Treasury Of Truth, Illustrated Dhammapada, Chapter 01

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Treasury Of Truth, Illustrated Dhammapada, Chapter 01
(Kho Báu Sự Thật, Kinh Pháp Cú Minh Họa, Phẩm 01)

Ven Weragoda Sarada Maha Thero
Illustrations by Mr. P. Wickramanayaka
Source: buddhanet.net, sleuteltotinzicht.nl
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CHAPTER 01: TWIN VERSES

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Verse 1. Suffering Follows The Evil-Doer

 

Mind precedes all knowables,

mind’s their chief, mind-made are they.

If with a corrupted mind

one should either speak or act

dukkha follows caused by that,

as does the wheel the ox’s hoof.

 

Explanation: All that we experience begins with thought. Our words and deeds spring from thought. If we speak or act with evil thoughts, unpleasant circumstances and experiences inevitably result. Wherever we go, we create bad circumstances because we carry bad thoughts. This is very much like the wheel of a cart following the hoofs of the ox yoked to the cart. The cart-wheel, along with the heavy load of the cart, keeps following the draught oxen. The animal is bound to this heavy load and cannot leave it.

 

 

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Verse 2. Happiness Follows The Doer of Good

 

Mind precedes all knowables,

mind’s their chief, mind-made are they.

If with a clear, and confident mind

one should speak and act

as one’s shadow ne’er departing.

 

Explanation: All that man experiences springs out of his thoughts. If his thoughts are good, the words and the deeds will also be good. The result of good thoughts , words and deeds will be happiness. This happiness will never leave the person whose thoughts are good. Happiness will always follow him like his shadow that never leaves him.

 

 

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Verse 3. Uncontrolled Hatred Leads to Harm

 

Who bears within them enmity:

“He has abused and beaten me,

defeated me and plundered me”,

hate is not allayed for them.

 

Explanation: When a person holds that he was insulted, assaulted, defeated, or robbed, his anger continues to increase. The anger such a person has no way of subsiding. The more he goes over his imaginary trouble the greater becomes his desire to avenge it.

 

 

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Verse 4. Overcoming Anger

 

Who bears within no enmity:

“He has abused and beaten me,

defeated me and plundered me”,

hate is quite allayed for them.

 

Explanation:  Living in human society, people often quarrel with one another. When such conflicts occur, people often keep thinking about the wrongs done to them by others. When that happens, their anger tends to grow. But in those who forgive and forget the wrongs done to them, anger quickly vanishes. They are then at peace.

 

 

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Verse 5. Hatred is Overcome Only by Non-hatred

 

Never here by enmity

are those with enmity allayed,

they are allayed by amity,

this is the timeless Truth.

 

Explanation: Those who attempt to conquer hatred by hatred are like warriors who take weapons to overcome others who bear arms. This does not end hatred, but gives it room to grow. But, ancient wisdom has advocated a different timeless strategy to overcome hatred. This eternal wisdom is to meet hatred with non-hatred. The method is of overcoming hatred through non-hatred is eternally effective. That is why that method is described as eternal wisdom.

 

 

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Verse 6. Recollection of Death Brings Peace

 

Still others do not understand

that we must perish in this world,

those who understand this,

there quarrels are allayed.

 

Explanation: Most of us are not prepared to face the reality of impermanence and death. It is because we forget this fact that our lives are transitory, that we quarrel with each other, as if we are going to live for ever. But, if we face the fact of death, our quarrels will come to an end. We will then realize the folly of fighting when we ourselves are doomed to die. Excited by emotions our thoughts being clouded, we cannot see the truth about life. When we see the truth, however, our thoughts become free of emotions.

 

 

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Verse 7. Laziness Defeats Spirituality

 

One who beauty contemplates,

whose faculties are unrestrained,

in food no moderation knows,

is languid, who is indolent:

that one does Mara overthrow

as wind a tree of little strength.

 

Explanation: Those who dwell on the attractiveness of sensual enjoyment, and live with the senses unguarded, and are immoderate in eating, they are slothful and weak in perseverance and will-power. Emotions overpower such persons easily as the wind overpowers a weak tree.

 

 

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Verse 8. Spiritual Strength is Undefeatable

 

One who foulness contemplates,

whose faculties are well-restrained,

in food does moderation know,

is full of faith, who’s diligent:

that one no Mara overthrows,

as wind does not a rocky mount.

 

Explanation: Those who dwell on the unattractiveness of sensual enjoyment, and live with the senses well guarded, and are moderate in eating, they are devoted to the Teaching and to persistent methodical practice. Such persons are not overpowered by emotions just as a rocky mountain is not shaken by the wind.

 

 

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Verse 9. Those Who Do Not Deserve the Stained Robe

 

One who wears the stainless robe

who’s yet not free from stain,

without restraint and truthfulness

for the stainless robe’s unfit.

 

Explanation: A monk may be stained by defilements, bereft of self-control and awareness of reality. Such a monk, though he may wear the ‘stained cloth’ ( the monk’s robe which has been specially coloured with dye obtained from wild plants), he is not worthy of such a saintly garb.

 

 

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Verse 10. The Virtuous Deserve the Stained Robe

 

But one who is self-cleansed of stain,

in moral conduct firmly set,

having restraint and truthfulness

is fit for the stainless robe.

 

Explanation: Whoever dons the ‘stained cloth’, being free of defilements, who is well conducted and tranquil within, having emotions under control and aware of reality, such a person is worthy of the sacred ‘stained cloth’.

 

 

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Verse 11. False Values Bar Spiritual Progress

 

Conceiving the real in unreality

while seeing unreal the truly real,

roaming fields of thoughts ill-formed:

never they at the real arrive.

 

Explanation: A person interested in spiritual progress must be aware of spiritual values. It is true that material things are also necessary. But they are not the values to be sought after for spiritual progress. If people were to give prominence to material values they cannot attain any spiritual heights.

 

 

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Verse 12. Truth Enlightens

 

That which is real they know as real,

that unreal, to be unreal;

roaming fields of thought well-formed

they at the real arrive.

 

Explanation: The wise person who is able to recognize the true values leading to spiritual attainment, is capable of attaining to spiritual heights. Such a person is possessed of right views.

 

 

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Verse  13. Lust Penetrates Untrained Mind

 

Even as the rain does penetrate

a house that’s badly thatched,

likewise lust does penetrate

the mind uncultivated.

 

Explanation: It is quite necessary that a house should have a well-thatched roof. If the thatching is weak, rain seeps through the house. Just as a badly thatched roof lets in the rain, the uncultured temperament too is open to passions. The temperament that is not cultured is penetrated easily by lust.

 

 

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Verse  14. The Disciplined Mind Keeps Lust Away

 

As rain does never penetrate

a house that is well-thatched,

so lust does never penetrate

the mind well cultivated.

 

Explanation: When the house is well protected by a well-thatched roof, it is not harmed by the rain, because rain-water cannot seep though it. In the same way, the well-cultured temperament too does not allow passion to come through. Therefore, the well-cultured temperament cannot be penetrated by passions.

 

 

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Verse 15. Sorrow Springs From Evil Deeds

 

Here one grieves, one grieves hereafter,

in both ways does the evil-doer grieve;

one grieves and is afflicted,

one’s own base kammas seeing.

 

Explanation: People who commit evil actions are unaware of their consequences at the moment of performance. Therefore, they tend to repent on seeing the consequences of what they did. This creates grief. This does not mean that one must always suffer the consequences of one’s deeds, without any hope. If that is the case, there is no benefit in leading a religious life, nor is there any opportunity to work for one’s emancipation.

 

 

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Verse 16. Good Deeds Bring Happiness

 

Here one joys, one joys hereafter,

in both ways does the merit-maker joy;

one joys and one rejoices,

one’s own pure kammas seeing.

 

Explanation: A wise person does good deeds. Having done those good deeds he rejoices here in this world. He rejoices in the life after as well. Seeing the purity of his virtuous actions, he rejoices. He is thoroughly joyous seeing the goodness of his deeds.

 

 

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Verse  17. Evil Action Leads to Torment

 

Here one burns, one burns hereafter,

in both ways does the evil-doer burn;

evil I’ve done, remorsefully one burns,

and more one burns passed to realms of woe.

 

Explanation: Those who do evil, those given to wrong doings, are tortured in mind both here and hereafter. Being born in a state of woe after death the doer of evil keeps on torturing himself more with the thought “I have done evil deeds. ”

 

 

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Verse  18. Virtuous Deeds Make One Rejoice

 

Here one’s glad, one’s glad hereafter,

in both ways is the merit-maker glad;

‘Merit I’ve made’, serenely one is glad,

and more one’s glad passed to blissful states.

 

Explanation: The person who has done good and virtuous deeds rejoices in this world. Gone to a pleasant state of existence after death, he rejoices exceedingly. This way he rejoices here and in the next world. In both worlds he rejoices realizing that he has done virtuous deeds.

 

 

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Verse 19. Fruits of Religious Life Through Practice

 

Though many sacred texts he chants

the heedless man’s no practiser,

as cowherd counting other’s kine

in samanaship he has no share.

 

Explanation: Some persons may know the words of the Buddha extensively and can repeat it all. But through utter neglect they do not live up to it. In consequence they do not reach any religions attainments. They do not enjoy the fruit of the recluse life. This is exactly like the way of life of a cowherd who looks after another’s cattle. The cowherd takes the cattle to the pastures in the morning, and in the evening he takes them back to the owner’s house. He gets only the wages.

 

 

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Verse 20. Practice Ensures Fulfilment

 

Though few of the sacred texts he chant

in Dhamma does his practice run,

clear of delusion, lust and hate,

wisdom perfected, with heart well-freed.

 

Explanation: A true seeker of truth through he may speak only little of the Buddha’s word. He may not be able to recite extensively from religious texts. But, if he belongs to the teaching of the Buddha assiduously, lives in accordance with the teaching of the Buddha, if he has got rid of passion, ill-will and delusion, he has well penetrated experience and is free from clinging to worldly things, he is a partaker of the life of a renunciate.

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