Dhammapada Verse 28
The Dhammapada Commentary
Courtesy of Nibbana.com
Translated by the Department of Pali
University of Rangoon, Burma
yada nudati pandito
asoko sokinim pajam
dhiro bale avekkhati.
(When a learned man drives away negligence through heedfulness, grief-less
himself, he ascends the palace of wisdom and looks at the sorrowing crowd. Just
as a person, standing on a mountain looks at the people standing (below) on the
ground, even so a wise man looks at the "fools".)
The Teacher, while staying at Jetavana, delivered this religious discourse,
beginning with "Pamadam appamadena" with reference to the Elder
One day the Elder, who was residing at the Pipphali cave, went to Rajagaha
for begging alms. On return from the round and after having had his meal, he sat
down developing light of wisdom while trying to find, through his super-normal
vision, beings negligent and diligent, as also those going out of existence or
coming into it, in the water, on the land, on the mountains and at other places.
Staying at Jetavana, the Teacher, while surveying with super-normal vision
the way in which His disciple Kassapa was spending that day and finding that he
was occupied with the investigation into the birth and death of beings, pondered
thus: "Birth and death of beings cannot be reckoned even by Sabbannuta-nana
(Omniscience). Nor is it possible to reckon the number of beings who, after
taking conception in the mother's womb, die without the parents being aware of
it. O Kassapa, this does not lie within your purview. Narrow indeed is your span
(of knowledge). It is within the spheres of the Buddhas alone to know and to see
in their entirety the passing away of beings or their coming into
existence". Thus thinking, He shed forth lustre and appeared as if He was
seated before the Elder, and uttered this verse:
Pamadam appamadena yada nudati pandito,
pannapasadamaruyha asoko sokinim pajam;
pabbatatthova bhumatthe dhiro bale avekkhati.
When a learned man drives away negligence through heedfulness,
grief-less himself, he ascends the palace of wisdom and looks at the sorrowing
crowd. Just as a person, standing on a mountain, looks at the people standing
(below) on the ground, even so a wise man looks at the "fools".
There (in the verse):
Nudati: (Expels) — Just as fresh water entering into a pond stirs up
the existing water, pushes it out and makes it flow ahead without allowing it
any room (in the pond), in the same way, a wise man developing the traits of
heedfulness pushes heedlessness out and expels it by force of heedfulness,
without allowing any room at all.
Pannapasadam aruyha: Having got rid of heedlessness, be ascends the
Palace of Wisdom, which is known as Clear Supernormal Vision (Parisuddha-dibbacakkhu)
on account of its great eminence by completing the suitable course of
practice. He ascends it by that practice like ascending a palace by a stair.
Asoko: (sorrowless) — the dart of sorrow having been destroyed.
Sokinim pajam: (the sorrowful crowd) — the dart of sorrow having not
Avekkhati: (looks at) — Looks with the Supernormal
Vision at beings which are being born or dying.
Pabbatattho va bhummatthe: (as one on a mountain "sees"
people on the ground).
Just as one standing on the ground, or just as one standing on
the top of a terrace easily sees those who are standing round about it; in the
same way, one who is wise and learned and is free from the fluxions (asavas*),
sees bale (beings born and dying) who have not destroyed the seeds of
At the end (of the utterance of) the verse, many realized the fruition of Sotapatti
and so on.
* Asava: Fluxions. There are four kinds of asava, namely.
(1) Kamasava: Fluxion of sensuous desire; (2) Bhavasava: Fluxion
of attachment to existences; (3) Ditthasava: Fluxion of wrong views; (4) Avijjasava:
Fluxion of ignorance.
** Vatta: Rounds. There are three kinds or vatta, namely,
(1) Kilesa-vatta (round of defilements), (2) Kamma-vaga (round of
volitional actions), and (3) Vipaka-vatta (round of resultant-effects).
Vatta: — (Kilesa) Defilements lead one to do an act (kamma)
and one has to take the consequences (vipaka) thereof including
rebirth. This goes on till one becomes an Arahat and attains Nibbana.
In the paticcasamuppada (Dependent Origination),
sankhara (kamma-formations) and bhava (volitional action and furrther
existence) are Kammavatta; avijja (ignorance), tanha (craving) and
upadana (clinging) are Kilessvatta and vinnaa (consciousness),
namarupa (mental and physical phenomena), salayatana (the six
bases), phassa (contact) and vedana (sensation) are Vipakavatta.
Visuddhimagga, II - 216.
Please also see Chapter XVII. para 298 on page 672 of
Visuddhimagga (The Path of Purification) translated by Bbikkhu Nanamoli.