Appamadavagga Talks

Appamadavagga – Refined Mindfulness – Dhammapada 2



For a complete understanding of this sutta in the context intended by an awakened human being please read the linked suttas at the end of this article.. ([x])

The Dhammapada is a twenty-six chapter book in the fifth collection of the Sutta Pitaka known as the Khuddaka Nikaya. The Khuddaka Nikaya is a fifteen-book collection of short texts difficult to classify within the other four volumes. The Dhammapada is a collection of sayings of the Buddha in verse that can be read as a concise though thorough presentation of an awakened human being’s teachings.

The Dhammapada is loosely formatted by topic The individual topic(s) presented in each chapter mostly stand on their own with the understanding that everything the Buddha taught can only be understood and developed skillfully within the context of Dependent Origination and Four Noble Truths. [1,2]

This text is from the second chapter of the Dhammapada. This is called the Appamadavagga and teaches the importance of Right Mindfulness. Many translations substitute heedfulness for mindfulness. The Buddha used the more direct term mindfulness to signify the importance of knowing what to hold in mind and what to recognize as fabricated and abandon. This is the purpose of the Eightfold Path and requires the singular meditation method taught by the Buddha in order to develop Jhana. [3]

By developing Right Mindfulness a wise Dhamma practitioner learns the wisdom of restraint and avoids the self-inflicted pain of identifying with, and reacting to, ordinary phenomena. [4,5]

The Buddha taught Four Foundations Of Mindfulness that are the foundation for Jhana and Right Meditation. This Refined Mindfulness is developed to then be mindful of the Heartwood Of The Dhamma – The Eightfold Path, and other supportive themes of the Buddha’s Dhamma, [6,7]

My comments below are in italics.

Appamadavagga – Refined Mindfulness

Dhammapada 2

Mindfulness is the path to cessation. Those mindful do not suffer. Those mindful have gone beyond suffering.

Clearly knowing the excellence of mindfulness, the wise, exulting in mindfulness and the refuge of Noble Ones.

The wise ones, established in Jhana, steadfast in the Heartwood, they alone are released, freedom beyond compare.

Glorious are those energetic, pure, discerning rightly, restrained, always mindful.

Mindful of Right Effort, a disciple of Heartwood, the wise are an island unto themselves that no flood can overwhelm.

Here again, the Buddha is emphasizing the importance of maintaining focus and direction on the Eightfold Path and avoid the distraction of adapting, accommodating, and embellishing his Dhamma in any manner.

The foolish and ignorant crave mindlessness, the wise know this one treasure.

Mindlessness is holding in mind false and distorting ‘dharmas’ and maintaining any self-referential views rooted in ignorance of Four Noble Truths.

Refrain from mindlessness. Refrain from sensual pleasures. Only those established in Jhana and Refined Mindfulness attain lasting calm.

The wise, looking down from the mountaintop of wisdom, having abandoned mindlessness, established in mindfulness, this peaceful sage observes the foolish and suffering multitude.

Mindful among the mindless, awake among those asleep, the wise advance like a swift horse.

By mindfulness is one exalted. Mindfulness is always praised by the wise, mindlessness always despised.

The Dhamma practitioner who delights in mindfulness and is fearful of mindlessness advances like fire burning away all fetters.

The Buddha offers encouragement knowing the courage needed to abandon foolish entanglements and focus only on his Dhamma.

The Dhamma practitioner who delights in mindfulness and is fearful of mindlessness will not lose the way. They are close to release.

Established in Right Mindfulness a Dhamma practitioner becomes unbound from wrong views rooted in ignorance of Four Noble Truths and avoids the many common distractions prevalent in modern Buddhism By Common Agreement and maintains the clear and direct path to understanding [8]

End Of Section


  1. Dependent Origination – The Paticca Samuppada Sutta
  2. Four Noble Truths – The Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta
  3. Right Meditation – Samadhi – Jhanas
  4. Wisdom Of Restraint
  5. Sallatha Sutta – Two Arrows
  6. Satipatthana Sutta – Four Foundations of Mindfulness
  7. Eightfold Path – The Magga-Vibhanga Sutta
  8. Modern Buddhism – A Thicket Of Views
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My Dhamma articles and talks are based on the Buddha's teachings  (suttas) as preserved in the Sutta Pitaka, the second book of the Pali Canon. I have relied primarily on Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s excellent and insightful translation of the Pali generously made freely available at his website, as well as the works of Acharya Buddharakkhita, Nyanaponika Thera, John Ireland, Maurice Walsh, Hellmuth Hecker, and Sister Khema, among others, as preserved at Access To Insight.

Also, I have found Bhikkhu Bodhi's translations from Wisdom Publications Pali Canon Anthologies to be most informative and an excellent resource.

I have made edits to the suttas from these sources for further clarity, to modernize language, to minimize repetition, and maintain contextual relevance to Dependent Origination and Four Noble Truths. and Dhamma articles and recordings by John Haspel are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


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