Sri Lanka currently is the oldest living Buddhist tradition in the world. Buddhism arrived in the country in the 3rd century and has been protected and preserved since. Sri Lanka practices the Theravada school of Buddhism, and it is claimed to adhere most closely to the original doctrines and practices taught by the Buddha.
On my part, my upbringing has been with mixed ethnic ties and religious influences. Though I studied, wrote and aced religion at school my family has been quite loose about following anything strictly. Buddhism was my selected choice of religion to study; mainly because I didn’t have any other option as I went to a school which only taught Buddhism. I’ve forgot most of what I’ve studied decades ago, but somethings just stay in your memory due to their universal and timeless relevance.
Buddhism teaches us that all things are impermanent, but even (approximately) 2,443 years after the Gauthama Buddha’s passing away, the relevance of his teachings seem infinite.
Here are a few chosen verses from the Dhammapada (Way of Truth)
The Dhammapada is a well known and widely esteemed text in the Pali Tripitaka, the sacred scriptures of Theravada Buddhism. It is a collection of the Buddha’s various discourses given in the course of forty-five years of teaching. They are clear, witty, convincing and easily understood even by a child, very often spoken with the use of similes.
Verses Regarding Anger (Kodhavagga)
Akkodhena jine kodham
asadhum sadhuna jine
jine kadariyam danena
Conquer the angry one by not getting angry (i.e., by loving-kindness), conquer the wicked by goodness, conquer the stingy by generosity, and the liar by speaking the truth.
Na hi verena verani
esa dhammo sanantano.
Hatred is, indeed, never appeased by hatred in this world, it is appeased only by loving-kindness, this is an ancient law.
Verses Regarding Happiness (Sukhavagga)
nibbanam paramam sukham
Health is the greatest gift, contentment is the greatest wealth, a trusted friend is the best relative, Nibbana is the greatest bliss.
Verses Regarding the Mind (Chittavagga)
The mind wanders far and moves about alone, it is non-material, it lies in the cave (chamber) of the heart.
Verses Regarding Flowers (Pupphavagga)
Na paresam vilomani
na paresam katakatam
katani akatani ca.
One should not consider the faults of others, nor their doing or not doing good or bad deeds, one should consider only whether one has done or not done good or bad deeds.
kayira malagune bahu
evam jatena maccena
kattabbam kusalam bahum.
As from a collection of flowers, many a garland can be made by an expert florist, so also, much good can be done with wealth, out of faith and generosity.
a pupphagandho pativatameti
na candanam tagara mallika va
satanca gandho pativatameti
sabba disa sappuriso pavayati.
Cadanam tagaram vapi
uppalam atha vassiki
The scent of flowers cannot go against the wind, nor the scent of sandalwood, nor of rhododendron (tagara), nor of jasmin (mallika). Only the reputation of good people can go against the wind. The reputation of the virtuous ones is wafted abroad in all directions.
Verses Regarding Fools (Balavagga)
Digha jagarato ratti
digham santassa yojanam
digho balana samsara.
Long is the night to one who is wakeful, long is the journey to the traveller who is tired, long is samsara (round of rebirths) to the fool.
ekacariyaram dalham kayira
natthi bale sahayata.
If a person seeking a companion cannot find one who is better than or equal to him, let him resolutely go on alone, there can be no companionship with a fool.
Putta ma’tthi dhanam ma’ tthi
iti balo vihannati
atta hi attano natthi
kuto putta kuto dhanam.
“I have sons, I have wealth,” with this (feeling of attachment) the fool is afflicted. Indeed, he himself is not his own, how can sons and wealth be his?
Ya balo mannati balyam
panditovapi tena so
balo ca panditamani
av e baloti vuccati.
The fool who knows that he is a fool can, for that reason, be a wise man, but the fool who thinks that he is wise is, indeed, called a fool.
Verses Regarding the Wise (Pandithavagga)
Udakam hi nayanti nettika
usukara namayanti tejanam
darum namayanti tacchaka
attanam amayanti pandita.
Farmers (makers of irrigation canals) channel the water, fletchers straighten the arrow, carpenters work the timber, the Wise tame themselves.
Selo yatha ekaghano
vatena na samirati
na saminjanti pandita.
As a mountain of rock is unshaken by wind, so also, the wise are unperturbed by blame or by praise.
Verses Regarding the Path (Maggavagga)
“Sabbe sankhara anicca” ti
yada pannaya1 passati
atha nibbindati dukkhe
esa maggo visuddhiya.
“All conditioned phenomena are impermanent,” when one sees this with Insight-wisdom, one becomes weary of dukkha (suffering), this is the Path to Purity.
If you would like to read more of the Dhammapada teachings below is a great resource, which was also my reference source for the verses and translations.
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