The seventeen verses of the Dhammapada chapter named ‘Thirst’ cover some of the most profound teachings in just a few words.
- The thirst of a thoughtless man grows like a creeper; he runs from life to life, like a monkey seeking fruit in the forest.
- Those who are slaves to passions, run down with the stream (of desires), as a spider runs down the web which he has made himself; when they have cut this, at last, wise people leave the world free from cares, leaving all affection behind.
- Give up what is before, give up what is behind, give up what is in the middle, when thou goest to the other shore of existence; if thy mind is altogether free, thou wilt not again enter into birth and decay.
- If a man is tossed about by doubts, full of strong passions, and yearning only for what is delightful, his thirst will grow more and more, and he will indeed make his fetters strong.
My ‘paraphrased’ version
The cravings of grasping beings grow rapidly out of control. They seek to have their innumerable desires quenched while moving frantically about from one unsatisfying situation to another.
Those driven only by their numerous appetites are trapped on an unfulfilling path of incessant hunger. Once free of wanting, one is unburdened by the worries and emotions of their earlier life.
Release yourself from the memories of a hurtful past. Release yourself from dilemmas of the passing present. Release yourself from the planning for a perfect future. When one has liberated the mind from such stories, they are unaffected by the transitions of their lives.
If one is tied to constant uncertainty, motivated solely by inner thirsts, and seeking just momentary amusement, then they will tighten their own created restraints until passing from this life.
- Read about the Ten Bulls listed above and reflect on your life.
- Think about your own ‘mental ocean’ and focus on improving one ‘mental/emotional wave causer.’
- Spend time outside in nature just observing.
- Write a song/poem/story or paint your ‘mental ocean’.
- Observe in others the same and jointly think how to change things internally.