20. The Chapter about the Path

Maggānaṭṭhaṅgiko seṭṭho, saccānaṁ caturo padā,
The eightfold is the best of paths, four principles (the best) of truths,

virāgo seṭṭho dhammānaṁ, dipadānañ-ca Cakkhumā. [273]
passionlessness the best of states, the Visionary (the best) of men. Lit: of bipeds.


Eso va maggo natthañño, dassanassa visuddhiyā,
This is the path, there is no other, for insight and for purity,

etaṁ hi tumhe paṭipajjatha, Mārassetaṁ pamohanaṁ. [274]
you should enter upon this path, this is the confounding of Māra.


Etaṁ hi tumhe paṭipannā dukkhassantaṁ karissatha,
Having entered upon this path you will make an end to suffering,

akkhāto ve mayā maggo, aññāya sallasanthanaṁ. [275]
the path was declared by me, the removal of the dart by knowledge.


Tumhehi kiccaṁ ātappaṁ akkhātāro Tathāgatā,
Your duty is to have ardour declare the Realised Ones,

paṭipannā pamokkhanti jhāyino Mārabandhanā. [276]
entering this path meditators will be released from the bonds of Māra.


Sabbe saṅkhārā aniccā ti, yadā paññāya passati,
All conditions are impermanent, when one sees this with wisdom,

atha nibbindatī dukkhe – esa maggo visuddhiyā. [277]
then one grows tired of suffering – this is the path to purity.


Sabbe saṅkhārā dukkhā ti, yadā paññāya passati,
All conditions are suffering, when one sees this with wisdom,

atha nibbindatī dukkhe – esa maggo visuddhiyā. [278]
then one grows tired of suffering – this is the path to purity.


Sabbe dhammā anattā ti, yadā paññāya passati,
All components (of mind and body) Comm: sabbe dhammā ti pañcakkhandā. are without self, when one sees this with wisdom,

atha nibbindatī dukkhe – esa maggo visuddhiyā. [279]
then one grows tired of suffering – this is the path to purity.


Uṭṭhānakālamhi anuṭṭhahāno,
The one who has not energy at a time for energy,

yuvā balī, ālasiyaṁ upeto,
youthful, strong, (but) given to laziness,

saṁsannasaṅkappamano kusīto –
whose mind lacks (right) intention and is indolent –

paññāya maggaṁ alaso na vindati. [280]
the lazy one does not find wisdom’s path.


Vācānurakkhī manasā susaṁvuto,
Verbally guarded, well-restrained in mind,

kāyena ca akusalaṁ na kayirā,
not doing a wrong deed with the body,

ete tayo kammapathe visodhaye,
one should purify these three paths of action,

ārādhaye maggaṁ isippaveditaṁ. [281]
one should undertake the path shown by seers.


Yogā ve jāyatī bhūri, ayogā bhūrisaṅkhayo,
From effort arises wisdom, without effort wisdom is destroyed,

etaṁ dvedhāpathaṁ ñatvā bhavāya vibhavāya ca,
having understood these two paths of development and decline,

tathattānaṁ niveseyya yathā bhūri pavaḍḍhati. [282]
one should establish oneself so that one’s wisdom increases.


Vanaṁ chindatha mā rukkhaṁ, vanato jāyatī bhayaṁ,
Cut down the forest (of defilements) Comm: rāgādikilesavanaṁ. not just a tree, from the forest arises a danger,

chetvā vanañ-ca vanathañ-ca, nibbanā hotha bhikkhavo. [283]
having cut down the forest and thicket, you should be without forests, monastics.


Yāva hi vanatho na chijjati
* For as long as an atom of desire This is a play on the word vanatha, which also occurs in the previous verse, and means both a thicket and in metaphorical usage the thicket of desire.

aṇumatto pi narassa nārisu,
of a man for a woman is not cut down,

paṭibaddhamano va tāva so,
for just so long is the mind in bondage,

vaccho khīrapako va mātari. [284]
like a calf (in bondage) to mother’s milk.


Ucchinda sineham-attano,
Cut off (any) affection for one’s self,

kumudaṁ sāradikaṁ va pāṇinā,
like an autumn lotus (plucked) with the hand,

santimaggam-eva brūhaya
develop fully the path to peace and

Nibbānaṁ Sugatena desitaṁ. [285]
Nibbāna taught by the Happy One.


“Idha vassaṁ vasissāmi, idha hemantagimhisu”,
“Here I will dwell during the rains, here during winter and summer”,

iti bālo vicinteti, antarāyaṁ na bujjhati. [286]
in just such a way a fool thinks, not understanding the danger.


Taṁ puttapasusammattaṁ byāsattamanasaṁ naraṁ,
That person whose mind is attached and besotted by cattle and children,

suttaṁ gāmaṁ mahogho va maccu ādāya gacchati. [287]
is snatched away by death just as a sleeping village (by) As we really need an instrumental here, it might have been better to write: suttaṁ gāmaṁ ogheneva. a great flood.


Na santi puttā tāṇāya, na pitā na pi bandhavā,
Children are not a refuge, nor fathers, not even kin,

Antakenādhipannassa natthi ñātisu tāṇatā. [288]
for one overcome by the End-Maker I.e. Māra incarnate, or death. there is no refuge in relatives.


Etam-atthavasaṁ ñatvā, paṇḍito sīlasaṁvuto,
Understanding the truth of this the wise one, endowed with virtue,

Nibbānagamanaṁ maggaṁ khippam-eva visodhaye. [289]
should quickly purify the path that is leading to Nibbāna.

Maggavaggo Vīsatimo
The Chapter about the Path, the Twentieth


Related Verses from the Dhammapada

Yo ca Buddhañ-ca Dhammañ-ca Saṅghañ-ca saraṇaṁ gato,
Whoever has gone for refuge to the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Saṅgha,

cattāri ariyasaccāni sammappaññāya passati: [190]
and who sees with right wisdom the four noble truths:

Dukkhaṁ dukkhasamuppādaṁ dukkhassa ca atikkamaṁ,
Suffering, arising of suffering, and the overcoming of suffering,

ariyañ-caṭṭhaṅgikaṁ maggaṁ dukkhūpasamagāminaṁ. [191]
the eightfold noble path leading to the stilling of suffering.

Etaṁ kho saraṇaṁ khemaṁ, etaṁ saraṇam-uttamaṁ,
That is a secure refuge, that is the refuge supreme,

etaṁ saraṇam-āgamma sabbadukkhā pamuccati. [192]
that is the refuge to come to that liberates from all suffering.


Gambhīrapaññaṁ medhāviṁ, maggāmaggassa kovidaṁ,
The deeply wise sagacious one, skilled in what is path and not path,

uttamatthaṁ anuppattaṁ, tam-ahaṁ brūmi brāhmaṇaṁ. [403]
who has reached the ultimate good, that one I say is a brahmin.