A commentary on the Dhammapada, by Swami Nirmalananda Giri“Journey over, sorrowless, freed in every way, and with all bonds broken–for such a man there is no more distress” (Dhammapada 90). (Other translators have either “fever” or “the fever of passion” rather than “distress.”)

Here Buddha gives us four fundamental traits of the one who has realized the third and fourth Aryan Truths: that suffering can be ended and there is a way to bring about that end. They merit a good, careful look.

• Journey over.

There is an evolutionary path to be traversed which no amount of philosophizing and denial will abrogate. In his discourses Buddha tells about the great deal of time in his previous lives, as well as his “present” one, which was spent in spiritual practice–in meditation. Although our goal is transcendence, presently we–and all other aspirants–must move from the beginning point to the ending point. The universe is not haphazard, but a precision instrument of evolution which will enable us to reclaim our lost awareness and be so established therein that we can never again lose it. This is Nirvana.

Although each one’s journey is quite individual, at the same time there are points that will be common to each person. It is rather like the multitude of people that every day drive the same route from one city to another. Their vehicles will be different, and so will be their style of driving, as well as the number of stops they make–and where and why. So each trip is markedly personal and at the same absolutely the same. It is the same with the “journey” Buddha is speaking about. That is why in various texts he says that upon attaining enlightenment he said: “Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world”–and that others would say the same when they attained to Nirvana.

“The holy life fulfilled, the task done” is the journey that must be completed for all delusion and bondage to be ended forever.

Read the rest of this article at The Atma Jyoti Blog.