Dhammapada 5: Fools


Long for the wakeful is the night.
Long for the weary, a league.
For fools
unaware of True Dhamma,
is long.


If, in your course, you don’t meet
your equal, your better,
then continue your course,
There’s no fellowship with fools.


‘I have sons, I have wealth’ —
the fool torments himself.
When even he himself
doesn’t belong to himself,
how then sons?
How wealth?


A fool with a sense of his foolishness
is — at least to that extent — wise.
But a fool who thinks himself wise
really deserves to be called
a fool.


Even if for a lifetime
the fool stays with the wise,
he knows nothing of the Dhamma —
as the ladle,
the taste of the soup.

Even if for a moment,
the perceptive person stays with the wise,
he immediately knows the Dhamma —
as the tongue,
the taste of the soup.


Fools, their wisdom weak,
are their own enemies
as they go through life,
doing evil
that bears
bitter fruit.


It’s not good,
the doing of the deed
that, once it’s done,
you regret,
whose result you reap crying,
your face in tears.

It’s good,
the doing of the deed
that, once it’s done,
you don’t regret,
whose result you reap gratified,
happy at heart.


As long as evil has yet to ripen,
the fool mistakes it for honey.
But when that evil ripens,
the fool falls into


Month after month
the fool might eat
only a tip-of-grass measure of food,
but he wouldn’t be worth
one sixteenth
of those who’ve fathomed
the Dhamma.


An evil deed, when done,
doesn’t — like ready milk —
come out right away.
It follows the fool,
like a fire
hidden in ashes.


Only for his ruin
does renown come to the fool.
It ravages his bright fortune
& rips his head apart.

He would want unwarranted status,
preeminence among monks,
authority among monasteries,
homage from lay families.

‘Let householders & those gone forth
both think that this
was done by me alone.
May I alone determine
what’s a duty, what’s not’:
the resolve of a fool
as they grow —
his desire & pride.

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