Dhammapada: Attavagga
Chapter 12 — Verses 157 to 166

12. The Self


If we saw that the love for ourselves is not slight,
We’d watch over ourselves without lassitude.
Thus, the prudent, at least for one third of the night,
Should attend to themselves with solicitude.


Once you’ve established
Your own firm foundation
In ways that are proper
Train others thereafter.
For ‘learned exponents’
Should not have defilements . . .


If, at first, he himself did behave
In the way that he others might train,
Himself thus being tamed, as a trainer he’s capable -
But taming oneself is a task that’s formidable.


You are indeed your own guardian;
Which person else could it be?
With yourself satisfactorily mastered,
You come by a guardian not easy to meet.


The evil that one executes
Is what one has oneself produced.
Like diamond grinds the hardest jewel,
That self-made evil grinds the fool.


A man who has conduct that’s truly malign
Is just like a tree with a strangling vine:
What he does to himself is the very same thing
That his foe would take pleasure in doing to him.


What’s immoral to do,
And self-damaging too,
Is not hard to pursue.

But what’s proper to do,
And is salutary too,
It is hard carrying through.


The woman who’s senseless
Denounces the teachings
Of those who are noble,
Whose living is righteous.

She’s under the sway
Of opinions profane,
And the fruits of her life
Will just bring her to ruin,
As bearing of fruit
Is the bamboo’s undoing.


By each themselves is evil done;
By each is each defiled.
By each themselves is evil shunned;
By each is each refined.

To polish or stain,
On ourselves it depends,
For a person cannot
By another be cleansed.


Do not disregard your own welfare
For others, for even a throng.
Having well understood your own welfare,
Venture the taking it on!


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