Treasury of Truth (Dhammapada) Chapter 9, Evil

Verse 116. Never Hesitate To Do Good

Make haste towards the good
and check the mind for evil.
The one who’s is slow to make merit
delights in the evil mind.

Explanation: In the matter of performing virtuous, meritorious actions, be alert and act quickly. Guard the mind against evil. If one were to perform meritorious actions hesitantly, his mind will begin to take delight in evil things.


Verse 117. Do No Evil Again And Again

If one some evil does
then do it not again and again.
Do not wish for it anew
for evil grows to dukkha.

Explanation: A person may do some evil things. But he should not keep on doing it over and over, repeatedly. He should not take delight in it. Accumulation of evil is painful.


Verse 118. Accumulated Merit Leads To Happiness

If one should some merit make
do it again and again.
One should wish for it anew
for merit grows to joy.

Explanation: A person may do some meritorious activity. He must keep on repeating it, over and over. He must take delight in that meritorious action. Accumulation of merit leads to happiness.


Verse 119. Evil Seems Sweet Until It Ripens

As long as evil ripens not
even the evil one goodness knows,
but when the evil ripens
then the person evil knows.

Explanation: The evil doer even see evil as good. When evil begins to mature, the evil doer will understand evil to be evil.


Verse 120. Good May Seem Bad Until Good Mature

As long as goodness ripens not
even the good one evil knows,
but when the goodness ripens
then that person knows the good.

Explanation: A person may do good things. But those good things may at first seem evil. But when the good matures, then the good will be seen to be actually good.


Verse 121. Take Not Evil Lightly

Think lightly not of evil,
‘It will not come to me’,
for by the falling of water drops
a water jar is filled.
The fool with evil fills himself,
he soaks up little by little.

Explanation: Some tend to believe that evil can be taken lightly. There attitude to wrong-doing is that they can get away with anything whatsoever. They say in effect: "I will behave in the way I want. Evil results will never come my way." But evil accumulates little by little - very much like a water-pot being filled drop by drop. Little by little the evil accumulates, until he is filled with it.


Verse 122. Merit Grows Little By Little

Think lightly not of goodness,
‘It will not come to me’,
for by the falling of water drops
a water jar is filled.
The sage with goodness fills himself,
he soaks up little by little.

Explanation: Some tend to think that virtue can be taken lightly, and that virtue practiced is not likely to bring about any spectacular good results. This view is not quite correct. The good done by an individual accumulates little by little. The process is very much like the filling of a water-pot, drop by drop. As time goes on, the little acts of virtue accumulate, until the doer of good is totally filled with it.


Verse 123. Shun Evil As Poison

As merchant on a perilous path,
great wealth having little guard,
as life-loving man with poison
so with evil heedful be.

Explanation: A rich and wise trader carrying goods will scrupulously avoid a risky road, especially if he does not have an adequate escort to ensure safety. Again an individual fond of his life will very carefully avoid poison. In the same way, one must totally avoid evil.


Verse 124. Evil Results From Bad Intentions

If in the hand’s no wound
poison one may bear.
A woundless one is poisoned not,
non-doers have no evil.

Explanation: If a person has no wound in his palm, that person can carry poison in his hand. In the same way, to a person who has not committed an evil action, there is no fear of evil consequences.


Verse 125. Wrong Done To Others Returns To Doer

Who offends the inoffensive,
the innocent and blameless one,
upon that fool does evil fall
as fine dust flung against the wind.

Explanation: If an ignorant person were to become harsh and crude towards a person who is without blemishes, pure, and is untouched by corruption, that sinful act will return to the evil-doer. It is very much like the fine dust thrown against the wind. The dust will return to the thrower.


Verse 126. Those Who Pass Away

Some find birth within a womb,
evil-doer quicken in hell,
good-farers to the heavens go,
the Unpolluted wholly cool.

Explanation: Some, after death, receive conception in wombs, Those who have committed sins in their lifetime are reborn in hell. Those whose ways have been virtuous when they were alive go to heaven when they die. These blemishless ones who are totally free of taints and corruptions, achieve total Nibbana, on giving up their mortal lives.


Verse 127. Shelter Against Death

Neither in sky nor surrounding by sea,
nor by dwelling in a mountain cave,
nowhere is found that place in earth
where one’s from evil kamma free.

Explanation: There is not a single spot on Earth an evil-doer can take shelter in to escape the results of evil actions. No such place is seen out there in space, or in the middle of the ocean. Neither in an opening, a cleft or a crevice in a rocky mountain can he shelter to escape the results of his evil action.


Verse 128. No Escape From Death

Neither in sky nor surrounding by sea,
nor by dwelling in a mountain cave,
nowhere is found that place in earth
where one’s by death not overcome.

Explanation: Not in the sky, nor in the ocean midst, not even in a cave of a mountain rock, is there a hiding place where one could escape death.