Dhammapada 7: The Worthy

(Arahantavaggo 1)

Translated by Ven Nārada

90. For him who has completed the journey, 2 for him who is sorrowless, for him who from everything 3 is wholly free, 4 for him who has destroyed all Ties, 5 the fever (of passion) exists not. 6

91. The mindful exert themselves. To no abode are they attached. Like swans that quit their pools, home after home they abandon (and go 7).

92. They for whom there is no accumulation, 8 who reflect well over their food, 9 who have Deliverance 10 which is Void and Signless, as their object — their course, like that of birds in the air, cannot be traced.

93. He whose corruptions are destroyed, he who is not attached to food, he who has Deliverance, which is Void and Signless, as his object — his path, like that of birds in the air, cannot be traced.

94. He whose senses are subdued, like steeds well-trained by a charioteer, he whose pride is destroyed and is free from the corruptions — such a steadfast one even the gods hold dear.

95. Like the earth a balanced and well-disciplined person resents not. He is comparable to an Indakhīla. 11 Like a pool unsullied by mud, is he; to such a balanced one 12 life’s wanderings do not arise. 13

96. Calm is his mind, calm is his speech, calm is his action, who rightly knowing, is wholly freed, 14 perfectly peaceful, 15 and equipoised.

97. 16The man who is not credulous, 17 who understands the Uncreate 18 (Nibbāna), who has cut off the links, 19 who has put an end to occasion 20 (of good and evil), who has eschewed 21 all desires, 22 he indeed, is a supreme man.

98. Whether in village or in forest in vale or on hill, 23 wherever Arahants dwell — delightful, indeed, is that spot.

99. Delightful are the forests where worldlings delight not; the passionless 24 will rejoice (therein), (for) they seek no sensual pleasures.

End Notes

[1] Arahanta has several meanings. It may be interpreted as "Worthy One". "Passionless One". Or one who commits no evil even secretly. He has got rid of both death and birth. After death, in conventional terms, he attains parinibbāna. Until his death he serves other seekers of truth by example and by precept.

[2] Of life in the round of existence, i.e., an Arahant.

[3] Sabbadhi, the five Aggregates, etc.

[4] One gives up sorrow by attaining Anāgāmi, the third stage of Sainthood. It is at this stage one eradicates completely attachment to sense-desires and ill-will or aversion.

[5] There are four kinds of ganthas (Ties) — namely: i. covetousness (abhijjhā). ii. ill-will (vyāpāda). iii. indulgence in (wrongful) rites and ceremonies (sīlabbataparāmāsa), and iv. adherence to one’s preconceptions as truth (idaṃ saccābhinivesa).

[6] This verse refers to the ethical state of an Arahant. Heat is both physical and mental. An Arahant experiences bodily heat as long as he is alive, but is not thereby worried. Mental heat of passions he experiences not.

[7] Arahants wander whithersoever they like without any attachment to any particular place as they are free from the conception of "I" and "mine".

[8] There are two kinds of accumulation- namely: kammic activities and the four necessaries of life. The former tend to prolong life in Saṃsāra and the latter, though essential, may prove an obstacle to spiritual progress.

[9] To get rid of the desire for food.

[10] Nibbāna is Deliverance from suffering (vimokkha). It is called Void because it is void of lust, hatred and ignorance, not because it is nothingness or annihilation. Nibbāna is a positive supramundane state which cannot be expressed in mundane words. It is Signless because it is free from the signs of lust etc., Arahants experience Nibbānic bliss while alive. It is not correct to say that Arahants exist after death or do not exist after death, for Nibbāna is neither eternalism nor nihilism. In Nibbāna nothing is eternalised nor is anything, except passions, annihilated. Arahants experience Nibbānic bliss by attaining to the fruit of Arahantship in this life itself.

[11] By indakhīla is meant either a column as firm and high as that of Sakka’s, or the chief column that stands at the entrance to a city. Commentators state that these indakhīlas are firm posts which are erected either inside or outside the city as an embellishment. Usually they are made of bricks or of durable wood and are octagonal in shape. Half of the post is embedded in the earth, hence the metaphor ‘as firm and steady as an indakhīla’.

[12] Tādi is one who has neither attachment to desirable objects nor aversion to undesirable objects. Nor does he cling to anything. Amidst the eight worldly conditions — gain and loss, fame and infamy, blame and praise, happiness and pain — an Arahant remains unperturbed, manifesting neither attachment nor aversion, neither elation nor depression.

[13] As they are not subject to birth and death. See note on saṃsāra, vs 60.

[14] From all defilements.

[15] Since his mind is absolutely pure.

[16] The pun in the original Pāḷi is lost in the translation.

[17] Assaddho, lit. unfaithful. He does not merely accept from other sources because he himself knows from personal experience.

[18] Akata, Nibbāna. It is so called because it is not created by anyone. Akkataññū can also be interpreted as ungrateful.

[19] The links of existence and rebirth. Sandhicchedo also means a housebreaker, that is, a burglar.

[20] Hata + avakāso — he who has destroyed the opportunity.

[21] Vanta + āso he who eats vomit is another meaning.

[22] By means of the four paths of Sainthood. Gross forms of desire are eradicated at the first three stages, the subtle forms at the last stage.

[23] Ninna and thala, lit., low-lying and elevated grounds.

[24] The passionless Arahants rejoice in secluded forests which have no attraction for worldlings.