Thursday 22 February 2018

Buddha "The Dhammapada"

Buddha "The Dhammapada. Verses on the Way" (Sanskrit: धम्मपद), Buddhist text - ca. 300 BCE

Preceded by mind
are phenomena,
led by mind,
formed by mind.
If with mind polluted
one speaks or acts,
then pain follows,
as a wheel follows
the draft ox's foot.

Another book from the list "The non-western books that every student should read" that I tackled. I borrowed it from the library and I think I was lucky to have received a new translation with explanations by a Buddhist scholar.

I really enjoyed reading this book, it looks like poetry but it doesn't read like it which I found very refreshing.

If you are familiar with any sort of religious reading, the Bible or the Koran, for example, you will certainly find a lot of familiar meanings, love thy neighbour, honour father and mother, live peaceful, don't kill etc. etc. Buddha has put it in few words that should be comprehensible to everyone.

So, whether you are religious or not, it would help us all if we lived the way Gautama Buddha or Siddhārtha Gautama described more than two millennia ago.

From the back cover:

"Twenty-five hundred years ago, after the Buddha emerged from his long silence to illuminate for his followers the substance of humankind's deepest and most abiding concerns, his utterances were collected as the Dhammapada.

The nature of the self, the value of relationships, the importance of moment-to-moment awareness, the destructiveness of anger, the suffering that attends attachment, the ambiguity of the earth’s beauty, the inevitability of aging, the certainty of death - these dilemmas preoccupy us today as they did centuries ago. No other spiritual texts speak about them more clearly and profoundly than does the Dhammapada.

The 423 verses here, in an elegant new translation by Sanskrit scholar and Buddhist teacher Glenn Wallis, offer us a distillation of core Buddhist teachings that constitute a prescription of core Buddhist teachings that constitute a prescription for enlightened living, even in the twenty-first century.

Also included is Wallis's brilliantly informative Guide to Reading the Text - a chapter-by-chapter explication that greatly enhances our understanding.

Wallis’s translation is an inspired successor to earlier versions. Even readers well acquainted with the Dhammapada will be enriched by this fresh encounter with a classic text."


  1. Yes, those are the truths I try to live by. I try, I fail often.