Dharma Mom

Dhammapada

Yamakavagga: Pairs

The first two verses emphasize that the mind is the chief factor in determining whether one experiences suffering or happiness, depending on whether the mind is impure or pure.

The third and fourth verses highlight the consequences of holding onto thoughts of hatred and anger towards others. Those who continue to harbor such thoughts will continue to experience hatred, while those who let go of such thoughts will find their hatred diminish.

The fifth verse emphasizes the importance of non-hatred in resolving conflicts, suggesting that hatred only begets more hatred, while non-hatred can help bring about peace.

The sixth verse reminds us of the inevitability of death and the importance of settling one’s quarrels before it’s too late.

The seventh and eighth verses use the metaphor of a storm to illustrate the power of Mara (the Buddhist equivalent of Satan) over those who indulge in sensual pleasures versus those who focus on meditation and spiritual development.

The ninth and tenth verses emphasize the importance of moral character in spiritual practice, suggesting that those who lack self-control and truthfulness are unworthy of the monk’s robe, while those who possess these qualities are worthy.

The eleventh and twelfth verses highlight the importance of discerning what is truly essential in life and letting go of that which is not.

The thirteenth and fourteenth verses use the metaphor of rain and a thatched roof to illustrate how passion can penetrate an undeveloped mind but not a well-developed one.

The fifteenth through eighteenth verses contrast the experiences of the evil-doer versus the doer of good, suggesting that those who do good will experience joy and delight while those who do evil will suffer.

The nineteenth and twentieth verses emphasize the importance of putting the teachings into practice rather than merely reciting them, suggesting that true spiritual progress requires action rather than words alone.

Appamadavagga: Heedfulness

Verse 21: “Heedfulness is the path to the Deathless. Heedlessness is the path to death. The heedful die not. The heedless are as if dead already.”

This verse emphasizes the importance of mindfulness, or heedfulness, in achieving spiritual liberation. It suggests that those who are heedful will not die, while those who are heedless are as if dead already.

Verse 22: “Clearly understanding this excellence of heedfulness, the wise exult therein and enjoy the resort of the Noble Ones.”

This verse suggests that those who understand the importance of heedfulness will enjoy the benefits of spiritual liberation and will be seen as wise by others who share their beliefs.

Verse 23: “The wise ones, ever meditative and steadfastly persevering, alone experience Nibbana, the incomparable freedom from bondage.”

This verse highlights the qualities of the wise, who are ever-meditative and steadfastly persevering, and suggests that they alone can experience Nibbana, the ultimate freedom from suffering.

Verse 24: “Ever grows the glory of him who is energetic, mindful and pure in conduct, discerning and self-controlled, righteous and heedful.”

This verse suggests that those who possess the qualities of energy, mindfulness, purity, discernment, self-control, righteousness, and heedfulness will experience increasing glory and spiritual progress.

Verse 25: “By effort and heedfulness, discipline and self-mastery, let the wise one make for himself an island which no flood can overwhelm.”

This verse emphasizes the importance of effort and discipline in achieving spiritual progress and suggests that those who are wise can create a safe haven for themselves that is impervious to the floods of suffering.

Verse 26: “The foolish and ignorant indulge in heedlessness, but the wise one keeps his heedfulness as his best treasure.”

This verse suggests that those who are foolish and ignorant indulge in heedlessness, while those who are wise treasure their mindfulness and use it to avoid suffering.

Verse 27: “Do not give way to heedlessness. Do not indulge in sensual pleasures. Only the heedful and meditative attain great happiness.”

This verse emphasizes the importance of avoiding heedlessness and sensual pleasures, and suggests that only those who are heedful and meditative can attain great happiness.

Verse 28: “Just as one upon the summit of a mountain beholds the groundlings, even so when the wise man casts away heedlessness by heedfulness and ascends the high tower of wisdom, this sorrowless sage beholds the sorrowing and foolish multitude.”

This verse suggests that those who are wise and heedful can rise above the suffering of the world and gain a higher perspective on the suffering of others.

Verse 29: “Heedful among the heedless, wide-awake among the sleepy, the wise man advances like a swift horse leaving behind a weak jade.”

This verse suggests that those who are wise and heedful stand out among those who are heedless and sleepy, and that they can advance rapidly towards spiritual liberation.

Verse 30: “By Heedfulness did Indra become the overlord of the gods. Heedfulness is ever praised, and heedlessness ever despised.”

This verse suggests that even the gods achieved their power through mindfulness, and that mindfulness is always praised while heedlessness is always despised.

Verse 31: “The monk who delights in heedfulness and looks with fear at heedlessness advances like fire, burning all fetters, small and large.”

This verse suggests that monks who delight in mindfulness and fear heedlessness can quickly overcome all obstacles to spiritual liberation.

Verse 32: “The monk who delights in heedfulness and looks with fear at heedlessness will not fall. He is close to Nibbana.”

This verse emphasizes once again the importance of mindfulness for monks seeking spiritual liberation, suggesting that those who are heedful will not fall and are close to achieving Nibbana.

Cittavagga: The Mind

  1. The verse begins with an analogy of a fletcher straightening an arrow shaft to emphasize the importance of straightening the mind, which is fickle and difficult to guard. The discerning man is encouraged to take control of their mind, which can be easily swayed by external factors.
  2. The mind is compared to a fish that thrashes when taken out of water. The verse advises abandoning the realm of Mara, which represents the temptations and distractions of worldly desires that pull one away from the path of enlightenment.
  3. The verse extols the virtues of subduing the mind, which is difficult to control and is always seeking gratification. A mind that is tamed can bring happiness.
  4. The discerning man is advised to guard their mind, which is subtle and difficult to detect. A guarded mind can bring happiness.
  5. The mind is described as wandering far and alone, but those who subdue their minds can be liberated from the bonds of Mara. The verse suggests that by conquering the mind, one can attain freedom from worldly desires.
  6. The verse emphasizes the importance of a steadfast mind for the attainment of wisdom. Without steadfastness, one’s faith can waver and their understanding of the Good Teaching can be imperfect.
  7. The awakened one, who has gone beyond both merit and demerit, has no fear because their mind is not affected by lust or hate. The verse suggests that by transcending worldly desires, one can attain a state of fearlessness.
  8. The verse encourages the discerning man to fortify their mind like a well-fortified city and fight off Mara with the sword of wisdom. Once victory is achieved, the mind should be guarded and kept unattached.
  9. The verse reminds the reader of the impermanence of the physical body and the inevitability of death. It encourages the reader to focus on the development of the mind, which can lead to liberation from suffering.
  10. The verse emphasizes the harm that can be caused by an ill-directed mind. It suggests that the harm caused by an enemy pales in comparison to the harm that one can inflict on oneself through negative thoughts and actions.
  11. The verse concludes by stating that no one can do greater good than one’s own well-directed mind, including family members. It emphasizes the importance of taking responsibility for one’s own actions and cultivating a positive and well-directed mind.

Pupphavagga: Flowers

  1. The verse poses a question about who can overcome the challenges of life and attain enlightenment. It uses the analogy of an expert garland-maker who brings to perfection their floral design to suggest that whoever strives on the path of wisdom can achieve this goal.
  2. The verse answers the question posed in the previous verse, stating that those who strive on the path can overcome the challenges of life and attain enlightenment. It uses the analogy of an expert garland-maker to suggest that the path to enlightenment requires skill, dedication, and perseverance.
  3. The verse encourages the reader to realize the impermanence and insubstantial nature of the body and to overcome the sensual desires that bind them to the cycle of birth and death. It suggests that by doing so, one can go beyond the reach of death.
  4. The verse compares death to a mighty flood that sweeps away those who are distracted by worldly pleasures. It warns against being attached to sensual pleasures, which can lead to one’s downfall.
  5. The verse suggests that those who are insatiable in their sense desires are susceptible to being controlled by the Destroyer, a personification of death and suffering.
  6. The verse uses the analogy of a bee gathering honey without injuring the flower to suggest that the wise should go about their actions in the world without causing harm. It suggests that by doing good deeds, one can accumulate spiritual merit.
  7. The verse advises against finding fault with others and instead focusing on one’s own actions. It emphasizes the importance of taking responsibility for one’s own deeds.
  8. The verse suggests that fair words, or good intentions, are meaningless if not put into practice. It uses the analogy of a flower without fragrance to suggest that good intentions without actions are fruitless.
  9. The verse emphasizes the importance of practicing what one preaches. It uses the analogy of a flower with fragrance to suggest that good intentions put into practice are fruitful.
  10. The verse suggests that by doing many good deeds, one can accumulate spiritual merit and attain happiness.
  11. The verse suggests that the fragrance of virtue is more powerful than the fragrance of flowers. It suggests that the virtuous person’s influence is felt in all directions.
  12. The verse compares different fragrances to suggest that the fragrance of virtue is the sweetest and most powerful.
  13. The verse emphasizes the power of the fragrance of virtue and suggests that it can even be felt among the gods.
  14. The verse suggests that those who are truly virtuous are free from the control of Mara, the personification of death and suffering.
  15. The verse uses the analogy of a lotus growing in a heap of rubbish to suggest that wisdom can be found even in the most unlikely places.
  16. The verse suggests that even among those who are blinded by ignorance, the disciple of the Supremely Enlightened One can shine with wisdom. It emphasizes the power of wisdom to overcome ignorance and suffering.

Balavagga: The Fool

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