The DhammapadaTranslated by Thomas Byrom

24. Desire

If you sleep,
Desire grows in you
Like a vine in the forest.

Like a monkey in the forest
You jump from tree to tree,
Never finding the fruit –
From life to life,
Never finding peace.

If you are filled with desire
Your sorrows swell
Like the grass after the rain.

But if you subdue desire
Your sorrows shall fall from you
Like drops of water from a lotus flower.

This is good counsel
And it is for everyone:
As the grass is cleared for the fresh root,
Cut down desire
Lest death after death crush you
As a river crushes the helpless reeds.

For if the roots hold firm,
A felled tree grows up again.
If desires are not uprooted,
Sorrows grow again in you.

Thirty-six streams are rushing toward you!
Desire and pleasure and lust…
Play in your imagination with them
And they will sweep you away.

Powerful streams!
They flow everywhere.
Strong vine!
If you see it spring up,
Take care!
Pull it out by the roots.

Pleasures flow everywhere.
You float upon them
And are carried from life to life.

Like a hunted hare you run,
The pursuer of desire pursued,
Harried from life to life.

O seeker!
Give up desire,
Shake off your chains.

You have come out of the hollow
Into the clearing.
The clearing is empty.
Why do you rush back into the hollow?

Desire is a hollow
And people say
“Look! He was free.
But now he gives up his freedom.”

It is not iron that imprisons you
Nor rope nor wood,
But the pleasure you take in gold and jewels,
In sons and wives.

Soft fetters,
Yet they hold you down.
Can you snap them?

There are those who can,
Who surrender to the world,
Forsake desire, and follow the way.

O slave of desire,
Float upon the stream.
Little spider, stick to your web.
Or else abandon your sorrows for the way.

Abandon yesterday, and tomorrow,
And today.
Cross over to the father shore,
Beyond life and death.

Do your thoughts trouble you?
Does passion disturb you?
Beware of this thirstiness
Lest your wishes become desires
And desire binds you.

Quieten your mind.
Nothing binds you.
You are free.

You are strong.
You have come to the end.
Free from passion and desire,
You have stripped the thorns from the stem.
This is you last body.

You are wise.
You are free from desire
And you understand words
And the stitching together of words.
And you want nothing.

“Victory is mine,
Knowledge is mine,
And all purity,
All surrender.

“I want nothing.
I am free.
I found my way.
What shall I call Teacher?

The gift of truth is beyond giving.
The taste beyond sweetness,
The joy beyond joy.

The end of desire is the end of sorrow.

The fool is his own enemy.
Seeking wealth, he destroys himself.
Seek rather the other shore.

Weeds choke the field.
Passion poisons the nature of man,
And hatred, illusion, and desire.

Honor the man who is without passion,
Hatred, illusion, and desire.

What you give to him
Will be given back to you,
And more.