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  • The DhammapadaYamaka Vagga VivaraaAn Exposition of the Twin Verses

    Volume No 1

    Ven Dr Bokanoruwe Dewananda

  • The Sangha Sunday School Meditation Class

    Helping the Untouchables Wheelchairs for the handicapped

    Dhamma for the Deaf


    Continuing the spread of Buddhism in Malaysiafor over 116 years .

    Millions have benefitted from the selfless dedication of our Sangha, volunteer teachers & friends of

    the Vihara obtaining Buddhist education, free publications, counselling, blessings,

    welfare assistance, etc.

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    1st Print March 2011 (1,000 copies)

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  • The Gift of Truth excels all other GiftsTHE DHAMMAPADA

    The Buddhas Path of Wisdom

    Ven Dr Bokanoruwe Dewananda

    2555 - 2011

  • Table of contents:


    Pronunciation Drill Of The Pli Alphabet ....................................... i - ii

    Preface (Prologue) ...................................... iii - iv A Humble Word From The Composer ............................................ v - vi A Brief Introduction Of The Dhammapada .............................................. 01 - 07

    Yamaka Vagga The Pair (English Version) ......................... 08 - 37

  • i

    Pronunciation Drill Of The Pi Alphabet

    Letters Pronounce as Letters Pronounce as

    a as u in cut as gn in Singnor

    as a in chart as t in short

    i as i in link as d in did

    as i in machine as n hint

    u as u in should p as p in pop

    as u in pool b as b in nib

    e as e in then m as m in rim

    as a in fate y as y in yard

    o as o in not r as r in run

    as o in bow l as l in London

    k as k in kite v as v in via

    g as g in girl s as s in sing

    as ng in ring h as h in hurt

    c as ch in rich as l in felt

    J as j in jet as ng sing

  • ii

    The vowels e and o are pronounced always with a long sound when they do not follow double consonant, e.g., ettha, oha.

    and are pronounced the same way without any difference. However, the former may not stand at the end, but is followed by a consonant of its group.

    T and d produce dental sound. They are pronounced with the tip of the tongue placed against the front upper teeth.

    Like kh aspirates are pronounced with an h sound immediately following, as in loghead, pighead, etc.

  • iii


    In the Buddhist world, there is no other book among the Buddhist scriptures, which have received much more popularity than the Dhammapada. It is really a treasure of Dhamma, which contains invaluable guidelines and instructions for the people to lead a successful, peaceful and joyful life without even the slightest hindrance to other people. The special characteristic of these words of Dhamma is that they are applicable to any individual or any society without the restrictions of time and space.

    The Dhammapada presents its doctrinal points and ethical instructions focusing on every aspect of human life in a social context. It seeks the physical wellbeing as well as spiritual progress of the people in a harmonious society. It takes the individuals into its account as social beings who should lead their lives focusing on mutual happiness. Therefore, it can be said that the value of the Dhammapada extends its territory over the whole human society transcending narrow racial, religious and colour boundaries.

    The Dhammapada contains four hundred and twenty-three verses in Pli grouped under twenty-six chapters. Each chapter deals with a different subject, which pays attention to one of the aspects of human life. Utterances contained in the Dhammapada are accepted to be presented by the Buddha out of great compassion towards human beings. The Buddha expected his teachings to bring forth the highest happiness, which is unmixed with lust, hatred and delusion to be achieved by human beings. Therefore, all these utterances of the Buddha undoubtedly pave the way for people to obtain the happiness of life and at the same time ensuring the well-being of others. There is no other way to happiness, which ensures the happiness of others besides the way, which leads to spiritual perfection. The Dhammapada provides

  • iv

    the necessary guidelines for man to tread the way towards such kind of happiness.

    The present world is desperately in need of a secure path, which provides peace and mutual happiness. The world has already acquired enough resources, which can bring about material perfection to mankind. The way, which leads to sensory gratification through material accomplishment, has already provedits failure to achieve peace, concord and integrity among mankind. These values are the most important requirements for peace and happiness in the mind of the people. The Dhammapada has a special appeal to the modern global society, which is deteriorating in respect of spiritual well-being more than ever before.

    Venerable Dr. Bokannoruwe Dewananda who is the author of the present work deserves the special honour and respect for his valuable attempt to make people know at least one chapter of the Dhammapada. Without making known to people the important ethical instructions of the Dhammapada, there is no way to bring forward their values for the benefit of the society. An attempt to popularize the Dhammapada in the society is no doubt a great contribution to mankind.

    Venerable Dr. Dewananda has already published several priceless academic books and constantly engages in researches in the field of Buddhist studies and tries to bring forward their findings for the welfare of those who are interested in Buddhist studies. The present work, the translation with notes of Yamaka-vagga, the first chapter of the Dhammapada is certainly an invaluable contribution to general readers.

    Prof. Kapila Abhayawansa,Dean, Faculty of Religious Studies,International Buddhist College,Thailand

  • v

    A humble word from the Composer

    I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude to all those whose generous assistance and co-operation helped bring my work to readers in the United States, West and the Asia.

    I am sincerely grateful to Most Venerable K. Sri Dhammaratana Nayaka Maha Thero, the Chief Sangha Nayaka of Malaysia and Chief Monk of the Buddhist Maha Vihara in Malaysia, the resident monks and the Viharas Committee of Management for supporting the publication of this booklet.

    I am also ever grateful to Most Venerable Buttawatte Saranankara Nayaka Maha Thero, the Adhikarana Sangha Nayaka of Malaysia and Chief Monk of the Sri Lanka Buddhist Temple in Malaysia and the resident monks for their assistance as well.

    I gratefully thank the Most Venerable Kokkavita Wipulasara Thero, abbot of the Florida Buddhist Vihara, for providing me with the opportunity to practice the Dhamma here in the United States. Likewise, I am indebted to the Venerable M. Ananda Thero, resident monk of the Florida Buddhist Vihara, for his most gracious support.

    I heartily thank Ms. Kathy Nappier for her editorial services and proof-reading in my present work. My very special thanks are due with Dr. Jeffrey Samuels, Associate Professor, Western Kentucky University in USA, who rendered a great support for this work. I am most beholden to all the devotees whose list of names would fill an entire page - who have graciously and unselfishly provided for my necessities during my pursuit of this work.

  • vi

    My blessings and gratitude to all the donors for the publication of this booklet. There is no greater gift than the gift of the Buddhas Vacana to the world.

    I, indeed, must remember the great name, Prof. Kapila Abhayawansa, Dean, Faculty of Religious Studies, International Buddhist College, Thailand, respectfully who wrote an excellent preface.

    My very special thanks go to Prof. Senarath Wijayasundara who always assists me academically.

    I owe a debt of gratitude to cover designer, Mr. Brian Amanda Johnson for his beautiful cover art and his invaluable technical assistance in the publication of this book.

    As always, my special thanks are due to Mr. Karunarathne and Mrs. K.Weliwatta who have always assisted me in my religious services in Sri Lanka.

    And last, but by no means least, it is my very great and happy duty to express deepest appreciation to all my Dhamma teachers and my beloved parents.


  • An Exposition of the Twin Verses


    A brief introduction of the Dhammapada

    Buddhism is for everyone. It serves humanitys well being in two ways: spiritual and material. Outstanding Buddhist discovery is applicable to the public as well as to the scholar. The Golden Door of the Buddhism is open for everyone who is truly interested in its essence. The Buddha greets and blesses entire universe, whole-heartedly saying thus, sabbe satt bhavantu sukhitatt. May all beings be well and happy. It is His gentle and pure thoughts, which arise out of genuine compassion. He feeds children with sweets while feeding elders and wise ones with due precise nutritious meals. Buddhism has shown an outstanding anagrikapaipad (a way of renouncing the home) to the Buddhist Community of Monks and agrikapaipad (a way of household life) to the lay society. Both ways can be found in the Dhammapada (The Buddhas Path of Wisdom).

    Social, cultural, ethical, philosophical and economical characteristics are summed up in the unique Path of Enlightenment (Dhammapada). The Dhammapada is one of the thirty-one books that comprise the Khuddakanikya (collection of the minor sayings). Khuddakanikya belongs to the Suttapitaka (the portion of the Buddhist scripture containing discourses).The Three Baskets - Sutta Piaka, Vinaya Piaka and Abhidhama Piaka - contain the essence of the Buddhas discovery.

    Any reality-seekers, with a pure interest in promoting transcendental, everlasting Happiness in their lives, irrespective of caste, race, class, creed, religion or faith, can use this Treatise of Wisdom as a handbook. A faithful, virtuous man can achieve supramundane rapture that is beyond worldly pleasure, and can gain the highest spiritual level, whereby he purifies himself by practicing the golden guidance and instruction of the Dhammapada continuously.

  • Yamaka Vagga Vivaraa


    The Path of Wisdom is not a book that should be read in one breath, like an interesting novel. Of course, it is a very interesting book to truthseekers. Therefore, it should be read mindfully in order to gain spiritually profitable achievement. It should be used daily by those who need mental solace and purification.

    The Dhammapada came to existence in its present form after the First Council, which was held three months after Buddhas Great Passing-away. It was held at the Saptaparni cave under the patronage of King Ajsatta, and Venerable Maha Kassapa was the chairperson. The Arahantas, who congregated at the assembly to amend the Buddhist Teaching, collected all poetic sayings that was scattered throughout the entire Pli cannon, then codified and categorized the compendium in its new form, naming it the Dhammapada (The Path of Wisdom).

    The word Dhammapada can be separated into two forms grammatically as Dhamma and Pada. The Pli word Dhamma is abundant with meaning, but here it relates specifically with the Buddhist Teaching. Pada denotes division, section, parts or portions. So, Dhammapada together may be said to translate as Portion of the Dhamma or the Path of the Dhamma. It really is quite difficult to render an elegant and appropriate English word for the Dhammapada.

    Four hundred and twenty-three stanzas are comprised in the 26 main chapters with relevant stories to each verse. The Buddha, throughout His ministry of forty-five years, delivered these exhortations. They were delivered in different places with regards to the varied matters that arose within contemporary society. He preached each sermon to suit listeners attitudes and temperaments.

  • An Exposition of the Twin Verses


    The Dhammapada verses exhibit moral values, Buddhist philosophical views, ethics, human attitudes and characteristics with very appropriate illustrations. Each chapter narrates different perspectives relating to human beings worldly and spiritual lives. Every chapter has been named based on what is mainly explained therein.

    In its very first two verses, the Dhammapada, an ancient Buddhist Holy Text, explores the good and bad mental thoughts that could be related in Kamma (cause and effects). What you are now is the result of what you were in the past, what you will be in the next moment, the result of what you are now. The consequences of evil deeds generated by unwholesome thoughts follows like a carts wheels follow the oxs feet. The consequences of good things generated by wholesome thoughts follow like ones shadow. No one can do more for you than your own self by restraining well your own mind. No mother or father or friend or brother or sister. No one can purify your thoughts and deeds for you. A well-disciplined mind ever brings inner peace, harmony, transcendental satisfaction and happiness.

    One should peruse the Dhammapada with no less than genuine interest. The whole of the Path of Virtue should be read continuously with whole-hearted intention to foster ones material and spiritual life with its stories and doctrinal explanations. This outstanding and noble guidance, its instructions and basic teaching, can be taken into practice very practically in ones day to day life. Dhamosadha sama natthi eta pibatha bhikkhavo. O, Venerable monks, there is no any equal medicine for my teaching, so, drink it very happily. Happily he lives who practices the Dhamma well.

  • Yamaka Vagga Vivaraa


    Idha nandati pecca nandati Katapuo ubhayattha nandati Pua me katanti nandati Bhiyyo nandati suggatim gato

    Here he gratifies, hereafter he gratifies. In both states the well-doer benefits. Wholesome things have I done (thinking thus), he gratifies. Furthermore, he benefits, when he is born into a blissful state.

    The Buddha employed very simple and meaningful similes suitable for everyone when He described certain doctrinal points. All those similes create an easy way for the listeners to attain right understanding. For example: the similes of the well thatched house, of ones shadow, of an ill-thatched house, etc

    The Dhammapada is well known and one of the most popular codification among Buddhists. It enjoys great popularity and ranks high as one of the worlds great religious classics. It was composed in the ancient Pli language as an anthology of verses constituting a perfect compendium of the Buddhas great and noble message. Its...


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