on the edge of the forest

There is pleasure
And there is bliss.
Forgo the first to pursue the second.

If you are happy
At the expense of another man’s happiness,
You are forever bound.

You do not what you should.
You do what you should not.
You are reckless, and desire grows.

But the master is wakeful.
He watches his body.
In all his actions he discriminates,
And he becomes pure.

He is without blame
Though once he may have murdered
His mother and his father,
Two kings, a kingdom, and all its subjects.

Though the kings were holy
And their subjects among the virtuous,
Yet is he blameless.

The followers of the awakened
And day and night they watch
And meditate upon their master.

Forever wakeful,
They mind the law.
The know their brothers on the way.
They understand the mystery of the body.
They find joy in all beings.
They delight in meditation.

It is hard to live in the world
And hard to live out of it.
It is hard to be one among many.

And for the wanderer, how long is the road
Wandering through many lives!

Let him rest.
Let him not suffer.
Let him fall not into suffering.

If he is a good man,
A man of faith, honoured and prosperous,
Wherever he goes he is welcome.

Like the Himalayas
Good men shine from afar.

But bad men move unseen
Like arrows in the night.


Alone with yourself,
Never weary.

On the edge of the forest
Live joyfully,
Without desire.

From: The Buddha – Dhammapada
rendered by Thomas Byrom
Shambhala Press, 1976