The excerpts of The Dhammapada are considered as the simple and comprehensive representation of Buddhism. This paper discusses some of verses in The Dhammapada.
Verse 2 speaks of having mind precede objects around us. Combining this with verse 6 – which talks about self-control – presents a perfect match. Self-control is never common for any man. Drawn with anger, people’s way is always to resort to quarrel. However, these verses imply that if only one would think and see that there are better ways to resolve things than quarrelling, quarrels will not happen at all. Although feelings and situations may be a reason for quarrelling, practice of thinking and self-control will lead to the better good. These two verses – combined or not – perfectly show that there is always more than what we see and feel. Another good teaching comes in verse 26, which suggests that foolishness is associated with careless living and that a clever and wise man possesses attention.
Attention means vigilance of reality. Failure to be vigilant in what we do, what we hear, where we go, what we take, and so on will most likely lead to uncertain and even dangerous ends. The verse explains that for a man to experience good in life, he must be careful enough not to be attached with bad things, bad decisions, and bad ways. In fact, verse 36 – which talks about guarding one’s mind – explains this even more. As the verse states, guarding one’s mind from any false way will result to happiness.
However, one verse seems to be disturbing in mind. Verses 67 and 68 suggest that if one does not suffer from an act, he did well. Otherwise, he did not do well. Great wickedness is manifested in mankind. Authorities are corrupt; rich people exploit; women are prostituted; children are abused; people are murdered. But some people who do such things suffer; others do not. We cannot say that “wicked” men, who do not suffer for their wickedness, did well, can we? Also, we cannot say that those who suffer should have done better in their wickedness, can we?