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Dhp 33–43 Cittavagga: The Mind

Quivering, wavering,
hard to guard,
to hold in check:
     the mind.
The sage makes it straight–
like a fletcher,
the shaft of an arrow.

Like a fish
pulled from its home in the water
& thrown on land:
this mind flips & flaps about
     to escape Mara’s sway.

Hard to hold down,
alighting wherever it likes:
     the mind.
Its taming is good.
The mind well-tamed
     brings ease.

So hard to see,
so very, very subtle,
alighting wherever it likes:
     the mind.
The wise should guard it.
The mind protected
     brings ease.

Wandering far,
going alone,
lying in a cave:
     the mind.
Those who restrain it:
     from Mara’s bonds
     they’ll be freed.

For a person of unsteady mind,
not knowing true Dhamma,
     set     adrift:
discernment doesn’t grow full.

For a person of unsoddened mind,
          unassaulted awareness,
abandoning merit & evil,
there is
     no danger
     no fear.

Knowing this body
     is like a clay jar,
securing this mind
     like a fort,
          attack Mara
     with the spear of discernment,
then guard what’s won
     without settling there,
     without laying claim.

All too soon, this body
will lie on the ground
     cast off,
bereft of consciousness,
like a useless scrap
     of wood.

Whatever an enemy might do
to an enemy,
or a foe to a foe,
the ill-directed mind
can do to you
     even worse.

Whatever a mother, father
or other kinsman
might do for you,
the well-directed mind
can do for you
     even better.

Read this translation of Dhammapada III . The Mind by Bhikkhu Ṭhanissaro on Or read a different translation on,, or Or listen on Or explore the Pali on

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