Dhammapada, Stanza 21

Version 1:

The path to the Deathless is awareness;
Unawareness, the path of death.
They who are aware do not die;
They who are unaware are as dead.

Version 2:

Heedfulness: the path to the Deathless.
Heedlessness: the path to death.
The heedful do not die.
The heedless are as if
already dead.

Version 3:

Heedfulness is the path to the Deathless. Heedlessness is the path to death. The heedful die not. The heedless are as if dead already.

(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.)

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2 thoughts on “Dhammapada, Stanza 21”

  1. “Awareness” sounds more spacious than “heedfulness,” at least to my ear. In my understanding of “heedfulness,” there’s a trace of effort or quest, whereas “awareness” just *is* moment to moment. Although, when I make an mistake, it’s often out of heedlessness…

    1. I agree with your comment. But I did just look up various definitions of ‘heedfulness’ and it seems that some of them include a character dimension to the content. So the word seems to imply not only awareness but some moral or character traits as well. Thinking of the path as one of meditation and morality, this makes sense. Although, the word is a bit foreign to me so awareness resonates more immediately.

      Thanks for the comment!

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