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Dhp 157-166 Atta Vagga: Oneself

  1. If one holds oneself dear, one should guard oneself with care. Avoiding evil, the wise person should watch over himself at least in one of these three stages of life—childhood, adulthood, or old age.
  2. One should first establish oneself in good qualities; then only should one instruct others. Thus, the wise person will not be stained.
  3. As one instructs others, so should one act; if one would tame others, one should first be well tamed. Truly, it is very hard to tame oneself.
  4. Oneself, indeed, is one’s own protector. Who else could the protector be? With oneself well tamed, one can obtain the protection of Dhamma which is hard to obtain.
  5. The evil a foolish person does by himself, born of himself, and produced by himself, grinds him as the diamond which was produced by the gems grinds similar types of gems.
  6. The plant vines with big leaves cover the sal tree on which it grows. As a result, eventually the tree breaks down. In the same way, the person who completely covers himself with his own corrupt conduct does to himself what an enemy wishes for him.
  7. Easy to do are things that are bad and harmful to oneself. However, it is very difficult to do things that are good and beneficial for oneself.
  8. The fool, relying on evil views, scorns the teaching of the liberated ones who live righteously. The fool produces fruit that destroys himself, like the bamboo tree produces fruit bringing its own destruction.
  9. Through one’s own evil deeds one is defiled. By avoiding evil deeds one is purified. Purity or impurity entirely depends on oneself; no one can purify another.
  10. Do not lose your own welfare for the sake of others’ welfare. Clearly understand your own welfare which is the attainment of enlightenment. Therefore, work hard to be a liberated one.

Read this translation of Dhammapada 12 Atta Vagga: Oneself (157-166) by Ven. Kiribathgoda Gnananda Thero on Or read a different translation on,,, or Or explore the Pali on

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