The Dhammapada

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Not to commit any sin, to do good, and to purify one’s mind, that is the teaching of (all) the Awakened.

….

Let a wise man blow off the impurities of his self, as a smith blows off the impurities of silver one by one, little by little, and from time to time.

Let no man think lightly of evil, saying in his heart, It will not come nigh unto me. Even by the falling of water-drops a water-pot is filled; the fool becomes full of evil, even if he gather it little by little.

Let no man think lightly of good, saying in his heart, It will not come nigh unto me. Even by the falling of water-drops a water-pot is filled; the wise man becomes full of good, even if he gather it little by little.

-The Dhammapada

What a gem this volume is! It’s a collection of sayings attributed to the Buddha, from the Theraveda tradition of Buddhism. It’s one of the least religious sutras I’ve read – it concentrates more of the philosophy of proper living in this world than theological matters.

Buddhism is a religion that recommends moderation in body, spirit, and mind, as well as detachment from emotions and day-to-day life. One goal of the Buddhism is to reduce suffering in this world, by promoting good deeds and a gentleness toward all living beings. The other aspects vary depending on which branch you’re studying, but another common goal is release from the cycle of reincarnation, the multiple rebirths experienced until a being has spiritually purified itself and obtained nirvana.

What I especially love about most forms of Buddhism is its focus on correct living in this world, rather than dogma. Gautama Buddha himself is generally not deified and is treated as a fellow traveler who could have released himself from the rebirth cycle but chose to teach and help others free themselves instead. Anyone can eventually become a buddha, with enough spiritual practice.

As someone who’s experienced chafing at Western religion, I adore the freedom of Buddhism’s flexibility on specific dogmas. I especially like that we’re all given endless chances to achieve heaven and cessation of being – there is no one great chance, instead we’re all fellow co-learners at different points of development…

There are many forms of Buddhism, and there are many deities-Mara, being the king of Hell, and others. For me, right now, I read it more these as a metaphor – a greedy person or addict who dies without is reborn as a hungry ghost in the hell realm to suffer eternal hunger.

I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone interested – you can read it as an ancient philosophy that ables to our modern world.

2 thoughts on “The Dhammapada

  1. Beautiful, I love Buddhist philosophy. It really helped me when I was having a dark time. I hope it helps you ❤

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