The Buddha, the title given to the founder of Buddhism, Siddartha Gautama, died some 2,500 years ago. It is a testament to his wisdom that his sayings still reverberate across the world. Even non-Buddhists who are not familiar with the Buddhist canons love to quote him. I have selected 21 sayings from The Dhammapada: The Buddha’s Path of Wisdom, translated from the Pali by Acharya Buddharakkhita with an introduction by Bhikkhu Bodhi and published in 2013 by Access to Insight (BCBS Edition). In the frenetic money-driven world of shipping, I hope they will provide seafarers and other maritime professionals with a source of inspiration and enlightenment.

Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox.

  

Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with a pure mind a person speaks or acts, happiness follows him like his never-departing shadow.

“He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me.” Those who harbor such thoughts do not still their hatred.

Like a beautiful flower full of color but without fragrance, even so, fruitless are the fair words of one who does not practice them.

As from a great heap of flowers many garlands can be made, even so should many good deeds be done by one born a mortal.

A fool who knows his foolishness is wise at least to that extent, but a fool who thinks himself wise is a fool indeed.

Do not associate with evil companions; do not seek the fellowship of the vile. Associate with the good friends; seek the fellowship of noble men.

Irrigators regulate the rivers; fletchers straighten the arrow shaft; carpenters shape the wood; the wise control themselves.

Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he indeed is the noblest victor who conquers himself.

Better it is to live one day seeing the rise and fall of things than to live a hundred years without ever seeing the rise and fall of things.

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

The man of little learning grows old like a bull. He grows only in bulk, but, his wisdom does not grow.

One should first establish oneself in what is proper; then only should one instruct others. Thus the wise man will not be reproached.

He, who by good deeds covers the evil he has done, illuminates this world like the moon freed from clouds.

Truly, misers fare not to heavenly realms; nor, indeed, do fools praise generosity. But the wise man rejoices in giving, and by that alone does he become happy hereafter.

Speak the truth; yield not to anger; when asked, give even if you only have a little. By these three means can one reach the presence of the gods.

There never was, there never will be, nor is there now, a person who is wholly blamed or wholly praised.

Easy is life for the shameless one who is impudent as a crow, is backbiting and forward, arrogant and corrupt.

There is no fire like lust; there is no grip like hatred; there is no net like delusion; there is no river like craving.

Not by passing arbitrary judgments does a man become just; a wise man is he who investigates both right and wrong.

Riches ruin only the foolish, not those in quest of the Beyond. By craving for riches the witless man ruins himself as well as others.

NOTE: The foregoing quotations are covered by a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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