Abandon Violence – Dandavagga – Dhammapda 10


The Timeless Relevance Of The Buddha’s Profound Wisdom And True Compassion

Introduction To The Dandavagga

For a complete understanding of the scope and purpose of the Buddha’s Dhamma please read Foundations of the Buddha’s Dhamma on our home page. The Complete Dhammapada, including a contextual introduction and recordings from our 2020 Structured Study of the Dhammapada is available here: Dhammapada Structured Study. 

The Dandavagga is the tenth chapter of the Dhammapada. The relevance of the Dandavagga to current events is remarkable. This chapter is a clear and concise presentation of the development of profound Right View rooted in Jhana Meditation. Here the Buddha reveals the quality of mind developed through the Dhamma that resolves all inner conflict and rage, self-loathing, and harm to self and others that follows continued ignorance of Four Noble Truths.

The underlying theme of the Buddha’s Dhamma is just this: Developing inner peace and calm through understanding the true nature of human suffering. In order to end conflict in the world, each human being has the responsibility to end conflict in their own minds first. As human history has proven, any other grasped-after resolution to conflict can only continue generational and evolutionary ignorance of Four Noble Truths.

Dandavagga – Dhammapada 10
Abandon Violence

My comments below are italicized.

Everyone fears violence and death. Understanding thus, the wise disciple does not harm others or cause others to harm.

Everyone fears violence and holds dear life. Understanding thus, the wise disciple does not harm others or cause others to harm.

One cannot attain happiness while oppressing others with violence.

One will find happiness who does not oppress others with violence.

Angry speech causes harm; retaliation can overcome the mind. Avoid speaking harshly and remain free from harsh retort.

One approaches nibbana, who restrains the tongue and abandons harmful speech.

As a cowherd drives cows with a staff, so too does aging and death drive the lives of people.

The fool does wrong while ignorant and is yet tormented by their hurtful thoughts, words, and deeds, like being burnt by fire.

Inflicting violence on the innocent will bring one of ten states:

Sharp pain – injury – illness – derangement – subjugation – incarceration – loss of family – loss of wealth – loss of shelter – endless wandering in ignorance.

Nakedness, matted hair, filth, fasting, smearing oneself with ashes, nor self-torture, cannot purify one’s mind rooted in doubt and uncertainty.

This last refers to any ascetic or ritualistic practice. These are all aspects of self-violence and are practices Siddartha engaged with and abandoned as “not leading to knowledge.” 

Moderate in clothing, food, shelter, and medicine, poised, calm. Well-concentrated, established in the Eightfold Path and having completely abandoned violence towards all beings, this one is a true Dhamma practitioner.

This last describes behavior guided by the Eightfold Path. 

As rare as a thoroughbred avoiding the whip is a person restrained by modesty and beyond reproach.

Authentic and well-focused Dhamma practitioners were just as rare during the Buddha’s teaching career as they are today.

Like a thoroughbred driven by the whip, be strenuous and diligent while developing understanding.

The wise disciple, well-concentrated, harmless, mindful of the Four Truths, will destroy suffering.

Irrigators guide rivers. Fletchers straighten arrows. Carpenters shape wood. The wise disciple controls themselves.

End Of Chapter


To continue to develop and share the Buddha's timeless wisdom and preserve the legacy of our friend and teacher John Haspel, we offer weekly classes, both online and in person, both residential and local retreats, and our website with its extensive video and audio archive.  None of this would be possible without your support and donations. 

Please continue to support us by donating here:

Thank You!