Dhammapda Chapter 11: Learned Practitioners


The verses used below are from the Dhammapada chapter called “The Just.” It reinforces the idea that we are not considered wise by any age, title, or birthright that we achieve. It is our actions alone that determine how our knowledge should be viewed by others.

Müller version


  1. A man is not learned because he talks much; he who is patient, free from hatred and fear, he is called learned.
  2. He in whom there is truth, virtue, love, restraint, moderation, he who is free from impurity and is wise, he is called an elder.
  3. An envious greedy, dishonest man does not become respectable by means of much talking only, or by the beauty of his complexion.

My ‘paraphrased’ version

 One’s wisdom is not shown by how long that they speak. A wise person is deliberate in their speech and actions. They are liberated from worry and disrespect of others.

Those embracing the ethical practices of the Buddha, and are liberated from mental distractions, they may be called a worthy teacher.

Those trapped into lying, jealousy and desiring to acquire will not have a good reputation due to their lengthy speech or sheer good looks.


  1. Ask the above questions as others as you go through your day.
  2. Focus on one Brahmavihara or Paramita for a given time until you have learnt it thoroughly. Revisit it at a later point as a refresher.
  3. Practice loving-kindness meditation.
  4. Seek like-minded people or a community that also practice these key qualities. Time away from the “real world” living in such a community may help these practices grow.
  5. There are many on-line commentaries and documents on these qualities that may be helpful in providing some insights. I found Zen teacher Robert Aitken’s work: “The Practice of Perfection” a good read on this topic. See https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/1361/the-practice-of-perfection-by-robert-aitken/9780307817471 for more information.

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