Dhammapada 6: The Wise

Translated by Ven Nārada

76. Should one see a wise man, who, like a revealer of treasure, points out faults and reproves; let one associate with such a wise person; it will be better, not worse, for him who associates with such a one.

77. Let him advise, instruct, and dissuade one from evil; truly pleasing is he to the good, displeasing is he to the bad.

78. Associate not with evil friends, associate not with mean men; associate with good friends, associate with noble men.

79. He who imbibes the Dhamma abides in happiness with mind pacified; the wise man ever delights in the Dhamma revealed by the Ariyas. 1

80. Irrigators lead the waters; fletchers bend the shafts; carpenters bend the wood; the wise control themselves.

81. As a solid rock is not shaken by the wind, even so the wise are not ruffled by praise or blame.

82. Just as a deep lake is clear and still, even so, on hearing the teachings, the wise become exceedingly peaceful. 2

83. The good give up (attachment for) everything; 3 the saintly prattle not with sensual craving: whether affected by happiness or by pain, the wise show neither elation nor depression.

84. Neither for the sake of oneself nor for the sake of another (does a wise person do any wrong); he should not desire son, wealth or kingdom (by doing wrong): by unjust means he should not seek his own success. Then (only) such a one is indeed virtuous, wise and righteous.

85. Few are there amongst men who go Beyond; the rest of mankind only run about on the bank. 4

86. But those who act rightly according to the teaching, which is well expounded, those are they who will reach the Beyond — Nibbāna — (crossing) the realm of passions, 5 so hard to cross.

87-88. Coming from home to the homeless, the wise man should abandon dark states 6 and cultivate the bright. He should seek great delight in detachment (Nibbāna), so hard to enjoy. Giving up sensual pleasures, with no impediments, 7 the wise man should cleanse himself of the impurities of the mind.

89. Whose minds are well perfected in the Factors of Enlightenment, 8 who, without clinging, delight in "the giving up of grasping" 9 (i.e., Nibbāna), they, the corruption-free, shining ones, have attained Nibbāna even in this world.

End Notes

1 Ariya, which means ‘one who is far removed from passions’, was originally a racial term. In Buddhism it indicates nobility of character, and is invariably applied to the Buddhas and the Arahants.

2 By attaining Sainthood.

3 The five Aggregates etc. See v. 203.

4 Namely: self-illusion (sakkāyaditthi). The majority are born again in this world.

5 Maccudheyya. i.e., worldly existence where passions dominate.

6 The dark states (kaṇhaṃ dhammaṃ) are the ten kinds of evil deeds, and the bright states (sukkaṃ) are the ten kinds of good deeds. See notes on vv. 42, 43.

7 The five Hindrances (nīvaraṇa) that obstruct the way to Deliverance. They are, sense-desires (kāmacchanda), ill-will (vyāpāda), sloth and torpor (thīnamiddha), restlessness and brooding (uddhacca-kukkucca) and indecision (vicikicchā). See A Manual of Buddhism by the translator.

8 See note on v 44.

9 There are four kinds of grasping — namely: sense-desires, false beliefs, adherence to (wrongful) rites and ceremonies, and self-illusion.