Dhammapada 1-2

Today I am going to start a Dhammapada study project because it’s something I’ve been wanting to do and I happen to have the time this morning. I will be using Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s translation. Because I think it has a bit more heart than some of the others. I’m just going to post a section and then post a little bit about my understanding of it. I think the Dhammapada is a really accessible piece of writing.

To begin, here is the first couplet:

Phenomena are preceded by the heart,
ruled by the heart,
made of the heart.
If you speak or act
with a corrupted heart,
then suffering follows you —
as the wheel of the cart,
the track of the ox
that pulls it.

Phenomena are preceded by the heart,
ruled by the heart,
made of the heart.
If you speak or act
with a calm, bright heart,
then happiness follows you,
like a shadow
that never leaves.

And a little string of words expressing my current understanding:

The whole world is with you because the whole world is you. If your heart is breaking, it feels like the world is breaking with it. But there are subtler emotions. If you’re a victim, chances to be a victim present themselves. If you’re defensive, the world presents you with chances to defend. It is all built by our perception.

How do you speak and act with a calm, bright heart? How do you become confident that your perceptions are building your world instead of the world building your perceptions? How do you go from “life is happening to me” to “I am creating my life”? Buddha says reflection, insight. Think about your interconnectedness.

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