It is better to do nothing
Than to do what is wrong.
For whatever you do, you do to yourself.

Like a border town well guarded,
Guard yourself within and without.
Let not a single moment pass
Lest you fall into darkness.


Other passages in the Dhammapada, like this one, also have the universal appeal of the 'golden rule'. This one stands out to me in that it immediately calls to mindfulness as the antidote to doing the wrong thing. There's a certain truth to that. If one is mindful and approaches daily life with loving-kindness and forbearance, it naturally becomes more difficult to cause harm to come to other people through your own actions (or inaction). As I've mentioned in earlier entries, that kind of mindfulness is hard to cultivate while engaged in meditation, let along "off the cushion". It seems easy when things are going your way, but becomes next to impossible when the busy demands of modern life get the best of us. But there are those rare days when it seems nearer to possible. With work, maybe those days can become the rule, rather than the exception.