Dhammapada Chapter 2: The Wise Being

Müller version:


  1. Well-makers lead the water (wherever they like); fletchers bend the arrow; carpenters bend a log of wood; wise people fashion themselves.

My ‘Paraphrased’ Version of the Verse:

Sailors steer their ships forward; Cooks measure their ingredients; Wise beings never stop watching and sculpting their minds.


The practices in Chapter 1 on observing the mind are an important step in taming the mind. Consider as well the following.

  1. Practice is a great daily and lifelong experiment. We can try out various tools and techniques and see what works for today. Some techniques may be useful later. Keep on trying and do not get easily discouraged. What you are undertaking is not an easy thing to do. But it is achievable. Thoughts do not go away. But with persistence, the power that they hold over us should recede over time.
  2. We all get insights every day. Sometimes, we have to relive certain lessons until they become clearer. The non-judging mind will see the lessons clearer.
  3. Consider starting and/or ending your day with a dedication of merit such as the first paragraph of http://www.katinkahesselink.net/tibet/blessing.html or singing https://www.urbandharma.org/udharma9/merit.html
  4. As we observe our thoughts and feeling more, what happens? Do we find them to be permanent or temporary? Do we identify with them more or less? Are thoughts solitary or do they start chains of other thoughts? Are there feelings and a growing sense of identification associated with these chains? Is there a sense of wrong and hurt? On further reflection, was this a correct assessment? If we observe others, do we see the same sort of behaviors as we see in ourselves? Does that observation make us more or less compassionate to them?
  5. One helpful signpost is when we become aware that we are ensnared in one of these mental trips and traps. Another one is when we can correct our behavior and identification and thus loosen the grip some that these formations have over us. When these signposts occur more often, we are moving ever closer to the mental liberation that we truly seek.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.