The Dhammapada (Penguin Classics)
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One of the best-known and best-loved works of Buddhist literature, the Dhammapada forms part of the oldest surviving body of Buddhist writings, and is traditionally regarded as the authentic teachings of the Buddha himself, spoken by him in his lifetime, and memorized and handed on by his followers after his death. A collection of simple verses gathered in themes such as 'awareness', 'fools' and 'old age', the Dhammapada is accessible, instructional and mind-clearing, with lessons in each verse to give ethical advice and to remind the listener of the transience of life.
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around the city of Rājagaha (Sanskrit Rājagṛha, modern Rajgir, Bihar); at others to a large area under the suzerainty of the rulers of Pāṭaliputta (Sanskrit Pāṭaliputra, modern Patna, Bihar). Judging from surviving inscriptions, there was a wide degree of standardization in the language of the whole administrative area, with certain differences in local dialect which would not have prevented its being generally understood.28 The language of the Pali Canon was therefore not simply one dialect
bird-catcher’s net. STORY: When the Buddha visits Āḷavi, he speaks of the importance of meditating on death, so that when our end comes we will not be overcome by fear. Only one of his hearers takes any notice of this – the sixteen-year-old daughter (name not given) of a weaver, who practises this meditation day and night for three years. At the end of that time, the Buddha returns to Āḷavi. The girl longs to see him again; but, before she can go to the meeting, she has to refill a shuttle with
of the Dhammapada in Middle Indian languages: (i) The Pali Dhammapada Belonging to the Theravāda school, this forms the main subject of this book. It contains 423 verses, arranged in 26 chapters. No name is recorded for its compiler. The chapters do not seem to be in any obvious order, for example in terms of length, though the last chapter, on ‘The Brahmin’,39 is much longer than any of the others. The oldest existing manuscripts date from around 1500 CE, but it is clear that the work was
which protects one in a way that relatives cannot. The path that leads to nibbāna: nibbāna-gamanaṃ maggaṃ. The Patna Dharmapada (368–9) has saggagamanaṃ maggaṃ, ‘the path that leads to heaven’, but the Udānavarga (6.15) has the equivalent to the Pali version: nirvāṇagamanaṃ mārgaṃ. STORY: That of Paṭācārā – see the story for v. 113. CHAPTER 21 MISCELLANEOUS 290. happiness from material things: Following K. R. Norman 1997: 43, 132. Others take mattāsukha as ‘limited happiness’. STORY: The
so tiny that in many cases one has to know what the verse ought to say before one can read it. Both these manuscripts, written on birch bark in Kharoṣṭhī script, probably date from around the first century CE. The Khotan version is attributed, within the manuscript itself, to one Buddhavarman, but we do not know whether he was its editor or its compiler, or simply the copyist or even the owner of the copy. The Gāndhārī Dharmapadas are believed to have belonged to the Dharmaguptaka sect, which