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The Dhammavadaka is a poem composed by the Australian monk Bhante Dhammika in 1986. Although resembling the famous Desiderata; Dhammika claims that he did not have the Desiderata in mind when he composed his poem, although he admits that he may have been unconsciously influenced by it. The Dhammavadaka aims to be, as its name implies, ‘a Dhamma viewpoint’, presenting essential aspects of the Buddhist life in an inspiring and memorable way.

The Dhammavadaka

"Remember always that you are just a visitor here, a traveller passing through. Your stay here is but short and the moment of your departure unknown.

None can live without toil and a craft that provides your needs is a blessing indeed. But if you toil without rest, fatigue and weariness will overtake you and you will be denied the joy that comes from labour’s end.

Speak quietly and kindly and be not forward with either opinions or advice. If you talk much this will make you deaf to what others say, and you should know that there are few so wise that they cannot learn from others.

Be near when help is needed but far when praise and thanks are being offered. Take small account of might, wealth and fame for they soon pass and are forgotten. Instead, nurture love within you and strive to be a friend to all. Truly, compassion is a balm for many wounds. Treasure silence when you find it and while being mindful of your duties set time aside to be alone with yourself. Cast off pretence and self-deception and see yourself as you really are.

Despite all appearances, no one is really evil. They are led astray by ignorance. If you ponder this truth often you will offer more light rather that blame and condemnation.

You, no less all beings, have Buddha Nature within. Your essential mind is pure. Therefore, when defilements cause you to stumble and fall, let not remorse nor dark foreboding cast you down. Be of good cheer and with this understanding summons strength and walk on.

Faith is like a lamp and wisdom it is that makes the light burn bright. Carry this light always and in good time the darkness will yield and you will abide in the light."

Influence and recognition

The Dhammavadaka was first published in a small newsletter in Singapore in 1986. Since then it has appeared on numerous cards and posters, it been reproduced in Buddhist newsletters and magazines and has appeared in several languages. The German translation by Ayya Khema was done in 1991. It features very frequently on the internet, either in part or in whole, where it has been elevated to the status of a scripture, being incorrectly called The Dhammavadaka Sutra. It is also sometimes goes under the name Dhamma Vadaka, or is attributed to the Buddhist master named Dhammavadaka.