The Dhammapada

ISBN: 0915132370
ISBN 13: 9780915132379
By: Gautama Buddha Eknath Easwaran

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About this book

According to Eknath Easwaran, if all of the Buddhist sutras had been lost except the Dhammapada, it alone would be enough for readers to understand and appreciate the wisdom of the Buddha. Easwaran's version of the Dhammapada goes a long way toward proving this. In a lengthy introduction, Easwaran summarizes the life of the Buddha and the main tenets of his thought, including key concepts such as dharma, karma, and nirvana. The language of the Dhammapada is as lucid and flowing as the Psalms or the Sermon on the Mount, and this is why it is one of the most loved and remembered of all Buddhist sutras. Its subject matter, succinctly, is about training the mind, which leads to kind thoughts and deeds, which bring peace and freedom from suffering. If you are interested in reading one of the gems of Buddhist literature, this is a good place to start; and if you are looking for a great version of this beloved scripture, you can't do better. Like all great world scripture, the verses here reward rereading and reflection, prompting you to "strive for wisdom always." --Brian Bruya

Reader's Thoughts

Brian Johnson

Eknath Easwaran is AMAZING. This translation rocks. Get it. :)

Nashwa Nasreldeen

مش حابة اقيمة بس هو يستحق القراءة

Greg

I really appreciate the accuracy of S. Radhakrishnan's translations. His translation of the Upanishads is excellent as is his translation of the Gita. This particular volume is an excellent rendition of the Dhammapada. As a philosopher, he wrote a lengthy introduction to the doctrines of Therevada Buddhism. He also deals with some of the problems related to the historical Buddha. This volume also provides not just an accurate translation, but also the transliterated Pali text. It is helpful for the advanced student of buddhism for checking up on some of the key concepts.

Coyle

Interesting to read from a Christian/Western perspective. As an amateur reading his first Buddhist text, this is fairly interesting. I've heard it said that Eastern thought is basically asking the same questions that pre-Socratic Greek thinkers were asking, but is lacking a Plato or a Christ to give answers to those questions. I didn't see anything in this text that disproved that claim, but this is also pretty short and only representative of one Eastern tradition. These seem to be some of the key points: -aristocratic: Particularly offensive to a modern American, the Dhammapada is unashamedly aristocratic. Only the select "few" are raised above the mob. To be fair, the picture of the aristocrat (or "Brahman") is much more generous than we're used to when we think of something like the Hindu caste system- "Brahmanism" is achieved only by hard work and virtue, not simply by being born into the right family. -pacifism: "A man is not one of the Noble (Ariya) because he injures living creatures; he is so called because he refrains from injuring all living creatures." (#270) -achieving Nirvana: This is the goal of the ethical life as laid down in the Dhammapada. The way to achieve Nirvana (though I may not have gotten all of the steps down) are 1) study 2) discipline 3) the mortification of desires This last one seems to be the most at odds with Christian and Western values. The Dhammapada teaches that desire leads to suffering, and that to avoid suffering desire must be eliminated. This includes all kinds of desires: love (including for family), hunger, thirst, guilt, etc. So, #284 says "So long as the love, even the smallest, of man towards woman is not destroyed, so long is his mind in bondage..." And #294 "A (true) Brahman goes scatheless, is free from sorrow and remorse though he have killed father and mother, and two kings of the warrior caste, though he has destroyed a kingdom with all its subjects." This elimination of desires leads to the true delight of Nirvana (though, presumably, one is not permitted to desire this delight). To its credit, the Dhammapada recognizes the problem of evil and the desperate need for change in the individual, but the solution it offers does not actually solve the human dilemma, as it mistakes the symptom (wrongly-focused desires) for the disease (evil). Desires are not inherently bad, they merely reflect the evil within us. As evil beings, we either desire the wrong things, or the right things in the wrong way. The way to correct this is not to eliminate desire (which would do nothing to remove the evil), but to fix the broken person. What we need is not to not feel guilt over the terrible things we have done, but to be forgiven for them, to know that justice has been satisfied. What we need is not the elimination of desires, but the re-setting them upon Him for whom they were intended. What we need, in other words, is the redemptive work of Christ.

Ahmed Azimov

هو الأعظم انسانية بين جميع الكتب المقدسة التي قرأتها حتى اللحظه، هذا ان جاز تصنيفها تحت فرع العلوم الإنسانية اصلا# كن في الدرب ليشرق فيك النور

Steve Woods

This is the primary text of the Buddhas teachings. A good translation with a very thorough introduction by the author that taught me a lot I didn't know. The texts can often be a bit meaning less for westerners who have no context within which to place them This one is pretty profound, I use it by simply reading one chapter everyday, it helps keep me pointed in the right direction and it's great to have enough familiarity to be able to source the teachings of others on the path whose books I read. Gotta get it if Buddhism has any appeal for you

Abailart

To read forever.

abanob

الكتاب مختصر .. حلو جدا اسلوبه لذيذ يشدك انك تخلصه وتقراه ف قعده واحده زي معملت :D الكتاب عميق .. حلو اكيد هتستفيد بيه .. اتمني يبقي عندي وقت اقراه كل اسبوع (هوا صغير بالمناسبه) بيتكون من 22 سوره كل سوره من4 :9 ايات تقريبا حسب النص .. بس خلاص :))

Cassandra Kay Silva

Very good edition. The text is beautiful. The message is good. This is the kind of thing that can be read and reread throughout your lifetime and will bring different meanings at different places in your life. I got a copy at the library. I will be looking for a personal copy to keep for my own. So beautiful. I really appreciated the accompanying notes.

Jesse Dixon

This edition of the Dhammapada contains a lot of extra information, the Dhammapada verses take up less than a third of the book. It contains an 86 page introduction by Eknath Easwaran which provides interesting background information to Buddhism. There are also chapter introductions by Stephen Ruppenthal for each chapter, or a pair of two chapters, which has insightful information for understanding the verses. This was an easy to read and inspiring introduction to Buddhism and the Dhammapada.There are 423 numbered verses in 26 chapters that provide spiritual guidance and inspiration. There are verses that encourage meditiation, some that show karma, cause and effect, and showing compassion and patience. Here is a small sample:1 Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. Suffering follows an evil thought as the wheels of a cart follow the oxen that draw it.2 Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. Joy follows a pure thought like a shadow that never leaves.125 If you harm a pure and innocent person, you harm yourself, as dust thrown against the wind comes back to the thrower.223 Conquer anger through gentleness, unkindness through kindness, greed through generosity, and falsehood by truth.

Arun Divakar

There are books to be read and books to be comprehended. The second class is like learning to ride a bike : you climb on it to fall down & you keep repeating the gesture until at least shakily you can move forth a few feet unaided. What is contained in this book while at a first read is absurdly simple in its spartan-ness is a very difficult set of guidelines to live with.The inspiration to know more about the Buddha was an unlikely source, a little trinket I bought. It was a resemblance of the Ashoka Pillar. After glancing at it for long minutes during which it refused to do anything at all, I started checking the internet for the Buddhist Emperor and found it very amusing. A wildly passionate follower even drew a comparison saying that Alexander would have been but a Thug against the leadership practices of Ashoka. Everywhere resounded but one principle behind this legend of a man : Buddhism. Scouring this water body of information named the internet, I came up with the name of this book. There is but one foundation that underlies Buddhism that I could comprehend even with what little reading I have on this topic. This is about suffering (in Buddhist terms Dukha ). The identification of pain or suffering, the cessation of pain and the path to the cessation of pain is what this entire belief system seems to be based out of. It is very easy to read a book that speaks to you on letting go of your desires but to implement that in practice would need more steel than even an army training camp can instill in you. There are many parallels here to the Hindu & Eastern Mysticism schools of thought. For eg : There is mention of life lived without an eye to victory or loss for a life of tranquility. With a few modifications here and there, Krishna suggests the same to Arjuna during the discourse of the Bhagavad Gita. If memory serves me right, it was about the need to perform one's duties without a thought of victory or loss for it is such thoughts that lead one to sorrow. Then again many a teaching here are akin to the ten commandments in that all time bestseller as well.The translation as offered by Glenn Wallis is interesting and insightful to read. I in fact spent more time going through his notes than reading through the core text. The next time around I would want to stick to the core text and take it in little sips as a hot brew on an extremely cold and wretched day. In short : It is an energizer !Something from the text which bears an uncanny resemblance to the society we belong to now as it was centuries ago : Atula, this is from long ago, it is not recent: they find fault with one who sits silently, they find fault with one who speaks much, they find fault with one who speaks but little. There is no one in this world who is not faulted.

حمدي

" لن تقتلعَ الريحُ ، الجبلَ.والإغواءُلن يلمُسَ مَن كان قوياً ، يَقِظاً ، وحَـيِـيّــاًلن يلمُسَ مَنْ يتحكّمُ بالنفسِ ، ويَتَّبِعُ الدرب. " " لِنَعِشْ فرِحينَ ، لانكرهُ مَنْ يكرهوننــا.وبينَ مَن يكرهوننــا ، نعيشُ أحراراً من الكُرْهِ . " " إن لقي أحمقُ ، امرءا حكيما، طيلة حياةفلن يدرك الحقيـــقة تماما ، كما لا تدرك الملعقة طعــم الحساء "" أبصــر العالم فقاعة . أبصـــره ســـرابا . من رأى العالم هــكذا خَفِيَ ، فلن يراه ملك الموت . "" أفرغ القــارب ، أيها الســائل . إن أنت أفرغـــته ، إنطلق سريعا . تخلص من الرغبة والكره . تنل الحرية . "

tighe

Very reflective and wholesome moral truths for living, quite a fresh read in the world of inconsequential candy reads. While one might not agree with every Buddhist principle for living, as I myself don't, the general truths that you pick up and contemplate throughout the day are hard to escape. Easy and quick, yet full of substance and worthy of review time and again.

Surgat

It's mostly just an assortment of platitudes. Examples: Ch. VI, 78.>>"Let one not associate With low persons, bad friends.But let one associate With noble persons, worthy friends."Ch. VIII, stanza 100.>>"Though a thousand the the statements, With words of no avail, Better is a single word of welfare, Having heard which, one is pacified."Ch. XXI, stanza 290.>>"If by sacrificing a limited pleasure An extensive pleasure one would see,Let the wise one beholding extensive pleasure, A limited pleasure forsake."Thanks, I couldn't figure that out for myself.Some of the passages are pretty cool though. Example: Ch. XI, stanza 153-154."I ran through samsara, with its many births, Searching for, but not finding, the house-builder. Misery is birth again and again. House-builder, you are seen!The house you shall not build again! Broken are your rafters, all,Your roof beam destroyed.Freedom from the samkharas has the mind attained.To the end of cravings has it come."The main theme, that since feelings of attachment and holding things dear (ch. XVI) are conditions necessary to create suffering, and that since unlike things' tendencies to decay and end it's possible to eliminate these conditions, you should not hold things dear or get attached to anything, is somewhat interesting. It also doesn't require a belief in a cycle of soul transmigration. This might be problematic in a way, since the degree to which one is successful at this may reduce motivations or reasons for being good. For example, someone who holds their reputation dear will have more reason to avoid acting wrongly than one who doesn't, since "severe slander" (the book itself includes this as a reason for being good at ch. X, stanza 139) will affect them more strongly. The introduction/commentary/historical criticism is very general and short, but otherwise okay. The annotations were helpful in explaining metaphors, connotations lost in translation, the religious tradition's take on some verses, a few of the assumptions common to the compilers, and untranslated terms.

Karey

There is always room for compassion.

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