Dhammapada, Stanza 33

Version 1:

The quivering, wavering mind,
Hard to guard, hard to check,
The sagacious one makes straight,
Like a fletcher, an arrow shaft.

Version 2:

Quivering, wavering,
hard to guard,
to hold in check:
the mind.
The sage makes it straight —
like a fletcher, the shaft of an arrow.

Version 3:

Just as a fletcher straightens an arrow shaft, even so the discerning [one] straightens [her] mind — so fickle and unsteady, so difficult to guard.

(Note: Version 1 is from the John Ross Carter and Mahinda Palihawadana translation. Version 2 is from the Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation. Version 3 is from the Acharya Buddharakkhita translation.  Changes made to the text in order to achieve gender neutrality and inclusion are marked with brackets.)

4 thoughts on “Dhammapada, Stanza 33”

  1. I’m curious if you’ve seen this translation?;

    It’s the only hard copy I’ve looked 9other than excerpts in What the Buddha Taught) at but it seems to exceed what I’ve found online, even on Access to Insight.

    There was a lot of care taken into translating it in a way that contemporary readers will understand, explaining or altering some of the metaphors.

  2. Thank you for the suggestion! I am always on the lookout for translations I have not read before. I have not seen this one yet, so the link is useful. Thank you!

  3. Interesting use of the term “quiver” to describe the mind, then followed by arrows.

    I prefer the last, I think, for its directness.

    But how do we straighten the mind?

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