THE BUDDHA’S WAY OF VIRTUE

The Buddha’s Way of Virtue, by W.D.C Wagiswara and K.J. Saunders, [1920], at sacred-texts.com

The Buddha’s Way of Virtue, by W.D.C Wagiswara and K.J. Saunders, [1920], at sacred-texts.com[p. 1] [p. 2] [p. 3]

The Wisdom of the East Series

EDITED BY

L. CRANMER-BYNG

Dr. S. A. KAPADIA

THE BUDDHA’S

“WAY OF VIRTUE”

A TRANSLATION OF THE DHAMMAPADA

FROM THE PALI TEXT

BY W. D. C. WAGISWARA

AND

K. J. SAUNDERS

MEMBERS OF THE ROYAL ASIATIC SOCIETY, CEYLON BRANCH

LONDON

JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET, W.

[1920]

THE BUDDHIST IDEAL

“Eschew all evil: cherish good: cleanse your inmost thoughts–this is the teaching of Buddhas.”

Dhammapada, 183.

“Everything has two handles, the one by which it may be carried, the other by which it may not… Lay hold of the handle by which it can be carried.”

EPICTETUS (Encheiridion xliii).

[p. 4] [p. 5] [p. 6]

FIRST EDITION…July 1912

Reprinted…October 1920

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

TO

N.P.C.

Scanned, proofed and formatted at sacred-texts.com, March-April 2009. This text is in the public domain in the US because it was published prior to 1923.
The Buddha’s Way of Virtue, by W.D.C Wagiswara and K.J. Saunders, [1920], at sacred-texts.com

[p. 7]

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

<page 9>
NOTE

<page 19>
EDITORIAL NOTE

<page 20>
section I.

THE TWIN TRUTHS

<page 21>
section II.

ZEAL

<page 24>
section III.

THE MIND

<page 26>
section IV.

FLOWERS

<page 28>
section V.

THE FOOL

<page 30>
section VI.

THE WISE MAN

<page 32>
section VII.

THE ARAHAT

<page 34>
section VIII.

THE THOUSANDS

<page 36>
section IX.

VICE

<page 38>
section X.

PUNISHMENT

<page 40>
section XI.

OLD AGE

<page 42>
section XII.

SELF

<page 44>
section XIII.

THE WORLD

<page 46>
section XIV.

THE BUDDHA

<page 48>
section XV.

BLISS

<page 51>
[p. 8]
section XVI.

AFFECTION

<page 53>
section XVII.

ANGER

<page 55>
section XVIII.

SIN

<page 57>
section XIX.

THE RIGHTEOUS

<page 60>
section XX.

THE PATH

<page 62>
section XXI.

MISCELLANY

<page 66>
section XXII.

HELL

<page 68>
section XXIII.

THE ELEPHANT

<page 70>
section XXIV.

DESIRE

<page 72>
section XXV.

THE BHIKKHU

<page 76>
sectionXXVI.

THE BRAHMIN

<page 79>
NOTES

<page 85>
ILLUSTRATIVE SAYINGS OF THE DISCIPLES OF THE BUDDHA

<page 100>
APPENDIX:

THE BUDDHIST IDEA

<page 102>

The Buddha’s Way of Virtue, by W.D.C Wagiswara and K.J. Saunders, [1920], at sacred-texts.com

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INTRODUCTION

section I

THE Dhammapada was accepted at the Council of Asoka in 240 B.C. as a collection of the sayings of Gautama; yet it was not put into writing until some generations had passed, and probably contains accretions of later date.

However that may be, there is no doubt that it breathes the very spirit of the Teacher, and it has always been used in Buddhist lands as a handbook of “devotion” or meditation, in whose solemn precepts men hear the voice of Sakyamuni summoning them to the life of contemplation, of strenuous mind-culture. The world, it tells them, is without permanence or purpose, other than that of expiation; the body is “a nest of disease” and the seat of “desire”; the mind itself is subject to decay, and capricious, easily led away after false pursuits.

Yet here, in the mind of man, lies his hope of salvation: he may make it a strong tower of defence. Though the world is out of gear,

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yet, like the Stoic, he may build within himself a kingdom and be at peace.

And so the call to “play the man” rings out with sturdy confidence. All men may attain, if they will, to happiness and serenity, for, with a modern Stoic, the Buddhist proclaims:

“I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.”

Gautama then was no thoroughgoing pessimist; that such a nature was pessimistic at all is due to the age in which he lived. It was the “sub-conscious mind” of his nation, and not his own brave spirit, that shut him in to the belief in a ceaseless flux of “becoming,” a weary round of pain and retribution. For, by the sixth century B.C., India had passed from the sunny paganism of the Rig Veda into a more thoughtful and more gloomy phase of her religious development.

There were not wanting heroic spirits who offered a way of escape, urging men to plunge into asceticism or to court the mystic trance. These were the religious leaders of the day, at whose feet Gautama sat. Others, the great majority, were not ready for such heroic measures. They tried to square the gods, and to live unmolested, or to forget all in the pleasures of sense or the more subtle joys of the intellect.

To Gautama, all alike seemed “to follow

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wandering fires.” How degrading this thraldom to immoral and capricious gods! How empty and unsatisfying this mysticism when shorn of all ethical content! Which is more to be pitied, the grasping priest or the foolish worshipper? Which more deluded, the worldling or the devotee?

To all alike the Dhammapada has a message of warning and encouragement: to the worldling it holds out the promise of a truer wealth and fame (75, 303) and a more blessed family life (204-7, 302); to the warrior it offers a higher “chivalry” (270) and a more heroic contest (103, 104); to the philosopher a deeper wisdom than much speaking (28, 100, 258); to the mystic a purer and more lasting bliss (197-200); to the devotee a more fruitful sacrifice (106 -7); and to the Brahmin a more ennobling service ( section xxvi) and a more compelling authority (73, 74). It is, in fact, possible largely to reconstruct the religious life of Gautama’s day from the stanzas of the Dhammapada.

For all classes the Buddha has the same message: the great reality is character; all else are shadows not worth pursuing, for none of them strengthens moral fibre, and all alike are tainted with “desire.”

Like Socrates, he saw in himself a physician of the soul, and at times he resorted to surgery to “stab the spirit broad awake,” to call men from superstition on the one hand and materialism

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on the other. With Epictetus he would have said, “A philosopher’s school, my friends, is a surgery, on leaving which you look to have felt, not pleasure but pain.”

Men needed above all things a moral tonic; there lies the secret at once of his stoicism and his agnosticism; luxury here, a barren mysticism there–these were sapping men’s strength, and all the energy they could command was needed in the fight for character. They must strive and agonise to “cut out desire,” to push their way “against the stream,” to cross life’s stormy “ocean” and reach the haven of peace. And they must do it alone, not trusting to priest, or sacrifice, or the help of Heaven.

For this insistence upon morality to the exclusion of “religion” Gautama is often labelled “atheist.” Nothing could be more unfair: agnostic he may have been or seemed to be; but his was no irreligious spirit: the man who scoffs at the “other world” he condemns in uncompromising terms, and Ethics so lofty as this “Way of Virtue” never emanated from any but a reverent spirit. It is one of the puzzles of Psychology that so pure a soul ever stopped short at Ethics; yet we must remember that he was a reformer, that reformers are apt to be one-sided, and that during long and painful years he had suffered at the hands of a false “religiosity”; the iron had entered into his soul.

THE TWIN TRUTHS

FOR the proper understanding of Buddhism these opening stanzas are all-important. One of the Buddha’s key-thoughts was what modern psychologists call the “law of apperception”: the value of things depends upon our attitude to them.

Part of Gautama’s work of reform was a “transvaluation of values,” a shifting of emphasis; and, like the Stoics, he taught the indifference of the things of sense. “Men are disturbed,” said Epictetus, “not by things, but by the view they take of things.”

1. Mind it is which gives to things their quality, their foundation, and their being: whoso speaks or acts with impure mind, him sorrow dogs, as the wheel follows the steps of the draught-ox.

2. Mind it is which gives to things their quality,

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their foundation, and their being: whoso speaks or acts with purified mind, him happiness accompanies as his faithful shadow.

3. “He has abused me, beaten me, worsted me, robbed me”; those who dwell upon such thoughts never lose their hate.

4. “He has abused me, beaten me, worsted me, robbed me “; those who dwell: not upon such thoughts are freed of hate.

5. Never does hatred cease by hating; by not hating does it cease: this is the ancient law.

6. If some there are who know not by such hatred we are perishing, and some there are who know it, then by their knowledge strife is ended.

7. As the wind throws down a shaky tree, so Mara (Death) o’erwhelms him who is a seeker after vanity, uncontrolled, intemperate, slothful, and effeminate.

8. But whoso keeps his eyes from vanity, controlled and temperate, faithful and strenuous, Mara cannot overthrow, as the wind beating against a rocky crag.

9. Though an impure man don the pure yellow robe (of the Bhikkhu), himself unindued with temperance and truth, he is not worthy of the pure yellow robe.

10. He who has doffed his impurities, calm and clothed upon with temperance and truth, he wears the pure robe worthily.

11. Those who mistake the shadow for the

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substance, and the substance for the shadow, never attain the reality, following wandering fires (lit. followers of a false pursuit).

12. But if a man knows the substance and the shadow as they are, he attains the reality, following the true trail.

13. As the rain pours into the ill-thatched house, so lust pours into the undisciplined mind.

14. As rain cannot enter the well-thatched house, so lust finds no entry into the disciplined mind.

15. Here and hereafter the sinner mourns: yea mourns and is in torment, knowing the vileness of his deeds.

16. Here and hereafter the good man is glad: yea is glad and rejoices, knowing that his deeds are pure.

17. Here and hereafter the sinner is in torment: tormented by the thought “I have sinned”; yea rather tormented when he goes to hell.

18. Here and hereafter the good man rejoices; rejoices as he thinks “I have done well”: yea rather rejoices when he goes to a heaven.

19. If a man is a great preacher of the sacred text, but slothful and no doer of it, he is a hireling shepherd, who has no part in the flock.

20. If a man preaches but a little of the text and practises the teaching, putting away lust and hatred and infatuation; if he is truly wise and detached and seeks nothing here or hereafter, his lot is with the holy ones.
The Buddha’s Way of Virtue, by W.D.C Wagiswara and K.J. Saunders, [1920], at sacred-texts.com

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