Dhammapada 20: The path


Of paths, the eightfold is best.
Of truths, the four sayings.
Of qualities, dispassion.
Of two-footed beings,
the one with the eyes
to see.


Just this
is the path
— there is no other —
to purify vision.
Follow it,
and that will be Mara’s

Following it,
you put an end
to suffering & stress.
I have taught you this path
for knowing
the extraction of arrows.

It’s for you to strive
Tathagatas simply
point out the way.
Those who practice,
absorbed in jhana:
from Mara’s bonds
they’ll be freed.


When you see with discernment,
‘All fabrications are inconstant’ —
you grow disenchanted with stress.
This is the path
to purity.

When you see with discernment,
‘All fabrications are stressful’ —
you grow disenchanted with stress.
This is the path
to purity.

When you see with discernment,
‘All phenomena are not-self’ —
you grow disenchanted with stress.
This is the path
to purity.


At the time for initiative
he takes no initiative.
Young, strong, but lethargic,
the resolves of his heart
the lazy, lethargic one
loses the path
to discernment.


Guarded in speech,
well-restrained in body & mind,
do nothing unskillful.
these three courses of action.
Bring to fruition
the path that seers have proclaimed.


From striving comes wisdom;
from not, wisdom’s end.
Knowing these two courses
— to development,
decline —
conduct yourself
so that wisdom will grow.


Cut down
the forest of desire,
not the forest of trees.
From the forest of desire
come danger & fear.
Having cut down this forest
& its underbrush, monks,
be deforested.

For as long as the least
bit of underbrush
of a man for women
is not cleared away,
the heart is fixated
like a suckling calf
on its mother.

your sense of self-allure
like an autumn lily
in the hand.
Nurture only the path to peace
— Unbinding —
as taught by the One Well Gone.


‘Here I’ll stay for the rains.
Here, for the summer & winter.’
So imagines the fool,
unaware of obstructions.

That drunk-on-his-sons-&-cattle man,
all tangled up in the mind:
death sweeps him away —
as a great flood,
a village asleep.
There are no sons
to give shelter,
no father,
no family
for one seized by the Ender,
no shelter among kin.

of this compelling reason,
the wise man, restrained by virtue,
should make the path pure
— right away —
that goes all the way to Unbinding.

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