Dhammapada 25: The Bhikkhu Or The Mendicant


Translated by Ven Nārada

360. Good is restraint in the eye; good is restraint in the ear; good is restraint in the nose; good is restraint in the tongue.

361. Good is restraint in deed; good is restraint in speech; good is restraint in mind; good is restraint in everything. The bhikkhu, 1 restrained at all points, 2 is freed from sorrow.

362. He who is controlled in hand, in foot, in speech, and in the highest (i.e., the head); he who delights in meditation, 3 and is composed; he who is alone, and is contented - him they call a bhikkhu.

363. The bhikkhu who is controlled in tongue, who speaks wisely, 4 who is not puffed up, who explains the meaning and the text - sweet, indeed, is his speech.

364. That bhikkhu who dwells in the Dhamma, who delights in the Dhamma, who meditates on the Dhamma, who well remembers the Dhamma, does not fall away from the sublime Dhamma.

365. Let him not despise what he has received, nor should he live envying (the gains of) others. The bhikkhu who envies (the gains of) others does not attain concentration. 5

366. Though receiving but little, if a bhikkhu does not despise his own gains, even the gods praise such a one who is pure in livelihood and is not slothful.

367. He who has no thought of "l" and "mine" whatever towards mind and body, he who grieves not for that which he has not, he is, indeed, called a bhikkhu.

368. The bhikkhu who abides in loving-kindness, 6 who is pleased with the Buddha’s Teaching, attains to that state of peace and happiness, 7 the stilling of conditioned things.

369. Empty this boat, 8 O bhikkhu! Emptied by you it will move swiftly. Cutting off lust and hatred, to Nibbāna you will thereby go.

370. Five cut off, 9 five give up, 10 five further cultivate. 11 The bhikkhu who has gone beyond the five bonds 12 is called a "Flood-Crosser".

371. Meditate, O bhikkhu! Be not heedless. Do not let your mind whirl on sensual pleasures. Do not be careless and swallow a ball of lead. As you burn cry not "This is sorrow".

372. There is no concentration in one who lacks wisdom, nor is there wisdom in him who lacks concentration. In whom are both concentration and wisdom, he, indeed, is in the presence of Nibbāna.

373. The bhikkhu who has retired to a lonely abode, who has calmed his mind, who perceives the doctrine clearly, experiences a joy transcending that of men. 13

374. Whenever he reflects on the rise and fall of the Aggregates, he experiences joy and happiness. To "those who know" that (reflection 14) is Deathless.

375. And this becomes the beginning here for a wise bhikkhu: sense-control, contentment, restraint with regard to the Fundamental Code (Pātimokkha 15), association with beneficent and energetic friends whose livelihood is pure.

376. Let him be cordial in his ways and refined in conduct; filled thereby with joy, he will make an end of ill.

377. As the jasmine creeper sheds its withered flowers, even so, O bhikkhus, should you totally cast off lust and hatred.

378. The bhikkhu who is calm in body, calm in speech, calm in mind, who is well-composed, who has spewed out worldly things, is truly called a "peaceful one".

379. By self do you censure yourself. By self do you examine yourself. Self-guarded and mindful, O bhikkhu, you will live happily.

380. Self, indeed, is the protector of self. Self, indeed, is one’s refuge. Control, therefore, your own self as a merchant controls a noble steed.

381. Full of joy, full of confidence in the Buddha’s Teaching, the bhikkhu will attain the Peaceful State, the stilling of conditioned things, the bliss (supreme).

382. The bhikkhu who, while still young, devotes himself to the Buddha’s Teaching, illumines this world like the moon freed from a cloud.

End Notes

[1] Bhikkhu is exclusively a Buddhist term. "Mendicant monk" may be suggested as the best English equivalent.

[2] That is, in all senses, literally, everywhere.

[3] Here the Pali term ajjhatta, literally, personal, refers to the subject of meditation.

[4] Manta here means wisdom.

[5] Samādhi, both mundane and supramundane concentration.

[6] Having developed the third and fourth jhānas (ecstasies) with mettā (loving-kindness) as the object of meditation.

[7] That is, Nibbāna.

[8] The boat resembles the body, water resembles bad thoughts.

[9] They are the five fetters (orambhāgiya saṃyojana) that pertain to this shore - namely: self-illusion (sakkāyadiṭṭhi), doubt (vicikicchā), indulgence in (wrongful) rites and ceremonies (sīlabbataparāmāsa), sense-desire (kāmarāga), and hatred (paṭigha).

[10] They are the five fetters that pertain to the Farther Shore (uddhambhāgiyasaṃyojana), namely: attachment to the Realms of Form (rūparāga), attachment to the Formless Realms (arūparāga), conceit (māna), restlessness (uddhacca), and ignorance (avijjā).

[11] Namely: confidence (saddhā), mindfulness (sati), effort (viriya), concentration (samādhi), and wisdom (pa¬ñ¬ñā). These five factors have to be cultivated if one desires to destroy the fetters.

[12] See note under v. 342.

[13] Amānusī ratī = the eight Attainments (aṭṭhasamāpatti), the four Rūpa Jhānas and the four Arūpa Jhānas.

[14] As it leads to Nibbāna.

[15] Pātimokkha which deals with the rules that a bhikkhu is bound to observe.