Passages for Meditation

These inspired texts from world scripture and the writings of great saints and sages have been selected for reading, study, and use in passage meditation. They come from Easwaran’s collections of inspirational passages, Timeless Wisdom and God Makes The Rivers To Flow. Click on a passage title in the right-hand column below to read and print that passage. If an audio icon is displayed next to the passage title, an audio player will be displayed with the passage; use it to hear Easwaran reading that passage

The Dhammapada

Twin Verses

Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. Suffering follows an evil thought as the wheels of a cart follow the oxen that draw it.
Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. Joy follows a pure thought like a shadow that never leaves.
 
“He was angry with me, he attacked me, he defeated me, he robbed me” – those who dwell on such thoughts will never be free from hatred.
“He was angry with me, he attacked me, he defeated me, he robbed me” –those who do not dwell on such thoughts will surely become free from hatred.
 
For hatred can never put an end to hatred; love alone can. This is an unalterable law.
People forget that their lives will end soon. For those who remember, quarrels come to an end.
 
As a strong wind blows down a weak-rooted tree, Mara the Tempter overwhelms weak people who, eating too much and working too little, are caught in the frantic pursuit of pleasure.
As the strongest wind cannot shake a mountain, Mara cannot shake those who are self-disciplined and full of faith.
 
Those who put on the saffron robe without purifying the mind, who lack truthfulness and self-control, are not fit to wear this sacred garment.
But those who have purified their minds and are endowed with truth and self-control are truly fit to wear the saffron robe.
 
The deluded, imagining trivial things to be vital to life, follow their vain fancies and never attain the highest knowledge.
But the wise, knowing what is trivial and what is vital, set their thoughts on the supreme goal and attain the highest knowledge.
 
As rain seeps through an ill-thatched hut, passion will seep through an untrained mind.
As rain cannot seep through a well-thatched hut, passion cannot seep through a well-trained mind.
 
Those who are selfish suffer here and hereafter; they suffer in both worlds from the results of their own actions.
But those who are selfless rejoice here and rejoice hereafter; they rejoice in both worlds from the results of their own actions.
 
Those who are selfish suffer in this life and in the next. They suffer seeing the results of the evil they have done, and more suffering awaits them in the next life.
But those who are selfless rejoice in this life and in the next. They rejoice seeing the good that they have done, and more joy awaits them in the next life.
 
Those who recite many scriptures but fail to practice their teachings are like a cowherd counting another's cows. They do not share in the joys of the spiritual life.
But those who know few scriptures but practice their teachings, overcoming all lust, hatred, and delusion, live with a pure mind in the highest wisdom. They stand without external supports and share in the joys of the spiritual life.


 


Twin Verses This is the opening chapter of the Dhammapada, an ancient collection of the Buddha's teachings in verse form. Buddha – literally“he who is awake” – is the title given to the young prince Siddhartha Gautama (ca. 563–483 B.C.) after he attained nirvana or self-realization. The translation is by Eknath Easwaran, adapted for meditation from The Dhammapada (Petaluma, California: Nilgiri Press, 1985).



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