Dhammapada: Daṇḍavagga
Chapter 10 — Verses 129 to 145

10. The Stick


All shrink from flagellation,
And of death feel trepidation.
If we saw the correlation
To our parallel position,
We would stop all persecution
And, of creatures, violation.(1)


All shrink from flagellation
Hold their lives in great affection.
If we saw the correlation
To our parallel position,
We would stop all persecution
And, of creatures, violation.


Whoever attacks pleasure-loving beings, though himself longing for pleasure, will find no pleasure in his future life.


Whoever does not attack pleasure-loving beings, and is one who himself longs for pleasure, will find pleasure in his future life.


To no one speak offensively -
The victim might reciprocate.
Your angry words are agony:
Requital might eventuate.


Once you’ve no reverberation,
Like a fractured metal gong,
Then Nibbana have you realised:
Wars of words, for you, are gone.


Age-and-death the life from us expels
Like herd, with stick, his cows to grass compels.


When evil’s done by those unwise,
Its harm they do not realise.
It’s like a very fire they light
By which they set themselves alight.


A fool who might menace one morally upright,
Or using a cudgel a pure man should strike,
Would swiftly encounter a terrible plight:
Loss of relations;
Or racking sensations;
Or body calamity;
Loss of his sanity;
Terrible health;
Or the loss of his wealth;
Or his home’s devastation
In wild conflagration;
Or king, or authority,
Show him barbarity;
Then after death,
An infernal finality.


He wanders nude;
Abstains from food;
His filthy body’s smearings too.

He plaits his locks;
On heels he squats;
The earth is all the bed he’s got.

Such acts won’t clean
This mortal being
In whom is doubt still lingering.


If he’s chaste and restrained,
If he’s calmed and he’s tamed,
From the hurting of all forms of life he abstains:
Though this man walks his way
Well-adorned and arrayed,
He can ‘brahman’ or ‘monk’ or ‘ascetic’ be named.


A human restrained
By his feelings of shame
Will avoid being blamed,
Like a horse that’s well-tamed
Doesn’t suffer the pain
Of the lash of a cane.


Like a horse one might train
That’s aroused with a cane,
You must smother your vast tribulation:

Be zealous, one-pointed and cultivate purity;
Trust, have composure, be mindful, have energy!
Blessed with discernment,
Endowed with good conduct,
Make effort in Dhamma enquiry.


Farmers channel water;
Craftsmen fashion timber;
Fletchers trim their arrowshafts;
Those of virtue train themselves.


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1. Verse 129: ghataye can mean either 'kill' or 'cause to be killed'. See PED under ghateti and hanati.

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