Opposite Ways

The experience of life is created by mind.
Thought precedes experience.
If one speaks and acts with a clouded mind,
suffering follows,
as the wheel of the ox-cart follows the ox.

The experience of life is created by mind.
Thought precedes experience.
If one speaks and acts with a clear mind,
contentment follows like a faithful shadow.

“He insulted me!  He attacked me!
He cheated me!  He robbed me!”
One who holds these thoughts
will never be free of hate.

“He insulted me!  He attacked me!
He cheated me!  He robbed me!”
One who is free of these thoughts will be free of hate.

Hatred in this world is not ended by hating.
Hatred is ended by not hating.
This truth has no exceptions.

Most people forget they will soon be dead.
Those who remember
put an end to their quarrels.

One who lives for pleasure, senses unchecked,
who eats too much, works too little,
and lacks vital energy,
is bent to the intent of Mara the Beguiler,
just as a weak tree is bent by the wind.

One who is unmoved by pleasure, senses restrained,
who eats in moderation, works diligently,
and retains vital energy, is not beguiled by Mara,
just as a rock is not ruffled by wind.

One who would wear the saffron robe
who is clouded, lacking virtue, and ignorant of truth,
is not worthy of the saffron robe.

One who would wear the saffron robe
who is clear, well established in virtue and truth,
is worthy of the saffron robe.

One who takes the unreal to be real
will never see the Real,
being beguiled by the unreal.

One who knows the unreal is not real
will come to see the Real,
being no longer beguiled by the unreal.

Desire permeates a clouded mind
as rain permeates a badly thatched house.

Desire does not permeate a clear mind,
as rain does not permeate a well-thatched house.

Selfish action brings grief.
Grief now, grief hereafter, grief in both.
Seeing the selfishness of one’s actions,
one forever grieves.

Selfless action brings joy.
Joy now, joy hereafter, joy in both.
Seeing the selflessness of one’s actions,
one is free of grief.

He who does evil suffers.
Suffers now, suffers hereafter.
In both he knows, “I have done evil.”
He burns in torment at the thought of his evil,
and is born into a realm of suffering.

He who does good is content.
Content now, content hereafter.
In both he knows, “I have done good.”
He rejoices in the thought of his goodness,
and exists in a state of contentment.

One who recites many religious teachings,
but is careless about putting them into practice,
is like a cowherd counting cows that are not his.
He cannot taste the milk of spiritual life.

One who recites few religious teachings,
but is faithful to Dhamma,
who has overcome desire, hatred, and delusion,
whose mind is clear,
who clings to nothing now or hereafter,
indeed lives the life of spirit.


Awareness is the domain of no-death.
Delusion is the domain of death.
One who abides in Awareness cannot die.
One who abides in delusion remains dead.

The wise, knowing Awareness,
rejoicing in Awareness,
abide with delight in the domain of the great.

The wise – earnest in meditation,
Self-remembered, absorbed in Awareness –
realize boundless Nirvana,
and secure the peace of freedom.

Glory grows fro one who is energetic, self-remembered,
considerate, restrained, selfless, mindful,
and who lives Dhamma.

The wise, through energy and mindfulness,
earnestness and restraint,
become an island no flood can submerge.

The foolish abandon themselves to delusion.
The wise treasure only Awareness.

Do not succumb to delusion.
Do not devote your energy to desire.
Aware and self-remembered,
the wise are content and fulfilled.

The sage, his ignorance dissolved in Awareness,
abides sorrowless at the summit of insight,
and looks upon the deluded, sorrowing masses,
as one gazing from a mountaintop
on the valley below.

Aware among the deluded,
awake among the sleeping,
the sage moves effortlessly to the fore,
like a racehorse running with nags.

With Awareness, Indra became supreme among gods.
Awareness is ever revered.
Delusion is ever rejected.

The seeker who reveres Awareness and rejects delusion
becomes like a fire,
burning through the fetters of bondage.

The seeker who reveres Awareness and rejects delusion
cannot fail.
Nirvana is ever near.


Mind is erratic, restless,
difficult to observe, difficult to control.
The sage sets it straight,
as the fletcher sets straight an arrow.

Like a fish taken from water and thrown on the ground,
the mind twists and struggles
in Mara’s domain of death.

Mind is capricious,
flitting where it pleases, difficult to tame.
It is good to tame the mind.
The tamed mind becomes content.

Mind is ephemeral,
appearing where it pleases, difficult to observe.
It is good to observe the mind.
The observed mind becomes still.

Mind is intangible.
Alone, wandering far, it haunts the cave of the heart.
One who masters the mind
breaks the bonds of Mara.

One whose mind is unruly,
who does not know Dhamma,
who waivers in faith,
will not be fulfilled.

He has no fear whose mind is still,
who is free of desire,
who sees through the illusion of good and evil.
He is Awake.

Seeing the body is fragile as a vase,
fortify the citadel of the mind.
Engage Mara with Awareness.
Guard what you gather without being attached.

Alas, soon enough,
this body will lie on the ground.
Cast off, lifeless, devoid of consciousness,
useless as a piece of rotten wood.

Whatever an enemy may do to an enemy,
or one man of hate do to another,
far greater harm is done to oneself
by the ignorance of one’s own mind.

Whatever a father or mother
or any other relative can give to a child,
far greater good is bestowed on oneself
by the clarity of one’s own mind.


Who shall master the earth and gods,
and conquer the death-realm of Yama?
Who chooses Dhamma,
as an expert chooses a flower?

The earnest seeker shall master the earth and gods,
and conquer the death-realm of Yama.
The earnest seeker chooses Dhamma,
as an expert chooses a flower.

Knowing the body to be as insubstantial as foam,
seeing it has no more substance than a mirage,
one breaks the flower-tipped arrows of Mara
and becomes invisible to the Lord of Death.

One absorbed in plucking the sense-flowers of Mara
is surprised by death and swept suddenly away,
like a sleeping village in the path of a great flood.

One obsessed with plucking the sense-flowers of Mara
is never satisfied,
and all too soon drowns in death.

The sage wanders through life
as the bee wanders from flower to flower.
Nectar is taken, but the beauty and fragrance
of the blossom is untouched.

Do not concerned yourself with the faults of others,
with what they have done or not done.
Think only of what you have done,
and have yet to do.

Elegant words, spoken but not lived,
are beautiful flowers with no fragrance
or promise of fruit.

Elegant words, lived as they are spoken,
are beautiful, fragrant flowers
destined to bear fruit.

Just as many garlands
can be fashioned from a heap of flowers,
so a man can fashion many good things from his life.

The fragrance of flowers
does not travel against the wind.
Nor does the perfume of sandalwood,
rosebay, or jasmine.
Yet the scent of a virtuous life
does travel against the wind.
It imbues the far reaches of everywhere.

The perfumes of sandalwood,
crepe jasmine, blue lotus, flowering jasmine –
none surpass the fragrance of virtue.

The fragrances of sandalwood and jasmine
are barely detectable compared to the perfume
of a virtuous life.
It permeates even the realm of the gods.

Those who abound in virtue,
who live in Awareness, who realize the Real,
are invisible to Mara the Beguiler.

Just as a beautiful, fragrant lotus blooms
in a pile of garbage beside the road,

so does a follower of the Way of Buddha,
blossom in a world of blind ignorance.

The Deluded

One night is long to the wakeful.
Seven miles is far for the weary.
To the deluded one who do no know Dhamma,
the cycle of birth and death is endless.

If while walking the path
you fail to meet your equal or better,
steadfastly make your way alone.
The deluded are not fit companions.

The deluded one worries, thinking,
“I have sons.  I have wealth.”
He has not even himself,
much less sons or wealth.

The deluded one who knows he is deluded
is to that extent clear.
The deluded one who thinks he sees clearly
is truly deluded.

A deluded man may associate
With an Awakened One his whole life,
yet remain unaware of Dhamma.
Much as the spoon cannot taste soup.

A mindful man, however,
may only briefly encounter an Awakened One,
yet instantly know Dhamma.
Much as the tongue immediately tastes soup.

The deluded one, unaware of his delusion,
is an enemy unto himself.
Committing ignorant deeds,
he reaps bitter fruit.

Deeds done in ignorance bring regret.
Suffering and repentance are extracted.
Weeping covers the face with tears.

Deeds done in Awareness bring no regret.
Joy and happiness well up
and are gladly received.

The deluded one thinks evil tastes sweet
until the consequences ripen.
When the consequences ripen,
there is only misery.

A deluded ascetic may month after month
measure his food with the tip of a blade of grass.
Yet he is not worth a sixteenth part
of one who knows Dhamma.

Like fresh milk,
an evil deed does not immediately sour.
It follows the deluded one,
smoldering like coals covered with ashes,
until it is ready to burn.

For the deluded one,
even spiritual knowledge is harmful.
It goes to his head and causes imbalance.

The deluded aspirant desires unwarranted honors,
preeminence among his fellows,
authority in the monastery,
homage from surrounding households.

“Let both householder and monk believe that I,
my personal self, have achieved great wisdom.
Let them come to me for guidance in all things.”
This is the intention of the deluded aspirant –
to feed desire and pride.

One road leads to earthly delights,
another leads to Nirvana.
Let the observer of the Way of Buddha
delight not in honors but in solitude.

The Sage

Look upon the man who tells you your faults
as a revealer of hidden treasure.
Associate with the sage who sees clearly
and speaks reprovingly.
Only good can come of this.

The sage counsels, corrects,
deters one from base behavior.
Seeing good, he is pleasant.
Seeing bad, he is unpleasant.

Do not choose vulgar companions.
Do not associate with low people.
Associate with noble companions and worthy friends.

One who drinks deeply of Dhamma
Rests at ease with a clear mind.
The sage delights always in Dhamma –
the great noble Truth.

Irrigators straighten water.
Fletchers straighten arrows.
Carpenters straighten lumber.
The sage straightens himself.

Like a boulder in the wind,
the sage is not stirred by praise or blame.

Like a deep, still lake,
the sage is clear in the presence of Dhamma.

The realized man is attached to nothing.
The wise do not make small talk for enjoyment.
Sometimes visited by pleasure,
sometimes visited by pain,
the sage is neither elated nor depressed.

Do not for your own or for another’s sake
crave children, wealth, or empire.
Do not pursue prosperity at all costs.
Be virtuous, noble, wise.

Few in this world cross to the far shore.
The multitudes scurry back and forth on the near bank.

Only those who live Dhamma cross to the far shore.
It is difficult to break free of death.

The sage turns his back on darkness
and walks in light.
Moving from the familiar to no place at all,
he lives a solitude few can enjoy.

And there he finds bliss.
Free of possessions, free of desire,
free of all that clouds the mind.

One whose mind has been stilled by Awareness,
who enjoys with indifference freedom from bondage,
who is pure and radiant in this realm of dark passion –
such a one, even in mortal life,
has realized Nirvana.

The Realized

For one whose search has ended,
who is free of sorrow, who is free in every way,
who is liberated from all bonds,
the fever of life as broken.

The Awakened One moves on
and delights in no place.
Like a swan migrating from lake to lake,
he abandons every home.

One who know the source of food
has no desire to hoard it.
Realizing emptiness, he is free and unconditioned.
Like a bird in flight,
his movements leave no trace.

One whose desires are extinguished
cares nothing even for food.
Realizing emptiness, he is free and unconditioned.
Like a bird in flight,
his movements leave no trace.

To one who controls his senses
as a charioteer controls his horses,
who is free of pride and obsessions,
even the gods pay homage.

Accepting as the ground of earth,
anchored as the gatepost of a city,
tranquil as a pond free of silt – for such a one,
wandering through birth and death is finished.

His thoughts are stilled.
His words are stilled.
His work has come to an end.
He has realized perfection.

One who has realized the uncreated Void
has no need of faith and belief.
He has severed all bonds, broken all links,
and completely let go.
He is indeed supreme among men.

Whether village or forest, valley or mountain,
the Awakened One delights in where he is.

He delights in forests other people shun.
Free of preferences and passion,
he delights in everything.