Sorrow has left him, Never to return. He is calm. In him the seed of renewing life Had been consumed. He has conquered all the inner worlds. With dispassionate eye He sees everywhere The falling and the uprising. And with great gladness He knows that he has finished. He has woken from his sleep. And the way he has taken Is hidden from men, Even from spirits and gods, By virtue of his purity. In him there in no yesterday, No tomorrow, No today. Possessing nothing, Wanting nothing. He is full of power. Fearless, wise, exalted. He has vanquished all things. He sees by virtue of his purity. He has come to the end of the way, Over the river of his many lives, His many deaths. Beyond the sorrow of hell, Beyond the great joy of heaven, By virtue of his purity. He has come to the end of the way. All that he had to do, he has done. And now he is one.


Version by Thomas Byrom.

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