From The Seekers: The Dhammapada

“Vigilance (or Earnestness) is the path to the Deathless (Immortality / Nirvana);
Negligence (Thoughtlessness) the path to Death.
Those who are vigilant (who are in earnest) do not die,
The negligent (those who are thoughtless) are as if already dead.” (Verse 21)

“The monastic (or a mendicant) who delights in vigilance (earnestness)
And fears negligence (thoughtlessness)
Moves about like a fire, burning fetters small or large.

The monastic (or mendicant) who delights in vigilance (or reflection),
And fears negligence (or thoughtlessness)
Is incapable of backsliding (Cannot fall away from his or her perfected state)
And is quite close to Nirvana.” (Verses 30-31)

These verses are from the translations of Gil Fronsdal. In parentheses are the translations of F. Max Muller.

These verses taught us that a core piece of Buddhism is mindfulness. According to the Dhammapada, it is imperative that we pay attention to our thoughts, and not let ourselves drift into selfish thinking.

During our study, I found that Buddhism’s emphasis on selflessness and mindfulness relate to what many of us learned in 12-step programs: the inventory process. To enjoy sobriety takes more than being sober. I have to continue opening up to other people in recovery about what’s troubling me. I have to practice reflection, looking at my actions and asking myself questions like “How was I selfish?” and “What should I have done instead?”


The Seekers Study is a weekly meeting. It is geared at helping expose people in recovery to a variety of different spiritual perspectives, in hopes that they will develop a better understanding of what spirituality means to them.


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