Saturday, July 1, 2017

What is the Buddha's "Path"? (Dhammapada)

Acharya Buddharakkhita, Dhp XX, Maggavagga: The Path, Dhr. Seven (ed.), Wisdom Quarterly

Noble Eightfold Path
273. Of all the paths the Noble Eightfold Path is the best; of all the truths the Four Noble Truths are the best; of all things passionlessness is the best: of humans the Seeing One (the Buddha) is the best.
274. This is the only path; no other results in the purification of insight. Tread this path, and you will bewilder Mara [Death].
275. Walking upon this path one will make an end of all suffering. Having discovered how to pull out the thorn of lust/craving, I make known the path.
Buddhas point the way to freedom.
276. You yourselves must strive; the buddhas [supremely enlightened teachers] only point the way. Those meditative ones who tread the path are released from the bonds of Mara.
277. "All conditioned things are impermanent" -- when one sees this with wisdom (insight), one turns away from suffering. This is the path to purification.
278. "All conditioned things are unsatisfactory" -- when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering. This is the path to purification.
279. "All things are impersonal (not-self)" -- when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering. This is the path to purification.
  • These are the Three Marks, which are also called the Three Characteristics of All Conditioned Existence. They are true of all phenomena, which arise, turn, and fall away and so are radically impermanent at every moment. They are utterly incapable for providing lasting satisfaction. And, most difficult to comprehend, they are utterly impersonal, without self, neither the parts or property or constituents of a self.
The Path of Purification (Buddhaghosa)
280. Idlers who do not exert themselves when they should, who though young and strong are full of sloth, with a mind full of vain thoughts -- such indolent one do not find the path to wisdom.
281. Let one be watchful of speech, well controlled in mind, and not commit unskillful deeds in bodily actions. Let one purify these three courses of action [body, speech, mind] and win the path made known by the Great Sage.
282. Wisdom springs from meditation; without meditation wisdom wanes. Having known these two paths of progress and decline, let one so conduct oneself that one's wisdom may increase.
283. Cut down the forest (lust), but not the tree; from the forest springs fear. Having cut down the forest and the underbrush (desire), be passionless, O meditators!
  • (V. 283) Meaning: "Cut down the forest of lust, but do not mortify the body."
284. For so long as the underbrush of desire, even the most subtle, of one partner towards another is not cut down, one's mind is in bondage, like the sucking calf to its mother.
285. Cut off your attachment in the manner of one who plucks with hand an autumn lotus. Cultivate only the path to peace, nirvana, as made known by the Exalted One.
286. "Here shall I live during the rains, there in winter and summer" -- thus thinks the fool. One does not realize the danger (that death will eventually intervene).
287. As a great flood carries away a sleeping village, so death seizes and carries away the person with mind/heart clinging, doting on children and wealth.
288. For one who is assailed by death there is no protection by kin. No one there are to save such a person -- neither children, nor parent, nor relatives.
289. Realizing this fact, let the wise person, restrained by virtue, hasten to clear the path leading to nirvana.

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