The Buddhist Tradition - The Dhammapada

5. The Fool

Long is the night for the sleepless. Long is the road for the weary. Long is samsara (the cycle of continued rebirth) for the foolish, who have not recognised the true teaching. 60 

 If on one's way one does not come across one's better or an equal, then one should press on resolutely alone. There is no companionship with a fool. 61 

 "I've got children", "I've got wealth." This is the way a fool brings suffering on himself. He does not even own himself, so how can he have children or wealth? 62 

 A fool who recognises his own ignorance is thereby in fact a wise man, but a fool who considers himself wise - that is what one really calls a fool. 63 

 Even if a fool lived with a wise man all his life, he would still not recognise the truth, like a wooden spoon cann 

 Even if a man of intelligence lives with a wise man only for a moment, he will immediately recognise the truth, like one's tongue recognises the flavour of the soup. 65 

 Stupid fools go through life as their own enemies, doing evil deeds which have bitter consequences. 66 

 A deed is not well done if one suffers after doing it, if one bears the consequences sobbing and with tears streaming down one's face. 67 

 But a deed is well done if one does not suffer after doing it, if one experiences the consequences smiling and contented. 68 

 A fool thinks it like honey so long as the bad deed does not bear fruit, but when it does bear fruit he experiences suffering. 69 

 Even if a fool were to take his food month after month off the tip of a blade of grass, he would still not be worth a fraction of those who have understood the truth. 70 

 Like fresh milk a bad deed does not turn at once. It follows a fool scorching him like a smouldering fire. 71 

 A fool acquires knowledge only to his own disadvantage. It destroys what good he has, and turns his brains. 72 

 One may desire a spurious respect and precedence among one's fellow monks, and the veneration of outsiders. "Both monks and laity should think it was my doing. They should accept my authority in all matters great or small." This is a fool's way of thinking. His self-seeking and conceit just increase. 73, 74 

 One way leads to acquisition, the other leads to nirvana. Realising this a monk, as a disciple of the Buddha, should take no pleasure in the respect of others, but should devote himself to solitude. 75