The Dhammapada, an encounter

Yesterday after meeting a friend near the Gyeongbokgung Royal Palace in Seoul, I went for lunch in one of my favorite place. Not because it is particularly delicious, the taste is just fine but the location is very vibrant.
This cafe is located in the first floor of Kyobo tower in Gwanghwamun square just in front of Fourseason hotel. I particularly like dining there because of the high ceiling and the brunch atmosphere. Another reason is that in the basement of the Kyobo building there is the largest bookshop of Korea and after a light meal, going there browsing for books it is very pleasant.

Since my Korean is not that good, the section I can explore is the foreigner books section which is still huge. Usually I take a look of tech, IT and classic books but yesterday I discover the art and spiritual sections as well.
While looking around philosophy books, bibles and art posters I recognized many books of spiritual guides I appreciate: the Dalai Lama, Krishnamurti, Adyashanti, Thich Nhat Hanh, Eckart Tolle, Sri Ramana Maharshi and more.
I was about to get the book of Sri Maharshi but then I remembered I have already several in my home waiting to be read and moreover I have read a lot of this type of books, now it is time to put in action those teachings.

Nevertheless I look more deeply in the book shelf until finding the “Dhammapada” which is a Buddhist classic text . I opened it and I read the chapter about violence:

129. All tremble at violence; all fear death. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill. 

130. All tremble at violence; life is dear to all. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill. 

131. One who, while himself seeking happiness, oppresses with violence other beings who also desire happiness, will not attain happiness hereafter. 

132. One who, while himself seeking happiness, does not oppress with violence other beings who also desire happiness, will find happiness hereafter. 

133. Speak not harshly to anyone, for those thus spoken to might retort. Indeed, angry speech hurts, and retaliation may overtake you. 

134. If, like a broken gong, you silence yourself, you have approached Nibbana, for vindictiveness is no longer in you. 

135. Just as a cowherd drives the cattle to pasture with a staff, so do old age and death drive the life force of beings (from existence to existence). 

136. When the fool commits evil deeds, he does not realize (their evil nature). The witless man is tormented by his own deeds, like one burnt by fire. 

137. He who inflicts violence on those who are unarmed, and offends those who are inoffensive, will soon come upon one of these ten states: 

138-140. Sharp pain, or disaster, bodily injury, serious illness, or derangement of mind, trouble from the government, or grave charges, loss of relatives, or loss of wealth, or houses destroyed by ravaging fire; upon dissolution of the body that ignorant man is born in hell. 

141. Neither going about naked, nor matted locks, nor filth, nor fasting, nor lying on the ground, nor smearing oneself with ashes and dust, nor sitting on the heels (in penance) can purify a mortal who has not overcome doubt. 

142. Even though he be well-attired, yet if he is posed, calm, controlled and established in the holy life, having set aside violence towards all beings — he, truly, is a holy man, a renunciate, a monk. 

143. Only rarely is there a man in this world who, restrained by modesty, avoids reproach, as a thoroughbred horse avoids the whip. 

144. Like a thoroughbred horse touched by the whip, be strenuous, be filled with spiritual yearning. By faith and moral purity, by effort and meditation, by investigation of the truth, by being rich in knowledge and virtue, and by being mindful, destroy this unlimited suffering. 

145. Irrigators regulate the waters, fletchers straighten arrow shafts, carpenters shape wood, and the good control themselves.

I was particularly touched by the verse:

131. One who, while himself seeking happiness, oppresses with violence other beings who also desire happiness, will not attain happiness hereafter. 

132. One who, while himself seeking happiness, does not oppress with violence other beings who also desire happiness, will find happiness hereafter. 

The attitude of compassion and of embracing others, it is a key change in our own life and the life of the whole humanity. If we understand that we are under the same sky, in the same cosmos. This is the most logic thing to do, before spirituality, this is even rationally convenient.

Thinking terrorist attacking innocent people and reflecting on the 131 verse of the Dhammapada, it is quite powerful.

If you want to explore the entire text this is the link.

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