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Selections from the Dhammapada - Chapters 19-23, P1 of 2

2023-04-21
Language:English
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CHAPTER 19 THE JUST

“A person is not just if they carry a matter by violence; no, they who distinguish both right and wrong, who are learned and lead others not by violence but by righteousness and justice, and who are guarded by the Dharma and intelligence, they are called just.

A person is not learned because they talk much; they who are patient, free from hatred and fear, they are called learned. A person is not a supporter of the Dharma because they talk much; even if a person has learned little, but sees the Dharma bodily, they are a supporter of the Dharma, a person who never neglects the Dharma.

A person is not an elder because their heads are grey; their ages may be ripe, but they are called ‘Old-in-vain.’ They in whom there is truth, virtue, love, restraint, moderation, they who are free from impurity and are wise, they are called an elder.

An envious, greedy, dishonest person does not become respectable by means of much talking only, or by the beauty of their complexion. They in whom all this is destroyed, and taken out with the very root, they, when freed from hatred and wise, are called respectable.

Not by tonsure does an undisciplined person who speaks falsehood become a Samana; can a person be a Samana who is still held captive by desire and greediness? They who always quiet the evil, whether small or large, they are called a Samana (a quiet man), because they have quieted all evil.

A person is not a mendicant (Bhikshu) simply because they ask others for alms; they who adopt the whole law is a Bhikshu, not they who only beg. They who are above good and evil, who are chaste, who with knowledge pass through the world, they indeed are called a Bhikshu.

A person is not a Muni because they observe silence, if they are foolish and ignorant; but the wise who, taking the balance, chooses the good and avoids evil, they are a Muni, and are a Muni thereby; they who in this world weigh both sides are called a Muni.

A person is not an elect (Ariya) because they injure living creatures; because they have pity on all living creatures, therefore is a person called Ariya. Not only by discipline and vows, not only by much learning, not by entering into a trance, not by sleeping alone, does one earn the happiness of release which no ordinary people can know. Bhikshu, be not confident as long as you have not attained the extinction of desires.”

CHAPTER 20 THE WAY

“The best of ways is the eightfold; the best of truths is the four words; the best of virtues is passionlessness; the best of people are those who have eyes to see. This is the way, there is no other that leads to the purifying of intelligence. Go on this way! Everything else is the deceit of Mâra (the tempter). If you go on this way, you will make an end of pain! The way was preached by oneself once one had understood the removal of the thorns (in the flesh). You yourself must make an effort. The Tathâgatas (Buddhas) are only preachers. The thoughtful who enter the way are freed from the bondage of Mâra.

‘All created things perish,’ they who know and see this become passive in pain; this is the way to purity. ‘All created things are grief and pain,’ they who know and see this become passive in pain; this is the way that leads to purity. ‘All forms are unreal,’ they who know and see this become passive in pain; this is the way that leads to purity.

They who do not rouse themselves when it is time to rise, who, though young and strong, is full of sloth, whose will and thoughts are weak, that lazy and idle person will never find the way to knowledge. Watching their speech, well restrained in mind, let a person never commit any wrong with their bodies! Let a person but keep these three roads of action clear, and they will achieve the way which is taught by the wise. Through zeal knowledge is gotten, through lack of zeal knowledge is lost; let a person who knows this double path of gain and loss thus place themselves that knowledge may grow.

Cut down the whole forest (of lust). When you have cut down both the forest (of lust) and its undergrowth, then, Bhikshus, you will be rid of the forest and free! Cut out selfishness, like an autumn lotus, with your hand! Cherish the road of peace. Nirvâna has been shown by Sugata (Buddha). A wise and good person who knows the meaning of this, should quickly clear the way that leads to Nirvâna.”
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