Buddhism and Meditation

The Dhammapada


This week the Milton Keynes Meditation Association practiced the Metta Bhavana meditation and then studied and discussed some of the first chapter of the Dhammapada.

The Dhammapada is short and popular collection of teaching found in the Pali (an ancient North Indian language) Cannon. This is thought to be a very early Buddhist text.

The Dhammapada is a beautifully simple text which calls for a radical re-think to the way we live our lives. This section calls on us to witness the way our thoughts and actions shape our experience; and in the light of this, to go beyond bitterness and resentment. Very easyily said, but a strong and radical undertaking to put into practice in our daily lives.

From Chapter 1 – Twin Verses

1/ Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. Suffering follows an unskilful thought as the wheels of a cart follow the oxen that draw it.
2/ Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. Joy follows a pure thought like a shadow that never leaves/

3/ “He was angry with me, he attacked me, he defeated me, he robbed me” – those who dwell on such thoughts will never be free from hatred.
4/ “He was angry with me, he attacked me, he defeated me, he robbed me” – those who do not dwell on such thoughts will surely become free from hatred.

5/ For hatred can never put an end to hatred; love alone can. This is an unalterable law.
6/ People forget that their lives will end soon. For those who remember, quarrels come to an end.

7/ As a strong wind blows down a weak tree, Mara, the Tempter overwhelms weak people who, eating too much and working too little, are caught in the frantic pursuit of pleasure.
8/ As the strongest wind cannot shake a mountain, Mara cannot shake those who are self-disciplined and full of faith.

From a translation by Eknath Easwaran (Published Penguin 1986).

For an excellent talk on the Dhammapada by Padmavajra check out this link to Free Buddhist Audio.