Wisdom 365:
Daily Buddha and Daily Solomon


Excerpts from the Recently Released Book


We present 26 sample comparisons of Solomon's writings and Dhammapada proverbs, with brief commentary. Each example is drawn from a different one of the 26 sections of the Dhammapada. They provide examples of the closeness of Solomon's teachings with the Buddha's, and the possible influence of Solomon on the Buddha's teachings, as he lived approximately 400 years before the Buddha.



Chapter One: The Twin Verses
Solomon (950 BCE)

For as he thinks within himself, so he is.1
Buddha (525 BCE)

1 All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts.


What we focus on (either by thinking, hoping or desiring) has an enormous impact on who we become. Karma, both good and bad, is created not only by what we do but also by what is going on inside us. Our inner world determines the kind of person we are and will become.



Chapter Two: On Earnestness
Solomon (950 BCE)

The truly righteous man attains life, but he who pursues evil goes to his death.2
Buddha (525 BCE)

21 Earnestness is the path of immortality (Nirvana), thoughtlessness the path of death. Those who are in earnest do not die, those who are thoughtless are as if dead already.


Being earnest or serious in intention and effort, and being kind and living rightly benefits us. Being thoughtless, careless, even reckless and wicked leads us down a path of destruction and death.



Chapter Three: Thought
Solomon (950 BCE)

A discerning man keeps wisdom in view, but a fool's eyes wander to the ends of the earth.3
Buddha (525 BCE)

35 It is good to tame the mind, which is difficult to hold in and flighty, rushing wherever it listeth; a tamed mind brings happiness.


The flighty mind runs wild, but the discerning man keeps wisdom and knowledge as paramount. Taming our minds is an ongoing task. A well-guarded thought life brings happiness, and a well-guarded heart is a fountain of life.



Chapter Four: Flowers
Solomon (950 BCE)

The desire of the lazy [slothful] man kills him, for his hands refuse to labor. He covets greedily all day long, but the righteous gives and does not spare.4
Buddha (525 BCE)

47 Death carries off a man who is gathering flowers and whose mind is distracted, as a flood carries off a sleeping village.


Death carries the lazy, meandering man away as a flood destroying a sleeping town. He wastes his time and energy coveting rather than working. It is far better to work hard and share generously from our earnings.



Chapter Five: The Fool
Solomon (950 BCE)

Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.5
Buddha (525 BCE)

63 The fool who knows his foolishness, is wise at least so far. But a fool who thinks himself wise, he is called a fool indeed.


Self-conceit is unpleasant in anyone, and it is not productive in our lives. We ought to think of ourselves as seekers of wisdom, not as someone who has arrived at the end of the journey and is all puffed up with their conquest. Let us walk in wisdom and the safety it provides.



Chapter Six: The Wise Man (Pandita)
Solomon (950 BCE)

Do not be overrighteous, neither be overwise—why destroy yourself? Do not be overwicked, and do not be a fool—why die before your time? It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. The man who fears God will avoid all extremes.6
Buddha (525 BCE)

83 Good people walk on whatever befall, the good do not prattle, longing for pleasure; whether touched by happiness or sorrow wise people never appear elated or depressed.


The expression, to walk on an even keel, comes from seamen attempting to walk on a ship that is pitching in the water. It means to walk steadily, as though walking on the keel, which is the principal beam or structure running lengthwise along the center of the ship from bow to stern, to which the frame is attached. We can avoid extremes and walk on an even keel whether joy or sorrow comes our way.



Chapter Seven: The Venerable (Arhat)
Solomon (950 BCE)

When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices; when the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy.7
Buddha (525 BCE)

98 In a hamlet or in a forest, in the deep water or on the dry land, wherever venerable persons (Arhanta) dwell, that place is delightful.


It is not where we live, but how we live that makes a difference. Wherever a righteous, venerable person lives is a delightful place. He flourishes like a tree by a stream and all around him benefit and rejoice. With wisdom and knowledge, let us walk carefully through our journey, and it will be a blessing to all around us.



Chapter Eight: The Thousands
Solomon (950 BCE)

He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty. And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.8
Buddha (525 BCE)

103 If one man conquer in battle a thousand times thousand men, and if another conquer himself, he is the greatest of conquerors.


The value of conquering ourselves is greater than that of winning a war. Let us discipline our thoughts and emotions like a soldier following orders on the battlefield.



Chapter Nine: Evil
Solomon (950 BCE)

The highway of the upright avoids evil; he who guards his way guards his life.9
Buddha (525 BCE)

123 Let a man avoid evil deeds, as a merchant, if he has few companions and carries much wealth, avoids a dangerous road; as a man who loves life avoids poison.


A merchant traveling alone with a great deal of money will be very careful to avoid a dangerous road, as a man who loves life will avoid drinking poison. We ought to avoid evil and guard our way, as though guarding our very existence.



Chapter Ten: Punishment
Solomon (950 BCE)

There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.10
Buddha (525 BCE)

133 Do not speak harshly to anybody; those who are spoken to will answer thee in the same way. Angry speech is painful, blows for blows will touch thee.


When we speak harshly or in anger, it's like dealing someone a physical blow, and we are most often met in kind. A wise man controls his speech, speaking gently with wisdom and kindness. A gentle answer can dispel someone's anger, while a harsh reply inflames it.



Chapter Eleven: Old Age
Solomon (950 BCE)

The desire of the [consistently] righteous brings only good, but the expectation of the wicked brings wrath.11
Buddha (525 BCE)

151 The brilliant chariots of kings are destroyed, the body also approaches destruction, but the virtue of good people never approaches destruction,—thus do the good say to the good.


Our bodies will be destroyed, but the good we do lives on. Doing good is also excellent medicine for our bodies, perhaps even extending our lives.



Chapter Twelve: Self
Solomon (950 BCE)

He who scorns instruction will pay for it. . . .12
Buddha (525 BCE)

164 The foolish man who scorns the rule of the venerable (Arahat), of the elect (Ariya), of the virtuous, and follows false doctrine, he bears fruit to his own destruction, like the fruits of the Katthaka reed.


Scorn, contempt and ridicule for wisdom and instruction is foolish and will breed consequences. The fool's disdain for wisdom results in calamity and destruction.



Chapter Thirteen: The World
Solomon (950 BCE)

Better is a little with righteousness than great income with injustice.13
Buddha (525 BCE)

178 Better than sovereignty over the earth, better than going to heaven, better than lordship over all worlds, is the reward of the first step in holiness.


Of what use if power or wealth without holiness or righteousness? Better to take a single step toward righteousness, than be enticed by all the world might offer. Jesus said, "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?"13a



Chapter Fourteen: The Buddha (The Awakened)
Solomon (950 BCE)

Now therefore listen to me [Wisdom], O you sons; for blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are those who keep my ways. Hear instruction and be wise, and do not refuse or neglect it. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoever finds me [Wisdom] finds life and draws forth and obtains favor from the Lord.14
Buddha (525 BCE)

194 Happy is the arising of the awakened, happy is the teaching of the True Law, happy is peace in the church, happy is the devotion of those who are at peace.


Blessed, happy, fortunate, and to be envied are those who seek after wisdom, who pursue it daily, who are devoted to it, who hear good, wise instruction and are receptive and put it into practice. For when we find wisdom, we find life and peace.



Chapter Fifteen: Happiness
Solomon (950 BCE)

He who walks with wise men will be wise. . . .15
Buddha (525 BCE)

208 Therefore, one ought to follow the wise, the intelligent, the learned, the much enduring, the dutiful, the elect; one ought to follow a good and wise man, as the moon follows the path of the stars.


Walk with the wise. Learn from the intelligent, learned and dutiful. Follow after them as naturally as the moon follows the stars. As we make this a habit in our lives, we will see the positive consequences of it.



Chapter Sixteen: Pleasure
Solomon (950 BCE)

He who is greedy for gain troubles his own house, but he who hates bribes will live.16
Buddha (525 BCE)

216 From greed comes grief, from greed comes fear; he who is free from greed knows neither grief nor fear.


When we are greedy, it brings trouble upon us. From greed comes grief, fear and dissension. We are better off to have little with peace and righteousness than great wealth with great trouble.



Chapter Seventeen: Anger
Solomon (950 BCE)

Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.17
Buddha (525 BCE)

234 The wise who control their body, who control their tongue, the wise who control their mind, are indeed well controlled.


The wise control their body, mind and tongue. Without self-control, our lives become like a decaying city without any protective walls.



Chapter Eighteen: Impurity
Solomon (950 BCE)

Remove the dross from the silver, and out comes material for the silversmith.18
Buddha (525 BCE)

239 Let a wise man blow off the impurities of his self, as a smith blows off the impurities of silver one by one, little by little, and from time to time.


As we study to be wise, and implement wise behavior into our lives, we skim away the "dross" and purify ourselves.



Chapter Nineteen: The Just
Solomon (950 BCE)

A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is arrogant and careless.19
Buddha (525 BCE)

265 He who always quiets the evil, whether small or large, he is called a Samana (a quiet man), because he has quieted all evil.


Quieting, shunning and departing from evil is a wise path. Being attentive to wisdom creates a secure life, free from the dread of evil. We ought not to let pride detour us. Seeking after wisdom quiets evil.



Chapter Twenty: The Way
Solomon (950 BCE)

He who is slothful in his work is a brother to him who is a great destroyer.20
Buddha (525 BCE)

280 He who does not rouse himself when it is time to rise, who, though young and strong, is full of sloth, whose will and thought are weak, that lazy and idle man will never find the way to knowledge.


Sloth does not lead to knowledge, and sloth in work can destroy a life. We ought to rouse ourselves to diligence in our mind, will, body and daily work, not mentioned by either Solomon or the Buddha.



Chapter Twenty-One: Miscellaneous
Solomon (950 BCE)

A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.21
Buddha (525 BCE)

300 The disciples of Gotama are always well awake, and their mind day and night always delights in compassion.


Delight in compassion, kindness and generosity. Thinking of others and being generous of heart and with our material means is refreshing to our souls.



Chapter Twenty-Two: The Downward Course
Solomon (950 BCE)

When you make a vow to God, do not be late in paying it; for He takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow! It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. Do not let your speech cause you to sin and do not say in the presence of the messenger of God that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry on account of your voice and destroy the work of your hands?22
Buddha (525 BCE)

312 An act carelessly performed, a broken vow, and hesitating obedience to discipline, all this brings no great reward.


We ought to be very careful about vowing or making promises. Our words carry weight, and if we do not follow through it destroys our integrity and credibility, and there are the spiritual consequences. Jesus taught,
    Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, "Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord." But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your "Yes" be "Yes," and your "No," "No"; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.22a


Chapter Twenty-Three: The Elephant
Solomon (950 BCE)

Hear, my son, and be wise; and guide your heart in the way. Do not mix with winebibbers, or with gluttonous eaters of meat; for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.23
Buddha (525 BCE)

325 If a man becomes fat and a great eater, if he is sleepy and rolls himself about, that fool, like a hog fed on wash, is born again and again.


It is well documented that overeating is detrimental to our health. It is equally detrimental to our spirits. When we do not exert discipline in the area of eating, we are abusing our bodies and opening ourselves up to illness and poverty. Overeating can cause us to be blind (like being asleep) to other areas of our lives that may need attention.



Chapter Twenty-Four: Thirst
Solomon (950 BCE)

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.24
Buddha (525 BCE)

358 The fields are damaged by weeds, mankind is damaged by vanity: therefore a gift bestowed on those who are free from vanity brings great reward.


Being vain about one's appearance, abilities, or having no other purpose in life than selfish pride is damaging to ourselves and those around us. There is no room for the spiritual life in someone who is vain and prideful. King David wrote,
    In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.24a


Chapter Twenty-Five: The Bhikshu (Mendicant)
Solomon (950 BCE)

The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.25
Buddha (525 BCE)

379 Rouse thyself by thyself, examine thyself by thyself, thus self-protected and attentive wilt thou live happily, O Bhikshu!


Giving thought to our ways, or examining ourselves and making course corrections in our lives is of great value and should not be underrated. Socrates echoed the sentiment when he wrote, "The unexamined life is not worth living."25a Jesus taught that a lack of self-examination can lead to hypocrisy.
    Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, "Let me take the speck out of your eye," when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.25b


Chapter Twenty-Six: The Brahmana (Arhat)
Solomon (950 BCE)

. . . a wise man keeps himself under control.26
Buddha (525 BCE)

391 Him I call indeed a Brahmana who does not offend by body, word, or thought, and is controlled on these three points.


A wise, righteous man keeps himself under control, controlling his body, actions, speech, and thoughts. Let us rein ourselves in, and consider the virtues of restraint.



Footnotes

1Proverbs 23:7a (NASB).
2Proverbs 11:19 (NIV).
3Proverbs 17:24 (NIV).
4Proverbs 21:25-26 (NKJV).
5Proverbs 26:12 (NASB).
6Ecclesiastes 7:16, 18 (NIV).
7Proverbs 11:10 (NIV).
8Proverbs 16:32 (NKJV).
9Proverbs 16:17 (NIV).
10Proverbs 12:18 (NASB).
11Proverbs 11:23 (AMP).
12Proverbs 13:13a (NIV).
13Proverbs 16:8 (NASB).
13aMatthew 16:26a (NKJV).
14Proverbs 8:32-35 (AMP).
15Proverbs 13:20a (NASB).
16Proverbs 15:27 (NKJV).
17Proverbs 25:28 (NIV).
18Proverbs 25:4 (NIV).
19Proverbs 14:16 (NASB).
20Proverbs 18:9 (NKJV).
21Proverbs 11:25 (NIV).
22Ecclesiastes 5:4-6 (NASB).
22aMatthew 5:33-37 (NIV).
23Proverbs 23:19-21 (NKJV).
24Proverbs 11:2 (NIV).
24aPsalm 10:4 (NIV).
25Proverbs 14:8 (NIV).
25aSocrates lived from 469 BCE to 399 BCE.
25bMatthew 7:3-5 (NIV).
26Proverbs 29:11b (NIV).


Scripture References

Scripture quotations marked (AMP) are taken from the Amplified Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Scripture quotations marked (NASB) taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright ©1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org)

Scripture quotations marked "NIV" are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked "NKJV"TM are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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