Published Sunday, 27 September 2015
If we hold ourselves dear,
then we maintain careful self-regard
both day and night.
It is common sense to want to take care of ourselves. It is also what the Dhamma teaches us to do. However, it is possible to interpret the Buddhist teachings as saying we should forget all about ourselves; that any thought of self is to be dismissed. This verse says quite the opposite is the case. Taken from what is known as the Attavagga, or the section in the Dhammapada on Self, we are specifically encouraged to develop careful self-regard. We are told that paying attention to ourselves in the right way at the right time can lead to knowing directly, beyond speculation, that which brings true benefit and that which brings harm. The Buddha wanted us to know that which is ultimately beneficial – perfect understanding and limitless compassion.