A Thought For Today A Teaching a Day From the Dhammapada

Thought for Today



A spark of Buddhist wisdom for the 20th day of this month.

Victory always belongs to those who do not blame others.


A Teaching a Day

  As a simple approach to the very basics of the Buddha's teachings, BDK America has provided 31 short lessons and will display a new one each day of the month. We do this so busy people can spend one or two minutes each day and learn a little more about Buddhism. All 31 lessons are collected in a small booklet called A Teaching a Day, and each lesson is edited from our small hardcover bookThe Teaching of Buddha. In most cases we can send a free print copy of one or both publications to individuals in the continental United States. Learn more about these publications here.  

The Teaching of Buddha - Day 20 

Once, the Head and the Tail of a snake quarreled as to which should be in the front. The Tail said to the Head, "You are always taking the lead, and it's neither correct nor fair. You ought to let me take the lead sometimes." 

The Head answered, "It is the law of nature that I should always be in the front. It is not up to me to change places with you." 

In this way the quarrel continued. Since the Tail did not get its way, it became angry and in spite, wrapped itself around a tree preventing the head from proceeding. The Head gradually tired of the struggle and the Tail had its own way causing the snake to fall into a pit of fire· and be burned to death. 

In the world of nature there exists an appropri­ate order where everything has its own function. If this order is disturbed, the given function of each part is interrupted and the whole order goes to ruin. 

From the Dhammapada

  The Pali Dhammapada is an anthology of Buddhist ethical thoughts and precepts consisting of OVER 400 short verses. With its simplicity of expression and poetic beauty, the Dhammapada is widely popular. In ordinary terms, here dhamma means discipline, or virtuous living, and pada the path; thus, the Dhammapada is the "Path of Virtuous Living." The translation here is from Book VI, Chapter 1, Section 5 of the voluminous Buddha-Dharma, Revised Second Edition (Berkeley CA: Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research, 2003) 829 pp. Copyright © 1984, 2003, all rights reserved.  

The Mind ... 

36. The wise person restrains this mind, which is so subtle that it is difficult to perceive, and which runs about at will. This guarded mind alone brings peace.

37. Travelling afar, alone, formless, and hiding in the cave of the heart is the mind. One who controls this mind will free himself from the bondages of Mara.

38. He whose mind is weak, who does not know the right Dharma, and whose faith wavers does not attain the fulfillment of wisdom.