Dhammapada 22: Woeful State

Translated by Ven Nārada

306. The speaker of untruth goes to a woeful state, and also he who, having done aught, says, "I did not". Both after death become equal, men of base actions in the other world.

307. Many with a yellow robe on their necks are of evil disposition and uncontrolled. Evil-doers on account of their evil deeds are born in a woeful state.

308. Better to swallow a red-hot iron ball (which would consume one) like a flame of fire, than to be an immoral and uncontrolled person feeding on the alms offered by people.

309. Four misfortunes befall a careless man who commits adultery: acquisition of demerit, disturbed sleep, thirdly blame, and fourthly a state of woe.

310. There is acquisition of demerit as well as evil destiny. Brief is the joy of the frightened man and woman. The King imposes a heavy punishment. Hence no man should frequent another’s wife.

311. Just as kusa grass, wrongly grasped, cuts the hand, even so the monkhood wrongly handled drags one to a woeful state.

312. Any loose act, any corrupt practice, a life of dubious 1 holiness - none of these is of much fruit.

313. If aught should be done, let one do it. Let one promote it steadily, for slack asceticism scatters dust all the more.

314. An evil deed is better not done: a misdeed torments one hereafter. Better it is to do a good deed, after doing which one does not grieve.

315. Like a border city, guarded within and without, so guard yourself. Do not let slip this opportunity, 2 for they who let slip the opportunity grieve when born in a woeful state.

316. Beings who are ashamed of what is not shameful, and are not ashamed of what is shameful, embrace wrong views and go to a woeful state.

317. Beings who see fear in what is not to be feared, and see no fear in the fearsome, embrace false views and go to a woeful state.

318. Beings who imagine faults in the faultless, 3 and perceive no wrong in what is wrong, embrace false views and go to a woeful state.

319. Beings knowing wrong as wrong and what is right as right, embrace right views and go to a blissful state.

End Notes

1 Saṅkassaraṃ = to think or remember with suspicion.

2 The birth of a Buddha, a congenial habitation, a healthy body, the possession of right views, etc.

3 Avajja means right belief and vajja means wrong belief.