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Thomas Byrom - The Dhammapada (Sayings of the Buddha)

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1. Choices
We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our
thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.
Speak or act with an impure mind
And trouble will follow you
As the wheel follows the ox that draws
the cart.
We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our
thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.
Speak or act with a pure mind
And happiness will follow you
As your shadow, unshakable.
"Look how he abused me and hurt me,
How he threw me down and robbed
me."
Live with such thoughts and you live in
hate.
"Look how he abused me and hurt me,
How he threw me down and robbed
me."
Abandon such thoughts, and live in
love.
In this world
Hate never yet dispelled hate.
Only love dispels hate.
This is the law,
Ancient and inexhaustible.
You too shall pass away.
Knowing this, how can you quarrel?
How easily the wind overturns a frail
tree.
Seek happiness in the senses,
Indulge in food and sleep,
And you too will be uprooted.
The wind cannot overturn a mountain.
Temptation cannot touch the man
Who is awake, strong and humble,
Who masters himself and minds the
dharma.
If a man's thoughts are muddy,
If he is reckless and full of deceit,
How can he wear the yellow robe?
Whoever is master of his own nature,
Bright, clear and true,
He may indeed wear the yellow robe.
Mistaking the false for the true,
And the true for the false,
You overlook the heart
And fill yourself with desire.
See the false as false,
The true as true.
Look into your heart.
Follow your nature.
An unreflecting mind is a poor roof.
Passion, like the rain, floods the house.
But if the roof is strong, there is
shelter.
Whoever follows impure thoughts
Suffers in this world and the next.
In both worlds he suffers
And how greatly
When he sees the wrong he has done.
But whoever follows the dharma
Is joyful here and joyful there.
In both worlds he rejoices
And how greatly
When he sees the good he has done.
For great is the harvest in this world,
And greater still in the next.
However many holy words you read,
However many you speak,
What good will they do you
If you do not act upon them?
Are you a shepherd
Who counts another man's sheep,
Never sharing the way?
Read as few words as you like,
And speak fewer.
But act upon the dharma.
Give up the old ways Passion,
enmity, folly.
Know the truth and find peace.
Share the way.

2. Wakefulness
Wakefulness is the way to life.
The fool sleeps
As if he were already dead,
But the master is awake
And he lives forever.
He watches.
He is clear.
How happy he is!
For he sees that wakefulness is life.
How happy he is,
Following the path of the awakened.
With great perseverance
He meditates, seeking
Freedom and happiness.
So awake, reflect, watch.
Work with care and attention.
Live in the way
And the light will grow in you.
By watching and working
The master makes for himself an
island
Which the flood cannot overwhelm.
The fool is careless.
But the master guards his watching.
It is his most precious treasure.
He never gives in to desire.
He meditates.
And in the strength of his resolve
He discovers true happiness.
He overcomes desire And
from the tower of his wisdom
He looks down with dispassion
Upon the sorrowing crowd.
From the mountain top
He looks down at those
Who live close to the ground.
Mindful among the mindless,
Awake while others dream,
Swift as the race horse
He outstrips the field.
By watching
Indra became king of the gods.
How wonderful it is to watch.
How foolish to sleep.
The beggar who guards his mind
And fears the waywardness of his
thoughts
Burns through every bond
With the fire of his vigilance.
The beggar who guards his mind
And fears his own confusion
Cannot fall.
He has found his way to peace.

3. Mind
As the fletcher whittles
And makes straight his arrows,
So the master directs
His straying thoughts.
Like a fish out of water,
Stranded on the shore,
Thoughts thrash and quiver,
For how can they shake off desire?
They tremble, they are unsteady,
They wander at their own will.
It is good to control them,
And to master them brings happiness.
But how subtle they are,
How elusive!
The task is to quieten them,
And by ruling them to find happiness.
With single-mindedness
The master quells his thoughts.
He ends their wandering.
Seated in the cave of the heart,
He finds freedom.
How can a troubled mind
Understand the way?
If a man is disturbed
He will never be filled with knowledge.
An untroubled mind,
No longer seeking to consider
What is right and what is wrong,
A mind beyond judgements,
Watches and understands.
Know that the body is a fragile jar,
And make a castle of your mind.
In every trial
Let understanding fight for you
To defend what you have won.
For soon the body is discarded,
Then what does it feel?
A useless log of wood, it lies on the
ground,
Then what does it know?
Your worst enemy cannot harm you
As much as your own thoughts,
unguarded.
But once mastered,
No one can help you as much,
Not even your father or your mother.

4. Flowers
Who shall conquer this world
And the world of death with all its
gods?
Who shall discover
The shining way of dharma?
You shall, even as the man
Who seeks flowers
Finds the most beautiful,
The rarest.
Understand that the body
Is merely the foam of a wave,
The shadow of a shadow.
Snap the flower arrows of desire
And then, unseen,
Escape the king of death.
And travel on.
Death overtakes the man
Who gathers flowers
When with distracted mind and thirsty
senses
He searches vainly for happiness
In the pleasures of the world.
Death fetches him away
As a flood carries off a sleeping village.
Death overcomes him
When with distracted mind and thirsty
senses
He gathers flowers.
He will never have his fill
Of the pleasures of the world.
The bee gathers nectar from the flower
Without marring its beauty or
perfume.
So let the master settle, and wander.
Look to your own faults,
What you have done or left undone.
Overlook the faults of others.
Like a lovely flower,
Bright but scentless,
Are the fine but empty words
Of the man who does not mean what
he says.
Like a lovely flower,
Bright and fragrant,
Are the fine and truthful words
Of the man who means what he says.
Like garlands woven from a heap of
flowers,
Fashion from your life as many good
deeds.
The perfume of sandalwood,
Rosebay or jasmine
Cannot travel against the wind.
But the fragrance of virtue
Travels even against the wind,
As far as the ends of the world.
How much finer
Is the fragrance of virtue
Than of sandalwood, rosebay,
Of the blue lotus or jasmine!
The fragrance of sandalwood and
rosebay
Does not travel far.
But the fragrance of virtue
Rises to the heavens.
Desire never crosses the path
Of virtuous and wakeful men.
Their brightness sets them free.
How sweetly the lotus grows
In the litter of the wayside.
Its pure fragrance delights the heart.
Follow the awakened
And from among the blind
The light of your wisdom
Will shine out, purely.

5. The Fool
How long the night to the watchman,
How long the road to the weary
traveller,
How long the wandering of many lives
To the fool who misses the way.
If the traveller cannot find
Master or friend to go with him,
Let him travel alone
Rather than with a fool for company.
"My children, my wealth!"
So the fool troubles himself.
But how has he children or wealth?
He is not even his own master.
The fool who knows he is a fool
Is that much wiser.
The fool who thinks he is wise
Is a fool indeed.
Does the spoon taste the soup?
A fool may live all his life
In the company of a master
And still miss the way.
The tongue tastes the soup.
If you are awake in the presence of a
master
One moment will show you the way.
The fool is his own enemy.
The mischief is his undoing.
How bitterly he suffers!
Why do what you will regret?
Why bring tears upon yourself?
Do only what you do not regret,
And fill yourself with joy.
For a while the fool's mischief
Tastes sweet, sweet as honey.
Bit in the end it turns bitter.
And how bitterly he suffers!
For months the fool may fast,
Eating from the tip of a grass blade.
Still he is not worth a penny
Beside the master whose food is the
way.
Fresh milk takes time to sour.
So a fool's mischief
Takes time to catch up with him.
Like the embers of a fire
It smoulders within him.
Whatever a fool learns,
It only makes him duller.
Knowledge cleaves his head.
For then he wants recognition.
A place before other people,
A place over other people.
"Let them know my work,
Let everyone look to me for direction."
Such are his desires,
Such is his swelling pride.
One way leads to wealth and fame,
The other to the end of the way.
Look not for recognition
But follow the awakened
And set yourself free.

6. The Wise Man
The wise man tells you
Where you have fallen
And where you yet may fall Invaluable
secrets!
Follow him, follow the way.
Let him chasten and teach you
and keep you from mischief.
The world may hate him.
But good men love him.
Do not look for bad company
Or live with men who do not care.
Find friends who love the truth.
Drink deeply.
Live in serenity and joy.
The wise man delights in the truth
And follows the law of the awakened.
The farmer channels water to his land.
The fletcher whittles his arrows.
And the carpenter turns his wood.
So the wise man directs his mind.
The wind cannot shake a mountain.
Neither praise nor blame moves the
wise man.
He is clarity.
Hearing the truth,
He is like a lake,
Pure and tranquil and deep.
Want nothing.
Where there is desire,
Say nothing.
Happiness or sorrow Whatever
befalls you,
Walk on
Untouched, unattached.
Do not ask for family or power or
wealth,
Either for yourself or for another.
Can a wise man wish to rise unjustly?
Few cross over the river.
Most are stranded on this side.
On the riverbank they run up and
down.
But the wise man, following the way,
Crosses over, beyond the reach of
death.

He leaves the dark way
For the way of light.
He leaves his home, seeking
Happiness on the hard road.
Free from desire,
Free from possessions,
Free from the dark places of the heart.
Free from attachment and appetite,
Following the seven lights of
awakening,
And rejoicing greatly in his freedom,
In this world the wise man
Becomes himself a light,
Pure, shining, free.

7. The Master
At the end of the way
The master finds freedom
From desire and sorrow Freedom
without bounds.
Those who awaken
Never rest in one place.
Like swans, they rise
And leave the lake.
On the air they rise
And fly an invisible course,
Gathering nothing, storing nothing.
Their food is knowledge.
They live upon emptiness.
They have seen how to break free.
Who can follow them?
Only the master,
Such is his purity.
Like a bird,
He rises on the limitless air
And flies an invisible course.
He wishes for nothing.
His food is knowledge.
He lives upon emptiness.
He has broken free.
He is the charioteer.
He has tamed his horses,
Pride and the senses.
Even the gods admire him.
Yielding like the earth,
Joyous and clear like the lake,
Still as the stone at the door,
He is free from life and death.
His thoughts are still.
His words are still.
His work is stillness.
He sees his freedom and is free.
The master surrenders his beliefs.
He sees beyond the end and the
beginning.
He cuts all ties.
He gives up all desires.
He resists all temptations.
And he rises.
And wherever he lives,
In the city or the country,
In the valley or in the hills,
There is great joy.
Even in the empty forest
He finds joy
Because he wants nothing.

8. The Thousands
Better than a thousand hollow words
Is one word that brings peace.
Better than a thousand hollow verses
Is one verse that brings peace.
Better than a hundred hollow lines
Is one line of the dharma, bringing
peace.
It is better to conquer yourself
Than to win a thousand battles.
Then the victory is yours.
It cannot be taken from you,
Not by angels or by demons,
Heaven or hell.
Better than a hundred years of
worship,
Better than a thousand offerings,
Better than giving up a thousand
worldly ways
In order to win merit,
Better even than tending in the forest
A sacred flame for a hundred years Is
one moment's reverence
For the man who has conquered
himself.
To revere such a man,
A master old in virtue and holiness,
Is to have victory over life itself,
And beauty, strength and happiness.
Better than a hundred years of
mischief
Is one day spent in contemplation.

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