Wednesday, January 3, 2018

"The Path of Dharma" (Dhammapada 19)

Acharya Buddharakkhita (trans.), Dhammatthavagga, "The Just" (Dhammapada XIX or 19, PTS: Dhp 256-272), Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

256. Not by passing arbitrary judgments does one become just; a wise person is one who investigates both right and wrong.
257. One who does not judge others arbitrarily but passes judgment impartially according to the truth, that sagacious person is a guardian of law and is called just.

258. One is not wise because one speaks much. One who is peaceable, friendly, and free of fear is called wise.

259. A person is not versed in Dharma because one speaks much. One who, after hearing a little Dharma, realizes its truth directly and is not heedless of it is truly versed in the Dharma.
260. A monastic is not an elder because head hair is gray. One is but ripe in age, and that person is called one grown old in vain.
261. One in whom there is truthfulness, virtue, inoffensiveness, restraint, and self-mastery, who is free of defilements and is wise -- that person is truly called an "elder."*
  • *Elder: thera or theri, a Buddhist monastic of at least ten rains retreats.
262. Not by mere eloquence nor by beauty of form does a person become accomplished, if one is jealous, selfish, and deceitful.

263. But one in whom these are wholly destroyed, uprooted and extinguished, and who has cast out hatred -- that wise person is truly accomplished.
264. Not by shaven head does a person who is undisciplined and untruthful become a monastic. How can one who is full of desire and greed be a monastic?
265. One who wholly subdues the urge-to-harm both small and great is called a "monastic" because one has overcome all harm.
266. One is not a monastic just because one lives on others' alms [charitable offerings]. Not by adopting outward form does one become a true monastic.
267. Whoever here (in the Buddha's dispensation) lives a pure life, transcending both merit and demerit, and walks with understanding in this world -- one is truly called a monastic.
268. Not by observing silence does one become a sage, if one be foolish and ignorant. But that person is wise who, as if holding a balance-scale [to weigh all options], accepts only the good.
269. The sage (thus) rejecting the doing of harm is truly a sage. Since one comprehends both (present and future) worlds, one is called a sage.
270. One is not noble who injures living beings. One is called "noble" because one is harmless towards all living beings.
271-272. Not by rules and observances, not even by much learning, nor by gain of meditative-absorptions, nor by a life of seclusion, nor by thinking, "I enjoy the bliss of renunciation, which is not experienced by the ordinary uninstructed worldling" should you, O meditators, rest content, until the utter destruction of all cankers (full enlightenment) is reached.

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