Poems in the Style of the Dhammapada


written by the participants in a Dhammapada Weekend at Greenstreete from 4 to 6 March 2011

Red and yellow emblem

  1. One who listens to the monkey

chattering in the tree top

is like the busy mind

                  making waves on the water.


         One who attends to the calm mind

makes the water still:

then the wise one

can see clearly.



  1. As the canary warns the collier

                                                      of poison gas in the mine,

mindfulness will warn us

                                                      when defilements seep in the mind.

  1. Believing ourselves to be this or that,

we develop mindfulness and concentration where we are sat.

The mind, attached to views and ideas,

grows in power bringing freedom from fears.



  1. The blessings of a fool go uncounted,

although many are visible to all, save he.

Would the fool but make a tally

he’d see those seen by all, and more.



  1. The skilful one sees

that following her sense desires

is like following

a fleeting offer of home.


The skilful one sees

that mastering her sense desires

creates the foundations

for a peaceful state.



  1. A thousand words can overwhelm

                  with a fog of interpretation:

when we clearly see one truth,

it doesn’t need translation.


A thousand words may lead to views,

                  discussion and frustration:

when we clearly see one truth,

                  we find emancipation.



  1. Teachers can inspire and lead

                  but can’t affect your kamma:

through your efforts you succeed

                  by following the Dhamma.




  1. Saṃsāra’s a movie show

                                                      where our minds try to range,

when really there’s nothing there

but colour, light and change.



  1. Our time on earth is so unsure:

                                                      where we have come from, where we’ll go,

how many moments we’ll endure,

                                                      we can never know.


Don’t dally, then, but meditate.

                                                      This could be your last night on earth,

tomorrow your execution date –

the sentence passed at birth.

Tree drawing