Profound Contentment – Sukhavagga – Dhammapada 15

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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 though thorough presentation of an awakened human being’s teachings. [1]

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]

The fifteenth chapter of the Dhammapada is the Sukhavagga. Sukkha is a state of profound contentment. The Buddha taught that Dukkha, the state of ongoing confusion, deluded thinking, and ongoing disappointing and unsatisfying experiences is rooted in ignorance of Four Noble Truths.

In this sutta, the Buddha compares the profound contentment established through developing the Eightfold Path to those whose minds are ignorant of Four Noble Truths and the suffering that follows.

My comments below are in italics.

 

Profound Contentment – Sukhavagga

Dhammapada 15

The wise live content within a hostile world. Within a hostile world, the wise remain free of hatred.

The wise live content within a world afflicted by craving. Within an afflicted world, the wise remain free of affliction.

The wise live content within a world afflicted by greed. Within an insatiable world, the wise remain free of greed.

The wise live content possessing nothing. The wise are sustained by peace and understanding.

The fires of passion burn the hottest. Hatred is the highest crime. There is no suffering like the Five Clinging-Aggregates. There is no higher peace than understanding.

The Buddha consistently described the ongoing personal experience of Dukkha as “Five Clinging-Aggregates. [4]

Craving is the worst disease. Conditioned thinking brings the worse suffering. Knowing this as it really is, the wise awaken.

Conditioned thinking is thinking “conditioned” by ignorance and fabricated views. [5]

Good health is highly esteemed. Contentment is the greatest wealth. A trustworthy person is the best friend. Ending ignorance is the highest joy.

Having savored the taste of solitude and release, free of distress, free of greed, aversion, and delusion, the wise Dhamma practitioner drinks deep the taste of Truth.

Association with the Noble Ones is blissful. Encountering fools is stressful.

Association with fools brings constant craving. Association with fools is as painful as partnering with an enemy.

Therefore follow the Noble One who is steadfast, wise, learned, arduous, a person of high integrity. Follow only such a person who is truly pure and wise as the moon follows the stars.

Association with wise Dhamma practitioners – a well-informed and well-focused Sangha – is of paramount importance. [6]

End Of Chapter

 

  1. Pali Canon
  2. Dependent Origination – The Paticca Samuppada Sutta
  3. Four Noble Truths – The Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta
  4. Five Clinging-Aggregates
  5. Fabrications
  6. An Admirable Sangha – Upaddha 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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Becoming-Buddha.com 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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