Dhammapada: Nirayavagga
Chapter 22 — Verses 306 to 319

22. The Abyss


He’s doomed, the person speaking lies,
And he who sins, but that denies.
These two, at death, are equalised
In hell, where both will re-arise.


Many men who in the ochre cloth are robed
Have wicked natures and are uncontrolled.
Such men, by conduct that’s depraved,
Will after death arise in hells ablaze.


For one lacking restraint and immoral,
For him it is better to swallow
A globule of metal aflame
Than to eat any alms he obtains.


Four disasters will betide
A fool who beds another’s wife:

Acquisition of bad kamma;
When in bed at night, insomnia;
Thirdly, words of condemnation;
Fourth, he’ll suffer in damnation.

For that pair, there’s trepidation;
Guilty bliss of short duration;
Evil kamma generation;
From the king, harsh castigation.

Hence the moral obligation
To avoid participation
In adulterous violation.


Improperly clasped sharp-bladed grass will gash the hand:
By improperly handled monastic existence a man is damned.


Neither perfunctory endeavour,
Nor tarnished religious observance,
Nor a practice of dubious integrity
Will yield a monk any great benefit.


When a monk’s obliged to do a duty,
May he do it, and may he do it vigorously!
For should a monk pursue the holy life half-heartedly,
Then all the more he’ll raise the dust-clouds of impurity.


Misdeeds are better left undone: they will torment you in the future. It is better to do good deeds, which will not later torment you.


A border town is guarded both within and without. Guard yourself likewise!


Do not miss the opportunity to practise.(1) When the opportunity is lost, people grieve, consigned to hell.


People ashamed of what is innocent, and unashamed of what is despicable, by upholding wrong views, suffer unhappy rebirths.


Those who see danger in safety, and safety in danger, by upholding wrong views, suffer unhappy rebirths.


People who think an offence is purity, or that purity is an offence, by upholding wrong views, suffer unhappy rebirths.


People who regard an offence as an offence, and purity as purity, by upholding right views, enjoy happy rebirths.


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1. Verse 315: "Do not miss the opportunity (khano)". PED (khano): opportunity, as well as moment.

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