Jul 23, 2011

Dhammapada, A Practical Guide to Right Living

Original Title in Pali
Translated by Venerable Acharya Buddharakkhita
Reprinted by Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery (Singapore)
Publised for Free Distribution by Sukhihotu (Malaysia) : The free publication has been made possible trhough the contributions of generous donors.Email: sukhihotu@quantrum.com.my

This book is offered with the humble wish that it may be a guide to your life. 
May you read it then - again and again; reflect and ponder over the words of the Buddha; investigate and put His principles into practice and see if it works.

"As the wise lest gold by burning, cutting and rubbing it on a piece of touchstone, so are you to accept my words after examining them and not merely out of regard for me" - the Buddha.

Backcover by Venerable Acharya Buddharakkhita

"Hatred never ceases through hatred. Only through love does it cease". This and many other beautiful teachings of the Buddha can be found in the Dhammapada.

"The way to end sufferings it not to increase cravings and desires but to reduce and eliminate them".

"The worst of all taints is the taint of ignorance".

"Purify the mind".

Profound wisdom and messages for a confused world, the Dhammapada, which enshrines the spirit of the Buddha's teachings, is a book for all time, a book to be cherished and loved. 

May it be a light to your life!

The Translator Venerable Acharya Buddharakkhita is an Indian monk, meditation teacher and scholar, who is firmly committed to walking the Buddha's path.

Preface by Venerable Acharya Buddharakkhita

The Dhammapada, an anthology of four hundred and twenty-three verses, compiled approximately six hundred hundred years before Christ, belongs to the Khuddaka Nikaya ("Compact Collection") of the sacred Buddhist scripture, the Tipitaka. Handed down in the Pali language, in which the Buddha spoke, the Tipitaka (lit., "Three Baskets" has preserved the original teachings of the Englightened One.

The Buddha enunciated his Dhamma (Teachings) in two different forms. Though distinct, they ultimately converge in the unfolding of insight into the realities of existence and the Beyond. One approach was in philosophical terms, incisive and analytical. The other took the form of discourses in simple, direct language intelligible to the masses, and often precipitated by a specific question or incident. It is from this body of material that the Dhammapada was compiled. Each verse was prompted by a particular episode, accounts of which are preserved in the Dhammapada Atthakatha, one of the commentaries of the Pali canon.

What the Gita is to Hindus, the Bible to Christendom and the Koran to Islamic people, the Dhammapada is to the Buddhist world. For the simple and unsophisticated, it is a sympathetic counsellor; for the intellectually overburdened its clear and direct teachings inspire humility and relfection; for the earnest seeker, it is a perennial source of inspiration. 

Insights that flashed into the heart of the Buddha have crystallized into these luminous verses of pure wisdom. As profound expressions of practical spirituality, each verse is a guideline to right living. The Buddha unambiguously pointed out that whoever earnestly practices the verses of the Dhammapada would taste the bliss of emancipation.

In preparing this volume, I have had access to numerous editions and translations in various languages, including Sanskrit, Hindi, Bengali, Sinhalese, Burmese and Nepali. While consulting a number of English editions, it was observed that the renderings were often either too free and inaccurate or too pedantic. It was therefore felt that a new edition of the Dhammapada, avoiding these too extremes, would be beneficial to readers.

There are editions of the Dhammapada by noted scholars such as Max Muller and Dr S Radhakrishnan. However, the teachings of the Buddha inevitably suffer some distortion when presented from a non Buddhist frame of reference. Erroneous ideas have sometimes resulted from an unfortunate selection of words in translation, and foot-notes have at times been judgmental. The present translation by a praciticing follower of the Buddha is a humble effort to transmit the spirit and content as well as the language and style of the original teachings.

Where a few of the verses are conundrums or contain analogies not immediately evident to the reader, the meanings are provided either in parenthesis or notes. For interpretation, I have relied on the classic 5th century A.D. commentary by Bhadantacariya Buddhaghosa, the great Buddhist savant.

The Pali literature is a veritable storehouse of knowledge. It includes not only the Buddhist scriptures but also commentarial literature and independent treatises containing rich material on the science of mind, medicine, the history and geography of ancient India and surrounding countries, literature, poetics, prosody, the prevalent technology and civics, sports, martial arts, etc.

Students of psychology, sociology, anthropology and cosmology will find the Pali literature a mine of source-material for their disciplines. It is to be noted that much of Asia, particularly Burma, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam, built distinctive civilizations inspired by the Pali tradition.

I am grateful to Upasika Karunamma, an esteemed American pupil, for the most devoted service and help in going through the manuscript and suggesting improvements. Without her unreserved help, this edition would never have materialized.
In grateful memory of my teachers, parents and relatives, departed and living, I humbly make an offering of the Punya (spiritual merit) accruing from the effort of preparing this work. May they attain Nibbana!

May all beings be happy!

Ven. Acharya Buddharakkhita
Maha Bodhi Ashram, Bangalore, India
16 October, 1986.

Podcasts on Dhammapada, translated version by Gil Frondal can be downloaded under Zencast.org. With many thanks to Gil Frondal, my spiritual guide to re-discover Buddhism for many years. Anh Tho Andres

French translation by Anh Tho Andres @YourVietnamExpert.com 
Vietnamese translation by Cuong Phan, Kim Hoang, Bich Hong, Bao Han 
German translation by Han Dang-Klein 
Italian translation by Phan Cong Danh 
Japanese translation by Hong Anh 

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