What Makes The World Go ‘Round

Here’s a translation of one of the Buddha’s most famous teachings; perhaps you’ve even read or heard this sutta. The word “dhamma” almost never appears in English translations, although as you’ll see, it’s actually used no fewer than eight times!

“Aṭṭhime, bhikkhave, lokadhammā lokaṃ anuparivattanti, loko ca aṭṭha lokadhamme anuparivattati. Katame aṭṭha? Lābho ca, alābho ca, yaso ca, ayaso ca, nindā ca, pasaṃsā ca, sukhañca, dukkhañca. Ime kho, bhikkhave, aṭṭha lokadhammā lokaṃ anuparivattanti, loko ca ime aṭṭha lokadhamme anuparivattatī”ti.

“lābho alābho ca yasāyaso ca,
nindā pasaṃsā ca sukhaṃ dukhañca.
Ete aniccā manujesu dhammā,
asassatā vipariṇāmadhammā.
“Ete ca ñatvā satimā sumedho,
avekkhati vipariṇāmadhamme.
Iṭṭhassa dhammā na mathenti cittaṃ,
aniṭṭhato no paṭighātameti.
“Tassānurodhā atha vā virodhā,
vidhūpitā atthaṅgatā na santi.
Padañca ñatvā virajaṃ asokaṃ,
sammappajānāti bhavassa pāragū”ti.

Bhikkhus, There are eight worldly things that make the world go ‘round, eight worldly things that keep people on the move. What are the eight? Gain and loss, fame and disgrace, insult and praise, ease and difficulty. Indeed, bhikkhus, those are the eight worldly things that make the world go round, that keep people one the move.

Gain/Loss and Fame/Disgrace,
Insult/Praise and Ease/Difficulty:
These impermanent human things,
Inconstant, changing things.
When the wise one carefully knows
And considers these changing things
Pleasing things won’t disturb the heart and mind
Displeasure won’t cause resentment.
Cooperation nor obstruction,
Scattering nor gathering bring peace.
Having found this place, free from defilement, free from sorrow
The one having seen all these things has gone beyond this world.

AN 8.5


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