Dhammapada, Stanza 7

Version 1:

Whoever dwells seeing the pleasurable, in senses unrestrained,
Immoderate in food, indolent, inferior of enterprise,
Over [them], indeed, Mara prevails,
Like the wind over a weak tree.

Version 2:

One who stays focused on the beautiful,
is unrestrained with the senses,
knowing no moderation in food,
apathetic, unenergetic:
Mara overcomes [them]
as the wind, a weak tree.

Version 3:

Just as a storm throws down a weak tree, so does Mara overpower the [one] who lives for the pursuit of pleasures, who is uncontrolled in [their] senses, immoderate in eating, indolent, and dissipated.(1)

Footnotes

Mara: the Tempter in Buddhism, represented in the scriptures as an evil-minded deity who tries to lead people from the path to liberation. The commentaries explain Mara as the lord of evil forces, as mental defilements and as death.

Commentary:

When the storm passes and Mara quiets down, how do we pick ourselves back up?  How do we make ourselves stronger trees, trees for Buddhas to sit under?  However we do this, a little compassion for the storm, for Mara, and ourselves might help us get back on our feet again!

(Note: Version 1 is from the John Ross Carter and Mahinda Palihawadana translation. Version 2 is from the Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation. Version 3 is from the Acharya Buddharakkhita translation. All footnotes are from the original versions. I have switched gendered pronouns for non-gendered pronouns.  This is indicated with brackets.)

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3 thoughts on “Dhammapada, Stanza 7”

  1. Maybe I’m just feeling grouchy today, but none of these translations really gets to the key point for me. That point is: To indulge in the pleasurable *is* to be overcome by Mara.

    Even that doesn’t feel quite right. Perhaps it’s not so much that Mara overcomes, as that we *become* Mara, our inherent Mara-nature co-arises with indulgence.

    That’s how it seems to me right now…

    Thanks, Kusa!

    1. Hello! Thanks for your thoughts on becoming Mara and for telling it as it seems to you…or seemed to you at the time you wrote the comment!

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