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Homage to Him, the Blessed One, the
Perfected One, the Supremely
Enlightened One!

The Dhammapada

 

Chapter Twenty-Four -- Craving

  1. The craving of one given to heedless
    living grows like a creeper. Like the monkey
    seeking fruits in the forest, one leaps from life
    to life (tasting the fruit of one's kamma).

     

  2. Whoever is overcome by this wretched and
    sticky craving, that person's sorrows grow like
    grass after the rains.

     

  3. But whoever overcomes this wretched
    craving, so difficult to overcome, from that
    person sorrows fall away like water from
    a lotus leaf.

     

  4. This I say to you: Good luck to you all
    assembled here! Dig up the root of craving,
    like one in search of the fragrant roots of birana
    grass. Let not Mara crush you again and again,
    as a flood crushes a reed.

     

  5. Just as a tree, though cut down, sprouts
    up again if its roots remain uncut and firm, even
    so, until the craving that lies dormant is rooted out,
    suffering springs up again and again.

     

  6. The misguided person in whom the thirty-six
    currents of craving
    rush strongly toward pleasurable
    objects, is swept away by the flood of his
    passionate thoughts.

     

  7. Everywhere these currents flow, and the
    creeper (of craving) sprouts and grows. Seeing
    that the creeper has sprung up, cut off its
    root with wisdom.

     

  8. Flowing in (from all objects) and watered
    by craving, feelings of pleasure arise in beings.
    Bent on pleasures and seeking enjoyment, these
    people fall prey to birth and decay.

     

  9. Beset by craving, people run about like
    an entrapped hare. Held fast by mental fetters,
    they come to suffering again and again
    for a long time.

     

  10. Beset by craving, people run about like
    an entrapped hare. Therefore, one who yearns
    to be passion-free should destroy one's own craving.

     

  11. There is one who, turning away from
    desire (for household life) takes to the life of the
    forest (i.e. of a monk). But after being freed from
    the household, one runs back to it. Behold that
    person! Though freed, one runs back to that very bondage!

345-346.  That is not a strong fetter, the wise
say, which is made of iron, wood or hemp. But
the infatuation and longing for jewels and ornaments,
children and spouses--that, they say, is a far
stronger fetter, which pulls one downward and,
though seemingly loose, is hard to remove. This
too the wise cut off. Giving up sensual pleasure,
and without any longing, they renounce the world.

 

  1. Those who are lust-infatuated fall back
    to the swirling current (of samsara) like a spider
    on its self-spun web. This too the wise cut off.
    Without any longing, they abandon all suffering
    and renounce the world.

     

  2. Let go of the past, let go of the future,
    let go of the present, and cross over to the farther
    shore of existence. With mind wholly liberated,
    you shall come no more to birth and death.

     

  3. For a person tormented by evil thoughts,
    who is passion-dominated and given to the
    pursuit of pleasure, one's craving steadily grows.
    One makes the fetter strong indeed.

     

  4. One who delights in subduing evil thoughts,
    who meditates on the impurities and is ever mindful
    --it is that person who will make an end of craving
    and rend asunder Mara's fetter.

     

  5. One who has reached the goal, is fearless,
    free from craving, passionless, having plucked out
    the thorns of existence--for that person this
    is the last body.

     

  6. One who is free from craving and attachment,
    perfect in uncovering the true meaning of the
    Teaching, and knows the arrangement of the
    sacred texts in correct sequence--that person,
    indeed, is the bearer of a final body. One is
    truly called the profoundly wise one, the great person.

     

  7. A victor am I over all, all have I known,
    yet unattached am I to all that is conquered and
    known. Abandoning all, I am freed through the
    destruction of craving. Having thus directly
    comprehended all by myself,
    whom shall I call my teacher?

     

  8. The gift of Dhamma excels all gifts;
    the taste of Dhamma excels all tastes; the delight
    in Dhamma excels all delights; the Craving-freed
    vanquishes all suffering.

     

  9. Riches ruin only the foolish, not those in
    quest of the Beyond. By craving for riches the
    witless person ruins oneself as well as others.

     

  10. Weeds are the bane of fields, lust the bane
    of mankind. Therefore what is offered to those
    free of lust yields abundant fruit.

     

  11. Weeds are the bane of fields, hatred the
    bane of mankind. Therefore what is offered to
    those free of hatred yields abundant fruit.

     

  12. Weeds are the bane of fields, delusion
    the bane of mankind. Therefore what is offered
    to those free of delusion yields abundant fruit.

     

  13. Weeds are the bane of fields, desire the
    bane of mankind. Therefore what is offered to
    those free of desire yields abundant fruit.

v.339. The thirty-six currents of craving: the three cravings--for sensual pleasure, for continued existence, and for annihilation--in relation to each of the twelve bases--the six sense organs, including mind, and their corresponding objects.

v.344. This verse, in the original, puns with the Pali word vana, meaning both "desire" and "forest."

v.353. This was the Buddha's reply to a wandering ascetic who asked him about his teacher. The Buddha's answer shows that Supreme Enlightenment was his own unique attainment, which he had not learned from anyone else.

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