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Friday, October 29, 2010

Dhammapada - Chapter 2 - Heedfulness

This chapter touches upon the foundation on which Buddhism rests - MINDFULNESS. Mindfulness is considered to be the most significant aspect of Buddhism and is emphasized deeply. In other words, it is the essence of Buddhism. Mindfulness is accepted to play a central role in the path of liberation and subsequent enlightenment. It can be described as complete awareness of one's physical and mental activities or consciousness. Right mindfulness is the seventh element in the Noble Eightfold Path.

This chapter of Dhammapada contains 16 verses. Each of the verses demonstrate the importance of mindfulness and the fruits of practicing it. The first verse itself says mindfulness is the path to the Deathless. It is further added in the subsequent verses that one who practices mindfulness attains all glory and is freed from the shackles of bondage.

Verse 21
Heedfulness: the path to the Deathless
Heedlessness: the path to death
The heedful do not die
The heedless are as if already dead.

Verse 22
Knowing this is a true distinction,
those wise in heedfulness,
rejoice in heedfulness,
enjoying the range of noble ones.

Verse 23
The enlightened, constantly absorbed in jhana,
persevering, firm in their effort:
they touch Unbinding,
the unexcelled safety from bondage.

Verse 24
Those with initiative,mindful,
clean in action, acting with due consideration,
heedful, restrained,
living in the Dhamma: their glory grows.

Verse 25
Through initiative, heedfulness,
restraint and self control,
the wise would make an island,
no flood can submerge.

Verse 26
They're addicted to heedlessness
- dullards, fools-
while one who is wise
cherishes heedfulness
as his highest wealth.

Verse 27
Don't give way to heedlessness
or to intimacy with sensual delight - 
for a heedful person absorbed in jhana,
attains an abundance of ease.

Verse 28
When the wise person drives out heedlessness,
with heedfulness,
having climbed the high tower of discernment,
sorrow-free he observes the sorrow crowd - 
as the enlightened man,
having scaled a summit, 
the fools on the ground below.

Verse 29
Heedful among the heedless,
wakeful among those asleep,
just as as a fast horse advances,
leaving the weak behind:
so does the wise.

Verse 30
Through heedfulness, Indra won
to lordships over the gods.
Heedfulness is praised,
heedlessness is censured - always.

Verse 31
The monk delighting in heedfulness,
seeing danger in heedlessness,
advances like a fire,
burning fetters great and small.

Verse 32

The monk delighting in heedfulness,
seeing danger in heedlessness,
- incapable of falling back - 
stands right on the verge of Unbinding.

Chapter 3 to be continued in the next post.
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