Ten Precepts from Dhammapada

Original Text: 
Romesh Chunder Dutt, Lays of Ancient India: Selections from Indian Poetry Rendered into English Verse (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner, 1894): 89-91. British Library 2318.h.9
Return Love for Hatred.
1.1Hate for hatred if ye render,
1.2   Hatred lives and mortal strife;
1.3Love return for bitter hatred,
1.4   Hatred dies, and sweet is life! (5)
Precepts without Acts.
2.1Pious precepts, gentle friend,
2.2   Never acted, wisely meant,
2.3Are like gay and coloured flowers, --
2.4   Without fragrance, without scent! (51)
The Golden Rule.
3.1As you dread all pain and suffering,
3.2   Love your life and death abhor,
3.3So doth every living creature,
3.4   Harm not things that live and breathe. (129, 130)
Live without Hatred among Men you Hate.
4.1With the men who live in hatred
4.2   Ye shall live devoid of hate,
4.3Unto men who smite in anger
4.4   Show your love and meekness great. (197)
Good Works survive.
5.1Good works done endure for ever,
5.2   And in higher life will meet,
5.3E'en as gentle loving kinsmen
5.4   Home-returning kinsmen great! (200)
Overcome Anger by Love.
6.1Anger by your love o'ermaster,
6.2   Good for evil acts return;
6.3By charity the miser conquer,
6.4   By your truth let false men learn! (223)
The Faults of other Men.
7.1Faults of other men ye question,
7.2   Not the fault that ye have done!
7.3Like chaff your neighbour's vices winnow,
7.4   Like a false die hide your own! (252)
The Elder and the Sage.
8.1Not an Elder, not a Sage,
8.2   Is the man advanced in age;
8.3Truth and virtue, love and pureness,
8.4   Make the Elder and the Sage. (260, 261)
Assumed and True Holiness.
9.1Not by skins and plaited hair,
9.2   Not by family or birth,
9.3But by truth and righteousness
There is Ravening within.
10.1Wherefore wear the plaited hair,
10.2   Wherefore garment wild of skin,
10.3What avails this outward penance
10.4   When there's ravening within! (394)


1.1] "`The whole of the Dhammapada is a string of 423 moral precepts which for their beauty and moral worth are unsurpassed by any similar collection of precepts made in any age or country .... Who is not struck by the remarkable coincidence of these noble precepts with those preached five hundred years after in Palestine by the gentle and pure-souled Jesus Christ?' -- Civilisation in Ancient India, vol. i. p. 366, 367." (Dutt's note.) Back to Line
9.4] Brâhman: Hindi priest. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 2001