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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Dhammapada - Chapter 12 - Self

The twelfth Chapter of Dhammapada focuses on the concept of SELF.  The chapter starts of by saying that one should protect oneself in all the three stages of life - namely childhood, youth and old age by acquisition of virtue. One has the ability to advice another only when he establishes himself in proper virtues. One should be one's own savior and that can be achieved only through self discipline.

The extremely evil action of the person lacking in virtue is similar to that of the parasitic maluva creeper. The creeper grows on the tree and crushes it into destruction. The evil doer's action also crushes himself in that way. It can be observed that those actions which harm the self or others can be done easily while those actions which do good to the self or others are difficult to do.

It is important that one helps others but he should make sure that in the process of helping others he doesn't hinder his spiritual progress. At any point of time one should be well aware of his spiritual goals and strive hard towards achieving it.

There are 10 verses in this chapter:

Verse 157:
If you hold yourself dear
then guard, guard yourself well.
The wise person would stay awake
nursing himself
in any of the three watches of the night,
the three stages of life.

Verse 158:
First he'd settle himself
in what is correct,
only then teach others.
He wouldn't stain his name
: he is wise.

Verse 159:
If you'd mold yourself
the way you teach others,
then well trained,
go ahead and tame-
for , as they say,
what's hard to tame is
you yourself.

Verse 160:
Your own self is
your own mainstay,
for who else could your mainstay be?
With you yourself- well trained
you obtain the mainstay hard to obtain.

Verse 161:
The evil he himself has done
-self born, self created-
grinds down the dullard,
as a diamond, as a precious stone.

Verse 162:
When overspread by extreme vice-
like a sal tree by a vine-
you do to yourself
what an enemy would wish.

Verse 163:
They're easy to do-
things of no good
and of no use to yourself.
What's truly useful and good
is truly harder than hard to do.

Verse 164:
The teaching of those
who live the Dhamma,
worthy ones, noble:
whoever maligns it
- a dullard -
inspired by evil view-
bears fruit for his own destruction,
like the fruiting of the bamboo.

Verse 165:
Evil is done by oneself
by oneself is one defiled.
Evil is left undone by oneself
by oneself is one cleansed.
Purity and impurity are ones own doing.
No one purifies another.
No other purifies one.

Verse 166:
Don't sacrifice your own welfare
for that of another,
no matter how great.
Realizing your own true welfare,
be intent on just that.

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