the dhammapada

Principle source: Gautama Buddha

Translated from Pali by F. Max Muller Oxford, the Clarendon Press, 1881


the dhammapada, a canonical book

The Dhammapada forms part of the Pali Buddhist canon, though its exact place varies according to different authorities, and we have not as yet a sufficient number of complete MSS. of the Tipitaka to help us to decide the question[1].

Those who divide that canon into three Pitakas or baskets, the Vinaya-pitaka, Sutta-pitaka, and Abhidhamma-pitaka, assign the Dhammapada to the Sutta-pitaka. That Pitaka consists of five Nikayas: the Digha-nikaya, the Magghima-nikaya, the Samyutta-nikaya, the Anguttara-nikaya, and the Khuddaka-nikaya. The fifth, or Khuddaka-nikaya, comprehends the following works: 1. Khuddaka-patha; 2. DHAMMAPADA; 3. Udana; 4. Itivuttaka; 5. Sutta-nipata; 6. Vimanavatthu; 7. Petavatthu; 8. Theragatha; 9. Therigatha; 10. Gataka; 11. Niddesa; 12. Patisambhida; 13. Apadana; 14. Buddhavamsa; 15. Kariya-pitaka.

According to another division[2], however, the whole Buddhist canon consists of five Nikayas: the Digha-nikaya, the Magghima-nikaya, the Samyutta-nikaya, the Anguttara-nikaya, and the fifth, the Khuddaka-nikaya, which Khuddaka-nikaya is then made to comprehend the whole of the Vinaya (discipline) and Abhidhamma (metaphysics), together with the fifteen books beginning with the Khuddaka-patha.

The order of these fifteen books varies, and even, as it would seem, their number. The Dighabhanaka school admits twelve books only, and assigns them all to the Abhidhamma, while the Magghimabhanakas admit fifteen books, and assign them to the Sutta-pitaka. The order of the fifteen books is: 1. Gataka [10]; 2. Mahaniddesa [11]; 3. Kullaniddesa [11]; 4. Patisambhidamagga [12]; 5. Sutta-nipata [5]; 6. DHAMMAPADA [2]; 7. Udana [3]; 8. Itivuttaka [4]; 9. Vimanavatthu [6]; 10. Petavatthu [7]; 11. Theragatha [8]; 12. Therigatha [9]; 13. Kariya-pitaka [15]; 14. Apadana [13]; 15. Buddhavamsa [14][1].

The Khuddaka-patha is left out in the second list, and the number is brought to fifteen by dividing Niddesa into Maha-niddesa and Kulla-niddesa.

There is a commentary on the Dhammapada in Pali, and supposed to be written by Buddhaghosa[2], in the first half of the fifth century A.D. In explaining the verses of the Dhammapada, the commentator gives for every or nearly every verse a parable to illustrate its meaning, which is likewise believed to have been uttered by Buddha in his intercourse with his disciples, or in preaching to the multitudes that came to hear him.

date of the dhammapada

The only means of fixing the date of the Dhammapada is trying to ascertain the date of the Buddhist canon of which it forms a part, or the date of Buddhaghosa, who wrote a commentary on it. This, however, is by no means easy, and the evidence on which we have to rely is such that we must not be surprised if those who are accustomed to test historical and chronological evidence facts.

The age of our MSS. of the canonical books, either in Pali or Sanskrit, is of no help to us. All Indian MSS. are comparatively modern, and one who has probably handled more Indian MSS. than anybody else, Mr. A. Burnell, has lately expressed his conviction that 'no MS. written one thousand years ago is now existent in India, and that it is almost impossible to find one written five hundred years ago, for most MSS. which claim to be of that date are merely copies of old MSS. the dates of which are repeated by the copyists[1].'

Nor is the language, whether Sanskrit or Pali, a safe guide for fixing dates. Both languages continue to be written to our own time, and though there are some characteristic marks to distinguish more modern from more ancient Buddhist Sanskrit and Pali, this branch of critical scholarship requires to be cultivated far more extensively and accurately before true scholars would venture to fix the date of a Sanskrit or Pali text on the strength of linguistic evidence alone[2].

The Buddhists themselves have no difficulty in assigning a date to their sacred canon. They are told in that canon itself that it was settled at the First Council, or immediately after the death of Buddha, and they believe that it was afterwards handed down by means of oral tradition, or actually written down in books by order of Kasyapa, the president of the First Council[1]. Buddhaghosa, a learned and in some respects a critical scholar, living in the beginning of the fifth century A.D., asserts that the canon which he had before him, was the same as that fixed by the First Council[2].

Several European students have adopted the same opinion, and, so far as I know, no argument has yet been advanced showing the impossibility of the native view, that some collection of Buddha's doctrines was made immediately after his death at Ragagaha, and that it was finally settled at what is called the Second Council, or the Council of Vesali. But what is not impossible is not therefore true, nor can anything be gained by appealing to later witnesses, such as, for instance, Hiouen Thsang, who travelled through India in the seventh century, and wrote down anything that he could learn, little concerned whether one statement tallied with the other or not[3]. He says that the Tipitaka was written down on palm leaves by Kasyapa at the end of the First Council. But what can be the weight of such a witness, living more than a thousand years after the event, compared with that, for instance, of the Mahavamsa, which dates from the fifth century of our era, and tells us in the account of Mahinda's missionary journey to Ceylon (241/318), that the son of Asoka had to spend three years in learning the Tipitaka by heart from the mouth of a teacher[1]? No mention is then made of any books or MSS., when it would have been most natural to do so[2]. At a later time, during the reign of King Vattagâmani[3] (88-76 B.C.), the same chronicle, the Mahâvamsa, tells us that 'the profoundly wise priests had theretofore orally (mukhapâthena) perpetuated the Pâli of the Pitakattaya and its Atthakathâ (commentary), but that at this period the priests, foreseeing the perdition of the people assembled, and in order that the religion might endure for ages, recorded the same in books (potthakesu likhâpayum)[4].'

No one has yet questioned the dates of the Dipavamsa, about 400 A.D., or of the first part of the Mahavamsa, between 459-477 A.D., and though no doubt there is an interval of nearly 600 years between the composition of the Mahavamsa and the recorded writing down of the Buddhist canon under Vattagamani, yet we must remember that the Ceylonese chronicles were confessedly founded on an older Atthakatha preserved in the monasteries of the island, and representing an unbroken line of local tradition.

My own argument therefore, so long as the question was only whether we could assign a pre-Christian date to the Pali Buddhist canon, has always been this. We have the commentaries on the Pali canon translated from Sinhalese into Pali, or actually composed, it may be, by Buddhaghosa. Buddhaghosa confessedly consulted various writing.

There is one other event with reference to the existence of the sacred canon in Ceylon, recorded in the Mahavamsa, between the time of Buddhaghosa and Vattagamani, viz. the translation of the Suttas from Pali into the language of Ceylon, during the reign of Buddhadasa, 339-368 A.D. If MSS. of that ancient translation still existed, they would, no doubt, be very useful for detrmining the exact state of the Pali originals at that time[1]. But even without them there seems no reason to doubt that Buddhaghosa had before him old MSS. of the Pali canon, and that these were in the main the same as those written down at the time of Vattagamani.

buddhaghosa's age

The whole of this argument, however, rested on the supposition that Buddhaghosa's date in the beginning of the fifth century A.D. was beyond the reach of reasonable doubt. 'His age,' I had ventured to say in the Preface to Buddhaghosha's Parables (1870), 'can be fixed with greater accuracy than most dates in the literary history of India.' But soon after, one of our most celebrated Pali scholars, the great Russian traveller, Professor Joh. Minayeff, expressed in the Melanges Asiatiques (13/25 April, 1871) the gravest doubts as to Buddhaghosa's age, and thus threw the whole Buddhist chronology, so far as it had then been accepted by all, or nearly all scholars, back into chaos. He gave as his chief reason that Buddhaghosa was not, as I supposed, the contemporary of Mahanama, the author of the Mahâvamsa, but of another Mahânâma, the king of Ceylon.

Professor Minayeff is undoubtedly right in this, but I am not aware that I, or anybody else, had ever questioned so palpable a fact. There are two Mahanamas; one, the king who reigned from 410-432 A.D.; the other, the supposed author of the Mahavamsa, the uncle and protector of King Dhatusena, 459-477. 'Dhatusena,' I had written, 'was the nephew of the historian Mahanama, and owed the throne to the protection of his uncle. Dhatusena was in fact the restorer of a national dynasty, and after having defeated the foreign usurpers (the Damilo dynasty) “he restored the religion which had been set aside by the foreigners”' (Mahav. p. 256). Among his many pious acts it is particularly mentioned that he gave a thousand, and ordered the Dipavamsa to be promulgated. As Mahanama was the uncle of Dhatusena, who reigned from 459-477, he may be considered as a trustworthy witness with regard to events that occurred between 410 and 432. Now the literary activity of Buddhaghosa in Ceylon falls in that period[1].'

These facts being admitted, it is surely not too great a stretch of probability to suppose, as I did, that a man whose nephew was king in 459-477, might have been alive in 410-432, that is to say, might have been a contemporary of Buddhaghosa. I did not commit myself to any further theories. The question whether Mahanama, the uncle of Dhatusena, was really the author of the Mahavamsa, the question whether he wrote the second half of the 37th chapter of that work, or broke off his chronicle in the middle of that chapter, I did not discuss, having no new materials to bring forward beyond those on which Turnour and those who followed him had founded their conclusions, and which I had discussed in my History of Sanskrit Literature (1859), p. 267. All I said was, 'It is difficult to determine whether the 38th as well as the (whole of the) 37th chapter came from the pen of Mahanama, for the Mahâvamsa was afterwards continued by different writers, even to the middle of the last century. But, taking into account all the circumstances of the case, it is most probable that Mahânâma carried on the history to his own time, to the death of Dhâtusena, 477 A.D.

What I meant by 'all the circumstances of the case' might easily be understood by any one who had read Turnour's Preface to the Mahavamsa. Turnour himself thought at first that Mahanama's share in the Mahavamsa ended with the year 301 A.D., and that the rest of the work, called the Sulu Wanse, was composed by subsequent writers[1]. Dharmakirti is mentioned by name as having continued the work to the reign of Prakrama Bahu (A.D. 1266). But Turnour afterwards changed his mind[2]. Considering that the account of Mahasena's reign, the first of the Seven Kings, terminates in the middle of a chapter, at verse 48, while the whole chapter is called the Sattaragiko, 'the chapter of the Seven Kings,' he naturally supposed that the whole of that chapter, extending to the end of the reign of his nephew Dhatusena, might be the work of Mahanama, unless there were any strong proofs to the contrary. Such proofs, beyond the tradition of writers of the MSS., have not, as yet, been adduced[3].

But even if it could be proved that Mahanama's own pen did not go beyond the 48th verse of the 37th chapter, the historical trustworthiness of the concluding portion of that chapter, containing the account of Buddhaghosa's literary activity, nay, even of the 38th chapter, would be little affected thereby. We know that both the Mahavamsa and the somewhat earlier Dipavamsa were founded on the Sinhalese Atthakathas, the commentaries and chronicles preserved in the Mahavihara at Anuradhapura. We also know that that Vihara was demolished by Mahasena, and deserted by nearly all its inmates for the space of nine years (p. 235), and again for the space of nine months We can well understand therefore why the older history, the Dîpavamsa, should end with the death of Mahâsena (died 302 A.D.), and why in the Mahâvamsa too there should have been a break at that date. But we must not forget that, during Mahânâma's life, the Mahâvihâra at Anurâdhapura was restored, that some kind of chronicle, called the Dîpavamsa, whether it be a general name of any 'chronicle of the island,' or of our Dîpavamsa, or, it may be, even of our Mahâvamsa, was ordered to be published or promulgated (dîpetum) under Dhâtusena, the nephew and protegé of Mahânâma. Therefore, even if we do not insist on the personal authorship of Mahânâma, we may certainly maintain that historical entries had been made in the chronicles of Anurâdhapura during Dhâtusena's reign, and probably under the personal auspices of Mahânâma, so that if we find afterwards, in the second half of the 37th chapter of his Mahâvamsa, an account of events which had happened between the destruction of the Mahâvihâra and the reign of Dhâtusena, and among them an account of so important an event as the arrival of Buddhaghosa from Magadha and his translation of the Sinhalese Atthakathâ into the language of Magadha, we may well suppose that they rest on the authority of native chronicles, written not long after the events, and that therefore, 'under all the circumstances of the case,' the age of Buddhaghosa can be fixed with greater accuracy than most dates in the literary history of India.

There is one difficulty still remaining with regard to the date of the historian Mahanama which might have perplexed Turnour's mind, and has certainly proved a stumbling-block to myself. Turnour thought that the author of the commentary on the Mahavamsa, the Vamsatthappakasini, was the same as the author of the Mahavamsa, viz. Mahanama. The date of that commentary, however, as we know now, must be fixed much later, for it speaks of a schism which took place in the year 601 A.D., during the reign of Agrabodhi (also called Dhatapatisso). Turnour[1] looked upon that passage as a later interpolation, because he thought the evidence for the identity of the author and the commentator of the Mahâvamsa too strong to be set aside. He trusted chiefly to a passage in the commentary, and if that passage had been correctly rendered, the conclusion which be drew from it could hardly be resisted. We read in the Mahâvamsa (p. 254):

'Certain members of the Moriyan dynasty, dreading the power of the (usurper) Subho, the balattho, had settled in various parts of the country, concealing themselves. Among them there was a certain landed proprietor Dhatusena, who had established himself at Nandivapi. His son named Dhata, who lived at the village Ambiliyago, had two sons, Dhatusena and Silatissabodhi, of unexceptional descent. Their mother's brother (Mahanama), devoted to the cause of religion, continued to reside (at Anuradhapura) in his sacerdotal character, at the edifice built by the minister Dighasandana. The youth Dhatusena became a priest in his fraternity, and on a certain day, while he was chaunting at the foot of a tree, a shower of rain fell, and a Naga, seeing him there, encircled him in his folds, and covered him and his book with his hood. . . . Causing an image of Maha Mahinda to be made, and conveying it to the edifice (Ambamalaka) in which the thera's body had been burnt, in order that be might celebrate a great festival there, and that he might also promulgate the contents of the Dipavamsa, distributing a thousand pieces, he caused it to be read aloud[1].'

If we compare with this extract from the Mahavamsa a passage from the commentary as translated by Turnour, we can well understand how he arrived at the conclusion that it was written by the same person who wrote the Mahavamsa.

Turnour translates (p. liv):

'Upon these data by me, the thera, who had, with due solemnity, been invested with the dignified title of Mahânâma, resident at the parivena founded by the minister Dîghasandana, endowed with the capacity requisite to record the narrative comprised in the Mahâvamsa, in due order, rejecting only the dialect in which the Singhalese Atthakathâ are written, but retaining their import and following their arrangement, the history, entitled the Palapadôruvamsa (Padyapadânuvamsa), is compiled. As even in times when the despotism of the ruler of the land, and the horrors arising from the inclemencies of the seasons, and when panics of epidemics and other visitations prevailed, this work escaped all injury; and moreover, as it serves to perpetuate the fame of the Buddhas, their disciples, and the Paché Buddhas of old, it is also worthy of bearing the title of Vamsatthappakâsinî.'

As the evidence of these two passages in support of the identity of the author and the commentator of the Mahavamsa seemed to me very startling, I requested Mr. Rhys Davids to copy for me the passage of the commentary. The passage runs as follows:

Ya ettavata mahavamsatthanusarakusalena Dighasanda-senapatina karapita-mahaparivenavasina Mahanamo ti garuhi gahitanamadheyyena therena pubba-Sihala-bhasitaya Sihalatthakathaya bhasantaram eva vaggiya atthasaram eva gahetva tantinayanurupena katassa imassa Padyapada-nuvamsassa atthavannana maya tam eva sannissitena araddha, padesissariya-dubbutthibhaya-rogabhayadi-vividha-antaraya-yuttakale pi anantarayena nitthanam upagata, sa buddha-buddhasavaka-pakkekabuddhadinam porananam kikkam pubbavamsatthappakasanato ayam Vamsatthappakasini nama ti dharetabba. . . . Padyapadanuvamsa-vannana Vamsatthappakasini nitthita.

Mr. Rhys Davids translates this:

'The commentary on this Padyapadanuvamsa, which (latter work) was made (in the same order and arrangement, and retaining the sense, but rejecting the dialect, of the Sinhalese commentary formerly expressed in the Sinhalese tongue) by the elder who bore the name of Mahanama, which he had p. xx received from the venerable, who resided at the Mahaparivena built by the minister Dighasanda, and who was well able to conform to the sense of the Mahavamsa–(this commentary) which was undertaken by me out of devotion to that (history), and which (though thus undertaken) at a time full of danger of various kinds–such as the danger from disease, and the danger from drought, and the danger from the government of the province–has been safely brought to a conclusion–this (commentary), since it makes known the meaning of the history of old, the mission of the ancients, of the Buddhas, of their disciples, and of the Pakkeka Buddhas, should bear the name Vamsatthappakasini. . . .

'End of the Vamsatthappakasini, the commentary on the Padyapadanuvamsa.'

This shows clearly that Turnour made a mistake in translating this exceedingly involved, yet perfectly intelligible, passage, and that so far from proving that the author of the commentary was the same person as the author of the text[1], it proves the very contrary. Nay, I feel bound to add, that we might now argue that as the commentator must have lived later than 601 A.D., the fact that he too breaks off at verse 48 of chapter 37, seems to show that at his time also the Mahavamsa did not extend as yet beyond that verse. But even then, the fact that with the restoration of the Mahavihara of Anuradhapura an interest in historical studies revived in Ceylon, would clearly show that we may trust the date of Buddhaghosa, as fixed by the second part of the 37th chapter of the Mahavamsa, at all events till stronger evidence is brought forward against such a date.

Now I am not aware of any such evidence[2]. On the contrary, making allowance for a difference of some ten or twenty years, all the evidence which we can gain from other quarters tends to confirm, the date of Buddhaghosa[1]. I therefore feel no hesitation in here reprinting that story, as we find it in the Mahâvamsa, not free from legendary ingredients, it is true, yet resting, I believe, on a sound foundation of historical fact.

'A Brahman youth, born in the neighbourhood of the terrace of the great Bo-tree (in Magadha), accomplished in the “vigga” (knowledge) and “sippa” (art), who had achieved the knowledge of the three Vedas, and possessed great aptitude in attaining acquirements; indefatigable as a schismatic disputant, and himself a schismatic wanderer over Gambudipa, established himself, in the character of a disputant, in a certain vihara[2], and was in the habit of rehearsing, by night and by day with clasped hands, a discourse which he had learned, perfect in all its component parts, and sustained throughout in the same lofty strain. A certain Mahathera, Revata, becoming acquainted with him there, and (saying to himself), “This individual is a person of profound knowledge, it will be worthy (of me) to convert him;” enquired, “Who is this who is braying like an ass?” The Brahman replied to him, “Thou canst define, then, the meaning conveyed in the bray of asses.” On the Thera rejoining, “I can define it;” he (the Brahman) exhibited the extent of the knowledge he possessed. The Thera criticised each of his propositions, and pointed out in what respect they were fallacious. He who had been thus refuted, said, “Well, then, descend to thy own creed;” and he propounded to him a passage from the Abhidhamma (of the Pitakattaya). He (the Brahman) could not divine the signification of that passage, and enquired, “Whose manta is this?”–“It is Buddha's manta.” On his exclaiming, “Impart it to me;” the Thera replied, “Enter the sacerdotal order.” He who was desirous of acquiring the knowledge of the Pitakattaya, subsequently coming to this conviction, “This is the sole road” (to salvation), became a convert to that faith. As he was as profound in his eloquence (ghosa) as Buddha himself, they conferred on him the appellation of Buddhaghosa (the voice of Buddha); and throughout the world he became as renowned as Buddha. Having there (in Gambudîpa) composed an original work called Ñânodaya (Rise of Knowledge), he, at the same time, wrote the chapter called Atthasâlinî, on the Dhammasangani (one of the commentaries on the Abhidhamma).

'Revata Thera then observing that he was desirous of undertaking the compilation of a general commentary on the Pitakattaya, thus addressed him: “The text alone of the Pitakattaya has been preserved in this land, the Atthakatha are not extant here, nor is there any version to be found of the schisms (vada) complete. The Sinhalese Atthakatha are genuine. They were composed in the Sinhalese language by the inspired and profoundly wise Mahinda, who had previously consulted the discourses (kathamagga) of Buddha, authenticated at the three convocations, and the dissertations and arguments of Sariputta and others, and they are extant among the Sinhalese. Preparing for this, and studying the same, translate them according to the rules of the grammar of the Magadhas. It will be an act conducive to the welfare of the whole world.”

'Having been thus advised, this eminently wise personage rejoicing therein, departed from thence, and visited this island in the reign of this monarch (i.e. Mahanama, 410-432). On reaching the Mahavihara (at Anuradhapura), he entered the Mahapadhana hall, the most splendid of the apartments in the vihara, and listened to the Sinhalese Atthakatha, and the Theravada, from the beginning to the end, propounded by the Thera Sanghapala; and became thoroughly convinced that they conveyed the true meaning of the doctrines of the Lord of Dhamma. Thereupon paying reverential respect to the priesthood, he thus petitioned: “I am desirous of translating the Atthakatha; give me access to all your books.” The priesthood, for the purpose of testing his qualifications, gave only two gathas, saying, “Hence prove thy qualification; having satisfied ourselves on this point, we will then let thee have all our books.” From these (taking these gatha for his text), and p. xxiii consulting the Pitakattaya, together with the Atthakatha, and condensing them into an abridged form, he composed the work called the Visuddhimagga. Thereupon, having assembled the priesthood, who had acquired a thorough knowledge of the doctrines of Buddha, at the Bo-tree, he commenced to read out the work he had composed. The devatas, in order that they might make his (Buddhaghosa's) gifts of wisdom celebrated among men, rendered that book invisible. He, however, for a second and third time recomposed it. When he was in the act of producing his book for the third time, for the purpose of propounding it, the devatas restored the other two copies also. The assembled priests then read out the three books simultaneously. In those three versions there was no variation whatever from the orthodox Theravadas in passages, in words, or in syllables. Thereupon, the priesthood rejoicing, again and again ferventIy shouted forth, saying, “Most assuredly this is Metteya (Buddha) himself,” and made over to him the books in which the Pitakattaya were recorded, together with the Atthakatha. Taking up his residence in the secluded Ganthakara-vihara (at Anuradhapura), he translated, according to the grammatical rules of the Magadhas, which is the root of all languages, the whole of the Sinhalese Atthakatha (into Pali). This proved an achievement of the utmost consequence to all beings, whatever their language.

'All the Theras and Akariyas held this compilation in the same estimation as the text (of the Pitakattaya). Thereafter, the objects of his mission having been fulfilled, he returned to Gambudipa, to worship at the Bo-tree (at Uruvelaya, or Uruvilva, in Magadha).'

Here[1] we have a simple account of Buddhaghosa[2] and his literary labours written by a man, himself a priest, and who may well have known Buddhaghosa during his stay in Ceylon. It is true that the statement of his writing the same book three times over without a single various reading, partakes a little of the miraculous; but we find similar legends mixed up with accounts of translations of other sacred books, and we cannot contend that writers who believed in such legends are therefore altogether unworthy to be believed as historical witnesses.

But although the date which we can assign to Buddhaghosa's translation of the commentaries on the Pali Tipitaka proves the existence of that canon, not only for the beginning or the fifth century of our era, but likewise, though it may be, with less stringency, for the first century before our era, the time of Vattagamani, the question whether Buddhaghosa was merely a compiler and translator of old commentaries, and more particularly of the commentaries brought to Ceylon by Mahinda (241 B.C.), or whether he added anything of his own[1], requires to be more carefully examined. The Buddhists themselves have no difficulty on that point. They consider the Atthakathas or commentaries as old as the canon itself. To us, such a supposition seems improbable, yet it has never been proved to be impossible. The Mahavamsa tells us that Mahinda, the son of Asoka, who had become a priest, learnt the whole of the Buddhist canon, as it then was, in three years (p. 37)[2]; and that at the end of the Third Council he was despatched to Ceylon, in order to establish there the religion of Buddha (p. 71). The king of Ceylon, Devanampiya Tissa, was converted, and Buddhism soon became the dominant religion of the island, The Tipitaka and the Atthakathâ, such as they had been collected or settled at the Third Council in 242 B.C., were brought to Ceylon by Mahinda, who promulgated them orally, the Tipitaka in Pâli, the Atthakathâ in Sinhalese, together with an additional Atthakathâ of his own. It does not follow that Mahinda knew the whole of that enormous literature by heart, for, as he was supported by a number of priests, they may well have divided the different sections among them, following the example of Ânanda and Upâli at the First Council. The same applies to their disciples also. But the fact of their transmitting the sacred literature by oral tradition[1] was evidently quite familiar to the author of the Mahâvamsa. For when he comes to describe the reign of Vattagâmani (88-76 B.C.) he simply says: 'The profoundly wise priests had heretofore orally perpetuated the Pâli Pitakattaya and its Atthakathâ (commentaries). At this period these priests, foreseeing the perdition of the people (from the perversions of the true doctrines), assembled; and in order that the religion might endure for ages, wrote the same in books.' No valid objection has yet been advanced to our accepting Buddhaghosa's Atthakathâs as a translation and new redaction of the Atthakathâs which were reduced to writing under Vattagâmani[2], and these again as a translation of the old Atthakathâs brought to Ceylon by Mahinda[3]. There is prima facie evidence in favour of the truth of historical events vouched for by such works as the Dîpavamsa and the Mahâvamsa so far back at least as Mahinda, because we know that historical events were recorded in the monasteries of Ceylon long before Mahânâma's time. Beyond Mahinda we move in legendary history, and must be ready to surrender every name and every date as soon as rebutting evidence has been produced, but not till then.

I cannot, therefore, see any reason why we should not treat the verses of the Dhammapada, if not as the utterances of Buddha, at least as what were believed by the members of the Council under Asoka, in 242 B.C., to have been the utterances of the founder of their religion; nor can I see that Professor Minayeff has shaken the date of Buddhaghosa and the general credibility of the Ceylonese tradition, that he was the translator and editor of commentaries which had existed in the island for many centuries; whether from the time of Vattagâmani or from the time of Mahinda.

date of the buddhist canon

We now return to the question of the date of the Buddhist canon, which, as yet, we have only traced back to the first century before Christ, when it was reduced to writing in Ceylon under King Vattagamani. The question is, how far beyond that date we may trace its existence in a collected form, or in the form of the three Pitakas or baskets. There may be, and we shall see that there is, some doubt as to the age of certain works, now incorporated in the Tipitaka. We are told, for instance, that some doubt attached to the canonicity of the Kariya-pitaka; the Apadana, and the Buddhavamsa[1], and there is another book of the Abhidhamma-pitaka, the Kathavatthu, which was reported to be the work of Tissa Moggaliputta, the president of the Third Council. Childers, s.v., stated that it was composed by the apostle Moggaliputtatissa, and delivered by him at the Third Mahasangiti. The same scholar, however, withdrew this opinion on p. 507 of his valuable Dictionary, where he says: 'It is a source of great regret to me that in my article on Kathavatthuppakaranam I inadvertently followed James D'Alwis in the stupendous blunder of his assertion that the Kathavatthu was added by Moggaliputtatissa at the Third Convocation. The Kathavatthu is one of the Abhidhamma books, mentioned by Buddhaghosa as having been rehearsed at the First Convocation, immediately after Gotama's death; and the passage in Mahavamsa upon which D'Alwis rests his assertion is as follows, Kathavatthuppakararanam paravadappamaddanam abhasi Tissatthero ka tasmim sangitimandale, which simply means 'in that Convocation-assembly the Thera Tissa also recited (Buddha's) heresy-crushing Kathâvatthuppakarana.'

This mistake, for I quite agree with Childers that it was a mistake, becomes however less stupendous than at first sight it would appear, when we read the account given in the Dîpavamsa. Here the impression is easily conveyed that Moggaliputta was the author of the Kathâvatthu, and that he recited it for the first time at the Third Council. 'Wise Moggaliputta,' we read[1], 'the destroyer of the schismatic doctrines, firmly established the Theravâda, and held the Third Council. Having destroyed the different (heretical) doctrines, and subdued many shameless people, and restored splendour to the (true) faith, he proclaimed (pakâsayi) (the treatise called) Kathâvatthu.' And again: 'They all were sectarians[2], opposed to the Theravâda; and in order to annihilate them and to make his own doctrine resplendent, the Thera set forth (desesi) the treatise belonging to the Abhidhamma, which is called Kathâvatthu[3].'

At present, however, we are not concerned with these smaller questions. We treat the canon as a whole, divided into three parts, and containing the books which still exist in MSS., and we want to find out at what time such a collection was made. The following is a short abstract of the Tipitaka, chiefly taken from Childers' Pali Dictionary:

I. Vinaya-pitaka.



Vol. I, beginning with Paragika, or sins involving expulsion. Vol. II, beginning with Pakittiya, or sins involving penance.

Khandhaka. Vol. I, Mahavagga, the large section. Vol. II, Kullavagga, the small section.

Parivarapatha, an appendix and later resume (25 chapters). See p. xiii, n. 4; p. xxiv, n. 2.

II. Sutta-pitaka.


    Digha-nikaya, collection of long suttas (34 suttas)[1]. Magghima-nikaya, collection of middle suttas (152 suttas).  Samyutta-nikaya, collection of joined suttas.  Anguttara-nikaya[2], miscellaneous suttas, in divisions the length of which increases by one.  Khuddaka-nikaya[3], the collection of short suttas, consisting of--    Khuddakapatha, the small texts[4].  Dhammapada, law verses (423)[5].  Udana, praise (82 suttas).  Itivuttaka, stories referring to sayings of Buddha.  Suttanipata 70 suttas[6].  Vimanavatthu, stories of Vimanas, celestial palaces.  Petavatthu, stories of Pretas, departed spirits.  Theragatha, stanzas of monks.  Therigatha, stanzas of nuns.  Gataka, former births (550 tales)[7].  Niddesa, explanations of certain suttas by Sariputta.

Patisambhidamagga, the road of discrimination, and intuitive insight. Apadana[1], legends. Buddhavamsa[1], story of twenty-four preceding Buddhas and of Gotama. Kariyapitaka[1], basket of conduct, Buddha's meritorious actions[2].III. Abhidhamma-pitaka.

Dhammasangani, numeration of conditions of life[3]. Vibhanga, disquisitions (18). Kathavatthupakarana, book of subjects for discussion (1000 suttas). Puggalapannatti or pannatti, declaration on puggala, or personality. Dhatukatha, account of dhatus or elements. Yamaka, pairs (ten divisions). Patthanapakarana, book of causes. Taking this collection as a whole we may lay it down as self-evident that the canon, in its collected form, cannot be older than any of the events related therein.

There are two important facts for determining the age of the Pali canon, which, as Dr. Oldenberg[4] has been the first to show, should take precedence of all other arguments, viz.

1. That in the Tipitaka, as we now have it, no mention is made of the so-called Third Council, which took place at Pataliputta, under King Asoka, about 242 B.C.

2. That in the Tipitaka, as we now have it, the First Council of Ragagaha (477 B.C.) and the Second Council of Vesali (377 B.C.) are both mentioned.

From these two facts it may safely be concluded that the Buddhist canon, as handed down to us, was finally closed after the Second and before, or possibly at, the Third Council. Nay, the fact that the description of the two Councils stands at the very end of the Kullavagga may be taken, as Dr. Oldenberg remarks, as an indication that it was one of the latest literary contributions which obtained canonical authority, while the great bulk of the canon may probably claim a date anterior to the Second Council.

This fact, namely, that the collection of the canon, as a whole, must have preceded the Second Council rests on an argument which does great credit to the ingenuity of Dr. Oldenberg. The Second Council was convoked to consider the ten deviations[1] from the strict discipline of the earliest times. That discipline had been laid down first in the Patimokkha rules, then in the commentary now included in the Vibhanga, lastly in the Mahavagga and Kullavagga. The rules as to what was allowed or forbidden to a Bhikkhu were most minute[2], and they were so firmly established that no one could have ventured either to take away or to add anything to them as they stood in the sacred code. In that code itself a distinction is made between the offences which were from the first visited with punishment (paragika and pakittiya) and those misdemeanours and crimes which were put down as punishable at a later time (dukkata and thullakkaya). With these classes the code was considered as closed, and if any doubt arose as to the criminality of certain acts, it could be settled at once by an appeal to the Vinaya-pitaka. Now it so happens that, with one exception, the ten deviations that had to be considered at the Second Council, are not provided for in the Vinaya-pitaka; and I quite agree with Dr. Oldenberg's argument that, if they had been mentioned in the Vinaya-pitaka, the Second Council would have been objectless. A mere appeal to chapter and verse in the existing Pitaka would then have silenced all dissent. On the other side, if it had been possible to add anything to the canon, as it then existed, the ten, or nine, deviations might have been condemned by a few additional paragraphs of the canon, without convoking a new Council.

I think we may be nearly certain, therefore, that we possess the principal portion of the Vinaya-pitaka as it existed before the Council of Vesali.

So far I quite agree with Dr. Oldenberg. But if he proceeds to argue[1] that certain portions of the canon must have been finally settled before even the First Council took place, or was believed to have taken place, I do not think his arguments conclusive. He contends that in the Parinibbana-sutta, which tells of the last days of Buddha's life, of his death, the cremation of his body, and the distribution of his relics, and of Subhadda's revolt, it would have been impossible to leave out all mention of the First Council, if that Council had then been known. It is true, no doubt, that Subhadda's disloyalty was the chief cause of the First Council, but there was no necessity to mention that Council. On the contrary, it seems to me that the unity of the Parinibbana-sutta would have been broken if, besides telling of the last days of Buddha, it had also given a full description of the Council. The very title, the Sutta of the Great Decease, would have become inappropriate, if so important a subject as the first Sangiti had been mixed up with it. However, how little we may trust to such general arguments, is best shown by the fact that in some very early Chinese renderings of the Hinayana text of the Mahaparinibbana-sutta the story is actually carried on to the First Council, two (Nos. 552 and 119) mentioning the rehearsal under Kasyapa, while the third (No. 118) simply states that the Tiptaka was then collected[2].

We must be satisfied therefore, so far as I can see at present, with fixing the date, and the latest date, of a Buddhist canon at the time of the Second Council, 377 B.C. That some works were added later, we know; that many of the treatises included in the canon existed before that Council, can hardly be doubted. The second chapter of the Dhammapada, for instance, is called the Appamada-vagga, and if the Mahavamsa (p. 25) tells us that at the time when Asoka was converted by Nigrodha, that Buddhist priest explained to him the Appamada-vagga, we can hardly doubt that there existed then a collection (vagga) of verses on Appamada, such as we now possess in the Dhammapada and in the Samyutta-nikaya[1].

With regard to the Vinaya, I should even feel inclined to admit, with Dr. Oldenberg, that it must have existed in a more or less settled form before that time. What I doubt is whether such terms as Pitaka, basket, or Tipitaka, the three baskets, i.e. the canon, existed at that early time. They have not been met with, as yet, in any of the canonical books; and if the Dipavamsa (IV, 32) uses the word 'Tipitaka,' when describing the First Council, this is due to its transferring new terms to older times. If Dr. Oldenberg speaks of a Dvi-pitaka[2] as the name of the canon before the third basket, that of the Abhidhamma, was admitted, this seems to me an impossible name, because at the time when the Abhidhamma was not yet recognised as a third part of the canon, the word pitaka had probably no existence as a technical term[3].

We must always, I think, distinguish between the three portions of the canon, called the basket of the Suttas, the basket of Vinaya, and the basket of Abhidhamma, and the three subjects of Dhamma (sutta), Vinaya, and Abhidhamma, treated in these baskets. The subjects existed and were taught long before the three baskets were definitely arranged. Dhamma had originally a much wider meaning than Sutta-pitaka. It often means the whole teaching of Buddha; and even when it refers more particularly to the Sutta-pitaka, we know that the Dhamma there taught deals largely with Vinaya and Abhidhamma doctrines. Even the fact that at the First Council, according to the description given in the Kullavagga, the Vinaya and Dhamma only were rehearsed, though proving the absence at that time of the Abhidhamma, as a separate Pitaka, by no means excludes the subject of the Abhidhamma having been taught under the head of Dhamma. In the Mahâkarunâpundarîka-sûtra the doctrine of Buddha is divided into Dharma and Vinaya; the Abhidharma is not mentioned. But the same text knows of all the twelve Dharmapravakanâni[1], the 1. Sûtra; 2. Geya; 3. Vyâkarana; 4. Gâthâ; 5. Udâna; 6. Nidâna; 7. Avadâna; 8. Itivrittaka; 9. Gâtaka; 10. Vaipulya; 11. Adbhutadharma; 12. Upadesa; some of these being decidedly metaphysical.

To my mind nothing shows so well the historical character both of the Kullavagga and of Buddhaghosa in the Introduction to his commentary on the Digha-nikaya, as that the former, in its account of the First Council, should know only of the Vinaya, as rehearsed by Upali, and the Dhamma, as rehearsed by Ananda, while the much later Buddhaghosa, in his account of the First Council[2], divides the Dhamma into two parts, and states that the second part, the Abhidhamma, was rehearsed after the first part, the Dhamma. Between the time of the Kullavagga and the time of Buddhaghosa the Abhidhamma must have assumed its recognised position by the side of Vinaya and Sutta. It must be left to further researches to determine, if possible, the time when the name of pitaka was first used, and when Tipitaka was accepted as the title of the whole canon.

Whenever we see such traces of growth, we feel that we are on historical ground, and in that sense Dr. Oldenberg's researches into the growth of the Vinaya, previous to the Second Council, deserve the highest credit. He shows, in opposition to other scholars, that the earliest elements of Vinaya must be looked for in the short Patimokkha rules, which were afterwards supplemented by explanations, by glosses and commentaries, and in that form answered for some time every practical purpose. Then followed a new generation who, not being satisfied, as it would seem, with these brief rules and comments, wished to know the occasion on which these rules had been originally promulgated. What we now call the Vibhanga, i.e. the first and second divisions of the Vinaya-pitaka, is a collection of the stories, illustrating the origin of each rule, of the rules themselves (the Patimokkha), and of the glosses and comments on these rules.

The third and fourth books, the Mahavagga and Kullavagga, are looked upon as possibly of a slightly later date. They treat, in a similar manner as the Vibhanga, on the rules not included in that collection, and give a general picture of the outward life of the monks. While the Vibhanga deals chiefly with the original so-called paragika, sanghadisesa, and pakittiya offences, the Khandhaka, i.e. the Mahavagga and Kullavagga, treats of the so-called dukkata and thullakkaya crimes. The arrangement is the same, story, rule, and comment succeeding each other in regular sequence. If we follow the guidance of the Vinaya-pitaka, we should be able to distinguish the following steps in the growth of Buddhism before the Second Council of Vesali:

Teaching of Buddha and his disciples (543/477 A.D. Buddha's death). Collection of Patimokkha rules (first code). Comment and glosses on these rules. Stories in illustration of these rules (vibhanga). Mahavagga and Kullavagga (Khandhaka).p. xxxv

Council of Vesali for the repression of ten abuses (443/377 A.D.) Description of First and Second Councils in Kullavagga. The Kulavagga ascribes the settlement of the canon to the First Council, and does not even claim a revision of that canon for the Second Council. The Dipavamsa claims a revision of the canon by the 700 Arhats for the Second Council.


In order to bring the Council of Vesali in connection with the chronology of the world, we must follow the Buddhist historians for another century. One hundred and eighteen years after the Council of Vesali they place the anointment of King Asoka, during whose reign a Third Council, under the presidency of Tissa Moggaliputta, took place at Pataliputta, the new capital adopted by that king, instead of Ragagaha and Vesali. This Council is chiefly known to us through the writings of the southern Buddhists (Dipavamsa, Mahavamsa, and Buddhaghosa), who belong to the school of Moggaliputta (Theravada or Vibhaggavada), which ruled supreme at Pataliputta, while Upagupta, the chief authority of the northern Buddhists, is altogether ignored in the Pali chronicles.

Now it is well known that Asoka was the grandson of Kandagutta, and Kandagutta the contemporary of Alexander the Great. Here we see land, and I may refer to my History of Sanskrit Literature, published in 1859, for the process by which the storm-tossed ship of Indian chronology has been landed in the harbour of real historical chronology. We are told by the monks of the Mahavihara in Ceylon that Asoka was crowned, according to their computation, 146 + 18 years before the accession of Dutthagamani, 161 B.C., i.e. 325 B.C.; that between his coronation and his father's death four years had elapsed (329 B.C.); that his father Bindusara had reigned twenty-eight years[1] (357-329 B.C.), and Bindusara's father, Kandagutta, twenty-four years (381-357). As we know that Kandagutta, whom the Ceylonese place 381-357 B.C., was king of India after Alexander's conquest, it follows that Ceylonese chronology is wrong by more than half a century. For reasons stated in my History of Sanskrit Literature, I fix the exact fault in Ceylonese chronology as sixty-six years, assigning to Kandagutta the dates 315-291, instead of 381-357. This gives us 291-263 for Bindusâra, 259 for Asoka's abhisheka; 259 + 118 = 377 for the Council of Vesâlî, and 377 + 100 = 477 for Buddha's death, instead of 543 B.C.]

These dates are, of course, approximate only, and they depend on one or two points on which people may differ. But, with that reservation, I see no ground whatever for modifying the chronological system which I put forward more than twenty years ago. Professor Westergaard and Professor Kern, who have since suggested different dates for the death of Buddha, do not really differ from me in principle, but only in their choice of one or the other alternative, which I readily admit as possible, but not as more certain than my own. Professor Westergaard[2], for instance, fixes Buddha's death at 368 (370), instead of 477. This seems a wide difference, but it is so in appearance only.

Following Justinus, who says that Sandrokyptos[3] had conquered the empire of India at the time when Seleucus laid the foundations of his own greatness, I had accepted 315[4], half-way between the murder of Porus and the taking of Babylon by Seleucus, as the probable beginning of Kandragupta's reign. Westergaard prefers 320 as a more likely date for Kandragupta, and therefore places the death of the last Nanda and the beginning of Asoka's royal pretensions 268. Here there is a difference between him and me of five years, which depends chiefly on the view we take as to the time when Seleucus really laid what Justinus calls the foundation of his future greatness. Secondly, Westergaard actually adopts the idea, at which I only hinted as possible, that the southern Buddhists made two Asokas out of one, and two Councils out of one. Trusting in the tradition that 118 years elapsed between Buddha's death and the Council under Asoka (at Pâtaliputra), and that the Council took place in the king's tenth year (as was the case with the imaginary Kâlâsoka's Council), he gets 268 - 10 = 258 as the date of the Council, and 368 or 370 as the date of Buddha's death[1].

The two points on which Westergaard differs from me, seem to me questions which should be kept before our mind in dealing with early Buddhist history, but which, for the present at least, admit of no definite solution.

The same remark seems to me to apply to the calculations of another eminent Sanskrit scholar, Professor Kern[2]. He lays great stress on the general untrustworthiness of Indian chronology, and I am the last to differ from him on that point. He then places the beginning of Kandragupta's reign in 322 B.C. Allowing twenty-four years to him and twenty-eight to his son Bindusara, he places the beginning of Asoka's reign in 270. Asoka's inscriptions would fall about 258. As Asoka reigned thirty-six or thirty-seven years, his death would fall in 234 or 233 B.C. Like Westergaard, Professor Kern too eliminates Kalasoka, as a kind of chronological Asoka, and the Council of Vaisali, and therefore places Buddha's death, according to the northern tradition, 100 or 110 years before Dharmasoka, i.e. 270 + 100 or + 110 = 370 or 380[3]; while, according to the southern tradition, that 118 years elapsed between Asoka's accession and Buddha's death, the Ceylonese monks would seem originally to have retained 270 + 118[1] = 388 B.C. as Buddha's Nirvâna, a date which, as Professor Kern holds, happens to coincide with the date assigned to the death of Mahâvira, the founder of the Gaina religion.

Here we see again that the moot point is the beginning of Kandragupta's reign in accordance with the information supplied by Greek historians. Professor Kern places it in 322, Westergaard in 320, I myself in 315. That difference once granted, Dr. Kern's reasoning is the same as my own. According to the traditions which we follow, Buddha's death took place 100, 110, 118, or 228 years before Asoka. Hence Professor Westergaard arrives at 368 or 370 B.C., Professor Kern at 370 (380) or 388 B.C., I myself at 477 B.C. Every one of these dates is liable to certain objections, and if I prefer my own date, 477 B. C., it is simply because it seems to me liable to neither more nor less reservations than those of Professor Westergaard and Professor Kern, and because, so long as we always remember the grounds of our differences, namely, the beginning of Kandragupta's reign, and the additional century, every one of these dates furnishes a good hypothesis to work on, until we can arrive at greater certainty in the ancient chronology of India. To my mind all dates beyond Kandragupta are as yet purely tentative, resting far more on a chronological theory than on actual tradition; and though I do not doubt the historical chatacter of the Council of Vaisali, I look upon the date assigned to it, on the authority of the Dipavamsa and Mahavamsa, as, for the present, hypothetical only.

291-263.    Bindusara. 
263-259.    Asoka, sub-king at Uggayini, as pretender--his brothers killed. 
259.    Asoka anointed at Pataliputra (477 - 218 = 259). 
256.    Asoka converted by Nigrodha (D. V. VI, 18). 
256-253.    Building of Viharas, Sthupas, &c. 
255.    Conversion of Tishya (M. V. p. 34). 
253.    Ordination of Mahendra (born 477 - 204 = 273). 
251.    Tishya and Sumitra die (D. V. VII, 32). 
242.    COUNCIL AT PATALIPUTRA (259 - 17 = 242; 477 - 236 = 271), under Tishya Maudgaliputra (477 - 236 = 241; D.V. VII, 37). 
241.    Mahendra to Ceylon. 
222.    Asoka died (259 - 37 = 222). 
193.    Mahendra died (D. V. XVII, 93). 
161.    Dutthagamani. 
88-76.    Vattagamani, canon reduced to writing. 
400.    Dipavamsa. 
420.    Buddhaghosha, Pali commentaries. 
459-477.    Mahavamsa. 

Though the preceding table, embodying in the main the results at which I arrived in my History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature, still represents what I hold to be true or most probable with respect to Indian chronology, previous to the beginning of our era, yet I suppose I may be expected to say here a few words on the two latest attempts to fix the date of Buddha's death; the one by Mr. Rhys Davids in the Numismata Orientalia, Part VI, 1877, the other by Dr. Buhler in the Indian Antiquary, 1877 and 1878[1]. Mr. Rhys Davids, to whom we owe so much for the elucidation of the history of Buddha's religion, accepts Westergaard's date for the beginning of Kandragupta's reign, 320 B.C., instead of 322 (Kern), 315 (myself); and as he assigns (p. 41) to Bindusara 25 years instead of 28 (Mahavamsa, p. 21), he arrives at 268 as the year of Asoka's coronation[2]. He admits that the argument derived from the mention of the five foreign kings in one of Asoka's inscriptions, dated the twelfth year of his reign, is too precarious to enable us to fix the date of Asoka's reign more definitely, and though, in a general way, that inscription confirms the date assigned by nearly all scholars to Asoka in the middle of the third century B.C., yet there is nothing in it that Asoka might not have written in 247 quite as well as in 258-261. What chiefly distinguishes Mr. Rhys Davids' chronology from that of his predecessors is the shortness of the period between Asoka's coronation and Buddha's death. On the strength of an examination of the list of kings and the list of the so-called patriarchs, he reduces the traditional 218 years to 140 or 150, and thus arrives at 412 B.C. as the probable beginning of the Buddhist era.

In this, however, I cannot follow him, but have to follow Dr. Buhler. As soon as I saw Dr. Buhler's first essay on the Three New Edicts of Asoka, I naturally felt delighted at the unexpected confirmation which he furnished of the date which I had assigned to Buddha's death, 477 B.C. And though I am quite aware of the danger of unexpected confirmations of one's own views, yet, after carefully weighing the objections raised by Mr. Rhys Davids and Professor Pischel against Dr. Bühler's arguments, I cannot think that they have shaken Dr. Bühler's position. I fully admit the difficulties in the phraseology of these inscriptions: but I ask, Who could have written these inscriptions, if not Asoka? And how, if written by Asoka, can the date which they contain mean anything but 256 years after Buddha's Nirvâna? These points, however, have been argued in so masterly a manner by Dr. Bühler in his 'Second Notice,' that I should be afraid of weakening his case by adding anything of my own, and must refer my readers to his 'Second Notice.' Allowing that latitude which, owing to the doubtful readings of MSS., and the constant neglect of odd months, we must allow in the interpretation of Buddhist chronology, Asoka is the only king we know of who could have spoken of a thirty-fourth year since the beginning of his reign and since his conversion to Buddhism. And if he calls that year, say the very last of his reign (212 B.C.), 256 after the departure of the Master, we have a right to say that as early as Asoka's time, Buddha was believed to have died about 477 B.C. Whether the inscriptions have been accurately copied and rightly read is, however, a more serious question, and the doubts raised by Dr. Oldenberg (Mahâvagga, p. xxxviii) make a new collation of the originals absolutely indispensable, before we can definitely accept Dr. Bühler's interpretation.

I cannot share Dr. Buhler's opinion[1] as to the entire worthlessness of the Gaina chronology in confirming the date of Buddha's death. If the Svetambara Gainas place the death of Mahavira 470 before Vikramaditya, i.e. 56 B.C. + 470 = 526 B.C.,and the Digambaras 605, i.e. 78 A.D. deducted from 605 = 527 B.C., this so far confirms Dr. Buhler's and Dr. Jacobi's brilliant discovery that Mahavira was the same as Nigantha Nataputta, who died at Pava during Buddha's lifetime[2]. Most likely 527 is too early a date, while another tradition fixing Mahâvira's death 155 years before Kandragupta[1], 470 B.C., is too late. Yet they both show that the distance between Asoka (259-222 B.C.), the grandson of Kandragupta (315-291 B.C.), and the contemporaries of Buddha was by the Gainas also believed to be one of two rather than one century.

When I saw that the date of Buddha's death, 477 B.C., which in my History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature (1859) I had myself tried to support by such arguments as were then accessible, had received so powerful a support by the discovery of the inscriptions of Sahasram, Rupnath, and Bairat, due to General Cunningham, who had himself always been an advocate of the date 477 B.C., and through their careful decipherment by Dr. Buhler, I lost no time in testing that date once more by the Dipavamsa, that Ceylonese chronicle having lately become accessible through Dr. Oldenberg's edition and translation[2]. And here I am able to say that, before having read Dr. Buhler's Second Notice, I arrived, though by a somewhat different way, at nearly the same conclusions as those so well worked out by Dr. Buhler in his restoration of the Episcopal Succession (theravali) of the Buddhists, and therefore feel convinced that, making all such allowances as the case requires, we know now as much of early Buddhist chronology as could be known at the time of Asoka's Council, 242 B.C.

Taking the date of Buddha's death 477 B.C. for granted, I found that Upali, who rehearsed the Vinaya at the First Council, 477 B.C., had been in orders sixty years in the twenty-fourth year of Agatasatru, i.e. 461 B.C., which was the sixteenth year A.B. He must therefore[3] have been born in 541 B.C., and he died 447 B.C., i.e. thirty years A.D., at the age of 94. This is said to have been the sixth year of Udayi, and so it is, 453 - 6 = 447 B.C.

In the year 461 B.C. Dasaka received orders from Upali, who was then 80 years of age; and when Dasaka had been in orders forty-five years (Dîpavamsa IV, 41), he ordained Saunaka. This would give us 461 - 45 = 416 B.C., while the tenth year of Nâgadâsa, 429 - 10, would give us 419 A.D. Later on the Dîpavamsa (V, 78) allows an interval of forty years between the ordinations of Dâsaka and Saunaka, which would bring the date of Saunaka's ordination to 421 B.C., instead of 419 or 416 B.C. Here there is a fault which must be noted. Dâsaka died 461 - 64 = 397 A.D., which is called the eighth year of Sisunâga, and so it is 405 - 8 = 397 A.D.

When Saunaka had been in orders forty years, i.e. 416 - 40 = 376, Kalasoka is said to have reigned a little over ten years, i.e. 387 - 11 = 376 A.D., and in that year Saunaka ordained Siggava. He died 416 - 66 = 350 A.D., which is called the sixth year of the Ten, while in reality it is the ninth, 359 - 6 = 353 A.D. If, however, we take 419 as the year of Saunaka's ordination, his death would fall 419 - 66 = 353 B.C.

Siggava, when he had been in orders sixty-four years, ordained Tishya Maudgaliputra. This date 376 - 64 = 312 B.C. is called more than two years after Kandragupta's accession, and so it very nearly is, 315 - 2 = 313.

Siggava died when he had been in orders seventy-six years, i.e. 376 - 76 = 300 A.D. This year is called the fourteenth year of Kandragupta, which it very nearly is, 315 - 14 = 301.

When Tishya had been in orders sixty[1] years, he ordained Mahendra, 312 - 60 = 252 B.C. This is called six years after Asoka's coronation, 259 - 6 = 253, and so it very nearly is. He died 312 - 80 = 232 B.C., which is called the twenty-sixth year of Asoka, and so it very nearly is.

Lastly, the years of the death of the six patriarchs, as fixed according to the reigns of the kings of Magadha, agree extremely well.

Upali died in the sixth year of Udayi, i.e. 453 - 6 = 447 B.C.

Dasaka died in the eighth year of Sisunaga, i.e. 405 - 8 = 397 B.C.

Saunaka died in the sixth year of the Ten, i.e. 359 - 6 = 353 B.C., showing again the difference of three years.

Yo dhammapade sudesite

Magge givati sannato satima, Anavagga-padani sevamano Tatiyam bhikkhum ahu maggagivim,

'He who lives restrained and attentive in the way that has been well pointed out, in the path of the law, cultivating blameless words, such a Bhikkhu they call a Maggagivi (living in the way).'

I therefore think that 'Path of Virtue,' or 'Footstep of the Law,' was the idea most prominent in the mind of those who originally framed the title of this collection of verses. It seems to me that Buddhaghosa also took the same view, for the verse which D'Alwis[2] quotes from the introduction of Buddhaghosa's commentary,–

Sampatta-saddhammapado sattha dhammapadam subham Desesi,and which he translates, 'The Teacher who had reached the very depths (lit. bottom) of Saddhamma, preached this holy Dhammapada,'–lends itself far better to another translation, viz. 'The Teacher who had gained a firm footing in the Good Law, showed (preached) the holy Path of the Law.'

Gogerly, again, who may generally be taken as a faithful representative of the tradition of the Buddhists still preserved in Ceylon, translates the title by the 'Footsteps of Religion,' so that there can be little doubt that the priests of that island accept Dhammapada in the sense of 'Vestiges of Religion,' or, from a different point of view, 'The Path of Virtue.'

M. L. Feer[1] takes a slightly different view, and assigning to pada the meaning of foot or base, he translates Dhammapada by Loi fondamentale, or Base de la Religion.

But it cannot be denied that the title of Dhammapada was very soon understood in a different sense also, namely, as 'Sentences of Religion.' Pada means certainly a foot of a verse, a verse, or a line, and dhammapadam actually occurs in the sense of a 'religious sentence.' Thus we read in verse 102, 'Though a man recite a hundred Gathas made up of senseless words, one dhammapadam, i.e. one single word or line of the law, is better, which if a man hears, he becomes quiet.' But here we see at once the difficulty of translating the title of 'dhammapadam' by 'religious sentences.' Dhammapadam means one law verse, or wise saw, not many. Professor Fausboll, who in his excellent edition of the Dhammapada translated that title by 'a collection of verses on religion,' appeals to such passages as verses 44 and 102 in support of his interpretation. But in verse 42 dhammapadam sudesitam, even if it does not mean the path of the law, could never mean 'versus legis bene enarratos,' but only versum legis bene enarratum, as Dr. Fausboll himself renders ekam dhammapadam, in verse 102, by unus legis versus. Buddhaghosa, too, when he speaks of many law verses uses the plural, for instance[2], 'Be it known that the Gatha consists of the Dhammapadani, Theragatha, Therigatha, and those unmixed (detached) Gatha not comprehended in any of the above-named Suttanta.'

The only way in which Dhammapada could be defended in the sense of 'Collection of Verses of the Law,' would be if we took it for an aggregate compound. But such aggregate compounds, in Sanskrit at least, are possible with numerals only; for instance, tribhuvanam, the three worlds; katuryugam, the four ages[1]. It might therefore be possible in Pali, too, to form such compounds as dasapadam, a collection of ten padas, a work consisting of ten padas, a decamerone, but it would in no wise follow that we could in that language attempt such a compound as Dhammapadam, in order to express a collection of law verses[2]. Mr. Beal[3] informs us that the Chinese seem to have taken Dhammapada in the sense of 'stanzas of law,' 'law texts,' or 'scripture texts.'

It should be remembered, also, that the idea of representing life, and particularly the life of the faithful, as a path of duty or virtue leading to deliverance, (in Sanskrit dharmapatha,) is very familiar to Buddhists. The four great truths of their religion[4] consist in the recognition of the following principles: 1. that there is suffering; 2. that there is a cause of that suffering; 3. that such cause can be removed; 4. that there is a way of deliverance, viz. the doctrine of Buddha. This way is the ashtanga-marga, the eightfold way[5], taught by Buddha, and leading to Nirvana[6]. The faithful advances on that road, padat padam, step by step, and it is therefore called patipadâ, lit. the step by step.

If we make allowance for these ambiguities, inherent in the name of Dhammapada, we may well understand how the Buddhists themselves play with the word pada (see v. 45). Thus we read in Mr. Beal's translation of a Chinese version of the Pratimoksha[1]:

'Let all those who desire such birth,

Who now are living in the world, Guard and preselve these Precepts, as feet.'

In translating the verses of the Dhammapada, I have followed the edition of the Pali text, published in 1855 by Dr. Fausboll, and I have derived great advantage from his Latin translation, his notes, and his copious extracts from Buddhaghosa's commentary. I have also consulted translations, either of the whole of the Dhammapada, or of portions of it, by Burnouf, Gogerly[2], Upham, Weber, and others. Though it will be seen that in many places my translation differs from those of my predecessors, I can only claim for myself the name of a very humble gleaner in this field of Pali literature. The greatest credit is due to Dr. Fausboll, whose editio princeps of the Dhammapada will mark for ever an important epoch in the history of Pali scholarship; and though later critics have been able to point out some mistakes, both in his text and in his translation, the value of their labours is not to be compared with that of the work accomplished single-handed by that eminent Danish scholar.

In revising my translation, first published in 1870[3], for advantage.

It was hoped for a time that much assistance for a more accurate understanding of this work might be derived from a Chinese translation of the Dhammapada[2], of which Mr. S. Beal published an English translation in 1878. But this hope has not been entirely fulfilled. It was, no doubt, a discovery of great interest, when Mr. Beal announced that the text of the Dhammapada was not restricted to the southern Buddhists only, but that similar collections existed in the north, and had been translated into Chinese. It was equally important when Schiefner proved the existence of the same work in the sacred canon of the Tibetans. But as yet neither a Chinese nor a Tibetan translation of the Pali Dhammapada has been rendered accessible to us by translations of these translations into English or German, and what we have received instead, cannot make up for what we had hoped for.

Shaman Wei-ki-lan and others. Its title means 'the Sûtra of Law verses,' kheu being explained by gâthâ, a verse, a word which we shall meet with again in the Tibetan title, Gâthâsangraha. In the preface the Chinese translator states that the Shamans in after ages copied from the canonical scriptures various gâthâs, some of four lines and some of six, and attached to each set of verses a title, according to the subject therein explained. This work of extracting and collecting is ascribed to Tsun-ke-Fa-kieou, i.e. Ârya-Dharmatrâta, the author of the Samyuktâbhidharma-sâstra and other works, and the uncle of Vasumitra. If this Vasumitra was the patriarch who took a prominent part in the Council under Kanishka, Dharmatrâta's collection would belong to the first century B.C.; but this is, as yet, very doubtful.

The state of the case is this. There are, as Mr. Beal informs us, four principal copies of what may be called Dhammapada in Chinese, the first dating from the Wu dynasty, about the beginning of the third century A.D. This translation, called Fa-kheu-king, is the work of a doubtful.

In the preface to the Fa-kheu-king we are told that the original, which consisted of 500 verses, was brought from India by Wai-ki-lan in 223 A.D., and that it was translated into Chinese with the help of another Indian called Tsiang-sin. After the translation was finished, thirteen sections were added, making up the whole to 752 verses, 14,580 words, and 39 chapters[1].

If the Chinese translation is compared with the Pali text, it appears that the two agree from the 9th to the 35th chapter (with the exception of the 33rd), so far as their subjects are concerned, though the Chinese has in these chapters 79 verses more than the Pali. But the Chinese translation has eight additional chapters in the beginning (viz. On Intemperance, Inciting to Wisdom; The Sravaka, Simple Faith, Observance of Duty, Reflection, Loving-kindness, Conversation), and four at the end (viz. Nirvana, Birth and Death, Profit of Religion, and Good Fortune), and one between the 24th and 25th chapter of the Pali text (viz. Advantageous Seivice), all of which are absent in our Pali texts. This, the most ancient Chinese translation of Dharmatrâta's work, has not been rendered into English by Mr. Beal, but he assures us that it is a faithful reproduction of the original. The book which he has chosen for translation is the Fa-kheu-pi-ü, i.e. parables connected with the Dhammapada, and translated into Chinese by two Shamans of the western Tsin dynasty (A.D. 265-313). These parables are meant to illustrate the teaching of the verses, like the parables of Buddhaghosa, but they are not the same parables, nor do they illustrate all the verses.

I fully admitted that many Buddhist words have assumed such a strongly marked local or national character in the different countries and in the different languages in which the religion of Buddha has found a new home, that to translate them back into Sanskrit might seem as affected, nay, prove in certain cases as misleading, as if, in speaking of priests and kings, we were to speak of presbyters and cynings. The rule by which I meant mainly to be guided was to use the Sanskrit forms as much as possible; in fact, everywhere except where it seemed affected to do so. I therefore wrote Buddhaghosha instead of the Pali Buddhaghosa, because the name of that famous theologian, 'the Voice of Buddha,' seemed to lose its significance if turned into Buddhaghosa. But I was well aware what may be said on the other side. The name of Buddhaghosa, 'Voice of Buddha,' was given him after he had been converted from Brahmanism to Buddhism, and it was given to him by people to whom the Pâli word ghosa conveyed the same meaning as ghosha does to us. On the other hand, I retained the Pâli Dhammapada instead of Dharmapada, simply because, as the title of a Pâli book, it has become so familiar that to speak of it as Dharmapada seemed like speaking of another work. We are accustomed to speak of Samanas instead of Sramanas, for even in the days of Alexander's conquest, the Sanskrit word Sramana had assumed the prakritized or vulgar form which we find in Pâli, and which alone could have been rendered by the later Greek writers (first by Alexander Polyhistor, 80-60 B.C.) by {Greek: samanaioi}[1]. As a Buddhist term, the Pâli form Samana has so entirely supplanted that of Sramana that, even in the Dhammapada (v. 388), we find an etymology of Samana as derived from sam, 'to be quiet,' and not from sram, 'to toil.' But if we speak of Samanas, we ought also to speak of Bâhmanas instead of Brâhmanas, for this word had been replaced by bâhmana at so early a time, that in the Dhammapada it is derived from a root vah, 'to remove, to separate, to cleanse.'

I still believe that it would be best if writers on Buddhist literature and religion were to adopt Sanskrit throughout as the lingua franca. For an accurate understanding of the original meaning of most of the technical terms of Buddhism a knowledge of their Sanskrit form is indispensable; and nothing is lost, while much would be gained, if, even in the treating of southern Buddhism, we were to speak of the town of Srâvastî instead of Sâvatthi in Pâli, Sevet in Sinhalese; of Tripitaka, 'the three baskets,' instead of Tipitaka in Pâli, Tunpitaka in Sinhalese; of Arthakathâ, 'commentary,' instead of Atthakathâ in Pâli, Atuwâva in Sinhalese; and therefore also of Dharmapada, 'the path of virtue,' instead of Dhammapa.

But inclinations are stronger than arguments. Pali scholars prefer their Pali terms, and I cannot blame them for it. Mr. D'Alwis (Buddhist Nirvana, p. 68) says: 'It will be seen how very difficult it is to follow the rule rigidly. We are, therefore, inclined to believe that in translating Pali works, at least, much inconvenience may not be felt by the retention of the forms of the language in which the Buddhist doctrines were originally delivered.' For the sake of uniformity, therefore, I have given up my former plan. I use the Pali forms when I quote from Pali, but I still prefer the Sanskrit forms, not only when I quote from Sanskrit Buddhist books, but also when I have to speak of Buddhism in general. I speak of Nirvana, dharma, and bhikshu, rather than of Nibbana, dhamma, and bhikkhu, when discussing the meaning of these words without special reference to southern Buddhism; but when treating of the literature and religion of the Theravada school I must so far yield to the arguments of Pali scholars as to admit that it is but fair to use their language when speaking of their opinions.

1 - the twin-verses

1. All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him, as the wheel follows the foot of the ox that draws the carriage.

2. All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.

3. 'He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me,'–in those who harbour such thoughts hatred will never cease.

4. 'He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me,'–in those who do not harbour such thoughts hatred will cease.

5. For hatred does not cease by hatred at any time: hatred ceases by love, this is an old rule.

6. The world does not know that we must all come to an end here;–but those who know it, their quarrels cease at once.

7. He who lives looking for pleasures only, his senses uncontrolled, immoderate in his food, idle, and weak, Mara (the tempter) will certainly overthrow him, as the wind throws down a weak tree.

8. He who lives without looking for pleasures, his senses well controlled, moderate in his food, faithful and strong, him Mara will certainly not overthrow, any more than the wind throws down a rocky mountain.

9. He who wishes to put on the yellow dress without having cleansed himself from sin, who disregards temperance and truth, is unworthy of the yellow dress.

10. But he who has cleansed himself from sin, is well grounded in all virtues, and regards also temperance and truth, he is indeed worthy of the yellow dress.

11. They who imagine truth in untruth, and see untruth in truth, never arrive at truth, but follow vain desires.

12. They who know truth in truth, and untruth in untruth, arrive at truth, and follow true desires.

13. As rain breaks through an ill-thatched house, passion will break through an unreflecting mind.

14. As rain does not break through a well-thatched house, passion will not break through a well-reflecting mind.

15. The evil-doer mourns in this world, and he mourns in the next; he mourns in both. He mourns and suffers when he sees the evil of his own work.

16. The virtuous man delights in this world, and he delights in the next; he delights in both. He delights and rejoices, when he sees the purity of his own work.

17. The evil-doer suffers in this world, and he suffers in the next; he suffers in both. He suffers when he thinks of the evil he has done; he suffers more when going on the evil path.

18. The virtuous man is happy in this world, and he is happy in the next; he is happy in both. He is happy when he thinks of the good he has done; he is still more happy when going on the good path.

19. The thoughtless man, even if he can recite a large portion (of the law), but is not a doer of it, has no share in the priesthood, but is like a cowherd counting the cows of others.

20. The follower of the law, even if he can recite only a small portion (of the law), but, having forsaken passion and hatred and foolishness, possesses true knowledge and serenity of mind, he, caring for nothing in this world or that to come, has indeed a share in the priesthood.

2 - on earnestness

21. Earnestness is the path of immortality (Nirvana), thoughtlessness the path of death. Those who are in earnest do not die, those who are thoughtless are as if dead already.

22. Those who are advanced in earnestness, having understood this clearly, delight in earnestness, and rejoice in the knowledge of the Ariyas (the elect).

23. These wise people, meditative, steady, always possessed of strong powers, attain to Nirvana, the highest happiness.

24. If an earnest person has roused himself, if he is not forgetful, if his deeds are pure, if he acts with consideration, if he restrains himself, and lives according to law,–then his glory will increase.

25. By rousing himself, by earnestness, by restraint and control, the wise man may make for himself an island which no flood can overwhelm.

26. Fools follow after vanity, men of evil wisdom. The wise man keeps earnestness as his best jewel.

27. Follow not after vanity, nor after the enjoyment of love and lust! He who is earnest and meditative, obtains ample joy.

28. When the learned man drives away vanity by earnestness, he, the wise, climbing the terraced heights of wisdom, looks down upon the fools, serene he looks upon the toiling crowd, as one that stands on a mountain looks down upon them that stand upon the plain.

29. Earnest among the thoughtless, awake among the sleepers, the wise man advances like a racer, leaving behind the hack.

30. By earnestness did Maghavan (Indra) rise to the lordship of the gods. People praise earnestness; thoughtlessness is always blamed.

31. A Bhikshu (mendicant) who delights in earnestness, who looks with fear on thoughtlessness, moves about like fire, burning all his fetters, small or large.

32. A Bhikshu (mendicant) who delights in reflection, who looks with fear on thoughtlessness, cannot fall away (from his perfect state)–he is close upon Nirvana.

3 - thought

33. As a fletcher makes straight his arrow, a wise man makes straight his trembling and unsteady thought, which is difficult to guard, difficult to hold back.

34. As a fish taken from his watery home and thrown on dry ground, our thought trembles all over in order to escape the dominion of Mara (the tempter).

35. It is good to tame the mind, which is difficult to hold in and flighty, rushing wherever it listeth; a tamed mind brings happiness.

36. Let the wise man guard his thoughts, for they are difficult to perceive, very artful, and they rush wherever they list: thoughts well guarded bring happiness.

37. Those who bridle their mind which travels far, moves about alone, is without a body, and hides in the chamber (of the heart), will be free from the bonds of Mara (the tempter).

38. If a man's thoughts are unsteady, if he does not know the true law, if his peace of mind is troubled, his knowledge will never be perfect.

39. If a man's thoughts are not dissipated, if his mind is not perplexed, if he has ceased to think of good or evil, then there is no fear for him while he is watchful.

40. Knowing that this body is (fragile) like a jar, and making this thought firm like a fortress, one should attack Mara (the tempter) with the weapon of knowledge, one should watch him when conquered, and should never rest.

41. Before long, alas! this body will lie on the earth, despised, without understanding, like a useless log.

42. Whatever a hater may do to a hater, or

4 - flowers

44. Who shall overcome this earth, and the world of Yama (the lord of the departed), and the world of the gods? Who shall find out the plainly shown path of virtue, as a clever man finds out the (right) flower?

45. The disciple will overcome the earth, and the world of Yama, and the world of the gods. The disciple will find out the plainly shown path of virtue, as a clever man finds out the (right) flower.

46. He who knows that this body is like froth, and has learnt that it is as unsubstantial as a mirage, will break the flower-pointed arrow of Mara, and never see the king of death.

47. Death carries off a man who is gathering flowers and whose mind is distracted, as a flood carries off a sleeping village.

48. Death subdues a man who is gathering flowers, and whose mind is distracted, before he is satiated in his pleasures.

49. As the bee collects nectar and departs without injuring the flower, or its colour or scent, so let a sage dwell in his village.

50. Not the perversities of others, not their sins of commission or omission, but his own misdeeds and negligences should a sage take notice of.

51. Like a beautiful flower, full of colour, but without scent, are the fine but fruitless words of him who does not act accordingly.

52. But, like a beautiful flower, full of colour and full of scent, are the fine and fruitful words of him who acts accordingly.

53. As many kinds of wreaths can be made from a heap of flowers, so many good things may be achieved by a mortal when once he is born.

54. The scent of flowers does not travel against the wind, nor (that of) sandal-wood, or of Tagara and Mallika flowers; but the odour of good people travels even against the wind; a good man pervades every place.

55. Sandal-wood or Tagara, a lotus-flower, or a Vassiki, among these sorts of perfumes, the perfume of virtue is unsurpassed.

56. Mean is the scent that comes from Tagara and sandal-wood;–the perfume of those who possess virtue rises up to the gods as the highest.

57. Of the people who possess these virtues, who live without thoughtlessness, and who are emancipated through true knowledge, Mara, the tempter, never finds the way.

58., 59. As on a heap of rubbish cast upon the highway the lily will grow full of sweet perfume and delight, thus the disciple of the truly enlightened Buddha shines forth by his knowledge among those who are like rubbish, among the people that walk in darkness.

5 - the fool

60. Long is the night to him who is awake; long is a mile to him who is tired; long is life to the foolish who do not know the true law.

61. If a traveller does not meet with one who is his better, or his equal, let him firmly keep to his solitary journey; there is no companionship with a fool.

62. 'These sons belong to me, and this wealth belongs to me,' with such thoughts a fool is tormented. He himself does not belong to himself; how much less sons and wealth?

63. The fool who knows his foolishness, is wise at least so far. But a fool who thinks himself wise, he is called a fool indeed.

64. If a fool be associated with a wise man even all his life, he will perceive the truth as little as a spoon perceives the taste of soup.

65. If an intelligent man be associated for one minute only with a wise man, he will soon perceive the truth, as the tongue perceives the taste of soup.

66. Fools of little understanding have themselves for their greatest enemies, for they do evil deeds which must bear bitter fruits.

67. That deed is not well done of which a man must repent, and the reward of which he receives crying and with a tearful face.

68. No, that deed is well done of which a man does not repent, and the reward of which he receives gladly and cheerfully.

69. As long as the evil deed done does not bear fruit, the fool thinks it is like honey; but when it ripens, then the fool suffers grief.

70. Let a fool month after month eat his food (like an ascetic) with the tip of a blade of Kusa grass, yet he is not worth the sixteenth particle of those who have well weighed the law.

71. An evil deed, like newly-drawn milk, does not turn (suddenly); smouldering, like fire covered by ashes, it follows the fool.

72. And when the evil deed, after it has become known, brings sorrow to the fool, then it destroys his bright lot, nay, it cleaves his head.

73. Let the fool wish for a false reputation, for precedence among the Bhikshus, for lordship in the convents, for worship among other people!

74. 'May both the layman and he who has left the world think that this is done by me; may they be subject to me in everything which is to be done or is not to be done,' thus is the mind of the fool, and his desire and pride increase.

75. 'One is the road that leads to wealth, another the road that leads to Nirvana;' if the Bhikshu, the disciple of Buddha, has learnt this, he will not yearn for honour, he will strive after separation from the world.

6 - the wise man (pandita)

76. If you see an intelligent man who tells you where true treasures are to be found, who shows what is to be avoided, and administers reproofs, follow that wise man; it will be better, not worse, for those who follow him.

77. Let him admonish, let him teach, let him forbid what is improper!–he will be beloved of the good, by the bad he will be hated.

78. Do not have evil-doers for friends, do not have low people for friends: have virtuous people for friends, have for friends the best of men.

79. He who drinks in the law lives happily with a serene mind: the sage rejoices always in the law, as preached by the elect (Ariyas).

80. Well-makers lead the water (wherever they like); fletchers bend the arrow; carpenters bend a log of wood; wise people fashion themselves.

81. As a solid rock is not shaken by the wind, wise people falter not amidst blame and praise.

82. Wise people, after they have listened to the laws, become serene, like a deep, smooth, and still lake.

83. Good people walk on whatever befall, the good do not prattle, longing for pleasure; whether touched by happiness or sorrow wise people never appear elated or depressed.

84. If, whether for his own sake, or for the sake of others, a man wishes neither for a son, nor for wealth, nor for lordship, and if he does not wish for his own success by unfair means, then he is good, wise, and virtuous.

85. Few are there among men who arrive at the other shore (become Arhats); the other people here run up and down the shore.

86. But those who, when the law has been well preached to them, follow the law, will pass across the dominion of death, however difficult to overcome.

87., 88. A wise man should leave the dark state (of ordinary life), and follow the bright state (of the Bhikshu). After going from his home to a homeless state, he should in his retirement look for enjoyment where there seemed to be no enjoyment. Leaving all pleasures behind, and calling nothing his own, the wise man should purge himself from all the troubles of the mind.

89. Those whose mind is well grounded in the (seven) elements of knowledge, who without clinging to anything, rejoice in freedom from attachment, whose appetites have been conquered, and who are full of light, are free (even) in this world.

7 - the venerable (arhat)

90. There is no suffering for him who has finished his journey, and abandoned grief, who has freed himself on all sides, and thrown off all fetters.

91. They depart with their thoughts well-collected, they are not happy in their abode; like swans who have left their lake, they leave their house and home.

92. Men who have no riches, who live on recognised food, who have perceived void and unconditioned freedom (Nirvana), their path is difficult to understand, like that of birds in the air.

93. He whose appetites are stilled, who is not absorbed in enjoyment, who has perceived void and unconditioned freedom (Nirvana), his path is difficult to understand, like that of birds in the air.

94. The gods even envy him whose senses, like horses well broken in by the driver, have been subdued, who is free from pride, and free from appetites.

95. Such a one who does his duty is tolerant like the earth, like Indra's bolt; he is like a lake without mud; no new births are in store for him.

96. His thought is quiet, quiet are his word and deed, when he has obtained freedom by true knowledge, when he has thus become a quiet man.

97. The man who is free from credulity, but knows the uncreated, who has cut all ties, removed all temptations, renounced all desires, he is the greatest of men.

98. In a hamlet or in a forest, in the deep water or on the dry land, wherever venerable persons (Arhanta) dwell, that place is delightful.

99. Forests are delightful; where the world finds no delight, there the passionless will find delight, for they look not for pleasures.

8 - the thousands

100. Even though a speech be a thousand (of words), but made up of senseless words, one word of sense is better, which if a man hears, he becomes quiet.

101. Even though a Gatha (poem) be a thousand (of words), but made up of senseless words, one word of a Gatha is better, which if a man hears, he becomes quiet.

102. Though a man recite a hundred Gathas made up of senseless words, one word of the law is better, which if a man hears, he becomes quiet.

103. If one man conquer in battle a thousand times thousand men, and if another conquer himself, he is the greatest of conquerors.

104., 105. One's own self conquered is better than all other people; not even a god, a Gandharva, not Mara with Brahman could change into defeat the victory of a man who has vanquished himself, and always lives under restraint.

106. If a man for a hundred years sacrifice month after month with a thousand, and if he but for one moment pay homage to a man whose soul is grounded (in true knowledge), better is that homage than sacrifice for a hundred years.

107. If a man for a hundred years worship Agni (fire) in the forest, and if he but for one moment pay homage to a man whose soul is grounded (in true knowledge), better is that homage than sacrifice for a hundred years.

108. Whatever a man sacrifice in this world as an offering or as an oblation for a whole year in order to gain merit, the whole of it is not worth a quarter (a farthing); reverence shown to the righteous is better.

109. He who always greets and constantly reveres the aged, four things will increase to him, viz. life, beauty, happiness, power.

110. But he who lives a hundred years, vicious and unrestrained, a life of one day is better if a man is virtuous and reflecting.

111. And he who lives a hundred years, ignorant and unrestrained, a life of one day is better if a man is wise and reflecting.

112. And he who lives a hundred years, idle and weak, a life of one day is better if a man has attained firm strength.

113. And he who lives a hundred years, not seeing beginning and end, a life of one day is better if a man sees beginning and end.

114. And he who lives a hundred years, not seeing the immortal place, a life of one day is better if a man sees the immortal place.

115. And he who lives a hundred years, not seeing the highest law, a life of one day is better if a man sees the highest law.

9 - evil

116. If a man would hasten towards the good, he should keep his thought away from evil; if a man does what is good slothfully, his mind delights in evil.

117. If a man commits a sin, let him not do it again; let him not delight in sin: pain is the outcome of evil.

118. If a man does what is good, let him do it again; let him delight in it: happiness is the outcome of good.

119. 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 see evil.

120. Even a good man sees evil days, as long as his good deed has not ripened; but when his good deed has ripened, then does the good man see happy days.

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

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

123. Let a man avoid evil deeds, as a merchant, if he has few companions and carries much wealth, avoids a dangerous road; as a man who loves life avoids poison.

124. He who has no wound on his hand, may touch poison with his hand; poison does not affect one who has no wound; nor is there evil for one who does not commit evil.

125. If a man offend a harmless, pure, and innocent person, the evil falls back upon that fool, like light dust thrown up against the wind.

126. Some people are born again; evil-doers go to hell; righteous people go to heaven; those who are free from all worldly desires attain Nirvana.

127. Not in the sky, not in the midst of the sea, not if we enter into the clefts of the mountains, is there known a spot in the whole world where death could not overcome (the mortal).

128. Not in the sky, not in the midst of the sea, not if we enter into the clefts of the mountains, is there known a spot in the whole world where death could not overcome (the mortal).

10 - punishment

129. All men tremble at punishment, all men fear death; remember that you are like unto them, and do not kill, nor cause slaughter.

130. All men tremble at punishment, all men love life; remember that thou art like unto them, and do not kill, nor cause slaughter.

131. He who seeking his own happiness punishes or kills beings who also long for happiness, will not find happiness after death.

132. He who seeking his own happiness does not punish or kill beings who also long for happiness, will find happiness after death.

133. Do not speak harshly to anybody; those who are spoken to will answer thee in the same way. Angry speech is painful, blows for blows will touch thee.

134. If, like a shattered metal plate (gong), thou utter not, then thou hast reached Nirvana; contention is not known to thee.

135. As a cowherd with his staff drives his cows into the stable, so do Age and Death drive the life of men.

136. A fool does not know when he commits his evil deeds: but the wicked man burns by his own deeds, as if burnt by fire.

137. He who inflicts pain on innocent and harmless persons, will soon come to one of these ten states:

138. He will have cruel suffering, loss, injury of the body, heavy affliction, or loss of mind,

139. Or a misfortune coming from the king, or a fearful accusation, or loss of relations, or destruction of treasures,

140. Or lightning-fire will burn his houses; and when his body is destroyed, the fool will go to hell.

141. Not nakedness, not platted hair, not dirt, not fasting, or lying on the earth, not rubbing with dust, not sitting motionless, can purify a mortal who has not overcome desires.

142. He who, though dressed in fine apparel, exercises tranquillity, is quiet, subdued, restrained, chaste, and has ceased to find fault with all other beings, he indeed is a Brahmana, an ascetic (sramana), a friar (bhikshu).

143. Is there in this world any man so restrained by humility that he does not mind reproof, as a well-trained horse the whip?

144. Like a well-trained horse when touched by the whip, be ye active and lively, and by faith, by virtue, by energy, by meditation, by discernment of the law you will overcome this great pain (of reproof), perfect in knowledge and in behaviour, and never forgetful.

145. Well-makers lead the water (wherever they like); fletchers bend the arrow; carpenters bend a log of wood; good people fashion themselves.

11 - old age

146. How is there laughter, how is there joy, as this world is always burning? Why do you not seek a light, ye who are surrounded by darkness?

147. Look at this dressed-up lump, covered with wounds, joined together, sickly, full of many thoughts, which has no strength, no hold!

148. This body is wasted, full of sickness, and frail; this heap of corruption breaks to pieces, life indeed ends in death.

149. Those white bones, like gourds thrown away in the autumn, what pleasure is there in looking at them?

150. After a stronghold has been made of the bones, it is covered with flesh and blood, and there dwell in it old age and death, pride and deceit.

151. The brilliant chariots of kings are destroyed, the body also approaches destruction, but the virtue of good people never approaches destruction,–thus do the good say to the good.

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

153., 154. Looking for the maker of this tabernacle, I shall have to run through a course of many births, so long as I do not find (him); and painful is birth again and again. But now, maker of the tabernacle, thou hast been seen; thou shalt not make up this tabernacle again. All thy rafters are broken, thy ridge-pole is sundered; the mind, approaching the Eternal (visankhara, nirvana), has attained to the extinction of all desires.

155. Men who have not observed proper discipline, and have not gained treasure in their youth, perish like old herons in a lake without fish.

156. Men who have not observed proper discipline, and have not gained treasure in their youth, lie, like broken bows, sighing after the past.

12 - self

157. If a man hold himself dear, let him watch himself carefully; during one at least out of the three watches a wise man should be watchful.

158. Let each man direct himself first to what is proper, then let him teach others; thus a wise man will not suffer.

159. If a man make himself as he teaches others to be, then, being himself well subdued, he may subdue (others); one's own self is indeed difficult to subdue.

160. Self is the lord of self, who else could be the lord? With self well subdued, a man finds a lord such as few can find.

161. The evil done by oneself, self-begotten, self-bred, crushes the foolish, as a diamond breaks a precious stone.

162. He whose wickedness is very great brings himself down to that state where his enemy wishes him to be, as a creeper does with the tree which it surrounds.

163. Bad deeds, and deeds hurtful to ourselves, are easy to do; what is beneficial and good, that is very difficult to do.

164. The foolish man who scorns the rule of the venerable (Arahat), of the elect (Ariya), of the virtuous, and follows false doctrine, he bears fruit to his own destruction, like the fruits of the Katthaka reed.

165. By oneself the evil is done, by oneself one suffers; by oneself evil is left undone, by oneself one is purified. Purity and impurity belong to oneself, no one can purify another.

166. Let no one forget his own duty for the sake of another's, however great; let a man, after he has discerned his own duty, be always attentive to his duty.

13 - the world

167. Do not follow the evil law! Do not live on in thoughtlessness! Do not follow false doctrine! Be not a friend of the world.

168. Rouse thyself! do not be idle! Follow the law of virtue! The virtuous rests in bliss in this world and in the next.

169. Follow the law of virtue; do not follow that of sin. The virtuous rests in bliss in this world and in the next.

170. Look upon the world as a bubble, look upon it as a mirage: the king of death does not see him who thus looks down upon the world.

171. Come, look at this glittering world, like unto a royal chariot; the foolish are immersed in it, but the wise do not touch it.

172. He who formerly was reckless and afterwards became sober, brightens up this world, like the moon when freed from clouds.

173. He whose evil deeds are covered by good deeds, brightens up this world, like the moon when freed from clouds.

174. This world is dark, few only can see here; a few only go to heaven, like birds escaped from the net.

175. The swans go on the path of the sun, they go through the ether by means of their miraculous power; the wise are led out of this world, when they have conquered Mara and his train.

176. If a man has transgressed one law, and speaks lies, and scoffs at another world, there is no evil he will not do.

177. The uncharitable do not go to the world of the gods; fools only do not praise liberality; a wise man rejoices in liberality, and through it becomes blessed in the other world.

178. Better than sovereignty over the earth, better than going to heaven, better than lordship over all worlds, is the reward of the first step in holiness.

14 - the buddha (the awakened)

179. He whose conquest is not conquered again, into whose conquest no one in this world enters, by what track can you lead him, the Awakened, the Omniscient, the trackless?

180. He whom no desire with its snares and poisons can lead astray, by what track can you lead him, the Awakened, the Omniscient, the trackless?

181. Even the gods envy those who are awakened and not forgetful, who are given to meditation, who are wise, and who delight in the repose of retirement (from the world).

182. Difficult (to obtain) is the conception of men, difficult is the life of mortals, difficult is the hearing of the True Law, difficult is the birth of the Awakened (the attainment of Buddhahood).

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

184. The Awakened call patience the highest penance, long-suffering the highest Nirvana; for he is not an anchorite (pravragita) who strikes others, he is not an ascetic (sramana) who insults others.

185. Not to blame, not to strike, to live restrained under the law, to be moderate in eating, to sleep and sit alone, and to dwell on the highest thoughts,–this is the teaching of the Awakened.

186. There is no satisfying lusts, even by a shower of gold pieces; he who knows that lusts have a short taste and cause pain, he is wise;

187. Even in heavenly pleasures he finds no satisfaction, the disciple who is fully awakened delights only in the destruction of all desires.

188. Men, driven by fear, go to many a refuge, to mountains and forests, to groves and sacred trees.

189. But that is not a safe refuge, that is not the best refuge; a man is not delivered from all pains after having gone to that refuge.

190. He who takes refuge with Buddha, the Law, and the Church; he who, with clear understanding, sees the four holy truths:–

191. Viz. pain, the origin of pain, the destruction of pain, and the eightfold holy way that leads to the quieting of pain;–

192. That is the safe refuge, that is the best refuge; having gone to that refuge, a man is delivered from all pain.

193. A supernatural person (a Buddha) is not easily found, he is not born everywhere. Wherever such a sage is born, that race prospers.

194. Happy is the arising of the awakened, happy is the teaching of the True Law, happy is peace in the church, happy is the devotion of those who are at peace.

195., 196. He who pays homage to those who deserve homage, whether the awakened (Buddha) or their disciples, those who have overcome the host (of evils), and crossed the flood of sorrow, he who pays homage to such as have found deliverance and know no fear, his merit can never be measured by anybody.

15 - happiness

197. Let us live happily then, not hating those who hate us! among men who hate us let us dwell free from hatred!

198. Let us live happily then, free from ailments among the ailing! among men who are ailing let us dwell free from ailments!

199. Let us live happily then, free from greed among the greedy! among men who are greedy let us dwell free from greed!

200. Let us live happily then, though we call nothing our own! We shall be like the bright gods, feeding on happiness!

201. Victory breeds hatred, for the conquered is unhappy. He who has given up both victory and defeat, he, the contented, is happy.

202. There is no fire like passion; there is no losing throw like hatred; there is no pain like this body; there is no happiness higher than rest.

203. Hunger is the worst of diseases, the body the greatest of pains; if one knows this truly, that is Nirvana, the highest happiness.

204. Health is the greatest of gifts, contentedness the best riches; trust is the best of relationships, Nirvana the highest happiness.

205. He who has tasted the sweetness of solitude and tranquillity, is free from fear and free from sin, while he tastes the sweetness of drinking in the law.

206. The sight of the elect (Arya) is good, to live with them is always happiness; if a man does not see fools, he will be truly happy.

207. He who walks in the company of fools suffers a long way; company with fools, as with an enemy, is always painful; company with the wise is pleasure, like meeting with kinsfolk.

208. Therefore, one ought to follow the wise, the intelligent, the learned, the much enduring, the dutiful, the elect; one ought to follow a good and wise man, as the moon follows the path of the stars.

16 - pleasure

209. He who gives himself to vanity, and does not give himself to meditation, forgetting the real aim (of life) and grasping at pleasure, will in time envy him who has exerted himself in meditation.

210. Let no man ever look for what is pleasant, or what is unpleasant. Not to see what is pleasant is pain, and it is pain to see what is unpleasant.

211. Let, therefore, no man love anything; loss of the beloved is evil. Those who love nothing and hate nothing, have no fetters.

212. From pleasure comes grief, from pleasure comes fear; he who is free from pleasure knows neither grief nor fear.

213. From affection comes grief, from affection comes fear; he who is free from affection knows neither grief nor fear.

214. From lust comes grief, from lust comes fear; he who is free from lust knows neither grief nor fear.

215. From love comes grief, from love comes fear; he who is free from love knows neither grief nor fear.

216. From greed comes grief, from greed comes fear; he who is free from greed knows neither grief nor fear.

217. He who possesses virtue and intelligence,

17 - anger

221. Let a man leave anger, let him forsake pride, let him overcome all bondage! No sufferings befall the man who is not attached to name and form, and who calls nothing his own.

222. He who holds back rising anger like a rolling chariot, him I call a real driver; other people are but holding the reins.

223. Let a man overcome anger by love, let him overcome evil by good; let him overcome the greedy by liberality, the liar by truth!

224. Speak the truth, do not yield to anger; give, if thou art asked for little; by these three steps thou wilt go near the gods.

225. The sages who injure nobody, and who always control their body, they will go to the unchangeable place (Nirvana), where, if they have gone, they will suffer no more.

226. Those who are ever watchful, who study day and night, and who strive after Nirvana, their passions will come to an end.

227. This is an old saying, O Atula, this is not only of to-day: 'They blame him who sits silent, they blame him who speaks much, they also blame him who says little; there is no one on earth who is not blamed.'

228. There never was, there never will be, nor is there now, a man who is always blamed, or a man who is always praised.

229., 230. But he whom those who discriminate praise continually day after day, as without blemish, wise, rich in knowledge and virtue, who would dare to blame him, like a coin made of gold from the Gambu river? Even the gods praise him, he is praised even by Brahman.

231. Beware of bodily anger, and control thy body! Leave the sins of the body, and with thy body practise virtue!

232. Beware of the anger of the tongue, and control thy tongue! Leave the sins of the tongue, and practise virtue with thy tongue!

233. Beware of the anger of the mind, and control thy mind! Leave the sins of the mind, and practise virtue with thy mind!

234. The wise who control their body, who control their tongue, the wise who control their mind, are indeed well controlled.

18 - impurity

235. Thou art now like a sear leaf, the messengers of death (Yama) have come near to thee; thou standest at the door of thy departure, and thou hast no provision for thy journey.

236. Make thyself an island, work hard, be wise! When thy impurities are blown away, and thou art free from guilt, thou wilt enter into the heavenly world of the elect (Ariya).

237. Thy life has come to an end, thou art come near to death (Yama), there is no resting-place for thee on the road, and thou hast no provision for thy journey.

238. Make thyself an island, work hard, be wise! When thy impurities are blown away, and thou art free from guilt, thou wilt not enter again into birth and decay.

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

240. As the impurity which springs from the iron, when it springs from it, destroys it; thus do a transgressor's own works lead him to the evil path.

241. The taint of prayers is non-repetition; the taint of houses, non- repair; the taint of the body is sloth; the taint of a watchman, thoughtlessness.

242. Bad conduct is the taint of woman, greediness the taint of a benefactor; tainted are all evil ways in this world and in the next.

243. But there is a taint worse than all taints,–ignorance is the greatest taint. O mendicants! throw off that taint, and become taintless!

244. Life is easy to live for a man who is without shame, a crow hero, a mischief-maker, an insulting, bold, and wretched fellow.

245. But life is hard to live for a modest man, who always looks for what is pure, who is disinterested, quiet, spotless, and intelligent.

246. He who destroys life, who speaks untruth, who in this world takes what is not given him, who goes to another man's wife;

247. And the man who gives himself to drinking intoxicating liquors, he, even in this world, digs up his own root.

248. O man, know this, that the unrestrained are in a bad state; take care that greediness and vice do not bring thee to grief for a long time!

249. The world gives according to their faith or according to their pleasure: if a man frets about the food and the drink given to others, he will find no rest either by day or by night.

250. He in whom that feeling is destroyed, and taken out with the very root, finds rest by day and by night.

251. There is no fire like passion, there is no shark like hatred, there is no snare like folly, there is no torrent like greed.

252. The fault of others is easily perceived, but that of oneself is difficult to perceive; a man winnows his neighbour's faults like chaff, but his own fault he hides, as a cheat hides the bad die from the gambler.

253. If a man looks after the faults of others, and is always inclined to be offended, his own passions will grow, and he is far from the destruction of passions.

254. There is no path through the air, a man is not a Samana by outward acts. The world delights in vanity, the Tathagatas (the Buddhas) are free from vanity.

255. There is no path through the air, a man is not a Samana by outward acts. No creatures are eternal; but the awakened (Buddha) are never shaken.

19 - the just

256., 257. A man is not just if he carries a matter by violence; no, he who distinguishes both right and wrong, who is learned and leads others, not by violence, but by law and equity, and who is guarded by the law and intelligent, he is called just.

258. A man is not learned because he talks much; he who is patient, free from hatred and fear, he is called learned.

259. A man is not a supporter of the law because he talks much; even if a man has learnt little, but sees the law bodily, he is a supporter of the law, a man who never neglects the law.

260. A man is not an elder because his head is grey; his age may be ripe, but he is called 'Old-in-vain.'

261. He in whom there is truth, virtue, love, restraint, moderation, he who is free from impurity and is wise, he is called an elder.

262. An envious, greedy, dishonest man does not become respectable by means of much talking only, or by the beauty of his complexion.

263. He in whom all this is destroyed, and taken out with the very root, he, when freed from hatred and wise, is called respectable. and ignorant; but the wise who, taking the balance, chooses the good and avoids evil, he is a Muni, and is a Muni thereby; he who in this world weighs both sides is called a Muni.

270. A man is not an elect (Ariya) because he injures living creatures; because he has pity on all living creatures, therefore is a man called Ariya.

271., 272. Not only by discipline and vows, not only by much learning, not by entering into a trance, not by sleeping alone, do I earn the happiness of release which no worldling can know. Bhikshu, be not confident as long as thou hast not attained the extinction of desires.

20 - the way

273. The best of ways is the eightfold; the best of truths the four words; the best of virtues passionlessness; the best of men he who has eyes to see.

274. This is the way, there is no other that leads to the purifying of intelligence. Go on this way! Everything else is the deceit of Mara (the tempter).

275. If you go on this way, you will make an end of pain! The way was preached by me, when I had understood the removal of the thorns (in the flesh).

276. You yourself must make an effort. The Tathagatas (Buddhas) are only preachers. The thoughtful who enter the way are freed from the bondage of Mara.

277. 'All created things perish,' he who knows and sees this becomes passive in pain; this is the way to purity.

278. 'All created things are grief and pain,' he who knows and sees this becomes passive in pain; this is the way that leads to purity.

279. 'All forms are unreal,' he who knows and sees this becomes passive in pain; this is the way that leads to purity.

280. He who does not rouse himself when it is time to rise, who, though young and strong, is full of sloth, whose will and thought are weak, that lazy and idle man will never find the way to knowledge.

281. Watching his speech, well restrained in mind, let a man never commit any wrong with his body! Let a man but keep these three roads of action clear, and he will achieve the way which is taught by the wise.

282. Through zeal knowledge is gotten, through lack of zeal knowledge is lost; let a man who knows this double path of gain and loss thus place himself that knowledge may grow.

283. Cut down the whole forest (of lust), not a tree only! Danger comes out of the forest (of lust). When you have cut down both the forest (of lust) and its undergrowth, then, Bhikshus, you will be rid of the forest and free!

284. So long as the love of man towards women, even the smallest, is not destroyed, so long is his mind in bondage, as the calf that drinks milk is to its mother.

285. Cut out the love of self, like an autumn lotus, with thy hand! Cherish the road of peace. Nirvana has been shown by Sugata (Buddha).

286. 'Here I shall dwell in the rain, here in winter and summer,' thus the fool meditates, and does not think of his death.

287. Death comes and carries off that man, praised for his children and flocks, his mind distracted, as a flood carries off a sleeping village.

288. Sons are no help, nor a father, nor relations; there is no help from kinsfolk for one whom death has seized.

289. A wise and good man who knows the meaning of this, should quickly clear the way that leads to Nirvana.

21 - miscellaneous

290. If by leaving a small pleasure one sees a great pleasure, let a wise man leave the small pleasure, and look to the great.

291. He who, by causing pain to others, wishes to obtain pleasure for himself, he, entangled in the bonds of hatred, will never be free from hatred.

292. What ought to be done is neglected, what ought not to be done is done; the desires of unruly, thoughtless people are always increasing.

293. But they whose whole watchfulness is always directed to their body, who do not follow what ought not to be done, and who steadfastly do what ought to be done, the desires of such watchful and wise people will come to an end.

294. A true Brahmana goes scatheless, though he have killed father and mother, and two valiant kings, though he has destroyed a kingdom with all its subjects.

295. A true Brahmana goes scatheless, though he have killed father and mother, and two holy kings, and an eminent man besides.

296. The disciples of Gotama (Buddha) are always well awake, and their thoughts day and night are always set on Buddha.

297. The disciples of Gotama are always well awake, and their thoughts day and night are always set on the law.

298. The disciples of Gotama are always well awake, and their thoughts day and night are always set on the church.

299. The disciples of Gotama are always well awake, and their thoughts day and night are always set on their body.

300. The disciples of Gotama are always well awake, and their mind day and night always delights in compassion.

301. The disciples of Gotama are always well awake, and their mind day and night always delights in meditation.

302. It is hard to leave the world (to become a friar), it is hard to enjoy the world; hard is the monastery, painful are the houses; painful it is to dwell with equals (to share everything in common), and the itinerant mendicant is beset with pain. Therefore let no man be an itinerant mendicant and he will not be beset with pain.

303. Whatever place a faithful, virtuous, celebrated, and wealthy man chooses, there he is respected.

304. Good people shine from afar, like the snowy

22 - the downward course

306. He who says what is not, goes to hell; he also who, having done a thing, says I have not done it. After death both are equal, they are men with evil deeds in the next world.

307. Many men whose shoulders are covered with the yellow gown are ill-conditioned and unrestrained; such evil-doers by their evil deeds go to hell.

308. Better it would be to swallow a heated iron ball, like flaring fire, than that a bad unrestrained fellow should live on the charity of the land.

309. Four things does a wreckless man gain who covets his neighbour's wife,–a bad reputation, an uncomfortable bed, thirdly, punishment, and lastly, hell.

310. There is bad reputation, and the evil way (to hell), there is the short pleasure of the frightened in the arms of the frightened, and the king imposes heavy punishment; therefore let no man think of his neighbour's wife.

311. As a grass-blade, if badly grasped, cuts the arm, badly-practised asceticism leads to hell.

312. An act carelessly performed, a broken vow, and hesitating obedience to discipline, all this brings no great reward.

313. If anything is to be done, let a man do it, let him attack it vigorously! A careless pilgrim only scatters the dust of his passions more widely.

314. An evil deed is better left undone, for a man repents of it afterwards; a good deed is better done, for having done it, one does not repent.

315. Like a well-guarded frontier fort, with defences within and without, so let a man guard himself. Not a moment should escape, for they who allow the right moment to pass, suffer pain when they are in hell.

316. They who are ashamed of what they ought not to be ashamed of, and are not ashamed of what they ought to be ashamed of, such men, embracing false doctrines enter the evil path.

317. They who fear when they ought not to fear, and fear not when they ought to fear, such men, embracing false doctrines, enter the evil path.

23 - the elephant

320. Silently shall I endure abuse as the elephant in battle endures the arrow sent from the bow: for the world is ill-natured.

321. They lead a tamed elephant to battle, the king mounts a tamed elephant; the tamed is the best among men, he who silently endures abuse.

322. Mules are good, if tamed, and noble Sindhu horses, and elephants with large tusks; but he who tames himself is better still.

323. For with these animals does no man reach the untrodden country (Nirvana), where a tamed man goes on a tamed animal, viz. on his own well-tamed self.

324. The elephant called Dhanapalaka, his temples running with sap, and difficult to hold, does not eat a morsel when bound; the elephant longs for the elephant grove.

325. If a man becomes fat and a great eater, if he is sleepy and rolls himself about, that fool, like a hog fed on wash, is born again and again.

326. This mind of mine went formerly wandering about as it liked, as it listed, as it pleased; but I shall now hold it in thoroughly, as the rider who holds the hook holds in the furious elephant.

327. Be not thoughtless, watch your thoughts! Draw yourself out of the evil way, like an elephant sunk in mud.

328. If a man find a prudent companion who walks with him, is wise, and lives soberly, he may walk with him, overcoming all dangers, happy, but considerate.

329. If a man find no prudent companion who walks with him, is wise, and lives soberly, let him walk alone, like a king who has left his conquered country behind,–like an elephant in the forest.

330. It is better to live alone, there is no companionship with a fool; let a man walk alone, let him commit no sin, with few wishes, like an elephant in the forest.

331. If an occasion arises, friends are pleasant; enjoyment is pleasant, whatever be the cause; a good work is pleasant in the hour of death; the giving up of all grief is pleasant.

332. Pleasant in the world is the state of a mother, pleasant the state of a father, pleasant the state of a Samana, pleasant the state of a Brahmana.

333. Pleasant is virtue lasting to old age, pleasant is a faith firmly rooted; pleasant is attainment of intelligence, pleasant is avoiding of sins.

24 - thirst

334. The thirst of a thoughtless man grows like a creeper; he runs from life to life, like a monkey seeking fruit in the forest.

335. Whomsoever this fierce thirst overcomes, full of poison, in this world, his sufferings increase like the abounding Birana grass.

336. He who overcomes this fierce thirst, difficult to be conquered in this world, sufferings fall off from him, like water-drops from a lotus leaf.

337. This salutary word I tell you, 'Do ye, as many as are here assembled, dig up the root of thirst, as he who wants the sweet-scented Usira root must dig up the Birana grass, that Mara (the tempter) may not crush you again and again, as the stream crushes the reeds.'

338. As a tree, even though it has been cut down, is firm so long as its root is safe, and grows again, thus, unless the feeders of thirst are destroyed, the pain (of life) will return again and again.

339. He whose thirst running towards pleasure is exceeding strong in the thirty-six channels, the waves will carry away that misguided man, viz. his desires which are set on passion.

340. The channels run everywhere, the creeper (of passion) stands sprouting; if you see the creeper springing up, cut its root by means of knowledge.

341. A creature's pleasures are extravagant and luxurious; sunk in lust and looking for pleasure, men undergo (again and again) birth and decay.

342. Men, driven on by thirst, run about like a snared hare; held in fetters and bonds, they undergo pain for a long time, again and again.

343. Men, driven on by thirst, run about like a snared hare; let therefore the mendicant drive out thirst, by striving after passionlessness for himself.

344. He who having got rid of the forest (of lust) (i.e. after having reached Nirvana) gives himself over to forest-life (i.e. to lust), and who, when removed from the forest (i.e. from lust), runs to the forest (i.e. to lust), look at that man! though free, he runs into bondage.

(the impurity of the body, &c.), he certainly will remove, nay, he will cut the fetter of Mara.

351. He who has reached the consummation, who does not tremble, who is without thirst and without sin, he has broken all the thorns of life: this will be his last body.

352. He who is without thirst and without affection, who understands the words and their interpretation, who knows the order of letters (those which are before and which are after), he has received his last body, he is called the great sage, the great man.

353. 'I have conquered all, I know all, in all conditions of life I am free from taint; I have left all, and through the destruction of thirst I am free; having learnt myself, whom shall I teach?'

354. The gift of the law exceeds all gifts; the sweetness of the law exceeds all sweetness; the delight in the law exceeds all delights; the extinction of thirst overcomes all pain.

355. Pleasures destroy the foolish, if they look not for the other shore; the foolish by his thirst for pleasures destroys himself, as if he were his own enemy.

356. The fields are damaged by weeds, mankind is damaged by passion: therefore a gift bestowed on the passionless brings great reward.

357. The fields are damaged by weeds, mankind is damaged by hatred: therefore a gift bestowed on those who do not hate brings great reward.

358. The fields are damaged by weeds, mankind is damaged by vanity: therefore a gift bestowed on those who are free from vanity brings great reward.

359. The fields are damaged by weeds, mankind is damaged by lust: therefore a gift bestowed on those who are free from lust brings great reward.

25 - the bhikshu (mendicant)

360. Restraint in the eye is good, good is restraint in the ear, in the nose restraint is good, good is restraint in the tongue.

361. In the body restraint is good, good is restraint in speech, in thought restraint is good, good is restraint in all things. A Bhikshu, restrained in all things, is freed from all pain.

362. He who controls his hand, he who controls his feet, he who controls his speech, he who is well controlled, he who delights inwardly, who is collected, who is solitary and content, him they call Bhikshu.

363. The Bhikshu who controls his mouth, who speaks wisely and calmly, who teaches the meaning and the law, his word is sweet.

364. He who dwells in the law, delights in the law, meditates on the law, follows the law, that Bhikshu will never fall away from the true law.

365. Let him not despise what he has received, nor ever envy others: a mendicant who envies others does not obtain peace of mind.

366. A Bhikshu who, though he receives little, does not despise what he has received, even the gods will praise him, if his life is pure, and if he is not slothful.

367. He who never identifies himself with name and form, and does not grieve over what is no more, he indeed is called a Bhikshu.

368. The Bhikshu who acts with kindness, who is calm in the doctrine of Buddha, will reach the quiet place (Nirvana), cessation of natural desires, and happiness.

369. O Bhikshu, empty this boat! if emptied, it will go quickly; having cut off passion and hatred thou wilt go to Nirvana.

370. Cut off the five (senses), leave the five, rise above the five. A Bhikshu, who has escaped from the five fetters, he is called Oghatinna, 'saved from the flood.'

371. Meditate, O Bhikshu, and be not heedless! Do not direct thy thought to what gives pleasure that thou mayest not for thy heedlessness have to swallow the iron ball (in hell), and that thou mayest not cry out when burning, 'This is pain.'

372. Without knowledge there is no meditation, without meditation there is no knowledge: he who has knowledge and meditation is near unto Nirvana.

373. A Bhikshu who has entered his empty house, and whose mind is tranquil, feels a more than human delight when he sees the law clearly.

374. As soon as he has considered the origin and destruction of the elements (khandha) of the body, he finds happiness and joy which belong to those who know the immortal (Nirvana).

375. And this is the beginning here for a wise Bhikshu: watchfulness over the senses, contentedness, restraint under the law; keep noble friends whose life is pure, and who are not slothful.

376. Let him live in charity, let him be perfect in his duties; then in the fulness of delight he will make an end of suffering.

377. As the Vassika plant sheds its withered flowers, men should shed passion and hatred, O ye Bhikshus!

378. The Bhikshu whose body and tongue and mind are quieted, who is collected, and has rejected the baits of the world, he is called quiet.

379. Rouse thyself by thyself, examine thyself by thyself, thus self-protected and attentive wilt thou live happily, O Bhikshu!

380. For self is the lord of self, self is the refuge of self; therefore curb thyself as the merchant curbs a good horse.

381. The Bhikshu, full of delight, who is calm in the doctrine of Buddha will reach the quiet place (Nirvana), cessation of natural desires, and happiness.

382. He who, even as a young Bhikshu, applies himself to the doctrine of Buddha, brightens up this world, like the moon when free from clouds.

26 - the brahmana (arhat)

383. Stop the stream valiantly, drive away the desires, O Brahmana! When you have understood the destruction of all that was made, you will understand that which was not made.

384. If the Brahmana has reached the other shore in both laws (in restraint and contemplation), all bonds vanish from him who has obtained knowledge.

385. He for whom there is neither this nor that shore, nor both, him, the fearless and unshackled, I call indeed a Brahmana.

386. He who is thoughtful, blameless, settled, dutiful, without passions, and who has attained the highest end, him I call indeed a Brahmana.

387. The sun is bright by day, the moon shines by night, the warrior is bright in his armour, the Brahmana is bright in his meditation; but Buddha, the Awakened, is bright with splendour day and night.

388. Because a man is rid of evil, therefore he is called Brahmana; because he walks quietly, therefore he is called Samana; because he has sent away his own impurities, therefore he is called Pravragita (Pabbagita, a pilgrim).

389. No one should attack a Brahmana, but no Brahmana (if attacked) should let himself fly at his aggressor! Woe to him who strikes a Brahmana, more woe to him who flies at his aggressor!

390. It advantages a Brahmana not a little if he holds his mind back from the pleasures of life; when all wish to injure has vanished, pain will cease.

391. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who does not offend by body, word, or thought, and is controlled on these three points.

392. After a man has once understood the law as taught by the Well-awakened (Buddha), let him worship it carefully, as the Brahmana worships the sacrificial fire.

393. A man does not become a Brahmana by his platted hair, by his family, or by birth; in whom there is truth and righteousness, he is blessed, he is a Brahmana.

394. What is the use of platted hair, O fool! what of the raiment of goat-skins? Within thee there is ravening, but the outside thou makest clean.

395. The man who wears dirty raiments, who is emaciated and covered with veins, who lives alone in the forest, and meditates, him I call indeed a Brahmana.

396. I do not call a man a Brahmana because of his origin or of his mother. He is indeed arrogant, and he is wealthy: but the poor, who is free from all attachments, him I call indeed a Brahmana.

397. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who has cut all fetters, who never trembles, is independent and unshackled.

398. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who has cut the strap and the thong, the chain with all that pertains to it, who has burst the bar, and is awakened.

399. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who, though he has committed no offence, endures reproach, bonds, and stripes, who has endurance for his force, and strength for his army.

400. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who is free from anger, dutiful, virtuous, without appetite, who is subdued, and has received his last body.

401. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who does not cling to pleasures, like water on a lotus leaf, like a mustard seed on the point of a needle.

402. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who, even here, knows the end of his suffering, has put down his burden, and is unshackled.

403. Him I call indeed a Brahmana whose knowledge is deep, who possesses wisdom, who knows the right way and the wrong, and has attained the highest end.

404. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who keeps aloof both from laymen and from mendicants, who frequents no houses, and has but few desires.

405. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who finds no fault with other beings, whether feeble or strong, and does not kill nor cause slaughter.

406. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who is tolerant with the intolerant, mild with fault-finders, and free from passion among the passionate.

407. Him I call indeed a Brahmana from whom anger and hatred, pride and envy have dropt like a mustard seed from the point of a needle.

408. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who utters true speech, instructive and free from harshness, so that he offend no one.

409. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who takes nothing in the world that is not given him, be it long or short, small or large, good or bad.

410. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who fosters no desires for this world or for the next, has no inclinations, and is unshackled. bondage to the gods, and is free from all and every bondage.

418. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who has left what gives pleasure and what gives pain, who is cold, and free from all germs (of renewed life), the hero who has conquered all the worlds.

419. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who knows the destruction and the return of beings everywhere, who is free from bondage, welfaring (Sugata), and awakened (Buddha).

420. Him I call indeed a Brahmana whose path the gods do not know, nor spirits (Gandharvas), nor men, whose passions are extinct, and who is an Arhat (venerable).

421. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who calls nothing his own, whether it be before, behind, or between, who is poor, and free from the love of the world.

422. Him I call indeed a Brahmana, the manly, the noble, the hero, the great sage, the conqueror, the impassible, the accomplished, the awakened.

423. Him I call indeed a Brahmana who knows his former abodes, who sees heaven and hell, has reached the end of births, is perfect in knowledge, a sage, and whose perfections are all perfect.

consciousness, spirituality, mind, humanity, meditation
book/dhammapada.txt · Last modified: 2021/08/02 14:10 (external edit)