Hatred Is Never Appeased By Hatred

Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world.
By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased.
This is a law eternal.

– Dhammapada, verse 5.

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Take My Hand, We Will Walk

Take my hand.
We will walk.
We will only walk.
We will enjoy our walk,
without thinking of arriving anywhere.
Walk peacefully.
Walk happily.
Our walk is a peace walk.
Our walk is a happiness walk.

– Thich Nhat Hanh, Linji School, Thiแปn Buddhism.

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Ageing Drops On Us Like A Curse

The Buddhist texts include a great number of wonderful teachings from the Buddha. But they also contain other gems.

There is a collection called the Khuddaka Nikaya which contains a number of suttas, fragments of teachings, and poems. In the eighth book of the Khuddaka Nikaya, the Theragatha, there are a number of poems from early Buddhist monks. These poems are wonderful, and I recommend you take a look at them. Here is one of my favourites:

As if sent by a curse,
it drops on us โ€”
aging.
The body seems other,
though it’s still the same one.
I’m still here
have never been absent from it,
but I remember myself
as if somebody else’s.

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Content On Vulture’s Peak

Here is a poem from around 250BC, attributed to one of the Buddhist Elders of the Third Council.

He grew up as a Prince, younger brother of one of India’s greatest Emperors; King Ashoka. However, he was inspired one day, by seeing an admirable monk, and decided to abandon his royal duties to become a monk himself. He was given the name Tissa Kumara, which translates to ‘The Elder Who Lives Alone’.

I love the beautiful imagery in this poem, and I think you can really sense the joy he takes in peaceful solitude out there in the forest.

I hope you enjoy it too:

If nobody is to be found,
In front of one or behind one,
That is exceedingly pleasant
For the lonely forest dweller.

So be it! I will go alone
To the forest, praised by Buddha;
For the self-resolute bhikkhu,
Dwelling alone, it is pleasant.

Pleasing, and joyful to sages,
Haunted by rutting elephants,
Seeking my goal alone, quickly
Will I go to the wild forest.

In the well-flowered Cool Garden,
In a soothing mountain grotto,
Having anointed all my limbs,
I will walk back and forth, alone.

When indeed shall I come to dwell
All alone, without companion
In the great forest, so pleasing!
My task accomplished, without taint?

While the gentle breezes flutter,
Soothing and laden with fragrance,
I’ll burst asunder ignorance
While seated on the mountain top.

In a grove covered with flowers,
Or maybe on a cool hillside,
Gladdened by the joy of release,
I’ll be content on Vulture’s Peak

The translation was done by Andrew Olendzki.

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Loving Kindness

“You should train yourselves thus:

We will develop and cultivate the liberation of mind by loving-kindness,
make it our vehicle,
make it our basis,
stabilize it,
exercise ourselves in it,
and fully perfect it.

Thus should you train yourselves.”

– Buddha, from the Samyutta Nikaya

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From Striving Comes Wisdom

From striving comes wisdom;
from not, wisdomโ€™s end.

Knowing these two courses
โ€” development and decline โ€”

conduct yourself
so that wisdom will grow.

– Verse from the Dhammapada.

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Buddhaghosa

I’ve quoted Buddhaghosa very recently, about anger. 

It occurred to me that many of you may be interested to know more about Buddhaghosa himself.

Buddhaghosa lived about 1000 years after the Buddha, in the 5th Century AD.  His name means “Voice of the Buddha” in Pali. He was called this because he completed many respected written works on Buddhism. 

We don’t know a lot about his life, but it’s likely he was born into a Brahmin family (a priestly caste) in either East or South India. 

It’s said that he was a Vedic Master who travelled around ancient India debating spiritual topics with others. He was a debating superstar, with a flawless record of victories.  That was until the day he came across a Buddhist monk named Revata.

Buddhaghosa and Revata first debated a Vedic teaching, and afterwards they debated a teaching from the Buddhist texts. Revata triumphed in both debates and Buddhaghosa was so impressed he decided he would become a Buddhist monk. 
Buddhaghosa, with his academic leanings, soon became a knowledgeable scholar of the Buddhist texts. One day he came across evidence of a missing text, long lost in Indian records. 

Obviously not being one to simply accept this knowledge gap, he began a pilgrimage to Sri Lanka where it was said a preserved version still existed. Whilst there he discovered many other preserved texts that were missing from the Indian collection. As a result he approached the Buddhist Elders for permission to compile a joint collection written in Pali.

Legend has it that the Elders and even deities forced him to undergo several tests before he was granted permission, but the eventual result was a systemised collection of Theravada Teachings and the Visuddhamagga – a comprehensive summary of the teachings of the Buddha, organised into a manual of sorts. 

He went on to write several other commentaries on the Pali cannon of texts and his words became respected interpretations of the scriptures.

It’s said that after he finished his work in Sri Lanka he returned to India and pilgrimaged to the Bodhi Tree, under which the Buddha gained enlightenment. 

Nothing is known about the rest of his life, or how he died. His commentaries live on and are still respected and studied to this day. 

To round off the post, here’s a lovely Visuddhamagga sample I wanted to share; about compassion:

“When there is suffering in others it causes good peopleโ€™s hearts to be moved, thus it is compassion. 

Or alternatively, it combats othersโ€™ suffering, attacks and demolishes it, thus it is compassion.

Or alternatively, it is scattered upon those who suffer, it is extended to them by pervasion, thus it is compassion.”

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