Translation:Dhammapada/Chapter 2

Dhammapada by Gautama Buddha, translated from Pāli by Wikisource
Chapter 2: Mindfulness

2:1 (21)
Mindfulness[1] leads to deathlessness
Carelessness leads to death.
When I am heedful, I need not fear death
But when I am negligent, it's like I am dead already.

2:2 (22)
When I understand this, and am intent on mindfulness,
I rejoice in my awareness
And I rejoice in the awareness of others.

2:3 (23)
When I persevere in meditation,
Diligently devoting myself to concentration and insight,
I am released from the chains of attachment
And achieve True Bliss.[2]

2:4 (24)
If a person is energetic and mindful,
Pure in deed, acting with consideration,
Self-controlled, and following the Way of Enlightenment,[3]
Then he will be known and respected for his wisdom.

2:5 (25)
Through diligence and awareness,
Restraint and self-mastery,
I create a refuge which no flood can overwhelm

2:6 (26)
When I am foolish, I live carelessly and become dull.
When I am wise, I cherish my awareness.
It is my most precious treasure.

2:7 (27)
When I am negligent, I become addicted to sensual pleasures.
But when I am awake and contemplative, I find true happiness.

2:8 (28)
When my mindfulness drives away my spiritual slumber,
I climb the tower of wisdom, without attachment,
And veiw those trapped by their clinging.
Just as a person standing on a mountain gazes down at the world below,
I see without judgement those who suffer because of their delusions.

2:9 (29)
Mindful among the thoughtless,
Awake and alert among the slumbering,
I advance like a racehorse among old and crippled beasts.

2:10 (30)
Remember the story of how Maghava,[4] through mindfulness,
Rose to become the lord of heaven?
Mindfulness is always worthy of praise.
Heedlessness is always condemned.

2:11 (31)
When I[5] delight in my awareness
And look with fear on negligence
I advance like a forest fire
Burning away all attachments, great and small.

2:12 (32)
When I delight in my awareness
And look with fear on negligence
Then I am not likely to fall.
Then I am very close to True Bliss.

  1. Mindfulness is a translation of the word appamada (apramada). This complex term can be translated as awareness, vigilance, or heedfulness. It indicates non-infatuation and sanity. Its opposite, pamada (pramada) is frequently translated as carelessness, insanity, slumber, or dullness.
  2. True Bliss is one way to describe nibbana (nirvana). This term is central to Buddhism, but cannot be easily rendered into a simple English word or phrase. It is the perfect cessation of desire; egolessness; deathlessness; the godlike state of being completely aware, yet unattached to the outcome. It is blissful, without suffering, ego, selfishness, or hatred. Some have translated it as "the Unbinding".
  3. The Way of Enlightenment is an imperfect translation of dhamma (dharma). This common word is one of the most complex and untranslatable concepts in Buddhism. Roughly speaking, it refers to one's true path. It is the way that the Buddha taught: following your own inner path, and living according to the precepts of Buddhism. An in-depth discussion of the meaning of dhamma is beyond the scope of this text.
  4. According to Indian mythology, a man named Maghava devoted his life to helping the poor. When he died, he was made into Indra, king of the gods.
  5. The original text in this verse and the next refers to a monk who has taken a voluntary vow of poverty.