The Dhammapada: Buddhist philosophy


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All experience is preceded by mind, Led by mind, Made by mind. From a Buddhist perspective, thoughts constitute part of our actions, but only a part of them. If there was one thing that the Buddha believed creates us on a more profound level, it was our kamma , or intentional action.


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In the end, our actions may speak louder than our thoughts. Thank you for subscribing to Tricycle! As a nonprofit, we depend on readers like you to keep Buddhist teachings and practices widely available. Subscribe now for immediate access to the magazine plus films, video dharma talks, e-books, and more. Tricycle is a nonprofit that depends on reader support. I found this a very intreaguing read.

I am a Christian but I find it very informative to study other people's belief system. The Budist's beliefs are based primarily on love but it has a very practical side of how to conduct one's life here on earth. It does not speak to much of the life her-after. I plan to study further into the Budist religion to gain a more informative opinion. I would recommend every one st The Dhammapada is a collection of Budist writings.

I would recommend every one study the major religeons to come to their own beliefs. Be Blessed. View 2 comments. Just reread this. Little and big gems of wisdom throughout. It's mostly just an assortment of platitudes. Examples: Ch. VI, But let one associate With noble persons, worthy friends. VIII, stanza XXI, stanza Some of the passages are pretty cool though. Example: Ch.

The Dhammapada: Buddhist philosophy - G. Buddha - Google книги

XI, stanza Misery is birth again and again. House-builder, you are seen! The house you shall not build again! Broken are your rafters, all, Your roof beam destroyed. Freedom from the samkharas has the mind attained. To the end of cravings has it come. XVI are conditions necessary to create suffering, and that since unlike things' tendencies to decay and end it's possible to eliminate these conditions, you should not hold things dear or get attached to anything, is somewhat interesting.

It also doesn't require a belief in a cycle of soul transmigration. This might be problematic in a way, since the degree to which one is successful at this may reduce motivations or reasons for being good. For example, someone who holds their reputation dear will have more reason to avoid acting wrongly than one who doesn't, since "severe slander" the book itself includes this as a reason for being good at ch.

X, stanza will affect them more strongly.

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The annotations were helpful in explaining metaphors, connotations lost in translation, the religious tradition's take on some verses, a few of the assumptions common to the compilers, and untranslated terms. Did the advice to let go of sensory impressions, perceptions, anger and conditioned reactions help? I am still confused by what the self atman that persists through multiple incarnations is, once the disparate components of form, personality, etc of a particular life are removed,but it seems as if I have plenty of company.

I am also somewhat put off by all the numbered things: the Eightfold path, the four dhyanas, the four Noble sights, the four stages of enlightenment, the Four Noble Truths, the three Refuges. I was given just the trinity, which is enough to twist your mind up for a lifetime by itself. As in most religions, it seems as if the subsequent legions of disciples have created libraries of volumes of exigesis, and multiple strands of practice, but this is reputedly the simple version for the masses, as the Buddha himself said it.

At any rate, it is a useful introduction for someone who wants an understanding of Buddhism to inform his or her reading of the history and literature of Asia. View all 7 comments. A re-read, this time in English translation. I got the Oxford version, because its form looked good in Amazon review also its introduction is very clear and interesting; its explanatory notes are very useful too, very clear.

I think I got more out of this this time, maybe a few years really changed things. I'm not a Buddhist, not believing in reincarnation for example, but even so I got a lot of enjoyment and inspiration out of this. It's a slim volume, so it can be read quickly, but it can als A re-read, this time in English translation. It's a slim volume, so it can be read quickly, but it can also be savoured by reading slowly.

One can see clearly how it can be such a classic, and a good starting place for anyone practicing Buddhism or just having an interest in it. Clear and simple yet also deep and visual, beautiful. Enjoyable and recommended. Very reflective and wholesome moral truths for living, quite a fresh read in the world of inconsequential candy reads.

While one might not agree with every Buddhist principle for living, as I myself don't, the general truths that you pick up and contemplate throughout the day are hard to escape. Easy and quick, yet full of substance and worthy of review time and again. The Buddha is the closest figure I've had as a role model in my life and this elegantly translated compendium of his teachings rings very true to his word.

Excellent work. There are books to be read and books to be comprehended. What is contained in this book while at a first read is absurdly simple in its spartan-ness is a very difficult set of guidelines to live with. The inspiration to know more about the Buddha was an unlikely source, a little trinket I bought. It was a resemblance of There are books to be read and books to be comprehended. It was a resemblance of the Ashoka Pillar.

After glancing at it for long minutes during which it refused to do anything at all, I started checking the internet for the Buddhist Emperor and found it very amusing. A wildly passionate follower even drew a comparison saying that Alexander would have been but a Thug against the leadership practices of Ashoka. Everywhere resounded but one principle behind this legend of a man : Buddhism.

Scouring this water body of information named the internet, I came up with the name of this book. There is but one foundation that underlies Buddhism that I could comprehend even with what little reading I have on this topic. This is about suffering in Buddhist terms Dukha. The identification of pain or suffering, the cessation of pain and the path to the cessation of pain is what this entire belief system seems to be based out of.

It is very easy to read a book that speaks to you on letting go of your desires but to implement that in practice would need more steel than even an army training camp can instill in you. For eg : There is mention of life lived without an eye to victory or loss for a life of tranquility. With a few modifications here and there, Krishna suggests the same to Arjuna during the discourse of the Bhagavad Gita.


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  7. If memory serves me right, it was about the need to perform one's duties without a thought of victory or loss for it is such thoughts that lead one to sorrow. Then again many a teaching here are akin to the ten commandments in that all time bestseller as well. The translation as offered by Glenn Wallis is interesting and insightful to read. I in fact spent more time going through his notes than reading through the core text.

    The next time around I would want to stick to the core text and take it in little sips as a hot brew on an extremely cold and wretched day. In short : It is an energizer! Something from the text which bears an uncanny resemblance to the society we belong to now as it was centuries ago : Atula, this is from long ago, it is not recent: they find fault with one who sits silently, they find fault with one who speaks much, they find fault with one who speaks but little. There is no one in this world who is not faulted.

    View 1 comment. Jun 18, Sarah rated it it was ok Shelves: nonfiction. Thou shalt not live combined with no soup for you. I feel compelled to say more inane things, but restraint is foremost in my mind after reading the Dhammapada. It gets a low rating because I didn't learn anything new. My favourite verses: One should not have regard for the bad deeds of others, nor the things done and left undone by others, but only for the things done and left undone by oneself. Therefore one should not be a traveller and one would not be beset with misery. Forget religion for a second, lets just focus on philosophy, because as a philosophy on how to live your life, this book is a pretty damn good one.

    This book speaks of peace, love, harmony, wisdom and self-improvement through realising you aren't always perfect, but you can always try to do better. It does not go in to what happens after death or any of that nonsense, just how a Buddhist goes about life in simple verse. I'm already too far down the rabbit hole of being an insensitive, sarcastic, Forget religion for a second, lets just focus on philosophy, because as a philosophy on how to live your life, this book is a pretty damn good one. I'm already too far down the rabbit hole of being an insensitive, sarcastic, cunt for it to become a way of life for me though, still, I agree with peace and harmony and I found this to be an enjoyable, optimistic and quick read Surprisingly enjoyable in fact, like, it was fun to read in the same way the Art of War was, they just give you these infinitely quotable lines that make a whole damn heap of sense.

    Now, I'm reading them in a random order.

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    This booklet contains 'Captivating aphorisms illustrating the Buddhist dhamma, or moral system. And, to be quite frank, it was not an easy read. It was not even a nice read. The aphorisms at least the ones collected are often almost the same and just stated slightly different, or one is stating it positively and another one negatively.

    This made it so far my least favourite of the Little Black Classics even though I thought it was interesting to read something for a change that I perhaps wouldn't have picked up on my own. Sep 25, Cassandra Kay Silva rated it it was amazing Shelves: religion. Very good edition. The text is beautiful. The message is good. This is the kind of thing that can be read and reread throughout your lifetime and will bring different meanings at different places in your life.

    I got a copy at the library. I will be looking for a personal copy to keep for my own.

    Dhammapada, Wisdom of the Buddha

    So beautiful. I really appreciated the accompanying notes. Aug 09, Hadrian rated it really liked it Shelves: religion-theology , nonfiction , philosophy. Good clear poetic translation. Buddhism has always been interesting to me , as sometimes it approaches the level of philosophy so much as a religion - at least it does to my understanding.

    Good thoughts for living well. Jan 07, Yasiru reviews will soon be removed and linked to blog rated it it was amazing Shelves: philosophy-and-psychology , favourites. A wide-ranging and systematic sampling of Buddhist teachings, particularly in Theravada Buddhism, coming as it does from the Khuddaka Nikaya of the Pali Canon see the external links section for valuable resources, including the Access to Insight collection of translated material. Highly economical and eminently accessible, these verses are indispensible in addressing the myriad misapprehensions and misrepresentations of concepts like karma, detachment, emptiness, et al.

    From the beginning 'Twin Verses' or 'Yamaka Vagga' the issues at hand are accorded an epistemic treatment in tandem with the traditional ontological and metaphysical concerns of similar religious sources. The twenty-six chapter headings thus function as a kind of rubric for classifying the diverse poetic utterances of the Master, and the reason behind the inclusion of any given verse in a particular chapter is its mention of the subject indicated in the chapter's heading.

    In some cases Chapters 4 and 23 this may be a metaphorical symbol rather than a point of doctrine. There also seems to be no intentional design in the order of the chapters themselves, though at certain points a loose thread of development can be discerned. The teachings of the Buddha, viewed in their completeness, all link together into a single perfectly coherent system of thought and practice which gains its unity from its final goal, the attainment of deliverance from suffering.

    But the teachings inevitably emerge from the human condition as their matrix and starting point, and thus must be expressed in such a way as to reach human beings standing at different levels of spiritual development, with their highly diverse problems, ends, and concerns and with their very different capacities for understanding. Thence, just as water, though one in essence, assumes different shapes due to the vessels into which it is poured, so the Dhamma of liberation takes on different forms in response to the needs of the beings to be taught.

    This diversity, evident enough already in the prose discourses, becomes even more conspicuous in the highly condensed, spontaneous and intuitively charged medium of verse used in the Dhammapada. The intensified power of delivery can result in apparent inconsistencies which may perplex the unwary.

    For example, in many verses the Buddha commends certain practices on the grounds that they lead to a heavenly birth, but in others he discourages disciples from aspiring for heaven and extols the one who takes no delight in celestial pleasures , [Unless chapter numbers are indicated, all figures enclosed in parenthesis refer to verse numbers of the Dhammapada. Often he enjoins works of merit, yet elsewhere he praises the one who has gone beyond both merit and demerit 39 , Without a grasp of the underlying structure of the Dhamma, such statements viewed side by side will appear incompatible and may even elicit the judgment that the teaching is self-contradictory.

    The key to resolving these apparent discrepancies is the recognition that the Dhamma assumes its formulation from the needs of the diverse persons to whom it is addressed, as well as from the diversity of needs that may co-exist even in a single individual. To make sense of the various utterances found in the Dhammapada, we will suggest a schematism of four levels to be used for ascertaining the intention behind any particular verse found in the work, and thus for understanding its proper place in the total systematic vision of the Dhamma.

    This fourfold schematism develops out of an ancient interpretive maxim which holds that the Buddha's teaching is designed to meet three primary aims: human welfare here and now, a favorable rebirth in the next life, and the attainment of the ultimate good. The four levels are arrived at by distinguishing the last aim into two stages: path and fruit. The aim at this level is to show man the way to live at peace with himself and his fellow men, to fulfill his family and social responsibilities, and to restrain the bitterness, conflict and violence which infect human relationships and bring such immense suffering to the individual, society, and the world as a whole.

    The guidelines appropriate to this level are largely identical with the basic ethical injunctions proposed by most of the great world religions, but in the Buddhist teaching they are freed from theistic moorings and grounded upon two directly verifiable foundations: concern for one's own integrity and long-range happiness and concern for the welfare of those whom one's actions may affect The most general counsel the Dhammapada gives is to avoid all evil, to cultivate good and to cleanse one's mind But to dispel any doubts the disciple might entertain as to what he should avoid and what he should cultivate, other verses provide more specific directives.

    One should avoid irritability in deed, word and thought and exercise self-control One should adhere to the five precepts, the fundamental moral code of Buddhism, which teach abstinence from destroying life, from stealing, from committing adultery, from speaking lies and from taking intoxicants; one who violates these five training rules "digs up his own root even in this very world" The disciple should treat all beings with kindness and compassion, live honestly and righteously, control his sensual desires, speak the truth and live a sober upright life, diligently fulfilling his duties, such as service to parents, to his immediate family and to those recluses and brahmans who depend on the laity for their maintenance A large number of verses pertaining to this first level are concerned with the resolution of conflict and hostility.

    Quarrels are to be avoided by patience and forgiveness, for responding to hatred by further hatred only maintains the cycle of vengeance and retaliation. The true conquest of hatred is achieved by non-hatred, by forbearance, by love One should not respond to bitter speech but maintain silence One should not yield to anger but control it as a driver controls a chariot Instead of keeping watch for the faults of others, the disciple is admonished to examine his own faults, and to make a continual effort to remove his impurities just as a silversmith purifies silver 50 , Even if he has committed evil in the past, there is no need for dejection or despair; for a man's ways can be radically changed, and one who abandons the evil for the good illuminates this world like the moon freed from clouds The sterling qualities distinguishing the man of virtue are generosity, truthfulness, patience, and compassion By developing and mastering these qualities within himself, a man lives at harmony with his own conscience and at peace with his fellow beings.

    The scent of virtue, the Buddha declares, is sweeter than the scent of all flowers and perfumes The good man, like the Himalaya mountains, shines from afar, and wherever he goes he is loved and respected This level begins with the recognition that, to reflective thought, the human situation demands a more satisfactory context for ethics than mere appeals to altruism can provide. On the one hand our innate sense of moral justice requires that goodness be recompensed with happiness and evil with suffering; on the other our typical experience shows us virtuous people beset with hardships and afflictions and thoroughly bad people riding the waves of fortune Moral intuition tells us that if there is any long-range value to righteousness, the imbalance must somehow be redressed.

    The visible order does not yield an evident solution, but the Buddha's teaching reveals the factor needed to vindicate our cry for moral justice in an impersonal universal law which reigns over all sentient existence. This is the law of kamma Sanskrit: karma , of action and its fruit, which ensures that morally determinate action does not disappear into nothingness but eventually meets its due retribution, the good with happiness, the bad with suffering.

    In the popular understanding kamma is sometimes identified with fate, but this is a total misconception utterly inapplicable to the Buddhist doctrine. Kamma means volitional action, action springing from intention, which may manifest itself outwardly as bodily deeds or speech, or remain internally as unexpressed thoughts, desires and emotions. The Buddha distinguishes kamma into two primary ethical types: unwholesome kamma, action rooted in mental states of greed, hatred and delusion; and wholesome kamma, action rooted in mental states of generosity or detachment, goodwill and understanding.

    The willed actions a person performs in the course of his life may fade from memory without a trace, but once performed they leave subtle imprints on the mind, seeds with the potential to come to fruition in the future when they meet conditions conducive to their ripening. The objective field in which the seeds of kamma ripen is the process of rebirths called samsara. In the Buddha's teaching, life is not viewed as an isolated occurrence beginning spontaneously with birth and ending in utter annihilation at death.

    Each single life span is seen, rather, as part of an individualized series of lives having no discoverable beginning in time and continuing on as long as the desire for existence stands intact. Rebirth can take place in various realms. There are not only the familiar realms of human beings and animals, but ranged above we meet heavenly worlds of greater happiness, beauty and power, and ranged below infernal worlds of extreme suffering.

    The cause for rebirth into these various realms the Buddha locates in kamma, our own willed actions. In its primary role, kamma determines the sphere into which rebirth takes place, wholesome actions bringing rebirth in higher forms, unwholesome actions rebirth in lower forms.

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    The Dhammapada

    After yielding rebirth, kamma continues to operate, governing the endowments and circumstances of the individual within his given form of existence. Thus, within the human world, previous stores of wholesome kamma will issue in long life, health, wealth, beauty and success; stores of unwholesome kamma in short life, illness, poverty, ugliness and failure. Prescriptively, the second level of teaching found in the Dhammapada is the practical corollary to this recognition of the law of kamma, put forth to show human beings, who naturally desire happiness and freedom from sorrow, the effective means to achieve their objectives.

    The content of this teaching itself does not differ from that presented at the first level; it is the same set of ethical injunctions for abstaining from evil and for cultivating the good. The difference lies in the perspective from which the injunctions are issued and the aim for the sake of which they are to be taken up. The principles of morality are shown now in their broader cosmic connections, as tied to an invisible but all-embracing law which binds together all life and holds sway over the repeated rotations of the cycle of birth and death.

    The observance of morality is justified, despite its difficulties and apparent failures, by the fact that it is in harmony with that law, that through the efficacy of kamma, our willed actions become the chief determinant of our destiny both in this life and in future states of becoming. To follow the ethical law leads upwards — to inner development, to higher rebirths and to richer experiences of happiness and joy. To violate the law, to act in the grip of selfishness and hate, leads downwards — to inner deterioration, to suffering and to rebirth in the worlds of misery.

    This theme is announced already by the pair of verses which opens the Dhammapada, and reappears in diverse formulations throughout the work see, e. In its own sphere of application, it is perfectly valid as a preparatory or provisional teaching for those whose spiritual faculties are not yet ripe but still require further maturation over a succession of lives.

    A deeper, more searching examination, however, reveals that all states of existence in samsara, even the loftiest celestial abodes, are lacking in genuine worth; for they are all inherently impermanent, without any lasting substance, and thus, for those who cling to them, potential bases for suffering. The disciple of mature faculties, sufficiently prepared by previous experience for the Buddha's distinctive exposition of the Dhamma, does not long even for rebirth among the gods. Having understood the intrinsic inadequacy of all conditioned things, his focal aspiration is only for deliverance from the ever-repeating round of births.

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    This is the ultimate goal to which the Buddha points, as the immediate aim for those of developed faculties and also as the long-term ideal for those in need of further development: Nibbana, the Deathless, the unconditioned state where there is no more birth, aging and death, and no more suffering. The third level of teaching found in the Dhammapada sets forth the theoretical framework and practical discipline emerging out of the aspiration for final deliverance. The theoretical framework is provided by the teaching of the Four Noble Truths , , which the Buddha had proclaimed already in his first sermon and upon which he placed so much stress in his many discourses that all schools of Buddhism have appropriated them as their common foundation.

    The four truths all center around the fact of suffering dukkha , understood not as mere experienced pain and sorrow, but as the pervasive unsatisfactoriness of everything conditioned The first truth details the various forms of suffering — birth, old age, sickness and death, the misery of unpleasant encounters and painful separations, the suffering of not obtaining what one wants. It culminates in the declaration that all constituent phenomena of body and mind, "the aggregates of existence" khandha , being impermanent and substanceless, are intrinsically unsatisfactory. The second truth points out that the cause of suffering is craving tanha , the desire for pleasure and existence which drives us through the round of rebirths, bringing in its trail sorrow, anxiety, and despair , Chapter The third truth declares that the destruction of craving issues in release from suffering, and the fourth prescribes the means to gain release, the Noble Eightfold Path: right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration Chapter If, at this third level, the doctrinal emphasis shifts from the principles of kamma and rebirth to the Four Noble Truths, a corresponding shift in emphasis takes place in the practical sphere as well.

    The stress now no longer falls on the observation of basic morality and the cultivation of wholesome attitudes as a means to higher rebirths. Instead it falls on the integral development of the Noble Eightfold Path as the means to uproot the craving that nurtures the process of rebirth itself.

    For practical purposes the eight factors of the path are arranged into three major groups which reveal more clearly the developmental structure of the training: moral discipline including right speech, right action and right livelihood , concentration including right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration , and wisdom including right understanding and right thought. By the training in morality, the coarsest forms of the mental defilements, those erupting as unwholesome deeds and words, are checked and kept under control.

    By the training in concentration the mind is made calm, pure and unified, purged of the currents of distractive thoughts.

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