Dhammapada: Bālavagga
Chapter 5 — Verses 60 to 75

5. Fools


As upon a rubbish pit,
Its filth beside the road,
May there a fragrant lotus sit,
So bonny to behold.

And so with men, that rubbish pile
Of common beings blind,
Disciples of the Buddha dwell.
With wisdom’s light they shine.


How long, indeed, a sleepless night;
How long a weary ten mile hike;
And, for the fool, how long samsara,
Failing to perceive true Dhamma.



If a woman does not find
Her betters or her equals, she
Should fare alone, steadfast in mind:
With fools there is no company.



“I have sons!” “I have wealth!”
Thus the fool exalts herself.
She has not her very self,
Let alone her sons or wealth.



The fool who does her folly see
Indeed’s a sage to that degree;
But who to wisdom gives false airs,
That fool indeed’s a fool declared.



Although a fool might well engage
All his lifetime with a sage,
He’ll the Dhamma no more savour
Than the spoon the curry’s flavour.



Although the prudent might engage
But a moment with a sage,
Still, he’ll Dhamma quickly savour,
As the tongue the curry’s flavour.


The fool of little wit proceeds
Undertaking evil deeds,
Acting as her own ill-wisher,
Reaping fruit profusely bitter.


Acts and deeds are not propitious,
Acts which done, she lives to rue;
Which lead to tears and lamentation
When the kammic fruits ensue.


Deeds and actions are propitious,
If when done, she rests appeased,
Which lead to happy satisfaction
With the kammic fruits received.


Like honey does the fool adore
Evil deeds that still are raw.
When those evil deeds are ripe,
Then the fool will sorrow strike.


Though month after month, as a spoon for his nourishment,
A fool should a grass-tip employ (as self-punishment),
His value is not even one in sixteen
Of that person who Dhamma, with insight, has seen.


Though milk squirts out immediately,
Iniquity’s corollary
Will burn the fool enduringly,
Like coal that smoulders steadily.


Training arises for a fool, to his detriment. It ruins any goodness in him, and utterly destroys him.


A fool might wish for undue reverence,
To be the master of the residence,
‘Midst monks to have the right to precedence,
And from the folk, respectful deference.


“Let monks and all the folk conceive
The author of these things was me!
And in their many undertakings,
May they take up my suggestions!”
For this fool, his thoughts unwise,
His pride expands, his longings thrive.


One path leads to liberation;
One to gifts accumulation.
Those who pay the Lord attention
See both paths with comprehension.
With no like for veneration,
May they strive in isolation!


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