A Disciplined Mind Brings Happiness
A central concept in Buddhism is the idea that a disciplined mind brings happiness. To tame the mind is to tame yourself. The mind is a flighty and wandering thing, and only by taming it can real lasting happiness be achieved.
The quote above is based on verse 35 of the Dhammapada, which has several different translations. Verses 33-37 are part of a chapter entitled the mind. This is the original version:
cittassa damatho sadhu
cittam dantam sukhavaham
Let’s take a look at each of the words in this verse in turn; on the first sentence, dunniggahassa means hard to hold back or tough to restrain or difficult to keep in check. On the second sentence, lahuno means light or swift. The whole sentence essentially tells you that the mind is difficult to control.
On the second sentence, yatthakamanipatino is a complex word made up of many parts. Yattha means where, kama means desire, nipatino means chancing upon. Different Buddhists have given different translations for this word. Some examples include:
- Jumping at whatever it (the mind) desires.
- Moving about wherever it (the mind) pleases.
- Alighting wherever it (the mind) likes.
On the third sentence, cittassa (mind), damatho (tame) and sadhu (good) form a simple sentence that means taming the mind is good.
On the fourth sentence, cittam (mind), dantam (tame) and sukhavaham (brings happiness) form another easy sentence that, put simply, says that a disciplined mind brings happiness.
Let’s bring all of this together then, shall we? This is my translation of verse 35 of the Dhammapada:
The mind is difficult to control,
it goes wherever it desires.
Taming the mind is a good thing,
for a disciplined mind brings happiness.
A wonderful passage in Thomas F. Cleary’s book, the Classics of Buddhism and Zen: Teachings of Zen, describes the importance of a disciplined mind: “Let the wise one watch over the mind, so hard to perceive, so artful, alighting where it wishes; a watchfully protected mind brings happiness.”
The mind is infinity subtle and incomprehensible. It wanders and escapes your grasp; yet striving towards discipline of the mind in this age of stimulation is one of the keys to happiness. A well protected mind will bring you joy.
There is no real mysticism in this passage and anyone can relate to it. To gain some control over something chaotic (the mind) and harnessing its power can only help you in the long run, and the most direct way of achieving this goal is through disciplined meditation.
Accesstoinsight.org,. ‘Cittavagga: The Mind’. N.p., 2015. Web. 5 Nov. 2015.
Buddhism.lib.ntu.edu.tw,. ‘Gatha 35’. N.p., 2015. Web. 5 Nov. 2015.
Cleary, Thomas F. Classics Of Buddhism And Zen. Boston: Shambhala, 2001. Print.
Wikipitaka – The Completing Tipitaka,. ‘Dhammapada Verse 35 – Annatarabhikkhu Vatthu’. N.p., 2015. Web. 5 Nov. 2015.