With Explanatory Notes Buddha’s
and a Short Essay on
Buddha’s Thought

T H E   C U N N I N G H A M   P R E S S


  FOREWORD.............................................  iii

THE DHAMMAPADA..............................1


     ON BUDDHA'S THOUGHT.............115


    AFTER 2500 years, the teachings of Gotama Buddha are being regarded as “really quite modern,” It would perhaps be less presumptuous and more true to say that the present growing-tips of Western psychology are now beginning to touch "The Problem of Man" where Buddha laid gentle but firm hand so long ago.

    Throughout the past fifty years, the relevance of perceptions to a “science of soul” has become increasingly clear. This Indian sage, perhaps more than any other who has ever lived, provided a meeting-ground for all extremes of persuasion—gnostics and agnosticism, belief and the skepticism of caution, appreciation of intuition, and devotion to logic. While the world of the mind is still quivering from abrupt change—transition from too much other worldly  religion to too much physical science—a man who recognized, as parts of a larger whole, the valid emphases of each, is a man whose thoughts are worth knowing today.

    In the Dhammapada, while Buddha both affirms and denies some things with assurance, many verses also contain, in sequence, the converse of what is first said. We find, therefore, that the sharp delineations



between “good” and “evil” which characterize familiar religious forms, are supplanted by the establishment of a number of subtle ethical dimensions—presented in the form of “on the other  hands” and “yes, buts.” Now, it is clearly this very quality of the Buddha’s thought, at once rendering its precepts philosophically valuable and psychologically sound, which arouses the admiration of Westerners.

    A student once under Freud’s personal tutelage has reported that the “father of psychoanalysis” named Buddha as the greatest psychologist of all time. In any case, there are logical reasons for the favor Buddha has found among modern psychotherapists. Four sentences from the last two pages of ‘The Downward Course” in the Dhammapada provide sufficient explanation:

    • . .
A blade of kusa grass wrongly handled cuts the hand; asceticism wrongly practised leads downward, to hell.

    • . .
They who feel shame when there is no cause for shame [as well as] they who feel no shame when they ought to be ashamed—both enter the downward path, following false doctrines.

• . . They who fear when there is no cause for fear [as well as] they who do not fear when they ought to fear—both enter the downward path, following false doctrines.



    They who discern evil where there is no evil [as well as] they who see nothing evil in what is evil—both enter the downward path, following false doctrines.

    In this brief passage we may well feel that the essential key to Buddha’s outlook stands revealed: To speak of those whose trouble arises from failing to “discern evil” where there is evil—this is also the talk of church and temple. To speak of those whose trouble arises from “discerning evil” where there is no evil, who feel shame where there should be no shame—this is the language of psychotherapy. Clinicians of our time are still encountering warped psyches influenced by distorted conceptions of sin; Buddha had his own backlog of priestly distortion to face, and his “point, counterpoint” method of instruction, in perfect balance itself, encouraged balance in those who listened. “Evil” is not to be feared, in other words, but understood, which can in turn only be accomplished by penetrating beyond traditional categories of Right and Wrong. Do we, today, really need anything more desperately than to find a way of retaining ethical awareness while rejecting categorical morality—and its accompanying self-righteousness?

    The Dhammapada
is one of the great books of the world. It ranks with The Bhagavad-Gita, Tao Teh Ching and Verba Christie in the New Testament.



    How it is a recognized part of the Buddhistic Canon; when it was compiled; why it is revered as containing authentic words of the Master—and other such scholastic problems—need not be considered here. Those who are interested in such problems will find full information in numerous volumes—from Max Müller’s “Introduction” in Volume X of the Sacred Books of the East (1881) to Dr. S. Radhakrishnan’s “Introductory Essays” to his Dhammapada (1950).

    This is not a new translation. It is only a rendition. Over a score of translations have been consulted in its compilation and of course our debt of gratitude to them is large.

    The present volume is especially meant for all those who aspire to brighten their day to day living, and who are seeking for inspiration and enlightenment. The Dhammapada can bestow this, gift: it has the power to bring to the heart and the mind of earnest readers “the right perception of existing things, the knowledge of the non-existent.” There are soothing and comforting and encouraging verses in The Dhammapada; but, most of all, its sections awaken the mind and energize the heart and take them to a better way of living. It offers tonic for self-examination, nourishment for reflection and stimulant for self-discipline. It raises consciousness from the sentient state to the



plane of the Soul. There is peace born of insight, there is contentment born of understanding, awaiting the student-devotee who follows the foot-falls of Master
Gotama Buddha.
                                                                                                                                                                      THE PUBLISHERS





    ALL that we are is the result of what we have thought: all that we are is  founded on our thoughts and formed of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain pursues him, as the wheel of the wagon follows the hoof of the ox that draws it.(1)*
    All that we are is the result of what we have thought: all that we are is founded on our thoughts and formed of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought happiness pursue him like his own shadow that never leaves him. (2)*

    “He reviled me, he beat me and conquered  and then plundered me,” who express such thoughts tie their mind with the intention of retaliation. In them hatred will not cease. (3)



    “He reviled me, he beat me and conquered and then plundered me,” who do not express such thoughts, in them hatred will cease. (4)

     In this world never is enmity appeased by hatred; enmity is ever appeased by Love. This is the Law Eternal.*

     The many who know not this also forget that in this world we shall one day die. They do not restrain themselves. But those who recognize the Law end their quarrels soon. (6)

     Whoso lives pursuing pleasures, his senses unrestrained, immoderate in eating, indolent, devitalized—him verily doth Mara uproot as a gale a weak tree.

    Who so lives disciplining himself, unmindful of pleasures, his senses restrained, moderate in eating, full of faith and dauntless energy (Virya)—him verily Mara doth not overturn as a gale doth not overturn a rocky mountain. (8) *



    He may display it on himself but he has not merited the yellow robe who is not free from depravities, who disregards temperance and truth. (9)

    He indeed has merited the yellow robe who has purged away depravities and is well grounded in virtues, who is regardful of temperance and truth. (10)

    Those who live in the pleasure-ground of fancy see truth in the unreal and untruth in the real. They never arrive at truth.(11)

Those who abide in the world of right thought see truth in the real and untruth in the unreal. They arrive at truth.(12)

     Rains pour into an ill-thatched house; desires pour into an ill-trained mind.  (13)

     Rains wet not a well-thatched house; desires enter not the disciplined mind. (14)



    The evil doer suffers in this world and he grieves in the next; he mourns in both. Afflicted he grieves in the visualization of his sinful deeds. (15)

    The virtuous rejoices in this world and he rejoices in the next; he rejoices in both. He rejoices, rejoices exceedingly in the visualization of his pure deeds.(16)

    The evil doer laments here, he laments hereafter. “Evil have I done,” he soliloquizes. Greater his torment when he is in the place of evil. (17)

    The righteous man is happy here, he is happy hereafter. “I have done well,” he soliloquizes. Greater is his delight in the blissful place. (18)

    He who quotes the Sacred texts but is lazy and will not apply, he is like a cowherd count-



ing the cows of others. He shares not the blessings of the Good Life. (19)

    He who forsakes lust, hatred and folly is possessed of true knowledge and a serene mind, craves nought of this world or of any other, applies to himself the teachings of the Sacred texts he recites, even though a few in number—such a one shares in the blessings of the Good Life.(20)




1.     Vigilance is the path to Life Eternal. Thoughtlessness is the path to death. The reflecting vigilant die not. The heedless are already dead.(21)

2.     The wise distinctly understand this. Therefore they delight in wakeful watching. They graze in the pastures of the Aryas, the Noble Ones.(22)

Meditative, persevering, ever strenuous in endeavour, the tranquil ones attain Nirvana, the highest freedom and happiness. (23)

4.     Continually grows the glory of that man who is wakeful and mindful, whose deeds are pure, whose acts are deliberate, who is self-controlled and who lives according to Law.(24)

5.     By endeavour, by vigilance, by discipline and self-control, let the wise man make for himself an island which no flood can overwhelm.  (25)



6.     Fools and witless persons give themselves to sloth. The wise value vigilance as their best treasure. (26)

7.     Be not a sluggard. Have no dalliance with lust and sense delights. He who meditates with earnestness attains great joy.

8.     When the prudent man overcomes sloth by vigilance he ascends to the terrace of wisdom. Sorrowless he surveys the sorrowful crowd. This wise man regards the foolish as the mountaineer from his high peak looks at those who are dwelling on the plains.(28)

9.     Vigilant among the heedless, awake among the sleepy, the wise one forges ahead even as a charger outdistances a weak horse.   (29)

10.     By vigilance did Indra rise to the lordship of the gods. Vigilance is always praised, heedlessness ever deprecated.(30)



11.     A Bhikkhu who delights in vigilance, who sees the danger of heedlessness, advances like a lire consuming fetters, small or large.  (31)

12.     A Bhikkhu who delights in vigilance, who sees the danger of heedlessness, will not fall; he is close upon Nirvana. (32)




1.     Just as a fletcher makes straight his arrow, the wise man makes straight his crooked thinking. This is difficult to guard. This is hard to restrain. (33)

Like unto a fish snatched from its watery home and cast on land, the mind trembles and quivers leaving the dominion of Mara.  (34)

3.     Thinking is difficult to discipline. Mind is flighty, alighting where it listeth. Good is to tame it. The tame mind is the bearer of happiness   (35)

4.     Let a wise man watch his thinking. The mind moves with extreme subtlety and is not noticed. It seizes whatever it desires. To watch the mind is conducive to happiness. (36)

He who controls his mind escapes the bondage of Mara. The mind is incorporeal, moves alone, travels far and rests in the cave of the heart. (37)

6. Wisdom fills not the unsteady mind of



the man of ruffled serenity; he is ignorant of the true teaching. (38)

Fear there is not for him whose mind is not burning with desires, and which, having risen above likes and dislikes, is serene. He is awakened. (39)

8.      Looking upon his body to be fragile as an earthen jar, valuing his mind as a firm fortress, let a man fight Mara with the sword of wisdom. Let him guard what he has gained, but let him fight on. (40)

9.     Ere long, alas! will this body lie on earth, cast aside, bereft of consciousness, useless as a burnt faggot. (41)

10.     Whatever an enemy may do to an enemy, whatever a hater may do to a hater, a wrongly directed mind will do to us greater harm.

11.     Not a mother, not a father, not any kindred can do much; a well-directed mind does us greater service. (43)




1.    Who shall overcome this earth? And who the sphere of Yama, the god of death? And who the world of the happy gods? And who shall choose the steps on the Path of Law even as the gardener culls the choicest blooms? (44)

2.     The disciple will overcome this earth. Also Yamaloka. Also the sphere of the gods. The disciple chooses to take steps on the Path of Law. He is the expert gardener who culls the choicest blooms.
(45) *

3. Knowing that this body is like froth, knowing that its nature is that of a mirage, and breaking the flowery shafts of Mara, the disciple passes untouched by death.  (46)

4. Death bears off the man whose mind is intent on plucking the flowers of sense, as a flood sweeps away a sleeping hamlet.  (47)



5.      Death overpowers the man who is gathering the flowers of sense, even before he is satiated  in his pleasure. (48)

6.     The bee gathers honey without injuring the scent or the colour of the flower. So should a silent one (Muni) live his life.

     Not the unworthy actions of others, nor their sins of omission and commission, but his own acts of omission and commission should one regard.(50)

8.     Like a flower full of colour but without fragrance are the fair words which bear no fruit in action. (51)

9.     But like a beautiful flower full of colour and fragrance are the fair words whose fruits
are deeds. (52)

10.   Many kinds of garlands can be made  From a heap of flowers. Many good works can be gathered by a mortal once he is born. (53)



11.     The scent of flowers travels not against the wind—be it tagara or mallika or even of the sandalwood tree. But the fragrance of the good wafts even against the wind. But the fragrance of the good man pervades all his ways. (54)

12.     The fragrance of virtue is unsurpassed even among the perfumes of sandalwood, of  but lotus, of tagara, of vassiki.(55)

13.     Faint is the scent of tagara or sandalwood. The fragrance of the virtuous ascends to  the heights of the gods. (56)

14.     Mara never finds the way to those who possess real virtue, who are vigilant, who are  freed by perfect knowledge. (57)

15-16.     From a heap of rubbish on the road-side, a lily blooms, fragrant and pleasing; from a mass of blinded mortals arises the disciple of the truly Wise One, shining with exceeding  glory of his own Wisdom. (58-59)




1.     Long is the night for him who cannot sleep. Long is the yojana (a ten mile distance) for him who is weary. Long the chain of birth and death for the foolish who do not know the true law.60)

2.     If a wayfarer does not meet his better or his equal, let him resolutely proceed alone on his journey. There is no companionship with a fool. (61)

3.      The fool worries himself thinking— “Sons have I; wealth have I.” He himself does not belong to himself. How then sons? How then wealth?

4.     The fool aware of his folly is to that extent wise; but a fool who takes himself to be wise is a fool indeed. (63)

A fool associating himself with a wise man all his life sees not the truth, even as the spoon enjoys not the taste of the soup.(64)



6.     But a thoughtful person associating with a wise man soon perceives the truth, even as the tongue enjoys the taste of the soup. (65)

Fools of little understanding are their own enemies; they do evil deeds which bear
bitter fruits. (66)

8.     Ill done is that deed for which repentance is due; in grief and with tears a man receives its consequences. (67)

9.     Well done is that deed for which no repentance is due; in delight and happiness a man receives its consequences. (68)

10.     So long as an evil deed does not bear fruit, the fool thinks that it is sweet as honey; but when it bears fruit, then the fool suffers  (69)

11.     Though a fool may eat his food month after month with the tip of a blade of kusa grass, yet will he not be worth the sixteenth part of those who have truly appraised the doctrine. (70)



12.     An evil deed, like newly drawn milk, does not turn at once. Smouldering, like fire covered by ashes, it consumes the fool. (71)

13.     Whatever knowledge the fool acquires is not worked to advantage. That tarnishes his bright share of past merit and throws his head into disarray as he acts in the present.  (72)

14-15.     Let the fool wish for false reputation, for precedence among the mendicants, for lordship in convents and worship from all folk. “Let both the householders and the monks think that this is done by me. Let them follow my pleasure in what should be done and what should not be done.” Such is the wish of the fool and so his desire and pride increase.

16.     One is the way that leads to worldly gain; quite another leads to Nirvana. Let not the Bhikkhu, the follower of the Buddha, having learnt this, seek mundane praise but strive after wisdom.  (75)




1-2.     If you see an intelligent man who detects faults and blames what is blameworthy, follow that wise man. Value him as a revealer of hidden treasure. He will be beloved of the good; by the bad he will be hated. Let such a man admonish, let him instruct, let him forbid what is improper.  (76-77)

Do not be friends of evil doers or of mean men. Do be friends with the good; keep
company with the best of men. (78)

4.     He who drinks in the Dhamma with a serene mind lives happily. The wise man delights in the Dhamma taught by the Noble Ones. (79)

5.     Irrigators lead the waters. Fletchers shape the arrows. Carpenters carve the wood. Wise people discipline themselves.(80)



6.     Solid rock is not shaken by the gale. The wise man is not moved by praise or blame. (81)

7.     After hearing the Dhamma the wise become tranquil, like a deep lake which is clear and calm.

8.      Good people move onwards whatever befall. They do not prattle, nor yearn for pleasures. The wise are not elated in their happiness, nor are they depressed when touched by sorrow.(83)

9.     Neither for himself nor for others will the wise man crave sons or wealth or position. (84)

10-11.     A few only reach the farther shore. Most people go their rounds on this one. Those, however, who listen to the Law and live up to its precepts cross over to the farther shore. This crossing over the dominion of Mara is difficult  (85-86)



12-13.     Let a man value retirement which is hard to love; let him leave the householder-state, seeking the homeless one. Let the wise abandon the way of darkness and follow the light on the path. Leaving behind all sense pleasures, calling nothing his own, let the wise man cleanse himself from all impurities of the heart and then enjoy.  (87-88)

14.     Living in this world they attain the bliss of Nirvana whose appetites have been conquered, whose minds are well grounded in the elements of enlightenment* and who cling to nothing but enjoy the freedom of detachment. (89)*




1.     He who has thrown off the fetters and freed himself in all ways, he is free from sorrow; for him there is no suffering; he has completed his journey. (90)

2.     The thoughtful exert themselves. They do not delight in any abode. They leave their house and home as swans their lake.(91)

Those who have no possessions, who nourish themselves according to knowledge and who realize the goal of freedom by perceiving that life is empty and transient, their path is hard to trace like the flight of birds through the sky.(92)

4.     He whose appetites are slain and who is indifferent to food, who has perceived the goal of freedom by realizing that life is empty and transient, his path is hard to trace like the flight of birds through the sky. (93)



5.      Even the gods envy him whose senses are subdued like the horses well tamed by the charioteer, who is free from pride and free from depravities. (94)

6.     He who is patient like the earth, firm like Indra’s bolt, like a lake free from mud—for him there is no round of births and deaths. (95)

Calm in thought, calm in speech, calm in actions is he who has obtained freedom through true knowledge. He has become tranquil. He is full of repose. (96)

The man who is not credulous, who has severed all ties, killed all desires, for whom even occasions to act with like or dislike arise not, who knows the ever-existing uncreate, he indeed is exalted among men. (97)

9.     Delightful is the place where Arhats dwell, be it a village or a forest, be it by deep waters or by desert-edge. (98)



10.     Delightful are the forests to the Arhat; they charm not the worldly. There the passionless find delight, for they are not allured by sense-life.(99)



T H E  T H 0 U S A N DS

1.     Better than a thousand-word speech of empty words is one pregnant sentence hearing which one feels peace. (100)

2.     Better than a thousand-verse poem of empty sounds is one stanza hearing which one feels peace. (101)

3.     Better than reciting a hundred verses of empty words is the repeating of a single stanza hearing which one feels peace. (102)

4.     Better than a man who conquers in battles a thousand times a thousand men is he who conquers himself. He indeed is the mightiest of warriors.(103)

5-6.     Conquest of self is indeed better than the conquest of others. Neither a deva (god) nor a gandharva (celestial musician), neither



Brahma nor Mara could turn into defeat the victory of one who always practices self-control.  (104-105)

Better than a man who offers, month after month for a hundred years, a thousand sacrifices is that man who pays homage to one grounded in wisdom. Superior is that homage to a century of formal sacrifices (106)

8.     Better than a man who tends the sacred fire in the forest for a hundred years is that man who pays homage to one grounded in wisdom. Superior is that homage to a century of formal sacrifices. (107)

9.     Better than a man who offers an oblation and a sacrifice for a whole year in order to gain merit is that man who pays homage to the righteous. The whole of the former is not worth a quarter of the latter. (108)



10.     Four blessings to the man who respects the elders and practises reverence—length of days, beauty, happiness and strength. (109)

11.     Better than an unrestrained life of a hundred years of wickedness is the short life of a single day of the virtuous man who meditates. (110)

12.     Better than an unrestrained life of a hundred years of ignorance is the short life of a single day of the wise man who meditates. (111)

13.     Better than an idle and a weak life of a hundred years is the short life of a single day of the man who strenuously endeavors.  (112)

14.     Better than the life of a hundred years of the man who perceiveth not the origin and end of things is the short life of a single day of the man who perceiveth the origin and end of things. (113)



15.      Better than the life of a hundred years of the man who perceiveth not the deathless state is the short life of a single day of the man who senses that deathless state.(114)

16.      Better than the life of a hundred years of the man who perceiveth not the highest law is the short life of a single day of the man who perceiveth the most excellent doctrine.(115)



E V I L     C 0 N D U C T

1.     A man should hasten towards the good; he should restrain his evil thoughts; if he is slack in doing good his mind inclines to delight in evil.(116)

2.     If a man commits sin, let him not continue in it. Let him not set his heart on it. Painful is the accumulation of evil conduct. (117)

If a man does what is good, let him do it again and again. Let him set his heart on it. Happiness is the outcome of good conduct.(118)

4.     Even an evil doer sees happiness as long as his evil deed has not ripened; but when his evil deed has ripened, then does the evil doer perceive the evil.(119)

5.      Even a good man, mayhap, suffers evil so long as his good deeds do not ripen; but when



his good deeds ripen, then he perceives the good accruing to him.(120)

6.     Think not lightly of evil, saying, “it will not come unto me.” Even a water-pot is filled by the constant falling of drops of water. A fool becomes full of evil if he gathers it little by little. (121)

7.     Think not lightly of good, saying, “it will not come unto me.” Even a water-pot is filled by the constant falling of drops of water. A wise man becomes full of goodness even if he gathers it little by little.  (122)

8.     As a merchant ill-attended and having much wealth avoids a dangerous way; as a man who loves to live on avoids poison; so should one shun evil. (123)

9.     He whose hand has no wound may touch poison. Poison harms not one who has no wound. No evil is to him who does no evil.(124)


E V I L   C 0 N D U C T

10.     Whoever wrongs an innocent person, or a pure and sinless one, evil recoils on that fool, even as fine dust thrown against the wind recoils on the person throwing it. (125)

11.     Some men return, entering the womb; evil doers experience hell; the good experience heaven; those who have freed themselves from worldly desires attain Nirvana. (126)

12.     Not in the sky, nor in the depths of the sea, nor in mountain clefts is there a place on earth where a man can be to escape the consequences of his evil deed. (127)

13.     Not in the sky, nor in the depths of the sea, nor in mountain clefts is there a place on earth where a man can be and death cannot overcome him. (128)




1.     All men tremble at the rod, all men fear death. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should neither slay nor cause to slay. (129)

2.     All men tremble at the rod; to all men life is dear. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should neither slay nor cause to slay. (130)

3.     He who seeking his own happiness uses on others the rod of punishment because they seek their own happiness, will not find happiness after death. (131)

4.     He who seeking his own happiness uses not the rod of punishment on others though they seek their own happiness, will find happiness after death. (132)

5.     Speak not harshly to any one; those thus spoken to will retaliate. Since angry talk is painful, the rod of retaliation may overtake you. (133)



6.     If you make yourself still like a broken gong, you have already reached Nirvana, for anger is not in you. (134)

    As a cowherd with his staff drives the cows into pasture-fields, so old age and death drive men to new living. (135)

    The fool in doing ill knows not his folly. His own deeds, like a fire, consume the fool. (136)

9.     He who offends the harmless and the innocent soon reaches one of these ten states:

10-12.     He will suffer (1) sharp pain, or (2) disease or (3) bodily decay or (4) grievous disaster or
(5) loss of mind or (6) displeasure of the king or (7) calumny or (8) loss of relations or (9) loss of all his wealth or (10) destruction of his house by lightning or fire. At death, poor fool, he finds rebirth in woe. (138-140)



13.     Not nakedness, nor matted hair, nor filth, nor lying on the ground, besmearing the body with dust and ashes, nor posture squatting can cleanse the mortal who is full of doubt. (141)

14.     But he who is tranquil and serene and calm and lives a tamed and restrained life of holiness and has ceased to injure living things, though richly attired, he is a Brahmana, an ascetic (Samana) and a monk (Bhikkhu). (142)

15.     Is there in this world any man modest enough, humble enough, that he minds not reproof, as a thoroughbred horse is not stung when touched by a whip? (143)

16.     Like a thoroughbred horse, touched by a whip, let a man be ardent and active. By faith and virtue, energy and mind, by discernment of the Law, endowed with knowledge, good be-



haviour, concentrated, he will strike off the nor fasting nor great sorrow of earthly existence.

17.     Irrigators lead the water; fletchers make the arrows straight; carpenters carve the wood;  good people discipline themselves. (145)



 1.     Why this laughter, why this jubilation, virtue of the good never ages. Thus the saintly when this world is burning, burning? Shrouded in darkness why do you not seek for light? (146)

2.     Behold this painted image, this body  full of sores, stuck together, sickly, and full of many thoughts devoid of permanence and stability. (147)

3.     This body is wearing out; it is a nest of diseases; it is frail. This heap of corruption is breaking to pieces. Life ends in death. (148)

4.     What pleasure is there in looking at But now, these bleached bones, like gourds cast away in the autumn? (149)
5.     Of these bones a citadel is made, plastered over with flesh and blood; therein lurk pride and deceit, decay and death.(150)



6.     The splendid chariots of kings wear away; the body also comes to old age; but the teach each other. (151)

7. A man who has learnt but little grows old like an ox; his flesh increases, but his knowledge does not grow. (152)

8-9.     Many a House of life Hath held me—seeking ever him who wrought  These prisons of the senses, sorrow-fraught; Sore was my ceaseless strife! Thou Builder of this Tabernacle—Thou!

    I know Thee! Never shalt Thou build again  These walls of pain, Nor raise the roof-tree of deceits, nor lay Fresh rafters on the clay;



Broken Thy House is, and the ridge-pole split! Delusion fashioned it! Safe pass I thence—deliverance to obtain. (153-154)

10.     Men who have not lived the disciplined life of a chaste mind, who have not gathered soul wealth in young age, pine away like old cranes in a lake without fish. (155)

11.     Men who have not lived the disciplined life of a chaste mind, who have not gathered soul wealth in young age, lie like worn-out bows, sighing after the past.
Closing of the Sixth Book of Arnold’s Light of Asia.




1.     If a man holds himself dear, let him diligently watch himself. The wise man should keep vigil during one of the three watches. (157)

2.     Let each man first establish himself in the way he should go and then let him teach others. Thus, the wise man will not suffer. (158)

3.     Let each man shape himself, ere he teaches others. Subduing himself well he might indeed subdue others. Very difficult is the subduing of the self. (159)

4.     The Self is the Lord of self; what higher Lord could there be? When a man subdues well his self, he will find a Lord very difficult to find. (160)

5.     The evil done by oneself, born of oneself, produced by oneself, crushes the fool even as the diamond breaks a hard precious stone. (161)



6.     Maluva creeper entwines a sala tree; just so, he of evil nature; his impiety reduces himself to the state his enemy wishes for him. (162)

7.     Easy it is to do evil; deeds which are harmful to oneself come easy. Exceedingly hard it is to do that which is beneficial and good. (163)

8.     The foolish man reviles the teachings of the holy ones, the noble and the virtuous; he follows false doctrines which bear fruit to his own destruction, even like the fruit of the Katthaka reed. (164)

9.     Evil is done by self alone; by self alone is one defiled. By self alone is evil left undone; by self alone is one purified. Purity and impurity belong to oneself. No man can purify an other. (165)

10.    Let no one neglect his own good work for the sake of another’s however great. Once



a man has discerned his own work let him devote himself to it. (166)
This sounds like selfishness; what is implied is that one cannot do good without self-culture—Atmartha.

[ 39]



1.     Do not follow the law of evil. Do not live heedlessly. Do not follow the false doctrine. Do not befriend the ways of the worldly. (167)

2.     Be watchful. Be not heedless. Follow the Law of Virtue. The virtuous live happily in this world now and also in the hereafter. (168)

3.     Follow the Law of Virtue. Do not follow the law of sin. The virtuous live happily in this world now and also in the hereafter. (169)

Look upon the world as a bubble. Look upon it as a mirage. Death looks not at him who looks upon the world thus. (170)

5.     Come, look at this world; it is like a painted, ornate royal chariot. The foolish are sunk in it; the discerning are not glamoured by it. (171)



6.     He who was heedless but who now is restrained and reflective is like the moon freed from a cloud; he brightens the world. (172)

7.     He who by his good deeds transforms his evil acts is like the moon when freed from a cloud. (173)

8.     This world is wrapt in darkness. Only a few can see here. Only a few birds escape the net. Only a few escape into the heavenly light. (174)

9.     The swans take the path of the sun because of their supernormal powers. So do the wise; having conquered Mara and his hosts they leave the world. (175)

10.    There is no evil the man will not do who violates the good law, who speaks falsely, who scoffs at the existence of another world. (176)

11.    Verily the niggardly do not know heavenly bounty. Fools do not appreciate generosity.



 But the wise, rejoicing in charity, enjoy that world. (177)

12.   To enter the Sotapatti * stream is better is  His than world sovereignty, is better than going to victory nought can undo. None of this world heaven, is better than lordship over many worlds, can touch that victory. He is a Seer of limitless



T H E    E N L I G H T E N E D    0 N E S

1.     By what track can you allure One who is enlightened? Trackless indeed is He. His victory nought can undo. None of this world can touch that victory. He is a Seer of limitless range.(179)

2.     By what track can you allure One who is enlightened? Trackless indeed is He. No net of desire can catch Him. No craving can entangle Him. He is a Seer of limitless range.  (180)

3.     Even the Devas, Shining Gods, aspire to emulate the Enlightened Wise who are great contemplators, who are the Peaceful Ones, who are steadfast and tranquil. (181)

Difficult it is to obtain birth as a human being. Difficult it is to live the life of a man. Difficult it is to get to hear the True Law. Difficult it is to attain to Enlightenment. (182)



5.     Eschew all evil. Cultivate and establish thyself in good. Cleanse thy mind. So teach the Buddhas. (183)

6.     Enduring patience is the highest tapas; Nirvana is the supreme state—so teach the Buddhas. He who oppresses another is no recluse; he who harms another is no ascetic. (184)

7.     Revile not, harm not, discipline thyself according to the Law, be moderate in eating, dwell with solitude, be devoted to higher thought—such is the teaching of the Buddhas. (185)

8.     Lusts are never satisfied, not even by a shower of gold. He who knows that enjoyment of passion is short-lived and also is the womb of pain is a wise man. (186)

9.     Even in celestial pleasures he finds no delight. The disciple of the Supremely Enlightened delights in the destruction of craving. (187)



10-11.     Men driven by fear seek refuge on mountains, in forests, under sacred trees or at shrines. Such refuge is not secure, such refuge is not the best. Such refuge frees not a man from pain.(188-189)

12-14.     He who takes refuge in the Enlightened One, in the Law, in the Order, perceives clearly the four Noble Truths—suffering; the origin of suffering; the cessation of suffering; and the Noble Eightfold Path, treading which all suffering is transcended. That, verily, is the safe refuge, the best refuge; in that refuge man is free from all pain. (190-192)

15.     An exalted man is rare to find. Not anywhere is he born. Wherever a wise and noble one is born, that household prospers. (193)

16.     Blessed is the birth of the Buddha; blessed is the teaching of the Good Law; blessed is concord in the Order; blessed is the austerity of those who live in concord. (194)



17-18.     He who pays homage to those who are worthy of homage, be they the Enlightened Ones or Their Disciples—those who have overcome the host of evil and crossed beyond the stream of sorrow—he who pays homage to the Fearless and Peaceful Ones, his merit cannot be measured by any. (195-196)




1.     Let us, then, free from hate, live happily among those who hate; among men who hate let us dwell free from hate. (197)

2.     Let us, then, free from the disease of longing, live happily among those who suffer that disease; among men with disease of longing let us dwell free from that disease. (198)

3.     Let us, then, free from anxiety, live happily among those who are careworn; among the anxious, let us dwell free from anxiety. (199)

4.     Let us, then, live happily, we who possess nothing. Let us live like the Shining
Ones nourished on joy. (200)

5.     Victory breeds hatred; the vanquished dwell in suffering; but the tranquil man disregarding both victory and defeat lives happily. (201)



6.     There is no fire like lust; no ill like hatred; there is no sorrow like personal existence*; there is no peace higher than tranquility. (202)

7.     Hunger* is the worst of diseases, personal existence* the worst of sufferings. To him who has known this truly, Nirvana is the highest bliss. (203) *

8.     Health is the greatest of gifts; contentment is the greatest wealth; trust is the best of relationships; Nirvana is the highest happiness. (204)*

9.     He who has tasted the sweetness of solitude and the flavour of tranquility, he becomes free from sin and fearless, and enjoys the ambrosia of the Good Law. (205)

10.     Beneficent it is to catch sight of the Noble Ones; to live with them is continuous happiness. A man is happy if luckily he escapes the sight of fools. (206)



11.     He who consorts with fools experiences great grief. The company of fools is like company of enemies—productive of pain. Company of the wise is like meeting of real kinsfolk—it brings happiness. (207)

12.     Therefore, even as the Moon follows its path among the stars, so should one follow the wise, the discerning, the learned, the steadfast one, the dutiful, the noble. One should follow such. (208)




1.     He who gives himself to unbecoming distractions and not to fitting reflection, gives up his own welfare; going after pleasures, he envies the man who exerts himself in meditation. (209)

2.     Cling not to the pleasant, nor to the unpleasant. Not seeing the pleasant as to see the unpleasant—both are painful. (210)

Therefore do not be attracted to anything, for loss of a loved object is painful. No fetters exist for him who neither likes nor dis likes (211)

4.     From attachment arises grief; from attachment arises fear. There is no grief for one who is free from attachment. Whence, then, can there come fear? (212)

5.     From affection arises grief; from affection arises fear. There is no grief for one who



is free from affection. Whence, then, can there come fear? (213)

6.     From indulgence arises grief; from indulgence arises fear. There is no grief for one who is free from indulgence. Whence, then, can there come fear? (214)

7.     From desire arises grief; from desire arises fear. There is no grief for one who is free from desire. Whence, then, can there come fear? (215)

8.     From craving arises grief; from craving arises fear. There is no grief for one who is free from craving. Whence, then, can there come fear?

9.     All people hold him dear who has both virtue and insight, who is established in the Law, who is truthful, and fulfills his own Karma. (217)

10.     He in whom the desire for the Ineffable has arisen, whose mind is permeated by that de-



sire, whose thoughts are not distracted by lower desires, he is named “Bound up-stream.” (218)*

11-12.     When a man, who has been long away, returns safe from afar and receives a welcome from kinsmen, friends and well-wishers; even so his own good deeds welcome him who leaves the worldly state and attains a higher plane; indeed his good deeds are his kinsmen. (219-220)




1.     Let a man forsake anger; let him root out pride; let him break all fetters. No sufferings befall him who clings not to name and form and who calls nothing his own. (221)

2.     He who curbs his rising anger which like a chariot out of track rolls on, him I call a real charioteer; others but hold the reins. (222)

3.     Let a man overcome anger by gentleness; let him overcome evil by good; let him overcome the niggard by liberality; let him overcome the liar by truth. (223)

Speak the truth; yield not to anger; if asked give even a little. By these three steps a man reaches the presence of the gods. (224)

The sages who injure none, and who always control their body attain the changeless
state; therein is no grief. (225)



6.     All taints disappear when a man is vigilant, studious day and night, and Strives after
Nirvana. (226)

7.     This is an old saying, 0 Atula; it is not of this day only. ‘They blame him who sits silent, they blame him who talks much, they blame him who speaks moderately in measured terms.” There is not any one in the world who is not blamed. (227)

8.     There never was, nor will be, nor is there now to be found any one who stands wholly praised or utterly condemned. (228)

9-10.     But the man whom the discerning always praise, because he is without blemish, wise, endowed with both knowledge and virtue, who would dare to blame such an one? He is like a coin of gold from the Jambu river. Even the gods praise him, even by Brahma he is praised. (229-230)



11.     Let a man be watchful of bodily irritation. Let him control his body. Abandoning the sins of the body let him dwell therein practising virtue. (231)

12.     Let a man be watchful of speech-irritation. Let him control his speech. Abandoning the sins of speech let him practise virtue with his speech. (232)

Let a man be watchful of mind-irritation. Let him control his mind. Abandoning the sins of the mind let him practise virtue with his mind. (233)

14.     Well controlled indeed are the wise; they have mastery over body, tongue and mind. (234)




1.     Lo! you are now like a withered leaf. The messengers of Yama (Death) are fast approaching you. You stand on the threshold of departure. And you have made no provision for the journey. (235)

2.     Be wise. Make for yourself an island. Strive quickly. Purged of stains and sinless you will be ready for heaven, the world of the elect. (236)

3.     Your life has now drawn to a close. You are approaching the King of Death, Yama. There is no rest-house on the way. And you have made no provision for the journey. (237)

4.     Be wise. Make for yourself an island. Strive quickly. Purged of stains and sinless you will not return to birth and decay. (238)

Let a wise man remove his impurities, one by one, little by little, day by day, as a smith removes the impurities of silver. (239



6.     As the rust sprung from iron itself corrodes and eats into it, so with the man who sins. His own deeds bring the sinner to an evil end. (240)

Non-repetition taints our prayers. Non-repair taints the house. Sloth taints our body. Heedlessness taints the watchman. (241)

8.     Unchastity taints a woman. Niggardliness taints a benefactor. Evil deeds taint us in this world and the next. (242)

9.     But there is a taint worse than all taints—ignorance is the worst taint. 0 Bhikkhus, remove that taint and so become taintless. (243)

10.     Easily lives one who is shameless, bold after the fashion of a crow, and is a mischiefmaker, a slanderer, is arrogant and corrupt. (244)

11.     Hard is the life to live for one who is modest, who always seeks for what is pure,



who is disinterested, unassuming, chaste and has insight. (245)

    He who destroys life, who speaks untruth, who, in this world, takes what is not given to him, who consorts with another man’s wife, who is addicted to intoxicating drinks—he, even in this world, digs up the very root of his own life. (246-247)

14.      Know this, 0 man, “Not easy of restraint are evil things.” Let not greed and wrongdoing bring you to grief for a long time. (248)

15.     Men give according to their faith or according to their pleasure. Therefore, he who frets about food or drink given to others does not enjoy peace of mind either by day or by night. (249)

16.     But he in whom that feeling is destroyed, rooted out, he enjoys peace of mind by day and by night. (250)



17.     There is no fire like passion; there is no strangler like hate; there is no net like delusion; there is no torrent like craving. (251)

18.     Easy it is to see the faults of others; difficult it is to see our own. One winnows others’ faults like chaff, but his own faults he hides even as a cheat hides a losing throw. (252)

He who is given to finding faults in others and is ever censorious increases his own weaknesses. Far indeed is he from their destruction (253)

20.     There is no path in the sky; there is no true monk outside the Order (Sangha); mankind delights in worldliness; Buddhas are free from worldliness. (254)

21.     There is no path in the sky; there is no true monk outside the Order; nought survives in the phenomenal world; but the Buddhas are ever the same. (255)




1.     A man is not righteous who carries out his purpose by force and arbitrarily. He is wise who distinguishes both right and wrong. (256)

2.     He is wise and righteous who guides others not by force and violence but equitably. He is the guardian of the Law. (257)

A man is not a learned pandit simply because he talks much. He is a real pandit who is tranquil, free from hatred, free from fear. (258)

A man is not a pillar of the Law because he talks much. He who even though he has heard little of the Law but himself has discernment, who always considers the Law, he is the Pillar of the Law, he is established in the Law. (259



5.     A man is not an elder simply because his hair is gray. His age is ripe but he is to be known as “Old-in-vain.” (260)

6.     He is called an elder in whom dwell truth, virtue, non-violence, restraint, and control, and who is free from impurity and is wise. (261)

7-8.   Not by mere talk, not by the beauty of the complexion does a man become saintly when he is envious, greedy and wicked. He in whom these three are destroyed, removed by the very root and who is free from guilt and is wise is to be called saintly. (262-263)

9.     No tonsure can make an ascetic of one who is undisciplined and given to lying. How can one who is full of desire and greed be an ascetic? (264)

10.     But he who overcomes sinful tendencies, be they small or large, he is called an ascetic. He has quitted all evil. (265)



11-12.    He is not a Bhikkhu because he carries the begging bowl. Nor even because he adopts the whole law outwardly. But he who is above good and evil, is chaste, who comports himself in the world with understanding, he, indeed is called a Bhikkhu. (266-267)

13-14.     He is not a Muni simply because he is silent; he may be foolish and ignorant. He who weighs in the scale of understanding, accepting the good and rejecting the evil, he is wise; for that reason he is wise. He who in silence reflects in the inner and the outer, he is to be called a Muni.

15.     A man is not an Ariya, an elect nobleman, when he injures living creatures. He is the true Ariya, an elect nobleman, who practises ahimsa, non-violence. (270)

16-17.     Not only by discipline of moral principles, nor only by resolutions and vows; not



only by much study, nor even by attainment in meditation, or in seclusion and solitude, do I release myself from bondage unto Bliss. This is not attained by worldlings. 0 Bhikkhu, be not deceived in self-confidence as long as you have not reached the extinction of desire. (271-272)




1.     The best of Paths is the Eightfold Path; the best of Truths are the Four Noble Ones; the best of states is that of Detachment (Viraga); the best of men is the Seer.

2.     This is the Path. No other leads to the pure vision. Enter ye this Path. So shall ye confound Mara. (274)

3.     Treading this Path you will end your suffering. It was shown by me as soon as I learnt how the thorns in the flesh are to be removed (275)

4.     You yourself must strive; Buddhas are but sign-posts. Those who enter the Path and discipline themselves are released from the bondage of Mara. (276)

5.     Impermanent are all conditioned beings.” He who knows this ceases to be in the thrall of grief. This is the Path of Purity. (277)



6.     “Full of pain are all conditioned beings.” He who knows this ceases to be in the thrall of grief. This is the Path of Purity. (278)

“Unsubstantial are all conditioned beings.” He who knows this ceases to be in the thrall of grief. This is the Path of Purity.

8.     He who does not rouse himself when it is time to rise and though young and strong is full of sloth, whose will and thought are weak, that lazy man will not find the Path of Wisdom. (280)

9.     Guarding speech, controlling mind, not doing wrong with the body, a man keeps the three avenues to action clear and thus finds the Path shown by the Wise. (281)

10.     From discipline of yoga springs Wisdom; from lack of it there is loss of Wisdom. Knowing this twofold path of progress and de-



dine let a man bend his way to the Path of Progress. (282)

11.     Cut down the whole forest of desire, not single trees; danger lurks in that forest. Having cut down trees and uprooted the weeds of desire you are free, 0 Bhikkhus. (283)

12.     So long as the desire, however small, of a man for woman is not destroyed, so long his mind clings like a suckling calf to its mother. (284)

13.     Cut out the love of Self as you would an autumn lily. Then resort to the Path of Peace, to Nirvana. The Happy One has shown this. (285)

14.     “Here shall I pass the monsoon; there shall I dwell in winter and summer.” This is foolish reflection. He does not consider obstacle of existence. (286)



15.     Flood carries off a sleeping village. Death comes and carries off the man absorbed in cattle and children; he is distracted of mind. (287)

16.     Sons are no protection, nor father, nor kinsmen when one is seized by death. There is no help from relations when death seizes one. (288)

17.     Recognizing the significance of this a wise and good man should straightaway begin to clear the path that leads to Nirvana. (289)




1.    If by surrendering a pleasure of little worth one sees a joy worth having, the wise man will give up the pleasure of little worth and look to securing the deep joy. (290) *

2.     He who wishes for his own happiness and inflicts injury on others for obtaining it is entangled in the bonds of hatred. He is not free from hatred. (291)

3.     Evil tendencies of the unrestrained and careless go on increasing if they neglect doing what ought to be done and do that which ought not be done. (292)

4.     But in those who are mindful of fleshly activities, who do not do what should not be done, who steadfastly do what should be done, their evil tendencies go on decreasing and come to an end. (293)



5.     A true Brahmana goes scatheless though he have killed father and mother and two kings of the warrior caste and destroyed a kingdom with all its subjects. (294)*

6.     A true Brahmana goes scatheless though he have killed father and mother and two kings of the priestly caste and as the fifth an eminent man. (295)*

7.     The disciples of Gotama who are truly awake always think, by day and by night, of the Buddha. (296)

8.     The disciples of Gotama who are truly awake always think, by day and by night, of the Dhamma. (297)

9.     The disciples of Gotama who are truly awake always think, by day and by night, of the Sangha. (298)

10.     The disciples of Gotama who are truly awake always think, by day and by night, of the true nature of the body (Kayagata sati).



11.     The disciples of Gotama who are truly awake always think, by day and by night, of the delights of Ahimsa—Non-violence. (300)

12.     The disciples of Gotama who are truly awake always think, by day and by night, of the delights of Bhavana—Creative Meditation.

13.     Hard is the life of the recluse, harder to enjoy its discipline. Hard is the life of the householder, harder to enjoy at home. Painful it is to live with the unsympathetic. Painful also to be a solitary wanderer. So let him not wander. Let no one fall into suffering. (302)

14.     Wheresoever a man goes who is endowed with faith, with virtue, with fame and prosperity, even there he is revered. (303)

15.     Good people shine from afar like Himalayan peaks; the wicked like arrows shot in the night vanish unseen. (304)



16. Let one sit alone, sleep alone, act alone  and unwearied subdue the self by the Self; he  finds delight being out of the forest of desires. (305)




1.     He who reports what happened not goes to hell; also he who, having done a thing says, “I did not.” The after-death state of both is similar; for that state they embody their evil deeds. (306)

2.     Many who wear the yellow robe are ill-natured and uncontrolled; such evil men are born of their evil deeds in hell. (307)

3.     Better it were to swallow an iron ball, red-hot and flaming, than to live a wicked and unrestrained life eating the food of the state. (308)

4.     Four things befall the reckless man who courts another’s wife—access of demerit, comfortless sleep, thirdly blame and lastly hell. (309)

5.     There is access of demerit and declivity to an evil state for the short-lived pleasure



of the frightened in the arms of the frightened. Outwardly is a heavy penalty from the ruler. Therefore let no man think of the wife of an other (310)

6     A blade of kusa grass wrongly handled cuts the hand; asceticism wrongly practised leads downward, to hell. (311)

7.     An act carelessly done, a vow badly kept, wavering obedience to discipline—all this
will bear no sweet fruit. (312)

8.     If anything is to be done let a man attack it unflinchingly. A lax ascetic scatters more and more the dust of his passions. (313)

9.     An evil deed is better left undone—it causes suffering; a good deed is better done—it causes no suffering. (314)

10.     Guard thyself like a frontier town well guarded, within and without. Do not let a mo-



ment glide by; for they who let slip an opportune moment grieve when in hell. (315)

11.     They who feel shame when there is no cause for shame and they who feel no shame when they ought to be ashamed—both enter the downward path, following false doctrines.

12.    They who fear when there is no cause for fear and they who do not fear when they ought to fear—both enter the downward path, following false doctrines. (317)

13.     They who discern evil where there is no evil and they who see nothing evil in what is evil—both enter the downward path, following false doctrines. (318)

14.     They who discern evil as evil and what is not evil as not evil enter the good path, following the true doctrine. (319)




1.     I shall endure abuse even as the elephant on the battlefield endures the arrows shot from the bow. The many of this world are ill-natured. (320)

2.     A tamed elephant is led on to the battlefield. The king mounts a tamed elephant. The tamed is the best among men—he who in patience endures hard words. (321)

3.     Good are mules when tamed. Good are Sindhu horses when tamed. Good are great elephants when tamed. Better than all these is he who has tamed himself. (322)

4. With such mounts no man can reach the untrodden land called Nirvana. A tamed man riding on his tamed self arrives there. (323)

5. The elephant Dhanapalaka even in captivity is uncontrollable when, at the time of rut,



his temples are running with a pungent sap. He will not touch food but longs for the elephant grove. (324)

6.     Sluggish and gluttonous, spending time in sleep rolling from side to side, eating like a hog—such a foolish fellow falls to birth again and again. (325)

Aforetime this mind of mine would wander as it liked, as it desired, as it pleased. Now I control it completely even as a rider controls with his hook a rutting elephant. (326)

8.     Rejoice in wakefulness. Guard well your thoughts. Draw yourself out of evil, like an elephant sunk in the mud. (327)

If you find a prudent companion, upright and self-possessed, walk with him, joyfully and mindfully, overcoming all dangers. (328)

10.     If you do not find a prudent companion, upright and self-possessed, then walk alone like



a king who has renounced his kingdom and his conquests. Be like a free elephant in the forest. (329)

11.     It is better to live alone. There is no companionship with a fool. Let a man advance alone, committing no sin, like an elephant in the forest. (330)

12.     Companions are pleasant in times of need. Enjoyment is pleasant when shared by others. Merit is pleasant in the hour of death. Giving up of all sorrow is pleasant. (331)

13.     To have a mother in the world is happiness; to have a father in the world is happiness. To have a recluse in the world is happiness; to have a sage in the world is happiness. (332)

14.     Virtue lasting in old age is happiness. Faith firmly rooted is happiness. Attainment of Wisdom is happiness. Avoidance of sins is happiness (333)




1.     The craving of a thoughtless man grows like the Maluva creeper that eats up the tree on which it fastens. From life to life he is like a monkey seeking fruits in a forest. (334)

2.     Whosoever is overcome by the fierce and poisonous craving finds his sorrow increase like the abounding Birana grass.

3.     But whoso overcomes in this world the fierce craving difficult to subdue finds his sorrows fall off like water-drops from a lotus leaf. (336)

4.     This I say unto you all who have gathered here—Be blessed! Dig up the root of craving as one in search of the sweet-scented ushira root digs up birana grass. Thus Mara will not destroy you even as the stream destroys the reeds on the banks. (337)

5.     As a tree though hewn down grows again when its root is firm and uninjured, even



so if the root of craving is not destroyed the pains of life grow again and again. (338)

6.     The man in whom thirty-six streams run on towards pleasures, with his thoughts fixed in passion, is himself carried away. He has wrong views. (339)

7.     The streams of craving flow everywhere. The creeper of passion sprouts and stands strong. If you see the creeper springing up cut the very roots by wisdom. (340)

8.     Pleasures and joys run to beings and attract. Hugging those pleasures men hanker after them. Such of course are subject to old age and rebirth. (341)

9.     Driven on by craving men run round like a hunted hare. Fettered and enshackled they undergo suffering for a long time again and again. (342)

10.     Driven on by craving men run round and round like the hunted hare. Let, therefore, the



mendicant, wishing for himself freedom from passion, shake off craving. (343)

11.     He who having come out of the forest of desires, goes back to it, he who freed from the forest of desires, runs back to it—look at him, though free he re-enters bondage. (344)

Wise people do not call that a strong fetter which is made of iron, wood or fibre; but jewels and precious stones, sons and wives form stronger fetters. These latter drag down, and though they can be overcome they are difficult to undo. Having destroyed such a fetter let a man renounce the world, let him be free of longing, and having forsaken the pleasures of the senses, let him not look behind. (345-346)

14.     Slave to their desires men run down the streams just as a spider runs into the net he himself has spun. Steadfast persons retire from the world when they have cut the bond, and leaving all sorrow behind they look not behind. (347)



15.     Be free from the future; be free of the past; be free in the present; cross to the yonder shore. With a mind wholly free you will not fall into birth and death. (348)

16.     Craving grows in a disturbed mind, also when passions flourish, and when yearnings for the pleasant arise. Thus fetters grow strong. (349)

    He who delights in quieting his disturbed mind and becomes mindful of the pleasant but undesirable nature of craving, he will certainly remove, nay destroy, the bondage of
Mara. (350)

18.     He who has reached the goal, who is fearless, who is without craving and without sin, he has removed all thorns of life; this is his last life. (351)

19.     He who is free from craving, without attachment, who penetrates with insight words



and texts and knows their orderliness, he is a Sage, a Great Person. This is his last life. (352)

20.     “I have conquered all. I know all. I am free from taint whatever the living condition. I have renounced all. I am free as all craving is extinct. I have penetrated Wisdom Supreme. Then, from whom have I learnt?” (353)

    [This verse, it is inferred, was spoken by the Buddha in answer to an enquiry: “Who is your Master?” One authority suggests that the Buddha’s answer was to the Brahmana Upaka on his way to Benares. The answer is a good example of the observance of silence and secrecy while full veracity is maintained.]

21.     The gift of the Law (Dhamma Danam) excels all gifts. The flavour of the Law excels all flavours. Delight in the Law excels all delights. Extinction of craving is the end of pain. (354)



22.     Riches destroy the foolish, not those who seek the Beyond. By his craving for possessions the foolish man destroys himself, fancying he is ruining another. (355)

Weeds are the bane of fields. Lusts are the bane of humankind. Therefore a gift bestowed on those who are free from lusts brings great reward. (356)

24.     Weeds are the bane of fields. Ill-will is the bane of humankind. Therefore a gift bestowed on those who are free from ill-will brings great reward. (357)

25.     Weeds are the bane of fields. Delusion is the bane of humankind. Therefore a gift bestowed on those who are free from delusion brings great reward. (358)

26.     Weeds are the bane of fields. Desire is the bane of humankind. Therefore a gift bestowed on those who are free from desire brings great reward. (359)




1-2.     Restraint in the eye is good; good is restraint in the ear; restraint in the nose is good; good is restraint in the tongue; in the body restraint is good; good is restraint in speech; in the mind restraint is good; good is restraint in all things. A Bhikkhu who is restrained in all things is free from all pain. (360-361)

Call him a Bhikkhu who controls his hand, also his feet; who controls his speech; who is well controlled; who is happy within himself; who is collected and full of contentment in the solitary life. (362)

    Sweet is the preaching of that Bhikkhu who guards his tongue in speaking wisdom, who elucidates both the letter and the spirit of the Law without being puffed up. (363)

5.     He who abides in the Law, who delights in the Law, who meditates on the Law, who re-



members well the Law—such a Bhikkhu does not fall from the sublime Law. (364)

6.     Let him not disdain what he has received; let him not envy others; a Bhikkhu who envies others will not obtain peace in meditation. (365)

7.     Even the gods praise that Bhikkhu who disdains not what he has received, however little, but lives a strenuous and pure life. (366)

8. He indeed is a Bhikkhu who does not identify his soul with his name and form, his mind and body, and who grieves not for what he does not possess. (367)

9. The Bhikkhu who practises Metta, Compassion, and who abides happily in the Wisdom of the Buddha, he has stilled conditioned existence and attains of a surety the blessed state of Peace Supreme. (368)



10.     Empty the boat, 0 Bhikkhu; when emptied it will go lightly. Cut off lust and ill-will and then you will reach Nirvana. (369)

11.     Cut off the five. Get rid of the five. Cultivate further the five. The thus fivefold delivered Bhikkhu is named Oghatinna“One who has crossed the flood.” (370) *

12.    Meditate, 0 Bhikkhu; do not be heedless. Let not your mind whirl around the pleasures of the senses. Do not be reckless lest you have to swallow the iron-ball and then cry not in burning pain, “This is suffering.” (371)

13.     Without insight there is no meditation and also without meditation there is no insight. With both insight and meditation one approaches Nirvana (372)

14.     Superhuman is the bliss of that Bhikkhu who has a calm mind and a right discernment of the Law when he comes to his secluded spot. (373)



15.      What time, with perfect recollection, he recognizes the rise and fall of skandhas (origin and destruction of the personal self) joy and happiness are his. This is life eternal. (374)

16.      This is the beginning for a wise Bhikkhu: guarding of the senses; contentment; discipline according to Patimokha rules; cultivation of friends who are noble, pure and zealous. (375)

17.     Let him be hospitable, kindly and courteous—skilled in the discharge of his duties. Then his happiness, being profound, his suffering comes to an end. (376)

18.     As the vasika plant sheds its withered flowers, so you, 0 Bhikkhus, should shed passion and ill-will. (377)

19.     The Bhikkhu who is calm in body, calm in speech, calm in mind, who is firm, and who has thrown out the baits of the world, is named “The Tranquil One.” (378)



20.     Rouse your self by your Self, examine your self by your Self. Thus self-guarded and mindful you will live happily, 0 Bhikkhu. (379)

21.     For Self is the lord of self; Self is the refuge of self; therefore curb yourself, even as 
a merchant curbs a fine horse. (380)

22.     The Bhikkhu fulfilled of joy and with  faith in the teachings of the Buddha attains the state which is condition-less—the Abode of Peace. (381)

23.    Even a young Bhikkhu who applies to himself the teachings of the Buddha, illuminate this world, like the moon from a cloud released. (382)




1.     O Brahamana, be energetic; dam the stream; cut away desires. When you understand  how things get disintegrated you will also realize the Uncreate, 0 Brahamana. (383)

2.     ‘When a Brahamana reaches the other shore by meditation and insight he attains knowledge and is free of all fetters. (384)

3.     Him I call a Brahamana for whom there is neither this nor the further shore. Fearless and free, he is beyond both. (385)

4.     Him I call a Brahamana who is meditative, stainless, settled; whose duty is done and
 depravities gone; who has attained the highest end. (386)

5.     The sun shines by day; the moon lights up the night. The warrior (Kshatriya) is splendent in his armour; the Brahamana in his (387)



 meditation. But the Buddha shines day and night, radiating his glory.(387)

6.     Because he has driven away sin he is called a Brahamana; because he lives in serenity he is called a Samana; because he has put away worldliness he is called Pabbajita. (388) *

None should attack a Brahamana; a Brahamana should not retaliate; woe to him who strikes a Brahamana; more woe to the Brahamana if he retaliates. (389)

8.     It is no slight benefit to a Brahamana when he holds back his mind from the allurements of life. Moreover, when the intent to harm ceases, then in direct measure is the cessation of suffering. (390)

9.     Him I call a Brahamana who offends not by body, speech or mind; who is controlled in these three things. (391)

10.    Even as a Brahamana worships the sacrificial fire, so should one reverence him who


T H E    B R A H A M A N A

understands the Law of the fully Enlightened One. (392)

11.     Not by matted locks, not by lineage, not by caste does one become a Brahamana. By his truth and righteousness man becomes a Brahamana. He is blessed. (393)

12.     What avails thy matted hair, 0 fool? What avails thy deer skin? Outwardly you clean yourself, within you there is ravening. (394)

13-14.    Him I call a Brahamana who, alone in a forest, is plunged in meditation, on whose emaciated body veins stand out and which is covered in old rags. I call him not a Brahamana because of his origin or his mother. He may be an affluent and supercilious
Bhovadi.* He who is detached and possessionless, he is a Brahamana. 395-396) *

15.     Him I call a Brahamana who has destroyed all fetters and has nothing to fear, who is unshackled and emancipated. (397)



16.     Him I call a Brahamana who has cut the straps of hatred, and the thong of craving, and the rope of heresies and its appurtenances of latent tendencies, who has burst the bar of ignorance and has awakened. (398)

17.     Him I call a Brahamana who though innocent of all offence patiently bears reproach, ill-treatment and confinement. Patience is his force, his own strength his army. (399)

18.     Him I call a Brahamana who is free from anger, devoted to duties, practises divine virtues, who is without craving and controlled. He wears his last body. (400)

19.     Him I call a Brahamana from whom desires drop like water from a lotus leaf or mustard seed on the point of an awl. (401)

20.     Him I call a Brahamana who, even here, knows the end of his suffering, who has laid aside his burden and is detached. (402)



21.     Him I call a Brahamana whose wisdom is profound, who knows and discerns the right way and the wrong and who has attained the highest end. (403)

22.     Him I call a Brahamana who is not intimate with householders or monks and who does not frequent houses and who has but few wants. (404)

    23. Him I call a Brahamana who puts away his rod, who kills not, nor causes others to kill any creature, feeble or strong. (405)

24.     Him I call a Brahamana who is friendly among the hostile, mild among the violent, Ungrasping among the greedy. (406)

25.     Him I call a Brahamana from whom lust and ill-will, pride and ingratitude have fallen away like a mustard seed from the point of an awl. (407)



26.     Him I call a Brahamana whose speech is truthful, gentle, instructive, which offends no one. (408)

27.     Him I call a Brahamana who takes nothing that is not given to him, be it long or short, small or large, good or bad. (409)

28.     Him I call a Brahamana who has no desire pertaining to this world or the next, who has no inclinations and is unshackled. (410)

29.     Him I call a Brahamana who has no desires, who has destroyed his doubts by knowledge and has plumbed the depth of the Eternal. (411)

30.     Him I call a Brahamana who here is above the bondage of merit and demerit, who is free from grief, free from passion and who is pure. (412)

31.     Him I call a Brahamana who like the moon is stainless, pure, serene and clear, and who delights not in existence. (413)



32.     Him I call a Brahamana who has gone beyond the miry road of rebirth and delusion difficult to cross and who has reached the other shore; who is meditative, who is without doubt, without attachment, who is calm and content. (414)

33-34.     Him I call a Brahamana who, in this world, giving up sensual pleasures, wanders about without a home, in whom all desire for existence is extinguished. Again, him I call a Brahamana who, in this world, giving up all craving wanders about without a home, in whom all craving for existence is extinguished. (415-416)

35.     Him I call a Brahamana who has cut off the yoke of attachment to human things, has risen above attachment to heavenly things, has transcended all attachments. (417)

36.     Him I call a Brahamana who has done with likes and dislikes, who is cool, who for re-



newed existence is seedless; he is the hero who has conquered the worlds. (418)

37.     Him I call a Brahamana who knows the mystery of death and rebirth of all beings, who is free from attachment, who is happy within himself and enlightened. (419)

38.      Him I call a Brahamana whose real state gods (Devas) do not know, nor Gandharvas* nor men; his depravities destroyed, he is an Arhat. (420)*

39.    Him I call a Brahamana who has nothing of his own pertaining to the past, the present and the future, who is possessionless and detached (421)

40.     Him I call a Brahamana who is fearless like a bull, who is preeminent and of dauntless energy, who is a sage-seer, who has conquered all, even death—the sinless one, the enlightened (422)



41.     Him I call a Brahamana who knows his former lives, who knows heaven and hell, who has reached the end of births, who is a sage of perfect knowledge and who has accomplished all that has to be accomplished. (423)




Note on Verses 1 and 2

    The word Dhamma is used; everything and every person expresses his Dhamma, its or his own peculiar property, e.g., water’s dhamma is wetness, etc. In Buddhistic psychology Dhamma not only means Law, Religion, Duty, but also Quality, Phenomenon, Property, etc. [see Nyanatiloka’s Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines), which becomes the forerunner or bearer or herald of mind-action. Dhamma, Mental Nature, is the result of Vignana which is called Manas. So, creatures derive their character from mind. In all, the primal element is mind.
Note on Verse 5

Law Eternal is in the original
Dhammo Sanatano, Ancient or Eternal Law—the fount and basis of all Dharma. The Hindus refer often to their religion as Sanatana Dharma, Eternal Religion; every religion claims to be the foundation of religious belief and so of practice. This Verse teaches the basic principle of the Good Life, and every man who starts off his exercise with living this teaching is a true Sanatanist—.



follower of the original Wisdom Religion, Bodhi Dharma or Sanatana Dharma, Eternal Religion.

   Notes on Verse

    The discipline is mental and consists in a remembrance of the inauspicious nature of worldly objects; to be mindful and guard against them.

dissipated when it flows Outwards to contact the objects of sense; its conservation is considered a virtue, Paramita—"the dauntless energy that fights its way to the supernal Truth, out of the mire of lies terrestrial.”

Note on the title of Chapter
2 - Appamada

The term has been translated differently: Carefulness; Diligence; Earnestness; Heedfulness; Reflection; Thoughtfulness; Wakefulness; Watchfulness; Zeal. The translation of the Chinese text by Samuel Beal puts it as “Carelessness” (Thoughtlessness). The Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines states that the term implies Non-laxity, Indefatigableness, Zeal, and is considered the foundation of all progress; and it quotes Anguttara-Nikaya x.15: “Just as all the



footprints of living beings are surpassed by the footprint of the elephant and that footprint is considered as the mightiest, just so have all the meritorious qualities zeal as their foundation, and zeal is considered as the mightiest of these qualities.”

Note on the title of Chapter 3
- Chitta

The term is used in almost every verse of this chapter. It has been variously translated—Heart, Mind, Reflection, Thought. The term implies Mindfulness, Mental Attentiveness, Mental Deliberateness. It is a state of human self-consciousness. Chitta is not mind which, attracted by the objects of senses and contacting them, wanders. Chitta is the superior power which can check, control and use the mind. It is sometimes spoken of as abstracted consciousness. It is the power of the Thinker who uses it to control, purify and elevate the mind. The mind is the instrument of the Thinker, the Human Soul, the Real Man, Manushya. Chitta is that state of mental consciousness in which the mind steadied becomes porous to the higher, spiritual and divine influences of the Real Man.



  Note on Verse 45

The term for Disciple is Sekha, one who is learning, is under training, who is taught the Holy Wisdom. He determines not to remain a worldling any more, but to become a Hearer, a Listener, a Savaka or Shravaka with a view to apply to life what he hears and thus become a Samana or Shramana. These two appellations answer to the Greek terms akoustikoi and asketai. The Sekha, the Disciple, flowers into the perfection of Asekha, one who is no longer a Sekha, a Disciple, for he has nothing more to learn, he is perfect in wisdom.

Note on Verse

Elements of Enlightenment: These are seven in number and are also called Links of Enlightenment, because they lead to Nirvana. They are (1) Mindfulness or attentiveness or self-possession, (2) Wisdom or investigation of the Doctrine (Dhamma), (3) Energy, (4) Joyousness or Rapture, (5) Serenity, (6) Concentration or Meditation, i.e., firmly fixed (Samadhi), (7) Equanimity.



Note on Verse 178

or Srotapatti - “He who enters the stream” whose source is the Mount of Nirvana, and which flows to the ocean of Liberation. The Book of the Golden Precepts of the Mahayana tradition says:

    “On Sowan’s Path, 0 Srotapatti, thou art secure. Aye, on that Marga where nought but darkness meets the weary pilgrim, where torn by thorns the hands drip blood, the feet are cut by sharp, unyielding flints, and Mara wields his strongest arms—there lies a great reward immediately beyond.

    Calm and unmoved the Pilgrim glideth up the stream that to Nirvana leads. He knoweth that the more his feet will bleed, the whiter will himself be washed. He knoweth well that after seven short and fleeting births Nirvana will be his.

    Such is the Dhyana Path, the haven of the Yogi, the blessed goal that Srotapattis crave.”

    There are Two Paths—of Liberation and of Renunciation.

Note on Verse 202

Personal existence is, in the original, the assemblage of five skandhas. These are (1) Body, (2) Sen-



sation, (3) Perception, (4) Tendencies of Mind, and (5) Mental Powers—amplification of the 4th.

on Verses 203-204

    Sankhara is the fourth of the five skandhas, but here it is used as personal existence. Tendencies of the mind is the starting base of the personality.
  “Hunger” in this verse, and likewise “Health” in Verse 204 refer not only to the physical bodily but psychic and mental hunger and health also.

Note on Verses 218-220

The soul named “Bound up-stream” is the same soul who “Entered the stream” (see Verse 178). He who was called Sottapati is now named Uddhamsoto. The failure of the Sottapati results from his identifying himself with the downward flowing current of life; he empties himself into the ocean of Liberation. But the discerning Sottapati knows that the stream flows down; so moving, he endeavours to seek the Source of Nirvanic heights by great and right exertion, by buffeting against the forces of the stream he reaches the grade where he is named “Bound up-



stream.” Two paths—Liberation and Renunciation— are implied.

Note on Verse 290

Though it is not very clearly enunciated, the implication of this verse seems to be distinguishing between pleasures of the lower order, pertaining to the personality, and the joys of the soul arising out of the disciplined life.

Note on Verses 294-295

These verses seem puzzling. Taken in an allegorical sense, however, they are not. For light on them we extract from the Introduction to Texts from the Buddhist Canon, translated by Samuel Beal:

    “With respect to these verses, both Professor Max Muller and Professor Childers are inclined to regard them as showing that a truly holy man who commits such sins as those specified is nevertheless guiltless. But in the third book, p. 3, of the ‘Lankâvatâra Sutra’ we find the following exposition of this doctrine:—“At this time Mahâmati Bodhisatwa addressed Buddha and said, “According to the assertion of the Great Teacher, if a male or female disciple should commit



either of the unpardonable sins, he or she, nevertheless, shall not be cast into hell. World-honoured One! how can this be, that such a disciple shall escape though guilty of such sins ?“ To whom Buddha replied, ‘Mahâmati! attend, and weigh my words well!

    What are these live unpardonable sins of which you speak? They are these, to slay father or mother, to wound a Rahat, to offend (i.e. to place a stumbling- block in the way of) the members of the sangha (church), to draw the blood from the body of a Buddha. Mahâmati! say, then, how a man committing these sins can be guiltless? In this way—is not Love (Tanha) which covets pleasure more and more, and so produces ‘birth’—is not this the mother (mâtâ) of all? And is not ‘ignorance’ (avidyâ) the father(pitâ) of all? To destroy these two, then, is to slay father and mother. And again, to cut off and destroy those ten ‘kieshas’ (Ch. shi) which like the rat, or the secret poison, work invisibly, and to get rid of all the consequences of these faults (i.e. to destroy all material associations), this is to wound a Rahat. And so to cause offence and overthrow a church or assembly, what is this but to separate entirely the connection of the live skandhas? (“live aggregates, which is the same word as that used above for the “Church”). And again, to draw the blood of a Buddha, what is this but to wound and get rid of the sevenfold body by the



three methods of escape. . . . Thus it is, Mahâmati, the holy male or female disciple may slay father and mother, wound a Rahat, overthrow the assembly, draw the blood of Buddha, and yet escape the punishment of the lowest hell (avichi).” And in order to explain and enforce this more fully, the World-honoured One added the following stanzas:

Lust,” or carnal desire, this is the Mother,
    “Ignorance,” this is the Father,
    The highest point of knowledge, this is Buddha,
    All the
Kleshas,” these are the Rahats,
    The five Skandhas, these are the Priests,
    To commit the five unpardonable sins
    Is to destroy these five
     And yet not suffer the pains of hell.”

Note on Verse

I    t is said (Buddhist Dictionary by Nyanatiloka) that meditation referred to here is on
32 parts of the body.” The term kaya, however, may well be said to possess a clue to the mystical doctrine of Nirmanakaya, Dharmakaya, and Sambhogakaya—the spiritual forms or robes sublime of those who attain perfection.



Note on Verse 301

is a particular type of meditation; it is creative and so delightful to the consciousness. There are numerous Bhavanas mentioned: Kaya-bhavana; Metta (Pity) —bhavana; Karuna (Compassion)
bhavana, etc.

Note on the title of Chapter 22—Niraya, the Downward Course, generally called “Hell”

The term Hell is differently understood—a place of eternal suffering, etc. The Buddhistic conception of Hell is that it is a self-made state of consciousness to which a man brings himself by his own evil propensities. It is well described as a state devoid of happiness or rest in whatever life, in whatever world, and, like all other states, changes and passes. Buddhist Dictionary by Nyanatiloka says: “Niraya, lit, the Downward Path, the nether or infernal world, mostly translated with Hell,’ is one of the 4 lower courses of existence (apaya[I] the animal world;
[2] ghost world; [3] demon world; and [4] Hell). The Buddhists are well aware that on account of the universal sway of impermanence, even life in hell, just as in



heaven, cannot last eternally, but will, after exhaustion of the wholesome or unwholesome Karma, of necessity be followed again by a new death, and a new rebirth, according to the stored up Karma.”

Note on the title of Chapter 24—Tanha

Craving, is regarded as the origin of suffering and its extinction should be the aim of man. Of the four Noble Truths, the second and the third refer to the existence-origin and continuity—of craving. Three main cravings are mentioned —( 1) Thirst for earthly objects (Kama-tanha);
(2) Thirst for living on (Bhava-tanha); (3) Thirst for spiritual experience (Vibhava-tanha). Says the Mahayana text:

    “Kill love of life; but if thou slayest Tanha, let this not be for thirst of life eternal, but to replace the fleeting by the everlasting.” (The Voice of the Silence, p. 15.) Tanha is “the will to live, the fear of death, and love for life, that force or energy which causes rebirth.” Nyanatiloka’s Buddhist Dictionary gives them as (1) Kama-tanha, sensual existence,
(2) Rupatanha, fine-material existence and (3) Arupa-tanha, Immaterial existence. Tanha is a vast field and is related to Karma, Skandhas and Nidanas.



Note on Verse 370

    The five to be cut off—( 1) Delusion of personality; (2) Doubt, i.e., “sceptical doubt—the not wishing to understand”;
(3) False Asceticism and “clinging to mere rules and ritual”; (4) Yearning for desire fulfilment; and (5) Ill-will.

    The five to get rid of—(1) Desire for life in worlds of form; (2) Desire for life in formless worlds;
(3) Self-will; (4) Restlessness; (5) Ignorance.

    The five to be cultivated—(1) Faith; (2) Attention; (3) Dauntless Energy;
(4) Meditation; and
(5) Wisdom.

= flood; one who has crossed over the flood of the four Asavas or Biases—(1) Bias in favour of sensuous living; (2) Bias for continuing with life; (3) Bias in favour of one’s own views; (4) (5)Bias arising out of ignorance.

Note on the title of Chapter

It must be noted that Gautama, the Enlightened One, did not descend into incarnation for the purpose of establishing another religion. Like his Illustrious



Predecessors, he was a Protestant and a Reformer. The Mighty Art taught 2500 years before him by Krishna was once again lost. The caste system was given a wrong colouring, contrary to the teachings of the Bhagavad-Gita. The Buddha tried to restore the true teachings about the castes, and especially the Brahamana caste; these caste-men had arrogated to themselves a position which by character and behaviour they did not deserve. In this Chapter, Buddha describes the nature and character of the true Brahamana. The true Brahamana felt the power of his poverty and was rich in virtue and knowledge. That ancient ideal the Buddha upholds in this chapter.

Note on Verse 388

from Pabbajja literally “the going forth,” i.e., going forth from the home-life to the home-less. By this he becomes a novice, listening to the Teachings of the Buddha with a view to apply them. As a listener he is known as shravaka; when he practises and applies to himself the teachings he is a shramana, i.e., exerciser. When he succeeds in overcoming all



tendency to sin he is to be known as a Brahamana. He listens, he applies, he attains.

Note on Verse 396

who says “Bho.” Arrogant and supercilious Brahamanas of the day considering themselves equal in Wisdom and Purity addressed the Buddha as Bho Gotama. They called out “Bho” also for their menials. So a Brahamana in name but not in reality is here named Bhovadi.”

Note on Verse 420

Gandharvas are a class of demi-gods or angels. They are celestial choristers and musicians. They are custodians of the Soma plant and could reveal the secrets of heaven and earth and the esoteric science to men. One of their offices was to prepare the Soma juice for the gods or devas. This verse teaches that the Enlightened Man is superior to Gods and Gandharvas.



PRINCE SIDDARTHA, named Gotama by his family, and Buddha, “the enlightened one,” by his disciples, was born in 567 B.C. to the ruler of a small Indian kingdom. Since his life story is well known to readers of Edwin Arnold’s Light of Asia, and is available in many other accounts, we shall not repeat it here, but rather attempt to place the work of this great man in respect to the religious and philosophical thought of the world.

    There is, first of all, a greater kinship felt for Buddha by Westerners than for any other figure in Eastern religion. Christians recognize the ethics of Jesus in Buddhist precepts. Western thinkers, to whom science has been the principal guide, sense that Buddha shared their own distrust of bigotry and uncritical belief. In H. G. Wells’ Outline of History, for example, Buddha receives the unqualified admiration of the author as one of the world’s greatest men, surely the greatest religious teacher. In recent years, various Western essayists have pointed out that in the teachings of



Buddha is found an approach to the problems of life which in no way violates the scientific spirit. It seems likely that, in years to come, this interest in Buddha will continue to increase, especially since modern psychologists have discovered in Buddha’s teachings many perceptions which anticipated their own findings by more than two thousand years.

    Buddha is commonly thought of as a great religious reformer. He was certainly this; but he ought not to be thought of as wholly abandoning the religious philosophy in which, as a youth, he had been instructed. He was rather a purifier and resuscitator of the religion of the Hindus, and in the terms of Hindu religion he was himself a personage of cosmological importance. In Hinduism, the entire universe is said to be pervaded by the Supreme Spirit, Brahma, who is All, and in All. As Henry Morley puts it in his Introduction to Charles Wilkins’ Hitopadesa:

He is the supreme Brahma, who created the world by three manifestations drawn from himself, and named Brahmá, Vishnu, Siva, originally united in one essence, so that “the great One” became known as one Person and three gods. Brahmâ represents creation, Vishnu preservation, and Siva destruction. Of Vishnu, the Preserver, there have been nine Ava-



tar or Incarnations, the first six were in the golden age of the world, the seventh was as Rama, the eighth as Krishna, the ninth as Buddha. The tenth, in which he will appear as a white horse, is yet awaited. In his last Avatar, as Buddha, Vishnu promoted scepticism to the end that the giants, wanting faith, might cease to obtain by prayer the powers that they misapplied.

    Whatever the meaning of this symbolic explanation of Buddha’s “scepticism,” and whoever may be the “giants” of this tale—whether supernatural beings or atomic physicists and the governments which employ them, the reader must determine for himself— the influence of Buddha on his time and all generations thereafter, increasingly, throughout the world, has been of unqualified beneficence. An English traveler and scholar, G. Lowes Dickinson, having visited the famous Buddhist temple of Borobudur, in Java, tells how the story of Buddha’s life is depicted by images carved in high relief about the temple’s walls. Dickinson speaks of the quality of this man’s life—the same man whom another Englishman, Sir Edwin Arnold, said had “made all Asia mild”;

    We see the new-born child with his feet on lotuses. We see the fatal encounter with poverty,



sickness, and death. We see the renunciation, the sojourn in the wilderness, the attainment under the bo-tree, the preaching of the Truth. And all this sculptured gospel seems to bring home to one, better than the volumes of the learned, what Buddhism really meant to the masses of its followers. It meant, surely, not the denial of the soul or of God, but that warm impulse of pity and love that beats still in these tender and human pictures. It meant not the hope or desire for extinction, but the charming dream of thousands of lives, past and to come, in many forms, many conditions, many diverse fates. The pessimism of the master is as little likely as his high philosophy to have reached the mind or the heart of the people. The whole history of Buddhism, indeed, shows that it did not, and does not. What touched them in him was the saint and the lover of animals and men. And this love it was that flowed in streams over the world, leaving wherever it passed, in literature and art, in pictures of flowers or mountains, in fables and poems and tales, the trace of its warm and humanizing flood. (Appearances, pp. 41-2.)

Buddha’s austere philosophy may have spread more widely than Dickinson imagined. When it reached the United States in the form of Arnold’s Light of Asia, it made Lafcadio Hearn, that poet among writers,



predict that “Buddhism in some esoteric form may prove the religion of the future.” Oliver Wendell Holmes devoted twenty-six pages to the poem in a contemporary review, and many thousands of others, since, have found deep inspiration in the story of a prince who became a savior of mankind.

    Meanwhile, the ethics of Buddhism captured even the hearts of eminent Christians, making Bishop Milman say: “Among heathen precursors of the Truth I feel more and more that Sakyamuni is the nearest in character and effect to Him Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.” And Dr. Inman, author of Ancient Faith and Modern, wrote:

    I speak with sober earnestness when I say that after forty years’ experience among those who profess Christianity, and those who proclaim.
. . more or less quietly their disagreement with it, I have noticed more sterling virtue and morality among the last than the first. . . . I know personally many pious, good Christian people, whom I honor, admire, and, perhaps, would be glad to emulate or equal; but they deserve the eulogy thus passed on to them; in consequence of their good sense, having ignored the doctrine of faith to a great degree, and having cultivated the practice of good works. . , . In



my judgment the most praiseworthy Christians whom I know are modified Buddhists, though probably, not one of them ever heard of Siddartha.

    Ethically, then, the teachings of Gotama Buddha are without a rival, save that they be the same teachings in another form and known by another name. From the scientific point of view, a similar uniqueness seems to prevail. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, the well-known Indian scholar and historian of Indian philosophy, has noted (in his Indian Philosophy) that early Buddhism “in its fundamental ideas and essential spirit approximates remarkably
. . . the advanced scientific thought of the nineteenth century.” The German pessimism of Schopenhauer and Hartman, Dr. Radhakrishnan reminds his readers, has been called “little more than Buddhism vulgarized,” and he adds that “Buddhism is a splendid prophecy of the creative evolutionism of Bergson.”

    There are further parallels between Buddha’s views and the rise of modern scientific thought. The dominant religion of Buddha’s lifetime was becoming stultified by endless metaphysical disputation. According to Rhys Davids, there were “sixty-two theories prevalent at the time of Gautama Buddha.” He was, there-



fore, an iconoclast as well as a teacher, and he also wanted to bring an end to the cruelty of anthropomorphic religion. As Radhakrishnan puts it:

    There is much damage done to the moral nature of man by a superstitious belief in God. Many good men do devil’s work in the belief that it has divine sanction. It is difficult to overestimate the amount of evil which has resulted in the world from a confusion of morality and religion. Abraham is commanded by God to sacrifice his son, and Saul is called upon to massacre his captive in cold blood. The views which under the name of religion crept into life and had so far prevailed as almost to extinguish any spark of spiritual vigour cut Buddha to the quick.

    The sceptics on this theory need not be moral. So long as morality is based on a divine command miraculously conveyed, every discovery of science and development of thought would impair the basis of morals. The feeble in faith may reject the sanctions of morality.

   Buddha, like Lucretius, felt that the world would be better for the triumph of natural law over supernaturalism. By announcing a religion which proclaimed that each man could gain salvation for himself without the mediation of priests or reference to gods, he would increase the respect for human



nature and raise the tone of morality. “It is a foolish idea to suppose that another can cause us happiness or misery.” After Buddha did his work, the belief in the permanence and universality of natural law became almost an instinct of the Indian mind.

    We shall see.
. . that the world of experience according to Buddha does not require for its explanation any God. The law of karma will do. There is the implication of the Highest, but it is not a matter of logical demonstration.

    Thus scholars and philosophers, and even Western religionists in whom an honest impartiality prevails, may be found deeply attracted to Buddhist thought. And today, there is a distinct revival of the vitality of Buddhism in the East. In Burma, in Prime Minister U Nu was instrumental in convoking a great council of Buddhists from many lands, an event which may be counted a fortunate accompaniment of the awakening of the nationalist spirit in the East. Western history would have been less bloody by far had there been a like influence at work at the time of the birth of the Western nations.

    Burma, however, has long been the home of a practical Buddhist faith. Perhaps the best account of the way in which Buddhism pervades and refines



the lives of simple people living in the village communities of the Far East is The Soul of a People, by Fielding Hall. Hall went to Burma at the time of the British conquest of that land, remaining as a civil administrator. He tells in his book how he could not help but be impressed by the serenity of the people. Observing, he found that the temper of the Burmese people was a Buddhist heritage.

    Of course, like every other popular religion in the world, Buddhism has acquired its share of supernatural elements. Marvels attend the birth, the life and the death of Sakyamuni. Fielding Hall comments;

    Therefore at first sight it seems that of all creeds none is so full of miracle, so teeming with the supernatural, as Buddhism, which is, indeed, the very reverse of the truth. For to the supernatural Buddhism owes nothing at all. It is in its very essence opposed to all that goes beyond what we can see of earthly laws, and miracle is never used as evidence of the truth of any dogma or of any doctrine.

    If every supernatural occurrence were wiped clean out of the chronicles of the faith, Buddhism would, even to the least understanding of its followers, remain exactly where it is. Not in one jot or tittle would it suffer in the authority of its teaching. The great figure of the teacher would even gain were all



the tinsel of the miraculous swept from him, so that he stood forth to the world as he lived—would gain not only to our eyes, but even to theirs who believe in him. For the Buddha was no prophet. He was no messenger from any power above this world, revealing laws of that power. No one came to whisper into his ear the secrets of eternity, and to show him where truth lived. In no trance, no vision, did he enter into the presence of the Unknown, and return from thence full of the wisdom of another world; neither did he teach the worship of any god, any power. He breathed no threatenings of revenge for disobedience, of forgiveness for the penitent. He held out no everlasting hell to those who refused to follow him, no easily gained heaven to his believers.

    Nothing is more clear than this: that to the Buddhist his teacher was but a man like himself, erring and weak, who made himself perfect, and that even as his teacher has done, so, too, may he if he do but observe the everlasting laws of life which the Buddha has shown to the world. These laws are as immutable as Newton’s laws, and come, like his, from beyond our ken.

    Since Western interpreters have a natural sympathy for Buddha’s distrust of supernaturalism, his wariness in respect to any teachings concerning the immortality



of the soul has been seized upon by European commentators with particular enthusiasm. They, like him, feel that the world of religious believers has been much misled and put upon by dogmatic versions of a life after death. It seems likely, however, that these Westerners differ from Buddha in one fundamental respect. Whereas they incline to champion the view that the idea of immortality is a superstition which is best abandoned entirely, Buddha seems rather to have felt only that a presumptuous certainty is best replaced by the open-mindedness which awaits authentic confirmation of transcendental conceptions.

    Buddha’s attitude towards direct questions about the soul is perhaps well illustrated by his refusal to reply at all to the inquiries of the monk, Vacchagotta. The story of this encounter and the explanation made by Buddha to Ananda, his disciple, is repeated in The Creed of Buddha, by Edmond Holmes:

........the wandering monk, Vacchagotta, went to where the Exalted One was staying. When he had come near him, he saluted him. When saluting him, he had interchanged friendly words with him, he sat down beside him. Sitting beside him, the wandering monk Vacchagotta spake to the Exalted One,



saying: “How does the matter stand, venerable Gotama, is there the Ego ?“

    When he said this, the Exalted One was silent.

    “How then, venerable Gotama, is there not the Ego?”

    And still the Exalted One maintained silence. Then the wandering monk Vacchagotta rose from his seat and went away.

    But the venerable Ananda, when the wandering monk Vacchagotta had gone to a distance, soon said to the Exalted One:

   “Wherefore, sire, has the Exalted One not given an answer to the questions put by the wandering monk Vacchagotta?”

    “If I, Ananda, when the wandering monk Vacchagotta asked me: ‘Is there the Ego?’ had answered: ‘The Ego is,’ then that, Ananda, would have confirmed the doctrines of the Samanas and Brahmanas who believe in permanence. If I, Ananda, when the wandering monk Vacchagotta asked me:

    “Is there not the Ego?’ had answered: ‘The Ego is not,” then that, Ananda, would have confirmed the doctrine of the Samanas and Brahmanas who believe in annihilation. If I, Ananda, when the wandering monk Vacchagotta asked me: ‘Is there the Ego?’ had answered: ‘The Ego is,” would that have served



my end, Ananda, by producing in him the knowledge: all existences are non-Ego?”

    “That it would not, sire.”

    “But if I, Ananda, when the wandering monk Vacchagotta asked me: ‘Is there not the Ego?’ had answered: ‘The Ego is not,’ then that, Ananda, would only have caused the wandering monk Vacchagotta to be thrown from one bewilderment to another: ‘My Ego, did it not exist before? But now it exists no longer!’

Dr. Holmes comments:

    In this story Buddha gives two reasons for refusing to answer Vacchagotta’s question. He is asked to answer Yes or No. Whichever answer he may give, some school of metaphysics is sure to claim him as its own. And whichever answer he may give, he is sure to bewilder Vacchagotta.

    Today, in a world frightened by the ugly harvest of its own materialism, it may be possible to arrive at a juster estimate of Buddha’s views in regard to the immortality of the soul. Since the scientific polemic against all metaphysical conceptions and mystical or transcendental teachings has about worn itself out, we should now be able to give a fair hearing to the proposition that Buddha took very much the same



view of immortality that is found in Plato, and that his caution in expounding this teaching is duplicated in the words of Socrates, when he speaks to Glaucon, in the Republic:

I quite admit the difficulty of believing that in every man there is an eye of the soul which, when by other pursuits lost and dimmed, is by these purified and re-illuminated; and is more precious far than ten thousand bodily eyes, for by it alone is truth seen. Now there are two classes of persons: one class of those will agree with you and take your words as a revelation; another class to whom they will be utterly unmeaning, and who will naturally deem them to be idle tales, for they see no sort of profit which is to be obtained from them.

    Again, like Buddha, Socrates says in the Phaedo:

I would ask you to be thinking of the truth and not of Socrates; agree with me, if I seem to you to be speaking the truth; or if not, withstand me might and main, that I may not deceive you as well as myself in my enthusiasm, and like the bee, leave my sting in you before I die....

    I do not mean to affirm that the description which I have given the soul and her mansions is exactly
true—a man of sense ought hardly to say that. But I do say that inasmuch as the soul is shown to be



immortal, he may venture to think, not improperly or unworthily, that something of the kind is true. The venture is a glorious one, and he ought to comfort himself with words like these, which is the reason why I lengthen out the tale. Wherefore, I say, let a man be of good cheer about his soul.

    It seems fair to say that men such as Buddha and Plato are first of all teachers—that is, their interest is in effective communication, not in acquiring followers and believers, and their discourses always reflect this interest. When they qualify or express doubts, they may do this more out of regard for how they will be understood than as a definitive account of their own convictions. It is a mistake, therefore, to attempt a final estimate of the views of either Buddha, Plato, Jesus, or any other teacher of religious philosophy, by means of a literal analysis of the printed record of what they taught.

    In the case of Buddha, there is reason to think that, like Jesus, he taught an inner, higher doctrine to his immediate disciples. What may be called popular” Buddhism is generally conceded to have been preserved by the Southern or Ceylonese School, and it is from the scriptures of Southern Buddhism that West-



ern scholars have gained the impression that Buddha denied the possibility of immortality. Rhys Davids, the Orientalist whose interpretations are best known to the West, has written (quoted by Edmond Holmes):
‘There is no passage of a soul or I in any sense from the one life to the other. Their [the Buddhists’] whole view of the matter is independent of the time-honored soul-theories held in common by all the followers of every other creed.” Davids also concludes that “death, utter death,” is the sequel to Nirvana.

    Holmes is convinced that this is a mutilation, a complete misreading, of Buddhist philosophy, and his chapter in The Creed of Buddha to correct the mistake seems a well-reasoned discussion of the central implication of Buddhist teachings. The Southern version, briefly, is that at death a man’s tendencies and traits of character are resolved into psychic residues termed by the Buddhists Skandhas, and that these are all that remain of the man that has died. The Skandhas (carriers of Karma) are then reborn in some other person or individual, but without any connecting link of continuing egoity.

    Northern Buddhism, on the other hand, while exuberantly metaphysical in form, is said to have pre-



serve the teaching given by Buddha to his arhats, or initiated disciples, and here one finds unmistakably taught the doctrine of a permanent identity which unites all the incarnations of a single individual. This latter is the view adopted by Holmes:

    The difference between these two conceptions of moral causation, and between the two derivative conceptions of immortality, is as wide as it is deep. The question which we have to ask ourselves with regard to the Buddhist conception is a simple one: Is the identity between me and the inheritor of my Karma, or again between me and the man whose Karma I inherit, as real as the identity between the me of today and the me of 20 years hence (if I shall be living then), or again between the me of today and the me of my childhood? If it is not as real, the doctrine of reincarnation is pure nonsense from both points of view,—from that of Eastern idealism and of Western science. But if it is real, the doctrine is sound sense in the eyes of Eastern idealism; and though Western science cannot countenance it, it is equally certain that it cannot reject it, for the matter is one which necessarily eludes its grasp.

    Holmes continues, showing that the doctrine of Karma, the key teaching of Buddhism, becomes almost senseless when divorced from the idea of a reincar-



nating ego, and he confirms this argument by pointing to the fact that Hinduism is unequivocal in teaching the progressive development of the soul through successive embodiments or incarnations; and that Buddha by no means renounced all of Hinduism, but only what seemed to him its abuses and excesses. In Holmes’ words:

    The antecedent improbability of a great Teacher breaking away completely from the highest and deepest thought of his nation and his age, is very great. The great Teacher is always a reformer as well as an innovator; and to reform is to go back to an ideal which had been forgotten, or otherwise obscured.
. . when, having for argument’s sake assumed the opposite of this, assumed that the teaching of Buddha was directly and fundamentally subversive of the ideas which found utterance in the Upanishads, we find that the whole of the system falls to pieces and the wisdom of it becomes unthinkable nonsense, then what has hitherto been probability of a very high degree seems to approach the level of certainty. At any rate, if we may not yet say that the creed which Buddha held but did not openly profess, was the spiritual idealism of ancient India, we may say that the counter-hypothesis—that Buddha’s creed was the direct negation of that lofty



faith—can easily be disproved. The efforts that are made to bring the teaching of Buddha into line with the negative dogmatism of the “religion of science” would be ludicrous if they were not, in a sense, pathetic, For, in truth, they prove nothing except the depth of the abyss that separates Eastern from Western thought.

    It may be acknowledged, with Dr. Holmes, that the tendentious element in the Western liking for Buddhism, on the ground that here is a religion which supports the anti-metaphysical inclinations of the scientifically-minded, has little real support in the teachings of Buddha, but this does not eliminate all reason for an interest in Buddhism by the scientifically trained. Nor need it be supposed that the present-day turning to Buddhism of reflective Westerners, including pioneers in psychotherapy, reflects no more than the attractions of agnosticism. Holmes has another passage which shows an authentic common ground for Buddhism and the scientific spirit in the principle of evolution:

    The scientific achievements of the West, so far as they have any philosophical significance, fall under two main heads,—the discovery (if I may use the word), on the physical plane, that the Kingdom



of Nature is under the reign of law (a conception of Nature which Science must have unconsciously brought with her to her work of investigation, and which has wade that work possible); and the further discovery that all the laws of Nature are subordinate to the master law of development or growth. (We speak of the growth of an individual organism; of the development of a type. As the soul is both individual and universal, either term may be applied to it.) Both these discoveries were anticipated by Buddha; but they were made by him—or by the thinkers who sowed what he reaped—not on the physical plane, but on the spiritual, on the plane of man’s inner life. Buddha realized, as no man before (or since) had ever done, that the soul is a living thing, and that, as such, it comes under the all-pervading, all-controlling law of growth. . . . He taught men that, if they would bring their lives into harmony with certain fundamental laws of Nature, their souls would grow—as well-tended crops grow—vigorously and healthily; and that the sense of well-being which accompanies successful growth, and which, when consciously realized, is true happiness, would be theirs. . . . Penetrated with the conviction that what a man does reacts, naturally and necessarily, on what he is, and so affects for all time the growth of the soul and its consequent well-being; penetrated with the conviction that conduct moulds



character, and that character is destiny;—Buddha called upon each man in turn to take his life into his own hands, and himself to direct the process of his growth.

    Insofar as science is of any use to human beings as souls, its ultimate principle is here declared. It is this principle which informs the new psychotherapy, and all thought, actually, which is concerned with man’s efforts to better his life, in both individual and community.

    Finally, what of Buddhism in India, the land of its origin, and the Indian attitude toward this historic reformer of Indian religion? Dr. Radhakrishnan concludes his chapter on Buddhism (in Indian Philosophy) with a section on the “Success of Buddhism,” in which he remarks that the spread of Buddhism in India was so rapid that in only two hundred years it was recognized as the state religion. This noted scholar attributes the spread of Buddhism at a rate unrivalled by any other world faith to the appeal of Buddha as a man, his teaching of the Law, and the ideal of universal brotherhood. He writes:

    It would have been a surprise if his magnanimity and moral elevation did not appeal to the imagina-



tion of the people. The idea of human brotherhood undermined the growing rigors of caste. . . . Buddha justified the practice of the good even to those who did not believe in a personal God. No other independent ethics gives us a more thrilling message of universal benevolence. At a time when bloody sacrifices were not yet out of fashion, the teaching of mercy to all creation had a tremendous effect. No voice like Buddha’s ever thundered into our ears the majesty of the good. It is the flaming ideal of righteousness that helped Buddhism to succeed as a religion. . . . Buddhism succeeded so well because it was a religion of love, giving voice to all the inarticulate forces which were working against the established order and the ceremonial religion, addressing itself to the poor, the lowly and the disinherited.

    Buddhism did not, however, survive in India until the present, although it obtained secure roots among the thousands of millions of Asians living in Ceylon, Burma, China, Tibet, and Japan. Eventually there was active persecution of the Buddhists by the Brahmans and some of the Indian princes, and dissensions and schisms among the Buddhists themselves were a weakening influence. First the Buddhists were driven from the large cities. Then, with the Mogul invasion,



the decline of Indian Buddhism was accelerated until, during the sixteenth century, traces of Buddhism disappeared entirely from Kashmir, Bengal, and the Deccan.

    Even so, there are today probably more Buddhists in the world than followers of any other faith. Further. it is possible that a renewal of interest in Buddhism may take place in India, as a result of Gandhi’s influence and from other causes. After Gandhi was released from one of his several prison terms by the British in
1924, he chose for his first public appearance the Buddhist anniversary day. On this occasion he said

    ....I am more than most people endeavoring to popularize the truth for which Gotama Buddha lived and died.
. . . I would like to tell the meeting what I believe about Buddhism. To me it is a part of Hinduism. Buddha did not give the world a new religion; he gave it a new interpretation. He taught Hinduism not to take but to give life. True sacrifice was not of others but of self. Hinduism resents any attack upon the Vedas. It regarded the new interpretation as such an attack. Whilst, therefore, it accepted the central truth of Buddha’s teaching, it fought against Buddhism regarded as a new and anti-Vedic cult.



    It has become the fashion nowadays in some quarters to say that India’s downfall dates from her acceptance of Buddha’s teachings. It is tantamount to saying that love and pity, if sufficiently practiced, will degrade the world. In other words, according to the critics, evil should triumph in the end. It is my unalterable belief that India has fallen not because it accepted Gotama’s teaching, but because it failed to live up to it. The priest has ever sacrificed the prophet. Vedas to be divine must be a living word, ever growing, ever expanding and ever responding to new forces. The priest clung to the letter, and missed the spirit.

    But we need not despair. The reformation that Buddha attempted has never had a fair trial. Twenty-five hundred years are nothing in the life of the world. If the evolution of form takes æons, why should we expect miracles in the evolution of thought and conduct? And yet the age of miracles is not gone. As with individuals, so with nations. I hold it to be perfectly possible for masses to be suddenly converted and uplifted. Suddenness is only seeming. No one can say how far the leaven has been working. The most potent forces are unseen, even unfelt, for long. But they are working none the less surely. Religion is to me a living faith in the supreme Unseen Force. That Force has confounded mankind before, and it is bound to con-



found us again. Buddha taught us to defy appearances and trust in the final triumph of Truth and Love. This was his matchless gift to Hinduism and to the world.

    He taught us also how to do it, because he lived what he taught. The best propaganda is not pamphleteering, but for each one of us to try to live the life we would have the world live.

    Thus Gandhi joins with Edmond Holmes in affirming that Buddha taught out of the great philosophical reserves of the Upanishads, the spiritual religion of ancient India, but with a new spirit—a spirit of brotherhood and equality, and love of all life. It is this spirit which ever renews the interest in Gotama Buddha and his mission to the world. It is a spirit which can never die, but will always be reborn in those who feel, even if only a little, what Buddha felt toward the world around him.