Whom the gods envy
The gods envy him whose senses have been subdued, like horses broken in by the driver. Such an one who does his duty in life is enduring like the earth, firm like a pillar, clear like a lake without mud, and free forever from the wheel of birth and death.
In the light of his knowledge and freedom, all his words are peace, his thoughts are peace, and his deeds are peace.
He is free from credulous beliefs for he has seen the uncreated and eternal Nirvana; he has cut off the ties and temptations of the lower life, and has renounced all desire. He is indeed great among men.(95-97)
If one man conquers in battle a thousand times a thousand men, and another conquers himself, the second man would have a far greater conquest. For one's own self conquered is better than victory over other people. Not even the gods in heaven or the demons in hell can change into defeat the victory of such a man. (103-105)
Drop by drop
Let no man think lightly of evil, saying in his heart: "It will not come to me." As water drop by drop fills a jar, the foolish man soon becomes full of evil, even as he gathers it little by little.
Let no man think lightly of good work, saying in his heart: "It will not come to me." As water drop by drop fills a jar, the wise man soon becomes full of goodness, even as he gathers it little by little.(121, 122)
Like a well-trained horse touched by the whip, be eager and earnest; and by faith, by virtue, by strenuous striving, by deep contemplation and spiritual discernment of the Law, you will become perfect in knowledge and overcome the sorrow of life.
Well-makers control the flow of water, carpenters bend their wood, arrow-makers straighten their arrows, and good people fashion themselves. (144, 145)
I have gone round the cycles of many lives, looking for the maker of this house in vain, and painful is birth again and again.
But now I have seen you, maker of this house; never more will you build again. All the rafters are broken and the ridge-pole destroyed. The fever of life is gone and all desires are past, for my mind has reached the eternal Nirvana. (153, 154)
[verses 153, 154 are Buddha's utterance when he attained enlightenment]
If a man values his life, let him guard himself well. Of the three watches of his time, let him be watchful at least over one.
Let each one direct himself to what is right and proper, then can he teach others, avoiding thus pain and suffering. (157, 158)
It is not often that one is born into human life. It is not often one hears the doctrine of Truth, and it is difficult and rare indeed the arising of a Buddha. (182)
The teaching of all the Buddhas
Not to commit any evil, but to do good and purify one's mind is the teaching of all the Buddhas.
Not to hurt by deed or word, to live restrained as taught by the Law, to be moderate in eating, to sleep and rest alone, and to dwell on the highest thoughts -- this is the teaching of the Buddhas. (183, 185)
As a traveller who has long been absent and coming home safe and sound is greeted with joy by his relatives, friends and comrades, so when a man passes from this world to the next after a life of merit, his good deeds welcome him as dear kinsmen on his return. (219, 220)
He who can hold back rising anger like a man controlling a chariot in full speed, this man I call a good driver; others merely hold the reins. (222)
Life seems hard
Life seems easy for the man who is shameless, bold and assertive, a mischief-maker and a slanderer, arrogant and corrupt. But life seems hard for the peaceful man, who ever strives for purity, who is quiet, disinterested and wise. (244, 245)
It is easy to see the faults of others but difficult to see one's own. A man winnows his neighbour's faults like chaff but conceals his own as a cunning gambler conceal his die. (252)
Dhammapada selected verses 1 | 2 | 3 |