2. The Chapter about Heedfulness

Appamādo amatapadaṁ, pamādo maccuno padaṁ,
Heedfulness is the deathless state, heedlessness the state of the dead,

appamattā na mīyanti, ye pamattā yathā matā. [21]
the heedful do not die, (but) those who are heedless are as if dead.


Etaṁ visesato ñatvā appamādamhi paṇḍitā,
The wise, understanding this difference in regard to heedfulness,

appamāde pamodanti, Ariyānaṁ gocare ratā. [22]
rejoice in heedfulness, delight in the domain of the Noble Ones.


Te jhāyino sātatikā, niccaṁ daḷhaparakkamā,
Those who meditate all the time, constant and firm in their effort,

phusanti dhīrā Nibbānaṁ, yogakkhemaṁ anuttaraṁ. [23]
those wise ones reach Nibbāna, the unsurpassed release from (all) bonds.


Uṭṭhānavato satīmato,
For he who is active, mindful,

sucikammassa nisammakārino,
pure in deeds, considerate,

saññatassa ca Dhammajīvino,
self-controlled, living by Dhamma,

appamattassa The string of genitives in this verse allows us to see side by side some of the different forms the case ending can take: -vato (neuter), -ato (neuter), -assa (masculine) and -ino (masculine). yasobhivaḍḍhati. [24]
heedful, fame greatly increases.


Uṭṭhānen’ appamādena saṁyamena damena ca,
Through activity, heedfulness, through self-control and through restraint,

dīpaṁ kayirātha medhāvī yaṁ ogho nābhikīrati. [25]
the sage should make an island that no flood waters can overcome.


Pamādam-anuyuñjanti bālā dummedhino janā,
The foolish and stupid people cultivate heedlessness,

appamādañ-ca medhāvī dhanaṁ seṭṭhaṁ va rakkhati. [26]
but the sagacious one guards heedfulness just as his greatest wealth.


Mā pamādam-anuyuñjetha mā kāmaratisanthavaṁ,
Do not cultivate heedlessness, do not be acquainted with delight in sensual pleasure,

appamatto hi jhāyanto pappoti vipulaṁ sukhaṁ. [27]
for the heedful one, meditating, (surely) attains great happiness.


Pamādaṁ appamādena yadā nudati paṇḍito,
When the wise one eliminates heedlessness with his heedfulness,

paññāpāsādam-āruyha, asoko sokiniṁ pajaṁ,
and mounts the palace of wisdom, griefless, (he looks) on grieving people;

pabbataṭṭho va bhummaṭṭhe dhīro bāle avekkhati. [28]
the wise one, like one standing on a mountain, looks down on the fools, who are standing on the plains.


Appamatto pamattesu, suttesu bahujāgaro,
Heedful amongst the heedless ones, wakeful amongst the ones who sleep,

abalassaṁ va sīghasso hitvā, yāti sumedhaso. [29]
like a swift horse who abandons a weak horse, the true sage moves on.


Appamādena Maghavā devānaṁ seṭṭhataṁ gato,
Through heedfulness Maghavā Maghavā is another name for Sakka, how he became Sakka is told in the commentary. The verse assumes the auditor has some knowledge of the legend, or it may be, that the verse is extracted from the story. attained leadership of the gods,

appamādaṁ pasaṁsanti, pamādo garahito sadā. [30]
(the good) praise heedfulness, (but) heedlessness is always blamed.


Appamādarato bhikkhu, pamāde bhayadassivā,
A monastic who delights in heedfulness, seeing danger in heedlessness,

saṁyojanaṁ aṇuṁ-thūlaṁ ḍahaṁ aggīva gacchati. [31]
advances like burning fire against the fetter, It is odd that saṁyojanaṁ is singular, where we might have expected a plural, saṁyojanā. The commentary defines it as one of the ten kinds of fetter. The idea is that his heedfulness burns the fetter, as a fire burns and consumes whatever it is attached to. Same at v. 221 below. small or large.

Appamādarato bhikkhu, pamāde bhayadassivā,
A monastic who delights in heedfulness, seeing danger in heedlessness,

abhabbo parihānāya: Nibbānasseva santike. [32]
is unable to fall away: This is the infinitive-like dative, which we also use in English. he is well-nigh to Nibbāna.

Appamādavaggo Dutiyo
The Chapter about Heedfulness, the Second


Related Verse from the Dhammapada

Appamādaratā hotha, sacittam-anurakkhatha,
You should delight in heedfulness, you should always protect your mind,

duggā uddharathattānaṁ paṅke sanno va kuñjaro. [327]
you should raise yourself from this pit like the tusker sunk in the mud.