Dr. Anil Yadavrao Gaikwad
The Dhammapada is collection of 423 melodious Pali Verses spoken by Lord Buddha on about 300 occasions during a period of 45 years after he achieved enlightenment. Dhammapada was not preached by Lord Buddha in the present form. Three months after Mahaparinirvan of Lord Buddha, all the senior monks assembled at the first Convocation to rehearse the teaching of the Lord Buddha and at such convocation, they collected the teachings of Buddha which has poetic form and arranged and classified such teachings in 26 types know as Vagga ( groups) as follows :-
|S No||Name of the Vagga||Verse No.||Key Word|
|1||Yamaka Vagga||1-20||Pairs or Twin Verses|
|3||Citta Vagga||33-43||The Mind|
|4||Puppha Vagga||44-59||Flowers / Blossoms|
|5||Bala Vagga||60-75||The Fool /Fools|
|6||Pandita Vagga||76-89||The Wise|
|7||Arahanta Vagga||90-99||The Arahant or Perfected One / Arahants or The Worthy|
|8||Sahassa Vagga||100-115||The Thousands/Thousands|
|10||Danda Vagga||129-145||Violence / The Rod of Punishment|
|11||Jara Vagga||146-156||Old Age / Aging|
|12||Atta Vagga||157-166||The Self / Self|
|13||Loka Vagga||168-174||The World / Worlds|
|14||Buddha Vagga||179-196||The Buddha /Awakened|
|15||Sukha Vagga||197-208||Happiness / Happy|
|16||Piya Vagga||209-220||Affection / Dear Ones|
|18||Mala Vagga||235-255||Impurity / Impurities or Taints|
|19||Dhammattha Vagga||256-272||The Just / The Judge or The Righteous|
|20||Magga Vagga||273-289||The Path or The Way|
|21||Pakinnaka Vagga||290-305||Miscellaneous / Miscellany|
|22||Niraya Vagga||306-319||Hell / Woeful State|
|23||Naga Vagga||206-319||The Elephant/Elephants|
|25||Bhikkhu Vagga||360-382||The Monk / The Bhikkhu / The Mendicant|
|26||Brahmana Vagga||283-423||The Holy Man / Brahmans|
Each Vagga or group illustrate the moral and philosophical teachings of the Buddha. In order to explain the meaning of every verse a story was told so that we can get the exact meaning of the verse. In this column we are going to re-produce Dhammapada verse and its meaning explained by some of the experts on the subject. In our every issue we are going to deal with one verse at a time with the story. There are many books available on Dhammapada on internet and one can download and read it if you want to finish the Dhammapada at the earliest.
The Dhammapada is not a book to be read only once and kept aside but it is the book which needs to be read and re-read many times. Those who are using Android phone can down load an app on Dhammapada which can be installed on your phone and you can read one or two verse everyday in order to understand the true teaching of Buddha.
- Yamaka Vagga ( The Twin Verses)
Main Message from the verse is “Suffering is Mind-made”.
Mano pubbangama dhammā, mano settha manomaya
Manasa ce padutthena, bhasati va karoti va
Tato nam dukkhamanveti, cakkam’va vahato padam || 1 ||
Mind is the forerunner of (all evil) states.
Mind is chief; and they are mind-made.
If one speaks or acts with a corrupt or wicked mind,
Suffering follows as the wheel follows the hoof of the draught – ox.
All that we experience begins with thought. Our words and deeds spring from thought. If we speak or act with evil thoughts, unpleasant circumstances and experiences inevitably result. Wherever we go, we create bad circumstances because we carry bad thoughts. We cannot shake off this suffering as long as we are tied to our evil thoughts. This is very much like the wheel of a bullock cart. The cart-wheel, along with the heavy load of the cart, keeps following the draught oxen. The animal is bound to this heavy load and cannot leave it.
The first two verses in the Dhammapada reveal an important concept in Buddhism. Buddhism teaches that all that we experience (the ‘world’ as well as the ‘self’) is created by thought, or the cognitive process of sense perception and conception. The Buddha states clearly that the world, the beginning of the world, the end of the world, and the way leading to the end of the world, are all in this fathom long body itself with its perceptions and conceptions.
The Story of the Monk Cakkhupàla (Verse 1)
While residing at the Jetavana Monastery in Sravasti, the Buddha spoke this verse, with reference to Cakkhupala, a blind monk.
On one occasion, Monk Cakkhupala came to pay homage to the Buddha at the Jetavana Monastery. One night, while pacing up and down in meditation, the monk accidentally stepped on some insects. In the morning, some monks visiting the monk found the dead insects. They thought ill of the monk and reported the matter to the Buddha. The Buddha asked them whether they had seen the monk killing the insects. When they answered in the negative, the Buddha said, “Just as you had not seen him killing, so also he had not seen those living insects. Besides, as the monk had already attained arahantship he could have no intention of killing, so he was innocent.” On being asked why Cakkhupala was blind although he was an arahant, the Buddha told the following story:
Cakkhupala was a physician in one of his past existences. Once, he had deliberately made a woman patient blind. That woman had promised to become his slave, together with her children, if her eyes were completely cured. Fearing that she and her children would have to become slaves, she lied to the physician. She told him that her eyes were getting worse when, in fact, they were perfectly cured. The physician knew she was deceiving him, so in revenge, he gave her another ointment, which made her totally blind. As a result of this evil deed the physician lost his eyesight many times in his later existences.
- Dhammapada by Bhadant Khema Dhammo,
Publisher: Trisharan Prakashan, Aurangabad
Year of Publication: 1983
- The Dhammapada by Narada Thera
Publisher: The Corporate Body of the Buddha Educational Foundation, Taiwan
Year of Publication: 1993 4th Edition
- The Treasury of Truth : Illustrated Dhammapada By Ven. Weragoda Sarada Thero
Publisher: Buddha Dhama Education Association Inc. www.Buddhanet.net
- The Dhammapada and Commentary Edited by Bhikkhu Pesala