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Dhammapada by Gautama Buddha, translated from Pāli by Wikisource
Chapter 3: The mind

3:1 (33)
My mind[1] is trembling and unsteady,
Difficult to guard and difficult to restrain.
I straighten my thoughts
Like a fletcher straightening arrows.

3:2 (34)
Just like a fish thrashes about
When taken from its home in the water and thrown on dry land,
So my mind trembles and twists,
When taken from the world of illusion[2] into meditation.

3:3 (35)
My mind is difficult to control.
Flighty and wild, it lands wherever it likes.
It is wonderful to control my mind,
Because a well-tamed mind brings happiness.

3:4 (36)
My mind is difficult to detect.
Very subtle, it slips away to wherever it likes.
When I am wise, I guard my mind,
Because a guarded mind brings happiness.

3:5 (37)
My thoughts wander far and wide, traveling alone,
Bodiless and naked, sheltering in a cave within me.
When I master my thoughts,
I will be freed from the bonds of illusion.

3:6 (38)
When my thoughts are unsteady,
When I forget the Way of Enlightenment,
When my dedication wavers,
Then my wisdom can not grow.

3:7 (39)
When my thoughts are free from passions,
Free from covetous thoughts and ill-will,
When I abandon judgements of right and wrong,
Then, ever-watchful, I will have no fear.

3:8 (40)
My body is as fragile as an earthen jar.
I secure my mind like a fortified city,
And fight temptation, using discernment as my sword.
I then guard what has been won,
But without laying claim to any of it.

3:9 (41)
Soon my body will be laid on the ground,
Dead and useless,
Discarded like a rotten log.

3:10 (42)
Enemies will hate each other.
Foes will harm each other.
But my own mind can harm me much worse.

3:11 (43)
My mother, my father, my friends and relatives
Can love and assist me.
But my own mind can help me much more.


  1. The word citta (also spelled citta in Sanskrit) is translated here as mind. It can also be seen as thoughts or consciousness, in the sense of being conscious of things going on around you.
  2. Here the Pali phrase refers to the realm of Mara. Mara, translated sometimes as "illusion" and sometimes as "temptation", is explained above in footnote 3 of chapter 1.