Poem – Thirst – Gautam Buddha 

Lord Gautam Buddha 563 BCE - 480 BCE

Lord Gautam Buddha
563 BCE – 480 BCE

The thirst of a thoughtless man grows like a creeper; he runs 

from life to life, like a monkey seeking fruit in the forest. 

Whomsoever this fierce thirst overcomes, full of poison, in this 

world, his sufferings increase like the abounding Birana grass. 
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. 
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 (the 

tempter) may not crush you again and again, as the stream crushes the reeds.’ 
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. 
He whose thirst running towards pleasure is exceeding strong in 

the thirty-six channels, the waves will carry away that misguided man, 

viz. his desires which are set on passion. 
The channels run everywhere, the creeper (of passion) stands 

sprouting; if you see the creeper springing up, cut its root by means of knowledge. 
A creature’s pleasures are extravagant and luxurious; sunk in 

lust and looking for pleasure, men undergo (again and again) birth and decay. 
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. 
Men, driven on by thirst, run about like a snared hare; let 

therefore the mendicant drive out thirst, by striving after

passionlessness for himself. 
He who having got rid of the forest (of lust) (i.e. after having 

reached Nirvana) gives himself over to forest-life (i.e. to lust), and 

who, when removed from the forest (i.e. from lust), runs to the forest 

(i.e. to lust), look at that man! though free, he runs into bondage. 
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 sons and a wife. 
That fetter wise people call strong which drags down, yields, but 

is difficult to undo; after having cut this at last, people leave the 

world, free from cares, and leaving desires and pleasures behind. 
Those who are slaves to passions, run down with the stream (of 

desires), as a spider runs down the web which he has made himself; 

when they have cut this, at last, wise people leave the world free 

from cares, leaving all affection behind. 
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. 
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. 
If a man delights in quieting doubts, and, always reflecting, 

dwells on what is not delightful (the impurity of the body, &c.), he 

certainly will remove, nay, he will cut the fetter of Mara. 
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. 
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. 
`I have conquered all, I know all, in all conditions of life I am 

free from taint; I have left all, and through the destruction of 

thirst I am free; having learnt myself, whom shall I teach?’ 
The gift of the law exceeds all gifts; the sweetness of the law 

exceeds all sweetness; the delight in the law exceeds all delights; 

the extinction of thirst overcomes all pain. 
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. 
The fields are damaged by weeds, mankind is damaged by passion: 

therefore a gift bestowed on the passionless brings great reward. 
The fields are damaged by weeds, mankind is damaged by hatred: 

therefore a gift bestowed on those who do not hate brings great reward. 
The fields are damaged by weeds, mankind is damaged by vanity: 

therefore a gift bestowed on those who are free from vanity brings great reward. 
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.

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