Buddha 8

THE  PATH OF THE BUDDHA'S TEACHING

Dhammapada
, Khuddaka Nikâya

                    14. The Buddha

179]  He whose conquest can not be conquered again,

into whose conquest no one in this world can enter,

on what path* can you lead him away,           *pada

who is awakened*, omniscient, pathless?     *buddha

180]  He whom no desire* can lead astray                *tanha

with its snares and poisons,

on what path can you lead him away,

who is awakened, omniscient, pathless?

 181]  Even the gods envy those wise beings,

who engage in contemplation,

who are enlightened and mindful,

who delight in the peace of emancipation. . . .

184The avoiding of all evil,

the perfecting of good deeds,

the purifying of the mind,

this is the teaching of the awakened buddhas.

185]  Long-suffering patience is the supreme austerity*,   *tapo

the buddhas declare, and nirvâna the supreme good;

he who oppresses is not an anchorite*,     *pabbajito

he who causes grief is not an ascetic*.    *samano

185]  Not reviling, not injuring,

practising restraint under the rule*,        *pâtimokkhe

being moderate in eating,

dwelling in solitude,

concentrating on higher thought,

this is the teaching of the awakened buddhas.

186There is no satisfying of lusts*,                *kâma

even by a shower of gold pieces;

lusts give fleeting pleasure and then pain,

and whoever knows that is a wise man*.    *pandito

187] Even in celestial pleasures

he finds no delight;

the disciple* who is fully awakened           *sâvako

delights only in the destruction of all cravings*.   *tanha

188People driven by fear

go to a place of refuge*,      *sarana

to mountains and to forests,

to sacred trees and shrines.

 189]  But that is not a safe refuge,

that is not the ultimate* refuge;       *uttama  best

after having gone to that refuge

a person is not delivered from all pains*.     *dukkha

190]   Whover takes refuge in

the Buddha, the Dhamma, the Sangha,

sees with clear understanding

the four noble truths.

191]  Suffering*, the origin of suffering,               *dukkha

the cessation of suffering,

and the noble eightfold path

leading to the cessation of suffering.

 192]  That is a safe refuge,

that is the ultimate refuge;

after having gone to that refuge

a person is delivered from all pains....

194] Blessed* is the birth of the Buddha,     *sukho

blessed is the teaching of the true Dhamma,

blessed is concord in the Sangha,

blessed is the fervour* of those who live in concord.     *tapo

 195Whoever pays homage to those worthy of homage,

whether the buddhas or their disciples,

who have overcome the host of evils,

and have crossed the flood of sorrow;

 196] whoever pays homage to those

who have found deliverance,

and are free from fear,

his merit can by no means be measured.

        20. The Way

275]  By taking this path

you will end your suffering;

this way is the one I proclaimed

when I perceived how to extract arrows*.   *salla, Skt shalya, arrow, thorn

 276]  You yourself must make the effort,

the tathâgatas are only teachers*;        *pointing to the way

those who venture meditatively onto the path

are released from the bondage of Mâra.

277]  All things are impermanent*;    *anicchâ, transitory

when one realizes this insightfully

one is heedless of suffering;

this is the way of purity.

278]  All things are painful*;             *dukkhâ

when one realizes this insightfully

one is heedless of suffering;

this is the way of purity.

279] All phenomena* are unreal**,    *dhamma   **anattâ  non-self

when one realizes this insightfully

one is heedless of suffering;

this is the way of purity. . . .

283] Cut down the forest of desires, not merely a tree,

because danger comes out of the forest;

having cut down the forest and desire,

mendicants, you attain freedom.

 284] As long as lustful desire, however small,

of a man for women, is not controlled,

so long is his mind bonded in attachment,

like a sucking calf to its mother.

285] Pluck out  the love of self,

as you would an autumn lotus with your hand;

cherish instead the way of peace,

the nibbâna pointed out by the Sugata*.     *'well gone', one who has fared well

NOTES

These are a few samples of the 423 verses and 26 chapters of the Dhammapada  (the path of doctrine, or virtue, or religion), found in the Khuddaka Nikâya  of the Sutta Pitaka.  The selections presented here are ones that speak of the way (Pâli magga, Sanskrit marga), to purity and serenity, to nibbâna (nirvâna).

For the Pali text and a complete translation, see S. Radhakrishnan, The Dhammapada  (Oxford 1950); and there is an English translation by Max Müller in Sacred books of the East, vol. 10 (Oxford 1881).

 

            THE RHINOCEROS DISCOURSE

                Sutta Nipâta, Khuddaka Nikâya

1.

Abandoning violence toward all living beings,

doing no harm to any of them*,              *the ahimsa doctrine

not longing for children, nor even for a friend,

walk alone like the rhinoceros

 

2.

Love comes from companionship;

our suffering* arises from love;        *dukkha

seeing the ills that come from love,

walk alone like the rhinoceros.

 

 

3.

In heart-bound kindness to bosom friends

a person may lose sight of his own good;

seeing such danger in friendship,

walk alone like the rhinoceros.

 

4.

As tangled as a spreading bamboo bush

is the longing for children and wives;

not clinging*, like newly sprouting bamboo,           *non-attachment

walk alone like the rhinoceros.

 

5.

Untethered the forest animal roams the wild,

wherever it wishes, in search of sustenance;

seeing this liberty, be wise,

walk alone like the rhinoceros.   ....

 

7.

Living in society entails desire for amusement,

and strong attachment to children develops;

therefore, to avoid distasteful separation from loved ones,

walk alone like the rhinoceros.

 

8.

Free everywhere, not at odds with anyone,

content with whatever comes,

enduring perils undismayed,

walk alone like the rhinoceros.

 

9

Even some ascetics are difficult to please,

and there are laymen who are hard to get on with;

therefore, not minding other people’s children,

walk alone like the rhinoceros.

 

10.

Valiantly abandoning the ways of the world,

flinging off the bonds of the household,

like a Kovilara tree shedding its leaves,

walk alone like the rhinoceros.

 

11.

Finding a wise friend to accompany oneself,

someone firmly grounded in good principles,

overcoming every problem,

walk happily and mindfully with him.

 

12.

Not finding a wise friend to accompany oneself,

someone firmly grounded in good principles,

then, like a king quitting a realm he has conquered,

walk alone like the rhinoceros.   ....

 

14.

Noticing that two glittering armlets of gold,

though aptly made by a goldsmith,

nevertheless strike against each other,

walk alone like the rhinoceros.

 

15.

Thus, being together with someone else,

one may argue too much and become angry;

seeing this perilous prospect,

walk alone like the rhinoceros.

 

16.

Pleasures* are sweet and agreeable,               *kâmâ ‘desires’

but they churn up the mind in various ways;

seeing the distress caused by pleasures,

walk alone like the rhinoceros.

 

17.

This body is a disaster, a blain, a sore,

a disease, a barb of sorrow, a fearful thing;

seeing this danger arising from pleasures,

walk alone like the rhinoceros.

 

18.

Heat and cold, hunger and thirst,

wind and sun, gadflies and snakes,

overcoming all these things,

walk alone like the rhinoceros.

 

19.

Like the huge, white-spotted, noble elephant,

which takes leave of his herd,

wandering at will in the forest,

walk alone like the rhinoceros.

 

20.

Attainment of even temporary concentration*           *samâdhi, ‘absorption’,

is not for someone attached to society;

heeding this word of the Sun’s kinsman*,               *the enlightened Buddha

walk alone like the rhinoceros.

 

21.

Leaving vain viewpoints behind,

attaining firmness of mind, going the right way,

achieving complete and perfect knowledge,

walk alone like the rhinoceros.

 

22.

Devoid of greed and guile, cravings and grudges,

released from passions and delusions,

with no desires in the whole world,

walk alone like the rhinoceros.   ....

 

26.

Desire for child, wife, father, mother,

wealth, produce, and family ties,

having abandoned every one of these,

walk alone like the rhinoceros.

 

27.

Having wisely realized that all this is attachment,

with little joy in it, vapid,

more trouble than comfort, a fish-hook,

walk alone like the rhinoceros.   ....

 

29.

With eyes downcast, not tarrying,

with senses guarded, thoughts restrained,

not burdened by lust, not burning with desire,

walk alone like the rhinoceros.

 

30.

Shedding the ways of the householder,

like the leafy Parichhatta tree,

clad in yellow robes, no longer a layman,

walk alone like the rhinoceros.

 

31.

Craving no delicacies, free of gluttony,

begging from house to house without discriminating,

not having the mind attached to any one family,

walk alone like the rhinoceros.

 

32.

Rid of the mind’s five obstacles,

the mind cleared of all dark spots,

free of foolish friendship, relying on no one else,

walk alone like the rhinoceros.

 

33.

Turning away from pleasure and pain,

doing away with good and bad intentions,

gaining the middle state of serenity and purity,

walk alone like the rhinoceros.   ....

 

36.

Not neglecting the private meditations,

practising the dhamma daily,

aware of the bane of rebirths,

walk alone like the rhinoceros.

 

37.

Like a lion unafraid of sounds,

like a wind uncaught in a net,

like a lotus untouched by water,

walk alone like the rhinoceros.   ....

 

40.

Lust, malice, and ignorance abandoned,

the fetters of transmigration broken,

having no fear over losing one’s life,

walk alone like the rhinoceros....

 

NOTES

The Rhinoceros Discourse (Khaggavisâna Sutta) is found in the Uragavagga in the Sutta Nipâta in the Khuddaka Nikâya.  The Pali text of the forty-one stanzas is available, with translation, in Lord Chalmers, Buddhas Teachings, being the Sutta Nipâta or Discourse-Collection, Harvard Oriental Series, Vol.37 (Cambridge, Mass., 1932), 10-21.  Other translations are by C.F. Horne, in The Sacred Books and Early Literature of the East, vol.10, extracts reprinted in Lucien Stryk, World of the Buddha, 219-223;  E.M. Hare, in Woven Cadences of Early Buddhists (1944), extracts reprinted in E. Conze, Buddhist  Scriptures, 79-82.  One tradition says that this text refers to the pratyeka-buddha (one who has attained enlightenment without a teacher, but is unable or unwilling to teach others). Be that as it may, the aloofness and solitude recommended here could also be for monks in training:  they must avoid attachments which would be hindrances to attaining nirvâna.


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