Tuesday, February 27, 2007

From THE DHAMMAPADA "CHOICES" Translated by Thomas Byron

This piece has always been my favourite from Dhammapada.
And I really like this translation.
Every line speaks directly to my soul... with lots of space around it.
When I first read it, I especially loved the line;
"You too shall pass away. Knowing this, how can you quarrel?"
Pema Chodron, another wonderful meditation teacher from Shambala tradition said 'when you look at someone, you are definitely looking at a dying person.' And knowing this has a very interesting effect on how we feel about the person.
When I try it, I am able to find more friendliness, compassion, love and forgiveness toward the person whether he/she is a benefactor or someone who caused pain and harm to me. (well, can be challenging, I know - but stil, even in heated emotions, it certainly creates some space)
Maybe you can have a go at this interesting experiment yourself and let me know what your experiences were. I'd be interested to hear from you.
Recently, my friend reminded me of something important. During a very casual conversation, he said 'we are here for a short time, right?' I was very grateful he'd said that.

Ram Dass, who wrote the preface to this edition of the Dhammapada, wrote "Read them slowly... a phrase at a time. Let them feed your soul."

So enjoy this piece, read it slowly, a phrase at a time, if you can. And maybe come back to it again and again whenever you are called back to it.

- - - - - - - -

We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.
Speak or act with an impure mind
And trouble will follow you
As the wheel follows the ox that draws the cart.

We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.
Speak or act with a pure mind
And happiness will follow you
As your shadow, unshakable.

“Look how he abused me and beat me,
How he threw me down and robbed me.”
Live with such thoughts and you live in hate.

“Look how he abused me and beat me,
How he threw me down and robbed me.”
Abandon such thoughts, and live in love.

In this world
Hate never yet dispelled hate.
Only love dispels hate.
This is the law,
Ancient and inexhaustible.

You too shall pass away.
Knowing this, how can you quarrel?

How easily the wind overturns a frail tree.
Seek happiness in the senses,
Indulge in food and sleep,
And you too will be uprooted.
The wind cannot overturn a mountain.
Temptation cannot touch the man
Who is awake, strong and humble,
Who masters himself and minds the law.

If a man’s thoughts are muddy,
If he is reckless and full of deceit,
How can he wear the yellow robe?

Whoever is master of his own nature,
Bright, clear and true,
He may indeed wear the yellow robe.

Mistaking the false for the true
And the true for the false,
You overlook the heart
And fill yourself with desire.

See the false as false,
The true as true.
Look into your heart.
Follow your nature.

An unreflecting mind is a poor roof.
Passion, like the rain, floods the house.
But if the roof is strong, there is shelter.

Whoever follows impure thoughts
Suffers in this world and the next.
In both worlds he suffers
And how greatly
When he sees the wrong he has done.

But whoever follows the law
Is joyful here and joyful there.
In both worlds he rejoices
And how greatly
When he sees the good he has done.

For great is the harvest in this world,
And greater still in the next.

However many holy words you read,
However many you speak,
What good will they do you
If you do not act upon them?

Are you a shepherd
Who counts another man’s sheep,
Never sharing the way?

Read as few words as you like
And speak fewer.
But act upon the law.

Give up the old ways –
Passion, enmity, folly.
Know the truth and find peace.
Share the way.

translated by Thomas Byrom

- - - - - - - -
About Dhammapada;
Dhammapada is a collection of the sayings of the Buddha.
They were probably first gathered in Northan India in the third century B.C., and originally written down in Sri Lanka in the first century B.C.

"Dhamma" means law, justice, righteousness, discipline, truth.
(I find that difficult whenever this word or "Braman" are attenpted to be put in words)
"Pada" means path, step, foot, foundation.

It was originally transmitted and recorded in Pali language and it's become the principal scripture for Buddhists in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia.

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