Greater And Lesser Happiness – Pakinnkavagga – Dhammapada 21

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Introduction

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 Pakinnakavagga is a broad presentation of the Buddha’s Dhamma with a common emphasis on recognizing and abandoning unskillful “dharmas” while recognizing and skillfully developing the Heartwood Of The Dhamma.

My comments below are in italics.

 

Greater And Lesser Happiness – Pakinnkavagga

Dhammapada 21

It is by releasing the bond to lesser happiness that the wise develop the greater happiness. The wise, understanding the greater, renounce the lesser.

Those entangled by the bonds of hate, seeking happiness while hurting others, can never be released from hatred.

The defilements only increase for the arrogant and mindless who avoid what is skillful and join with what is unskillful.

The defilements cease for those with refined mindfulness who clearly understand (Four Noble Truths), who practice Jhana, abandon what is unskillful, and develop what is skillful. [4] Teaching An Authentic Dhamma

The wise Dhamma practitioner, having slain mother and father, two warrior-kings, a tiger, and conquered a country, travel in peace.

Month and father represent craving rooted in I-making (conceit). Two warrior kings represent extreme views ignorant of Four Noble Truths. A tiger represents the Five Hindrances. A country represents the six-sense-base. [5] Wisdom Of Restraint

The wise Dhamma practitioner, having slain mother and father, two warrior-kings, a tiger, and conquered a country, travel without regret.

The wise Dhamma practitioner always happily awaken who constantly take refuge in the Buddha.

The wise Dhamma practitioner always happily awaken who constantly take refuge in the Dhamma.

The wise Dhamma practitioner always happily awaken who constantly take refuge in a well-focused Sangha.

These last three reference establishing a true refuge in the Buddha, his Dhamma, and a well-focused and well-informed Sangha. [6]  True Refuge – The Ratana Sutta

The wise Dhamma practitioner always happily awaken who constantly practice the Four Foundations Of Mindfulness.  [7] Satipatthana Sutta – Four Foundations of Mindfulness  

The wise Dhamma practitioner always happily awaken who constantly delight in Metta.

The wise Dhamma practitioner always happily awaken who constantly practice Jhana.  [8] Right Meditation – Samadhi – Jhanas  

The life of the wise Dhamma practitioner is difficult and hard to delight in. The living death of ignorance is difficult and full of sorrow. Association with the un-wise brings suffering. Wandering in confusion and delusion is suffering. Do not wander aimlessly maintaining the distraction of suffering.

The Eightfold Path is not intended to be an escape from reality through continued fabricated views. Right Effort, the sixth factor of the Path guides and informs wise and content engagement with the entire Path.  [9,5] Eightfold Path – The Magga-Vibhanga Sutta

With conviction, the wise Dhamma practitioner is endowed with virtue, good repute, and knowledge. They are always respected.

The wise Dhamma practitioner shines from a great distance like the Himalaya Mountains. Fools are not sen, like an arrow at night.

The wise Dhamma practitioner, having established seclusion, with Right Effort restrains themselves alone, delights in solitude.

Seclusion is the quality of a mind resting in Jhana and remaining secluded from entanglements with worldly events. Seclusion is established in Right meditation and continues off-cushion and framed by the refined mindfulness of the Eightfold Path. [8]

End Of Chapter

 

  1. Pali Canon
  2. Dependent Origination – The Paticca Samuppada Sutta
  3. Four Noble Truths – The Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta
  4. Teaching An Authentic Dhamma
  5. Wisdom Of Restraint
  6. True Refuge – The Ratana Sutta
  7. Satipatthana Sutta – Four Foundations of Mindfulness  
  8. Right Meditation – Samadhi – Jhanas  
  9. Eightfold Path – The Magga-Vibhanga Sutta  

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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 Dhammatalks.org, 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.

 

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