Chapter 24. Thirst
334. The thirst of a thoughtless man grows like a creeper; he runs from life to life, like a monkey seeking fruit in the forest.
335. Whomsoever this fierce thirst overcomes, full of poison, in this world, his sufferings increase like the abounding Birana grass.
336. He who overcomes this fierce thirst, difficult to be conquered in this world, sufferings fall off from him, like water-drops from a lotus leaf.
337. This salutary word I tell you, ‘Do ye, as many as are here assembled, dig up the root of thirst, as he who wants the sweet-scented Usira root must dig up the Birana grass, that Mara may not crush you again and again, as the river crushes the reeds.’
338. As a tree, even though it has been cut down, is firm so long as its root is safe, and grows again, thus, unless the feeders of thirst are destroyed, the pain of life will return again and again.
339. He whose thirst running towards pleasure is exceeding strong in the thirty-six channels, the waves will carry away that misguided man, that is: his desires which are set on passion.
340. The channels run everywhere, the creeper of passion stands sprouting; if you see the creeper springing up, cut its root by means of knowledge.
341. A creature’s pleasures are extravagant and luxurious; sunk in lust and looking for pleasure, men undergo, again and again, birth and decay.
342. Men, driven on by thirst, run about like a snared hare; held in fetters and bonds, they undergo pain for a long time, again and again.
343. Men, driven on by thirst, run about like a snared hare; let therefore the mendicant drive out thirst, by striving after passionlessness for himself.
344. He who having got rid of the forest of lust, coming near to perfection, gives himself over to forest-life (i.e. to lust), and who, when removed from that forest, runs to it, look at that man! though appearing free, he runs into bondage.
345. Wise people do not call that a strong fetter which is made of iron, wood, or hemp; far stronger is the care for precious stones and rings, for descendants and a wife.
346. That fetter wise people call strong which drags down, yields, but is difficult to undo; after having cut this at last, people leave this world, free from cares, and leaving desires and pleasures behind.
347. Those who are slaves to passions, run down with the river of desires, as a spider runs down the web which it has made itself; when they have cut this, at last, wise people leave this world free from cares, leaving all bondage behind.
348. Give up what is before, give up what is behind, give up what is in the middle, when thou goest to the Other Shore of Existence; if thy mind is altogether free, thou wilt not again enter into birth and decay.
349. If a man is tossed about by doubts, full of strong passions, and yearning only for what is delightful, his thirst will grow more and more, and he will indeed make his fetters strong.
350. If a man delights in quieting doubts, and, always reflecting, dwells on what is not delightful, such as the impurity of the body, and other transitory factors of life in this world, he certainly will remove, nay, he will cut the fetter of Mara.
351. He who has reached the consummation, who does not tremble, who is without thirst and without sin, he has broken all the thorns of life: this will be his last body.
352. He who is without thirst and without affection, who understands the words and their interpretation, who knows the order of letters – those which are before and which are after, he has received his last body, he is called the great sage, the great man.
353. ‘I have conquered all, I know all, in all conditions of life I am free from weakness; I have left all, and through the destruction of thirst I am free; having learnt myself, whom shall I teach?’
354. The gift of the True Law exceeds all gifts; the sweetness of the True Law exceeds all sweetness; the delight in the True Law exceeds all delights; the extinction of thirst overcomes all pain.
355. Pleasures destroy the foolish, if they look not for the Other Shore; the foolish by his thirst for pleasures destroys himself, as if he were his own enemy.
356. The fields are damaged by weeds, mankind is damaged by passion: therefore a gift bestowed on the passionless brings great reward.
357. The fields are damaged by weeds, mankind is damaged by hatred: therefore a gift bestowed on those who do not hate brings great reward.
358. The fields are damaged by weeds, mankind is damaged by pride: therefore a gift bestowed on those who are free from pride brings great reward.
359. The fields are damaged by weeds, mankind is damaged by lust: therefore a gift bestowed on those who are free from lust brings great reward.