THE TWIN VERSES
Our minds create everything.
If we speak or act with an impure mind
suffering is as certain
as the wheel of a bike that moves
when we start to pedal.
In the same way
in the same way if we speak or act with a pure mind
happiness will be ours—
a shadow that never leaves.
“He abused me; he beat me; he defeated me;
he robbed me.”
If we cling to such thoughts
we live in hate.
“She abused me; she beat me: she defeated me:
she robbed me.”
If we release such thoughts
our hate dissolves.
(photo by Dave Tepper)
Hatred has never stopped hatred.
Only love stops hate.
This is the eternal law.
So may people fail to realize that
we ourselves are destroyed.
Those who recognize
restrain their quarrels.
I have always loved the Dhammapada for it’s practical, earthy approach to teaching the nuts and bolts of Buddha’s teachings. But it was sometimes kind of hard to read. Geri Larkin’s version is a wonderful refresh. Plus, you get her own stories around these teachings and those alone are priceless.
Sometimes when I’ve offered these particular verses to people, sometimes they want to argue. I don’t want to argue either. Though I grew up argumentative, (I come from a family of Very Certain people!) I try to follow Buddha’s example. Don’t argue he says. Come and see for yourself. Does this make sense to you in your life and conditions? The thing is, it’s important to take your time. Skip the snap decision in a rush to be right or feel the warm blanket of certainty around you.
Our willingness to feel uncertain, to step out with a kind of mind which isn’t sure but open and genuinely curious in a miraculous thing. This is what mindfulness is. Observe your own thoughts, speech and actions. Try it for an hour, a day and see what you notice.
And please God, let’s do our investigation without any judgement. If we catch ourselves being angry, jealous or hateful, we don’t need to make it worse be berating ourselves. Just notice. Send yourself some compassion. Send compassion to whomever was on the receiving end of your negative emotions or thoughts. And just start over! That’s it. Each time we notice, gently let go and return to the present as purely as we can in that moment, we water the flowers of purity and presence. Each time we let go, it’s like a bit of weeding. Day by day, breath by breath, we become happier and more balanced, peaceful and healthy. In so doing, we change our brains, and hearts and minds and the world for the better.
Make today amazing with awareness.