Who said this as a complete description of the Buddhist path

Cease to do evil

Learn to do good

Purify the heart

I thought it was Bodhidharma but I can't find the exact reference for the quote. Many Thanks.

1 Answer 1


It's verse 183 of the Dhammapada.

  • I don't expect it's a "complete description".
    – ChrisW
    Jul 24, 2015 at 18:59
  • "This is the teaching of (all the) Buddhas." - implies the obviousness of it to anyone who is awakened. How wonderful and how true.
    – Buddho
    Jul 24, 2015 at 19:17
  • 1
    The actual story I heard was a Chinese emperorer sends for a Buddhist teacher to explain the Buddhist path. The teacher just says "cease to do evil learn to do good purify the heart". The emperor is not pleased and says " but a child of 7 years old could understand that". The teacher replies "But an old man of 80 could fail to put it into practice". Jul 25, 2015 at 6:52
  • @CrabBucket, here is that story just as you described it. Seems like a teaching story without any specific origins though. freebuddhistaudio.com/texts/read?num=048
    – Robin111
    Jul 25, 2015 at 11:04
  • 1
    It may sound simple, but many people don't know what evil really means and what causes evil. Even if you tell to get rid of craving, aversion and ignorance, people would still need to be taught what those really mean. Jul 26, 2015 at 4:26

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