The Restraint Of A Buddha – Buddhavagga Dhammapada 14


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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 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 fourteenth chapter of the Dhammapada is known as the Buddhavagga. Here the Buddha emphasizes a common theme throughout the Sutta’s of wise associations and the importance of developing wise restraint – restraint informed by the Eightfold Path.

My comments below are in italics.

Buddhavagga – The Restraint Of A Buddha

Dhammapada 14

Whose knowledge is unsurpassed? How would you distract him?

Who has abandoned craving and further becoming? Who has cut all entanglements?

Those Rightly Self Awakened, established in Jhana, delighted with a calm mind resting in renunciation, remaining free and mindful. The wise hold these dear.

Human life is rare. Human life is difficult. The chance to hear authentic Dhamma is rare. Awakening is difficult.

Abandon all that is hurtful. Develop what is skillful. Concentrate the mind. This is the teaching of the Buddha.

Patient endurance is the foremost skill. Unbinding the foremost achievement. Those who mislead or hurt others have lost the Dhamma.

Practice the Dhamma in accordance with the Dhamma. With wise restraint do not disparage others, be moderate with food, dwell in seclusion, develop jhana. [4]

Understanding stress the wise Dhamma practitioner knows that a lake of gold coin does not satisfy. The wise Dhamma practitioner delights in the end of craving. This one is a wise Dhamma practitioner.

Escaping to mountains, caves, forests, or shrines brings no protection from ignorance. The supreme refuge of my Dhamma brings release from all confusion, delusion, stress, and suffering.

The Triple-Refuge of the Buddha, the Dhamma, and a well-focused Sangha brings an understanding of Four Noble Truths. The supreme triple-Refuge brings release from all confusion, delusion, stress, and suffering. [5]

The truly pure person is uncommon. It is a lie that one “is everywhere.” The Rightly Self-Awakened one brings true wealth and happiness to their family.

The common misunderstanding, prevalent in modern Buddhism, of “unity consciousness,” “cosmic consciousness,” interdependence, interconnection, and inter-being all contradict the Buddha’s understanding of the conditions that confusion, delusion, and stress and suffering are dependent on for their origination. (as taught in the Patticcasamupada Sutta, the primary sutta on Dependent Origination.) [2]

Fortunate we are for those awakened. Fortunate we are for those teaching the authentic Dhamma. Fortunate we are for a well-informed and well-focused Sangha. Fortunate we are for wise restraint.

Fortunate we are for those that follow those awakened through my Dhamma. Wise Dhamma Practitioners who have abandoned self-identification, greed, and aversion, those fearless and unbound, have abandoned measuring “merit.”

This last shows that the common and prevalent belief in performing certain rituals hoping to gain “merit” from disincarnate beings somehow influencing future events to be favorable is the essence of continued I-Making and only obscures continued ignorance of Four Noble Truths.

End Of Chapter


  1. Pali Canon
  2. Dependent Origination – The Paticca Samuppada Sutta
  3. Four Noble Truths – The Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta
  4. Wisdom Of Restraint
  5. True Refuge – The Ratana 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, 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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