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Dhammapada chp. 8: The Thousands (100–115)

dhp-translation
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#1

A series of posts for my draft translation of the Dhammapada, for feedback and discussion. Final version will be on SuttaCentral.

Better than a thousand
meaningless sayings
is a single meaningful saying,
hearing which brings you peace.

Better than a thousand
meaningless verses
is a single meaningful verse,
hearing which brings you peace.

Better than reciting
a hundred meaningless verses
is a single saying of Dhamma,
hearing which brings you peace.
The supreme conqueror is
not he who conquers a million men in battle,
but he who conquers a single man:
himself.

It is surely better to conquer oneself
than all those other folk.
When a person has tamed themselves,
always living restrained,
no god nor fairy,
nor Māra nor Brahmā,
can undo the victory
of such a one.

Rather than a thousand-fold sacrifice,
every month for a hundred years,
it’s better to honor for a single moment
one who has developed themselves.
That offering is better
than the hundred year sacrifice.

Rather than serve the sacred flame
in the forest for a hundred years,
it’s better to honor for a single moment
one who has developed themselves.
That offering is better
than the hundred year sacrifice.

Whatever sacrifice or offering in the world
a seeker of merit may make for a year,
none of it is worth a quarter
of bowing to the upright.

For one who has the regular custom
of bowing to the elders,
four blessings grow:
lifespan, beauty, happiness, and strength.

Better to live a single day
ethical and absorbed in meditation
than to live a hundred years
unethical and lacking immersion.

Better to live a single day
wise and absorbed in meditation
than to live a hundred years
witless and lacking immersion.

Better to live a single day
energetic and strong,
than to live a hundred years
lazy and lacking energy.

Better to live a single day
seeing rise and fall
than to live a hundred years
blind to rise and fall.

Better to live a single day
seeing the deathless state
than to live a hundred years
blind to the deathless state.

Better to live a single day
seeing the supreme teaching
than to live a hundred years
blind to the supreme teaching.