Dhammapada 26: The Brāhmaṇa
(Brāhmaṇavaggo 1)

Translated by Ven Nārada

383. Strive and cleave the stream. 2 Discard, O brāhmaṇa, sense-desires. Knowing the destruction of conditioned things, be, O brāhmaṇa, a knower of the Unmade 3 (Nibbāna).

384. When in two states 4 a brāhmaṇa goes to the Farther Shore, 5 then all the fetters of that "one who knows" pass away.

385. For whom there exists neither the hither 6 nor the farther shore, nor both the hither and the farther shore, 7 he who is undistressed and unbound, 8 — him I call a brāhmaṇa.

386. He who is meditative, 9 stainless and secluded, 10 he who has done his duty and is free from corruptions, 11 he who has attained the Highest Goal 12 — him I call a brāhmaṇa.

387. The sun shines by day; the moon is radiant by night. Armoured shines the warrior king. 13 Meditating the brāhmaṇa 14 shines. But all day and night the Buddha 15 shines in glory.

388. Because he has discarded evil, he is called a brāhmaṇa; because he lives in peace, 16 he is called a samana; because he gives up the impurities, he is called a pabbajita - recluse.

389. One should not strike a brāhmaṇa, 17 nor should a brāhmaṇa vent (his wrath) on one who has struck him. Shame on him who strikes a brāhmaṇa! More shame on him who gives vent (to his wrath)!

390. Unto a brāhmaṇa that (non-retaliation) is of no small advantage. When the mind is weaned from things dear, whenever the intent to harm ceases, then and then only doth sorrow subside.

391. He that does no evil through body, speech or mind, who is restrained in these three respects — him I call a brāhmaṇa.

392. If from anybody one should understand the doctrine preached by the Fully Enlightened One, devoutly should one reverence him, as a brahmin reveres the sacrificial fire.

393. Not by matted hair, nor by family, nor by birth does one become a brāhmaṇa. But in whom there exist both truth 18 and righteousness, 19 pure is he, a brāhmaṇa is he.

394. What is the use of your matted hair, O witless man? What is the use of your antelope skin garment? Within, you are full of passions; without, you embellish yourself. 20

395. The person who wears dust-heap robes, 21 who is lean, whose veins stand out, who meditates alone in the forest — him I call a brāhmaṇa.

396. I do not call him a brāhmaṇa merely because he is born of a (brahmin) womb or sprung from a (brahmin) mother. He is merely a "Dear-addresser", 22 if he be with impediments. He who is free from impediments, free from clinging — him I call a brāhmaṇa.

397. He who has cut off all fetters, who trembles not, who has gone beyond ties, who is unbound — him I call a brāhmaṇa.

398. He who has cut the strap (hatred), the thong (craving), and the rope (heresies), together with the appendages (latent tendencies), who has thrown up the cross-bar (ignorance), who is enlightened 23 (Buddha) — him I call a brāhmaṇa.

399. He who, without anger, endures reproach, flogging and punishments, whose power and the potent army is patience — him I call a brāhmaṇa.

400. He who is not wrathful, but is dutiful, 24 virtuous, free from craving, self-controlled and bears his final body, 25 — him I call a brāhmaṇa.

401. Like water on a lotus leaf, like a mustard seed on the point of a needle, he who clings not to sensual pleasures — him I call a brāhmaṇa.

402. He who realizes here in this world the destruction of his sorrow, who has laid the burden 26 aside and is emacipated, 27 — him I call a brāhmaṇa.

403. He whose knowledge is deep, who is wise, who is skilled in the right and wrong way, 28 who has reached the highest goal — him I call a brāhmaṇa.

404. He who is not intimate either with householders or with the homeless ones, who wanders without an abode, who is without desires — him I call a brāhmaṇa.

405. He who has laid aside the cudgel in his dealings with beings, 29 whether feeble or strong, who neither harms nor kills — him I call a brāhmaṇa.

406. He who is friendly amongst the hostile, who is peaceful amongst the violent, who is unattached amongst the attached, 30 — him I call a brāhmaṇa.

407. In whom lust, hatred, pride, detraction are fallen off like a mustard seed from the point of a needle — him I call a brāhmaṇa.

408. He who utters gentle, instructive, true words, who by his speech gives offence to none — him I call a brāhmaṇa.

409. He who in this world takes nothing that is not given, be it long or short, small or great, fair or foul — him I call a brāhmaṇa.

410. He who has no longings, pertaining to this world or to the next, who is desireless and emancipated — him I call a brāhmaṇa.

411. He who has no longings, who, through knowledge, is free from doubts, who has gained a firm footing in the Deathless (Nibbāna) — him I call a brāhmaṇa.

412. Herein he who has transcended both good and bad and the ties 31 as well, who is sorrowless, stainless, and pure — him I call a brāhmaṇa.

413. He who is spotless as the moon, who is pure, serene, and unperturbed, 32 who has destroyed craving for becoming — him I call a brāhmaṇa.

414. He who has passed beyond this quagmire, 33 this difficult path, 34 the ocean of life (saṃsāra), and delusion, 35 who has crossed 36 and gone beyond, who is meditative, free from craving and doubts, who, clinging to naught, has attained Nibbāna — him I call a brāhmaṇa.

415. He who in this world giving up sense-desires, would renounce worldly life and become a homeless one, he who has destroyed sense-desires and becoming — him I call a brāhmaṇa.

416. He who in this world giving up craving, would renounce worldly life and become a homeless one, he who has destroyed craving and becoming — him I call a brāhmaṇa.

417. He who, discarding human ties and transcending celestial ties, is completely delivered from all ties — him I call a brāhmaṇa.

418. He who has given up likes 37 and dislikes, 38 who is cooled and is without defilements, 39 who has conquered the world 40 and is strenuous — him I call a brāhmaṇa.

419. He who in every way knows the death and rebirth of beings, who is non-attached, well-gone, 41 and enlightened, 42 — him I call a brāhmaṇa.

420. He whose destiny neither gods nor gandhabbas 43 nor men know, who has destroyed all corruptions, and is far removed from passions (Arahant) — him I call a brāhmaṇa.

421. He who has no clinging to Aggregates that are past, future, or present, who is without clinging and grasping — him I call a brāhmaṇa.

422. The fearless, 44 the noble, the hero, the great sage, 45 the conqueror, 46 the desireless, the cleanser 47 (of defilements), the enlightened, 48 — him I call a brāhmaṇa.

423. That sage who knows his former abodes, who sees the blissful 49 and the woeful states, 50 who has reached the end of births, 51 who, with superior wisdom, has perfected himself, 52 who has completed 53 (the holy life), and reached the end of all passions — him I call a brāhmaṇa.

End Notes

1 Though a racial term here it is applied either to a Buddha or an Arahant - to one who has completed the Way and has won Enlightenment.

2 Sotaṃ - stream of craving.

3 Nibbāna is not made of anything. It is unconditioned.

4 Concentration (samatha) and Insight (vipassanā).

5 That is, in acquiring higher intellect (abhiññā).

6 Pāraṃ - the six personal sense-fields; apāraṃ - the six external sense-fields.

7 Not grasping anything as "me" and "mine".

8 Not connected with the passions.

9 He who practises concentration (samatha) and insight (vipassanā).

10 Āsīnaṃ, living alone in the forest.

11 By realizing the four Truths and eradicating the fetters.

12 That is, Nibbāna.

13 Here Khattiya refers to a king.

14 That is, an Arahant.

15 The Buddha eclipses immorality by the power of morality (sīla), vice by the power of virtue (guṇa), ignorance by the power of wisdom (paññā), demerit by the power of merit (puñña), unrighteousness by the power of righteousness (dhamma). (Commentary).

16 Having subdued all evil.

17 Here brāhmaṇa is used in the sense of an Arahant.

18 The realization of the four Noble Truths.

19 Here Dhamma refers to the nine supramundane States - the four Paths, the four Fruits, and Nibbāna.

20 With the paraphernalia of the ascetics.

21 Robe, made of cast-off rags.

22 Bho is a familiar form of address which ever the Buddha used in addressing laymen. The term Bho-vādi is applied to the Buddha as well.

23 Who has understood the four Noble Truths.

24 Devoted to religious austerity.

25 "Final body" because he, having destroyed the passions, would be reborn no more.

26 The burden of the Aggregates.

27 From all defilements.

28 Who knows the way to the woeful states, to the blissful states, and to Nibbāna.

29 Literally, towards beings.

30 Those who are attached to the Aggregates.

31 Lust, hatred, delusion, pride, and false views.

32 Undisturbed by defilements.

33 Of lust and so forth.

34 Of passions.

35 That which veils the four Noble Truths.

36 The four floods - namely: sense-desires, becoming, false views, and ignorance.

37 That is, attachment to sense-desires.

38 Arati = dislike for forest life. (Commentary)

39 Upadhi - there are four kinds of upadhi - namely: the aggregates (khandha), the passions (kilesa), volitional activities (abhisaṅkāra), and sense-desires (kāma).

40 That is, the world of Aggregates.

41 Sugataṃ = well-gone in practice, that is, to Nibbāna.

42 Buddhaṃ = he who has understood the four Noble Truths.

43 A class of celestial beings.

44 Usabhaṃ, fearless as a bull.

45 Mahesiṃ, seeker of higher morality, concentration, and wisdom.

46 Vijitāvinaṃ, the conqueror of passions.

47 Nahātakaṃ, he who has washed away all impurities.

48 Buddhaṃ, he who has understood the four Noble Truths.

49 Sagga, the six heavenly realms, the sixteen Rūpa Realms, and the four Arūpa Realms.

50 Apāya, the four woeful states.

51 Jātikkhayaṃ, i.e., Arahantship.

52 Abhiññāvosito, i.e., reached the culmination by comprehending that which should be comprehended, by discarding that which should be discarded, by realzing that which should be realized, and by developing that which should be developed. (Commentary)

53 Sabbavositavosānaṃ, i.e., having lived the Holy Life which culminates in wisdom pertaining to the Path of Arahantship, the end of all passions.