Free Of Worldly Entanglements – Lokavagga – Dhammapada 13


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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 volume in the fifth book 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 volumes. The Dhammapada is a collection of sayings of the Buddha in verse that can be read as a concise and thorough presentation of an awakened human being’s teachings. [1] Pali Canon

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. [2,3]   Dependent Origination – The Paticca Samuppada Sutta  | Four Noble Truths – The Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

The Lokavagga is the thirteenth chapter of the Dhammapada. It is similar to the Loka Sutta in how it relates Dukkha – stress, ongoing disappointment, “hell” – to becoming mindlessly entangled in a world that is rooted in ignorance of Four Noble Truths. [4]  Becoming Explained   

My comments below are in italics.

The World – Lokavagga

Dhammapada 13

Do not associate with what is offensive. Do not live mindlessly. Abandon fabricated views. Do not dwell in the world.

A common theme throughout the Buddha’s Dhamma is the importance of wise associations practically and conceptually.  [5] Authentic Dhamma   

Be mindful, not mindless!

Live with virtue. The virtuous live happily always.

The living death of ignorance does not touch the wise who know the world is a bubble, like a mirage.

Look at the world. It is like a decorated royal chariot. Here fools wander aimlessly. The wise remain detached.

Those who were once mindless and now are mindful illuminate the world like the moon freed from clouds.

Those who were once hurtful and are now helpful illuminate the world like the moon freed from clouds.

The world is blinded by ignorance. Like birds escaping a net, very few have true insight and develop Nibbana.

It is the nature of a mind – and a world – rooted in ignorance to fabricate subtle and powerful strategies to continue to ignore ignorance of Four Noble Truths. The Buddha taught an Eightfold Path to provide the framework and guidance to recognize and abandon this very specific ignorance. [6]  Eightfold Path – The Magga-Vibhanga Sutta

Swans follow the sun’s path. Worldly people hope to pass through the air by psychic powers. The wise overcome Mara and the world.

The Buddha here is teaching the foolishness of mindlessly following the worldly “flock” of ignorant views hoping to establish “special” or “mystical” states of existence. The wise understand this foolishness arises from ignorance of Four Noble Truths. The malevolent god Mara is a common metaphor for the stress and suffering that follows ignorance of Four Noble Truths. [7]  Mara And Metaphor

The liar who has violated this one law is scorned forever. There is no evil they won’t do.

Misers are bound to the world. Fools scoff at generosity. The wise share freely. This alone brings lasting happiness.

Better than being sovereign over the earth and the heavens is the completion of the Eightfold Path.

End Of Chapter


  1. Pali Canon
  2. Dependent Origination – The Paticca Samuppada Sutta
  3. Four Noble Truths – The Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta
  4. Becoming Explained   
  5. Authentic Dhamma   
  6. Eightfold Path – The Magga-Vibhanga Sutta
  7. Mara And Metaphor
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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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