“Do not overrate what you have received, or envy others. He who envies others does not obtain peace of mind.”

Jacob Lewis, with a columbia.edu email address, wrote to me about this one:

“Do not overrate what you have received, or envy others. He who envies others does not obtain peace of mind.”

He said he’d seen it silk-screened on a tapestry in Asheville, NC.

It’s a rather odd, and slighly inaccurate, translation of the 365th verse of the Dhammapada. I’m rating this one as “Fakeish” rather than “Fake” because it’s simple a case of bad translation.

Here’s Buddharakhita’s translation:

One should not despise what one has received, nor envy the gains of others. The monk who envies the gains of others does not attain to meditative absorption.

And here’s Thanissaro’s:

Gains:
don’t treat your own with scorn,
don’t go coveting those of others.
A monk who covets those of others
attains
no concentration.

For some reason the translator has taken “na atimabbeyya” (one should not despise, slight, or neglect) to mean “one should not overrate,” thus reversing the meaning of the original.

I don’t know who the translator was, but the earliest instance of this quote that Ive found on Google Books is in a 1956 book called “The Wisdom of the Living Religions,” by Joseph Gaer. Unfortunately Google Books doesn’t let me look inside the book, even to see a snippet.

2 thoughts on ““Do not overrate what you have received, or envy others. He who envies others does not obtain peace of mind.””

  1. this site is completely fake and filled with hypocrisy. even founder of this page doesn’t know Sanskrit and pali as well .only depends upon western translation .they didn’t get the depth of buddhas words.i belong from this land where buddha took birth and i know my culture very well.truth seeker its humble request that dont visit such fake page so that you dont get confused.

    1. Hi, Joybha.

      I’ve been studying Buddhism for 40 years and studied Pali at university. I’ve taught Buddhism at a university level as well. I haven’t studied Sanskrit, but that doesn’t matter much since I’m mostly interested in Pali sources.

      The argument that being from the land of the Buddha’s somehow makes you an expert in Buddhism is an odd one. I’m from the land where Shakespeare was born. That doesn’t automatically make me an expert in Shakespeare. If I were you I’d trust someone from India who had spent decades studying Shakespeare rather than me, simply because I was born in Britain.

      All the best,
      Bodhipaksa

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