A Verse from Dhammapada


I have started reading Dhammapada in the later part of this year, when I borrowed the book from Madison Library. The treatise Dhammapada is a compilation of Buddha’s teachings during his life time giving instructions to his disciples, advice on meditation, guidelines for moral conduct for monks and householders, cautions and guards against pitfalls in Sadhana, and many other topics on spiritual path and dhar(m)a for a seeker after truth.

Buddha is an embodiment of renunciation and compassion and he pointed out the Path of Morality (Sila), Concentration or Meditation (Samadhi) and true wisdom or Insight (Panna) for attaining freedom from Samsara. The Dhammapada encapsulates all these three topics in-depth and provides a guiding light for an aspirant.

In the introduction to Dhammapada by Ven K. Sri Dhammananda, I found the following lines:

“The BhagavadGita and Thirukural are Hindu works in Sanskrit and Tamil languages of great antiquity. The former is an ancient work of literature and the latter was composed just before the christian era. Both these works contain many truths which are expressed in Dhammapada.”

Pali language, which is the spoken language during Buddha’s time and the language of Dhammapada, is very close to Sanskrit since Sanskrit is Pali’s source. I found that with little effort, I could understand what the Pali verses meant since most of the words were similar with some changes. However I borrowed another book which presents the same verse in sanskrit so I can exactly know what word was meant in the verse.

Dhammapada is divided into Vagga or Sections, each one focusing on one aspect:

  1. 1. Yamaka Vagga – The Twin verses
  2. 2. Appamada Vagga – Heedfulness
  3. 3. Chitta Vagga – Mind
  4. 4. Puppha Vagga – Flowers
  5. 5. Bala Vagga – Fools
  6. 6. Pandita Vagga – The Wise
  7. 7. Arahanta Vagga – The Worthy
  8. 8. Sahassa Vagga – Thousands
  9. 9. Papa Vagga – The Evil
  10. 10. Danda Vagga – The Punishment
  11. 11. Jara Vagga – Old Age
  12. 12. Att(m)a Vagga – The Self
  13. 13. Loka Vagga – The World
  14. 14. Buddha Vagga – The Buddha
  15. 15. Sukha Vagga – The Happiness
  16. 16. Piya Vagga – Affection
  17. 17. Kodha Vagga – Anger
  18. 18. Mala Vagga – Impurities
  19. 19. Dhammattha Vagga – The Just or Righterous
  20. 20. Magga Vagga – The Way or The Path
  21. 21. Pakinnaka Vagga – Miscellaneous
  22. 22. Niraya Vagga – Woeful State
  23. 23. Naga Vagga – The Elephant
  24. 24. Tanha Vagga – Craving
  25. 25. Bhikku Vagga – The Mendicant
  26. 26. Brahmana Vagga – The Knower Of The Truth

I have completed reading only the first three sections. I liked them very much for their simplicity and profoundity. Each verse is followed by a story and a context during Buddha’s time. It is a worthwhile effort to try to memorize some important verses so they can act as reference in our daily life. Many of the teachings resonate with what we learn in Sri Sankara’s Viveka Chudamani, Bhartrihari’s Vairagya Satakam etc, and other works.

Quoting one verse below:

Bahumpi ce samhita bhasamano
na takkaro hoti naro pamatto |
gopova gavo ganayam paresam
na bhagava samannassa hoti || (19)

Though he recites much of the Sacred Texts, but is negligent and does not act accordingly, that heedless man is like a cowherd who counts the cattle of others, he has no share in the benefits of the Holy Life.

Appampi ce samhita bhasamano
dhammassa hoti anudhammacari |
raganca dosanca pahaya moham
sammappajano suvimuttacitto ||
anupadiyano idha va haram va
sa bhagava samannassa hoti || (20)

Though he recites only a little of the Sacred Texts, but acts in accordance with the teaching, eradicating passion, ill will and ignorance, clearly comprehending, with his mind freed from moral defilements and no longer clinging to this world or to the next, he shares the benefits of the Holy Life.

Aparna & Hari.


7 thoughts on “A Verse from Dhammapada”

  1. very good, kindly send a quote a day or what you feel about life, i am a old man alone waiting for death sick some time unable to cook and eat if i eat anything else i get stomach ache, i remember about dhammapada in ramakrishna moral and spiritual education mysore in 1977 “”hatred does not cease by hatred it ceases by love”” love is not a girl says a boy i love and boy says same and if there is some small diffrence of opinion they depart hence we should love god only not human beings
    god bless you

    1. Swami maharaajji
      why do you wait for death?
      You know that the death is for the body only.
      Pl long for the darshan of GOD intensely chantig his name. Take to Rama Naama Jaba .
      If you are unable to cook.take dry fruits, and nuts
      soak aval in buttermilk or milk or take boiled rice kanji
      or oats .
      Take only boiled water with zeeraga powder for complete health.
      Not an advice .a suggestion Pl.

    1. Some people comment that Buddha has not said anything about GOD .Even though vaisnavaites take Buddha as one of Lord Vishnu;s avatars. but shown hatred by destroying the Buddhaas cult.

      In my opinion Buddha preached the importance of controlling senses which is very much essential towards attainment of GOD

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