An analysis of the metaphors in the dhammapada

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An analysis of the metaphors in the dhammapada

Letters of Gold [1]: Metaphors in the form of symbols proliferate in Vajrayaana Buddhism, predominantly in the ornate and colourful forms of the Samboghakaaya Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

In the case of the greater dialogues and discourses of the Pali Canon, such as the Diigha Nikaaya and the Majjhima Nikaaya, imagery, though by no means absent, is not so much in evidence. The method of the Buddha in these discourses is more direct and Socratic; he engages in dialogue with his interlocutors, leading them step by step, often via a series of questions, to the truth, and from time to time illustrates the point he is making with a story.

While this approach also figures in the earlier scriptures collected in the Kuddhaka Nikaaya of the Sutta Pi. This is sometimes adduced as evidence of the antiquity of these texts, proof that they are closer to the actual words of the Buddha. The figurative language that the Buddha used quite spontaneously in his original discourses tended to be weeded out as the oral tradition developed over hundreds of years, giving way to the gradual introduction of formulaic repetitions which became indispensable aids to the vital process of memorizing the Buddhavacana.

The Dhammapada, belonging as it does to the Kuddhaka Nikaaya, predates this development. The collection of verse aphorisms which comprise the Pali recension of the Dhammapada is what is commonly known as an anthology. Like flower arrangement in Japanthe gathering of flowers in India was, and still is, itself an art.

Apart from the division of the verses into chapters, there is no overt sequence of thought or unifying theme. Nevertheless, themes do emerge quite strongly and a full reading yields a pleasing sense of unity.

Therefore control this self of yours as a trader manages a noble steed. In the unfolding of this message throughout the text, not sequentially, but more like the echoing of themes in a piece of music, the imagery plays a vital part.

An analysis of the metaphors in the dhammapada

The original Pali also no doubt makes considerable use of other poetic devices, such as rhythm, [6] assonance, wordplay, and so on. The main theme is sounded in the first two verses of the first chapter, with the declaration that behind all the experiences of the life of the individual, mind is king.

A pair of similes illustrate how states of mind influence behaviour. Elaborating on this, the next line is a volley of complaints, which is repeated in the following verse. This is not an image in the usual sense; it does not work by direct or indirect comparison, as in the case of similes and metaphors, but it does present, by way of speech, a vivid sense of someone in a particular kind of predicament.

The Dhammapada uses this device to good effect in several places. He abused me, he beat me, he conquered me, he robbed me. The Buddha goes on to point out that those who entertain such thoughts will not still their hatred.

Hatreds never cease through hatred in this world; they cease only through love. This is the eternal law. Mind continues as the dominant theme in several more verses of the opening vagga or chapter, as well as in the next two chapters. The title of Chapter 2 is Appamaada Vagga, the section on mindfulness, mindfulness here in the sense of heedfulness or vigilance.

Chapter 3 is Citta Vagga, the section on Mind. Mind here comes across not so much as a repository of consciousness out of which our thoughts magically appear, but as a very powerful stream of energy which has to be controlled. It can be a wonderful power for the good, or, wrongly directed, a very destructive force.

The disciple should direct his mind as a fletcher straightens his arrow, or as a carpenter shapes wood.

Mental factors (Buddhism) - Wikipedia

These are not so much images as usually understood in the context of literary criticism so much as analogues aligning the problem of mind control with the skill developed by various trades and occupations, simple comparisons which came naturally to mind as the Buddha delivered his discourses.Imagery in The Dhammapada “ the depth and universality of its doctrine, the purity and earnestness of it moral teaching, and the sublimityof its spiritual ideal combined with the refined simplicity and pellucid poetical beauty of its language, winning for it an honoured place in world literature”.

Topic: Buddha’s Teachings in the Dhammapada. For this paper, students will do a page critical analysis of a selected Buddhist text that we have read for class. Assignment: Analyze the teachings of the Buddha in the Dhammapada.

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An analysis of the metaphors in the dhammapada

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An analysis of the metaphors in the dhammapada

There are those commentators who suggest that the Dhammapada is an interesting but somewhat eclectic collection of proverbs that does not offer a particularly focused introduction to the teachings of the Buddha.

Respond.

Metaphors Analysis