Dhammapada Chapter 7: Teaching and Practices

Introduction

What follows below covers part of a key Dhammapada chapter called “The Buddha.” It talks about some major Buddhist concepts. This includes the following:

The Three Refuges of the Buddha (teacher), Dhamma (truth or teaching) and the Sangha (The assembly of monks. But the original meaning has been expanded in common practice to include all Buddhist practitioners.)

The Four Noble Truths. These explain the human condition that includes suffering, its causes, that there is a way out from that fate, and how to escape by following the Noble Eightfold Path.

The Noble Eightfold Path. Eight teaching practices to steer us away from suffering and towards mental liberation.

For this chapter only, there will be no stories but two commentaries.

Müller version

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/2017/2017-h/2017-h.htm#link2HCH0014

  1. Not to commit any sin, to do good, and to purify one’s mind, that is the teaching of (all) the Awakened.
  2. Not to blame, not to strike, to live restrained under the law, to be moderate in eating, to sleep and sit alone, and to dwell on the highest thoughts,—this is the teaching of the Awakened.
  3. Men, driven by fear, go to many a refuge, to mountains and forests, to groves and sacred trees.
  4. But that is not a safe refuge, that is not the best refuge; a man is not delivered from all pains after having gone to that refuge.

My ‘paraphrased’ version

Not performing harmful actions, accomplishing beneficial deeds, and freeing the mind from mental distractions, these are the practice guidelines from the Buddha.

Not injuring though our words or actions, watching carefully over our minds and emotions, balancing our food consumption and slumber duration, seeking time to be truly alone with ourselves, and living in a mindful state, these are the practice guidelines from the Buddha.

During a time of anxiety and stress, the reactive mind will seek high and low for a sanctuary free from suffering.

But such a sanctuary will not be of any benefit for those wishing to alleviate their perceived pains.

Practice

Reflecting on the Four Noble Truths and perfecting our steps on the Noble Eightfold Path is alone enough for this lifetime. However, some other possible suggestions are provided.

Take the time to cultivate patience in our speech, actions, and treatment of others.

See the things that we are grasping tightly to. Reflect as to for possible reasons why.

Take time out of your busy day, far away from the time juggling, and reactivity. It could be something as simple as sitting on a bench looking at the sky, walking slowly and listening to contemplative music, having a cup of your favorite hot beverage, or traveling by foot or car without any apparent goal.

See which daily are not in balance and work diligently to make small improvements.

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