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The DHAMMAPADA is a collection of sayings of the Buddha in verse form and one of the most widely read and best known Buddhist scriptures. The original version of the DHAMMAPADA is in the Khuddaka Nikaya, a division of the Pali Canon of Theravada Buddhism. The Buddhist scholar and commentator Buddhaghosa explains that each saying recorded in the collection was made on a dif The DHAMMAPADA is a collection of sayings of the Buddha in verse form and one of the most widely read and best known Buddhist scriptures. The original version of the DHAMMAPADA is in the Khuddaka Nikaya, a division of the Pali Canon of Theravada Buddhism. The Buddhist scholar and commentator Buddhaghosa explains that each saying recorded in the collection was made on a different occasion in response to a unique situation that had arisen in the life of the Buddha and his monastic community. His commentary, the Dhammapada Atthakatha, presents the details of these events and is a rich source of legend for the life and times of the Buddha.


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The DHAMMAPADA is a collection of sayings of the Buddha in verse form and one of the most widely read and best known Buddhist scriptures. The original version of the DHAMMAPADA is in the Khuddaka Nikaya, a division of the Pali Canon of Theravada Buddhism. The Buddhist scholar and commentator Buddhaghosa explains that each saying recorded in the collection was made on a dif The DHAMMAPADA is a collection of sayings of the Buddha in verse form and one of the most widely read and best known Buddhist scriptures. The original version of the DHAMMAPADA is in the Khuddaka Nikaya, a division of the Pali Canon of Theravada Buddhism. The Buddhist scholar and commentator Buddhaghosa explains that each saying recorded in the collection was made on a different occasion in response to a unique situation that had arisen in the life of the Buddha and his monastic community. His commentary, the Dhammapada Atthakatha, presents the details of these events and is a rich source of legend for the life and times of the Buddha.

30 review for The Dhammapada (Wisehouse Classics - The Complete & Authoritative Edition)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sean Barrs

    This really is the ultimate guide to optimism, positive thinking and, in a sense, idealistic happiness. Some of the ideas in here speak with clarity and wisdom, the logic behind them is clear and strong; however, I know that practising them is not an easy thing. I tried some of them for a time, a few were easy. Simple things like forgiveness and proactive thinking aren’t too complex or difficult to put into practice, but others require a great deal of willpower and perhaps a deep understanding o This really is the ultimate guide to optimism, positive thinking and, in a sense, idealistic happiness. Some of the ideas in here speak with clarity and wisdom, the logic behind them is clear and strong; however, I know that practising them is not an easy thing. I tried some of them for a time, a few were easy. Simple things like forgiveness and proactive thinking aren’t too complex or difficult to put into practice, but others require a great deal of willpower and perhaps a deep understanding of the concepts themselves. I have to be careful what I say here, these are religious matters after all. I don’t wish to offend in my ramblings. Some of the teachings in here feel vague and a little unobtainable. The section on transient pleasure was particularly so. It suggests that being free of things such as passion, pleasure and lust will subsequently prevent fear and sorrow. Isn’t passion a good thing? Can one not be passionate about something and use it to do kindness? Can pleasure then not be derived from such an act? Could this not create lust, a drive of further perusal, in such a passionate thing? Would this not make one happy as well as kind? I don’t understand the logic behind the offered argument. It doesn’t make a great deal of sense to me, so I need to read more about this subject. This wasn’t all negative for me, far from it. There are a lot of inspirational passages in here; there are a lot of inspirational things in the Buddhist ethos. Such as these: “The one who has conquered himself is a far greater hero than he who has defeated a thousand times a thousand men.” “You are what you think. All that you are arises from your thoughts. With your thoughts you make your world.” These words are very powerful, indeed. I find many of the ideas attractive and convincing, those on the treatment of animals especially so. But, there were several I found hard to grasp. Perhaps this isn’t the best introductory text; perhaps I should try something else. I’m thinking of reading a book on modern Buddhism because I may find that more directly accessible. This may help clear up some of the issues I had with this it; it may allow me to understand the way of thought more clearly. It may also be the way this has been edited down. I’ve had problems with a few of these issues in the past; it may be that some vital information has been taken out so, along with a contemporary guide, I’m going to buy a full version of this which may make me reconsider some of my thoughts. Penguin Little Black Classic- 80 The Little Black Classic Collection by penguin looks like it contains lots of hidden gems. I couldn’t help it; they looked so good that I went and bought them all. I shall post a short review after reading each one. No doubt it will take me several months to get through all of them! Hopefully I will find some classic authors, from across the ages, that I may not have come across had I not bought this collection.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Steven Walle

    The Dhammapada is a collection of Budist writings. These explain their chor beliefs. I found this a very intreaguing read. I am a Christian but I find it very informative to study other people's belief system. The Budist's beliefs are based primarily on love but it has a very practical side of how to conduct one's life here on earth. It does not speak to much of the life her-after. I plan to study further into the Budist religion to gain a more informative opinion. I would recommend every one st The Dhammapada is a collection of Budist writings. These explain their chor beliefs. I found this a very intreaguing read. I am a Christian but I find it very informative to study other people's belief system. The Budist's beliefs are based primarily on love but it has a very practical side of how to conduct one's life here on earth. It does not speak to much of the life her-after. I plan to study further into the Budist religion to gain a more informative opinion. I would recommend every one study the major religeons to come to their own beliefs. Be Blessed. Diamond

  3. 4 out of 5

    Antonomasia

    Penguin Classics edition, translated by Juan Mascaró Most of this is slightly-edited versions of drafts from 2015. I'm posting in 2020, and have by now found an apparent answer to the main problem I had with the text, and which was my reason for giving it three stars - that it has nothing very useful to say about or to certain kinds of people, some of whom might beat themselves up for being unable to follow its teachings. As that answer - which I go into more at the end of the post, and which is Penguin Classics edition, translated by Juan Mascaró Most of this is slightly-edited versions of drafts from 2015. I'm posting in 2020, and have by now found an apparent answer to the main problem I had with the text, and which was my reason for giving it three stars - that it has nothing very useful to say about or to certain kinds of people, some of whom might beat themselves up for being unable to follow its teachings. As that answer - which I go into more at the end of the post, and which is about karma - comes from modern Western Buddhism, it may not align with the schools where the Dhammapada originates, never mind the views of the original sages who composed it. But, for me at least, it helped things fall into place, and perhaps it might for others who are not systematically studying Buddhism. In the square brackets are bits I've added to the 2015 drafts. -------- 1. A couple of other reviews comment that the Dhammapada is elitist or aristocratic. In this translation, that doesn't come across in so many words – however, it's clear it's addressed to strong healthy people who are able to be consistent. It's rather severe and unforgiving – and the tone is one that could easily lead to smugness and arrogance in those who feel they are following its path. (Humility and not self-seeking are mentioned occasionally, but the text spends a lot of time bigging up the followers of this path and denigrating others. A tone familiar from parts of the Bible and other Christian texts.) The low rating is partly because this book isn't therefore addressed to me, or to quite a few other people I've known, as friends, partners or through my old work. It's not for those who aren't able to do much to help others and more often find themselves on the receiving end of help, or where forgetfulness can hinder new habits, or who have cycles of being worse for a while and better for a while, physically and/or mentally, without the consistent progress expected here. Never mind, for instance, those with certain learning disabilities, or people who were severely abused and can't always control themselves no matter how much they try (uppermost in my mind because I've read the beginning of James Rhodes' memoir Instrumental a couple of times and am waiting for it to become cheaper or borrowable), or perfectly nice people who get autistic-type meltdowns. It's often said that the greatest philosophical puzzle as regards religion is evil. I've always considered it to be people who can't help being mean because of an organic or severe psychological issue (whereas some 'evil' comes about simply because of social conditioning and norms of a time and place, e.g many Nazi soldiers) – but religions developed at times when these issues weren't scientifically understood, or when far fewer people survived long enough to suffer from these problems at all, or, with reference to lifelong issues, become adults. [In Europe 200+ years ago, some of these would have been done away with as changelings; it seems likely there would have been similar practices elsewhere in the world.] And that's why spiritual practice texts don't mention these people: they weren't present in significant numbers, or were implicitly written off unless the guru could deliver them in short order from their possession. [Though there must have been some monks prone to terrible bursts of temper, or who were forgetful and backsliding, and accepted for other reasons.] I'd rather this came across as an interesting point about historical contrasts, than as a rant about ablism. Not everything can be about everyone - I know that and I think that's correct. And an old book like this one is also a historical document. [A new modern edition could address this stuff in the introduction, however.] Though one of the pitfalls I took much too long to realise about spiritual texts like this, or many self-help books, is that if you aren't very obviously not in the target group, just in a position that means you'll find things a bit more difficult than average, and haven't worked out what you need to filter, they can lead to tiring yourself out with excessively high expectations, beating yourself up, and overall feeling worse. For much modern self-help, you can learn to interpolate exceptions writers would make if they knew what life was like for everyone reading. With ancient advice like the Dhammapada it's more likely they meant to exclude in the first place. 2. …1/3 of which is Mascaró's introduction, written in 1971. It's unusual for a Penguin Classic intro, being written from the viewpoint of a believer; there's still textual analysis, but much of that is a syncretic comparison of Buddhist ideas and excerpts of the Dhammapada with other religions' writings: the Bhagavad Gita (which he also translated), Hebrew philosophers, St Teresa, and Romantic poets. (I was hoping to fit in Father Ted's That would be an ecumenical matter somewhere, but unfortunately that term's specifically Christian. [Before the Graham Linehan trans mess.]) I was reading the Dhammapada mostly to have finally read it, but during the introduction had an epiphany which solved a philosophical (?) problem that had bothered me for eight years, approximately as long as I've had the book. Possibly I'd have got there quicker had I talked to others about it, but people who take this sort of thing relatively seriously and who don't entirely reject hedonism, and understand the relevant experiences aren't too easily found. (Well, on points 1 and 2, I suppose there was the time when, during a yoga class in London, I was next to Russell Brand the whole time and didn't realise who he was until we were in the lobby, but yeah, no thanks*.) The problem is arguably more about contemporary 'mindfulness training' than about this 2500-year-old Pali text. These ways of thinking are supposed to be permanent, to prepare you for anything. But there are times when the mind cannot master the nervous system, times when the hardware becomes too damaged for the software to run properly, or at all. One obvious example, though distant to a lot of younger site users, is dementia. Other neurological problems also exist, intermittent or degenerative. Buddhism is a philosophy addressing impermanence; learning to be calm about things including impermanence is part of it - yet one that supposes the practitioner will always retain the calm if properly trained, and that if they don't, they need to try harder. But logically that can't be so for 100% of cases: it can be that the ability has gone, or is deteriorating, including at times of great need and trouble for which this training is implicitly intended. [A problem of horrible tragic irony; and in modern geek terms, the hardware can't run the software.] Also, what if concentrating on breathing during meditation makes someone more aware of times when it has been, or when it will be, difficult to breathe for reasons beyond the mind's control? Concentrating on one's own breathing may be less calming than concentrating on an action movie! (So many words to explain things that felt, in my head, like a couple of two-clause sentences.) [And it's an idea that's now a routine part of my world, and which feels on a certain level like it must have been there for more than five years. Strange to be confronted with notes from the moment when I first had the epiphany.] What's perhaps neglected about meditation in general is that it, or feelings of calm can be enjoyable. [May have originally been related to the philosophy of non-attachment, and then, as mindfulness became more corporate, the general western idea of things that are good for you not being enjoyable.] It's often presented as something which is healthy but not exactly fun. But if you're prone to a repeated sports injury, physical activities (as long as they don't directly set it off) can be fun at the times you're able to do them, even if you always are at a beginner-ish level in something you've spent years on and would love to be good at. When you're old you might not be able to do the sport at all. [i.e. Meditation has the potential to be enjoyable even if you have thought about, or can remember, times when you are unable to do it because of some illness. But it can be easier to get lost in sport, in flow, than in meditation, especially in emptying-the-mind meditations. Meditations in which you focus on something are better for that, and you can focus on things other than breathing.] Sport is a more wholesome analogy than the one I first thought of - a holiday, or sex, or a night out [to throw yourself into and make the most of while you can]. That's what first occurred to me though. With those hedonistic activities it's obvious you can't do them all the time - even if some celebrities try - but it's assumed everywhere about mindfulness that you will always be able to do it. In the past I'd looked through books on mindfulness for pain which I assumed would discuss this, but they didn't. Bit of an oversight, surely - that no one talks about when people can't actually do it temporarily, or permanently. I couldn't have got to this realisation without having spent a long time not reading about mindfulness or Buddhism [after I first learnt much about them circa 2007-8. I find that these long gaps of being immersed in the real world after learning a discipline lead to more useful insights and integration of the topic with the rest of life than being 'inside' a subject constantly for years on end. That was certainly the case for me with psychology.] An analogy between meditation and sport or sex rejects central principles of Buddhism, like distancing oneself from worldly, sensory experience; it treats Buddhist practices as sensory, worldly experience. But if you don't believe in a life after death, what else are they? It's not that I don't think Buddhist / mindful ideas about impermanence have no place; they help many people as unofficial, or formal, therapy. The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt - tellingly, published just before the financial crisis - said that Buddhism evolved in a time of great upheaval and so its philosophies of non-attachment &c were a bit much, not entirely necessary, for Westerners these days. [Quote here.] It might be so if you're healthy and totally financially secure. But he quite forgot all the people who, even before the crash and although they at least don't live in war zones, are at the mercy of fluctuating health problems, fickle welfare systems and short-term employment, or imprinted by serial experiences of severe trauma. * Apologies to friends who've heard this before. The guy did look familiar; I assumed he was someone I'd seen across the room at a party, or on the tube. 3. Notes “It is the feeling that there is a division in us, a separation from something infinite with which we want to be reunited.” How Buddha speaks of love in the Majjhima Nikaya: “If men speak evil of you, this you must think: “Our heart shall not waver; and we will abide in compassion, in lovingkindness, without resentment. We will think of the man who speaks ill of us with thoughts of love, and in our thoughts of love shall we dwell. And from that abode of love we will fill the whole world with far-reaching, wide-spreading boundless love. Moreover, if robbers should attack you and cut you in pieces with a two-handed saw, limb by limb, and one of you should feel hate, such a one is not a follower of my gospel.” The last bit may be a bit much to ask, (though perhaps what it makes me think of is if you have just enough evil inside to understand why, or how – but for you that's just a small part and it's not in control, that is being able to empathise with extremes as well as the nice bits) I'm still nonplussed that SJWs don't think of the former as something one should ultimately aim for. Because I thought everyone except right wingers did, on some level - and anyone else hinting otherwise was essentially jocular – but they're deadly serious. “The Upanishads are the path of light. The Bhagavad Gita is the path of love. The Dhammapada is the path of life.” “Do not what is evil. Do what is good. Keep your mind pure. This is the teaching of Buddha. Is this all? says the man of arms, Every child of five knows this. It may be so, but few men of eighty can practise it.” -------- When I wrote the above, there wasn't any concerted criticism of ancient self-help texts, as there is now of Stoicism - part of the feminist clash with alt-right Classics fanboys. In the light of that it looks less strange to find these faults. I haven't seen anything similar about Buddhist texts, but that's probably because I don't read as much Buddhist content online. So the two similar problems which concerned me - the person who is unable to do much of the training because of an illness, learning disability, effects of severe psychological trauma etc, and the tragic irony of the person who has done such training but loses the ability to use it because of illness or injury just when it would be most useful - these would be seen within a Buddhist system as individuals seriously afflicted by karma, often from a past life. "Bad behaviour" a person truly cannot control and which results from a karmic condition is considered involuntary and therefore does not generate further bad karma. Those with such lifelong problems would not have been in the purview of training like this in ancient times, and both types would have been understood by the writers and adepts as being explained in other sources. This side of karma is easy to talk about in an insensitive way or in the wrong place; notoriously, it got former England football manager Glenn Hoddle sacked in 1999. Put in the right way, it shouldn't sound any more blaming than saying to a contemporary rationalist that someone has a genetic disease: they didn't choose it, and that they have it certainly doesn't preclude attempts to make it better. (That can also be part of their karma and/or that of those who help. By deliberately not helping when they could, someone may be storing up bad karma for themselves.) It is satisfying that when I finally get round to dealing with a few of these old reviews I want to finish - in the case of the Dhammapada to explain that insolent 3-star rating, and because the book marked an important epiphany and conundrum for me - it's after I'd found answers for this one. But ironically - or aptly? - I can't find the notes for another one, Marie Kondo.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Roxana Saberi

    Just reread this. Little and big gems of wisdom throughout.

  5. 4 out of 5

    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 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.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    So this happened to be the just-in-case-I-get-stuck-waiting-somewhere book I had thrown in my purse on the day my car, later, wouldn’t start as the temperature marched toward 100 degrees (F). I had plenty of time standing in the parking lot to consider Buddha’s message since the tow truck got stuck in Senior Open golf tournament traffic and took three hours to arrive. Did the advice to let go of sensory impressions, perceptions, anger and conditioned reactions help? Yes, I think it did, although So this happened to be the just-in-case-I-get-stuck-waiting-somewhere book I had thrown in my purse on the day my car, later, wouldn’t start as the temperature marched toward 100 degrees (F). I had plenty of time standing in the parking lot to consider Buddha’s message since the tow truck got stuck in Senior Open golf tournament traffic and took three hours to arrive. Did the advice to let go of sensory impressions, perceptions, anger and conditioned reactions help? Yes, I think it did, although I’ve gotten there myself over the decades as well. Easwaran’s overview of the Buddha’s life and the general tenets of Buddhism in the introduction are quite helpful, as are the introductions to each chapter. I am still confused by what the self atman that persists through multiple incarnations is, once the disparate components of form, personality, etc of a particular life are removed,but it seems as if I have plenty of company. I am also somewhat put off by all the numbered things: the Eightfold path, the four dhyanas, the four Noble sights, the four stages of enlightenment, the Four Noble Truths, the three Refuges. I was given just the trinity, which is enough to twist your mind up for a lifetime by itself. As in most religions, it seems as if the subsequent legions of disciples have created libraries of volumes of exigesis, and multiple strands of practice, but this is reputedly the simple version for the masses, as the Buddha himself said it. At any rate, it is a useful introduction for someone who wants an understanding of Buddhism to inform his or her reading of the history and literature of Asia.

  7. 5 out of 5

    7jane

    A re-read, this time in English translation. I got the Oxford version, because its form looked good in Amazon review (also its introduction is very clear and interesting; its explanatory notes are very useful too, very clear). I think I got more out of this this time, maybe a few years really changed things. I'm not a Buddhist, not believing in reincarnation for example, but even so I got a lot of enjoyment and inspiration out of this. It's a slim volume, so it can be read quickly, but it can als A re-read, this time in English translation. I got the Oxford version, because its form looked good in Amazon review (also its introduction is very clear and interesting; its explanatory notes are very useful too, very clear). I think I got more out of this this time, maybe a few years really changed things. I'm not a Buddhist, not believing in reincarnation for example, but even so I got a lot of enjoyment and inspiration out of this. It's a slim volume, so it can be read quickly, but it can also be savoured by reading slowly. One can see clearly how it can be such a classic, and a good starting place for anyone practicing Buddhism or just having an interest in it. Clear and simple yet also deep and visual, beautiful. Enjoyable and recommended. :)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Karan Bajaj

    Brilliant. The Buddha is the closest figure I've had as a role model in my life and this elegantly translated compendium of his teachings rings very true to his word. Excellent work.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jon Nakapalau

    The sayings of Buddha as taken down by his followers. A beautiful and uplifting book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    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 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.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Florencia

    Notes on translations #13. Desire, passion. Interesting distinction. Chapter 1 - Twins 1. Mind is the forerunner of all actions. All deeds are led by the mind, created by mind. If one speaks or acts with a corrupt mind, suffering follows, As the wheel follows the hoof of an ox pulling a cart. * Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox. Translator: Ach Notes on translations #13. Desire, passion. Interesting distinction. Chapter 1 - Twins 1. Mind is the forerunner of all actions. All deeds are led by the mind, created by mind. If one speaks or acts with a corrupt mind, suffering follows, As the wheel follows the hoof of an ox pulling a cart. * Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox. Translator: Acharya Buddharakkhita Phenomena are preceded by the heart, ruled by the heart, made of the heart. If you speak or act with a corrupted heart, then suffering follows you — as the wheel of the cart, the track of the ox that pulls it. Translator: Thanissaro Bhikkhu All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him, as the wheel follows the foot of the ox that draws the carriage. Translator: F. Max Müller Fore-run by mind are mental states, Ruled by mind, made of mind. If you speak or act With corrupt mind, Suffering follows you, As the wheel the foot of the ox. Translator: Valerie J. Roebuck Dec 01, 19

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Thou shalt not live combined with no soup for you. I feel compelled to say more inane things, but restraint is foremost in my mind after reading the Dhammapada. It gets a low rating because I didn't learn anything new. My favourite verses: #50: One should not have regard for the bad deeds of others, nor the things done and left undone by others, but only for the things done and left undone by oneself. #204: He who does not exert himself at the time of exertion, who though young and strong has com Thou shalt not live combined with no soup for you. I feel compelled to say more inane things, but restraint is foremost in my mind after reading the Dhammapada. It gets a low rating because I didn't learn anything new. My favourite verses: #50: One should not have regard for the bad deeds of others, nor the things done and left undone by others, but only for the things done and left undone by oneself. #204: He who does not exert himself at the time of exertion, who though young and strong has come to sloth, whose thoughts and mind are depressed, indolent, that lazy [bastard] does not find the road by wisdom. #302: It is hard to go forth; it is hard to be delighted; houses are hard to live in and miserable; living with those who are different is difficult; a traveller is beset with misery. Therefore one should not be a traveller and one would not be beset with misery. #305: Sitting alone, sleeping alone, wandering alone unwearied, alone taming the self, one would be delighted in the forest.

  13. 4 out of 5

    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.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Himanshu Karmacharya

    “The one who has conquered himself is a far greater hero than he who has defeated a thousand times a thousand men.” The Dhammapada is a collection of sayings by Gautam Buddha and one of the most popular Buddhist scriptures. The sayings are, obviously, easier said than done. But even following just a fraction of them can bring a drastic change in one's life and perspective.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Katie Bayford

    I'm attempting to read a few non-Western classics of philosophy, and this was my first real brush with Buddhism. I didn't find the Dhammapada quite as interesting as the Tao Te Ching, but (perhaps through naivete) I was surprised how Christian the path to perfection was, how deeply Franciscan. "This world is indeed in darkness, and how few can see the light! Just as few birds escape from a net, few souls can fly into the freedom of heaven." "But he who lives not for pleasures, and whose soul is i I'm attempting to read a few non-Western classics of philosophy, and this was my first real brush with Buddhism. I didn't find the Dhammapada quite as interesting as the Tao Te Ching, but (perhaps through naivete) I was surprised how Christian the path to perfection was, how deeply Franciscan. "This world is indeed in darkness, and how few can see the light! Just as few birds escape from a net, few souls can fly into the freedom of heaven." "But he who lives not for pleasures, and whose soul is in self-harmony, who eats or fasts with moderation, and has faith and the power of virtue - this man is not moved by temptations, as a great rock is not shaken by the wind." "Neither in the sky, nor deep in the ocean, nor in a mountain-cave, nor anywhere, can a man be free from the power of death."

  16. 5 out of 5

    Craig Shoemake

    The first two pages of the preface to Gil Fronsdal's translation say it all: Fronsdal lays out the challenges a translator of an ancient text faces. He talks about the Dhammapada's history in English, about how "a translation mirrors the viewpoint of the translator" (pp. xi-xii)-something Easwaran never did. Most pointedly, he notes that "Hindu concepts appear in English translations done in India" (p. xii)-or by a Hindu, I might add. (Hint: think Easwaran.) He goes on to say (p. xii) "In this t The first two pages of the preface to Gil Fronsdal's translation say it all: Fronsdal lays out the challenges a translator of an ancient text faces. He talks about the Dhammapada's history in English, about how "a translation mirrors the viewpoint of the translator" (pp. xi-xii)-something Easwaran never did. Most pointedly, he notes that "Hindu concepts appear in English translations done in India" (p. xii)-or by a Hindu, I might add. (Hint: think Easwaran.) He goes on to say (p. xii) "In this translation, I have tried to put aside my own interpretations and preferences, insofar as possible, in favor of accuracy." I believe he has done exactly this. Fronsdal's introduction (the preface discusses the translation issues) is not so far ranging as Easwaran's, and certainly not as lengthy, but I found it more insightful and refreshingly accurate. (Readers of my May 15, 2011 review of Easwaran's Dhammapada will understand my relief.) For example, I thought he hit the nail on the head with this pointed remark (p. xx): "The Dhammapada originated in a time, culture, and spiritual tradition very different from what is familiar to most Western readers today. We might be alerted to this difference if we compare the beginning of the Dhammapada with the opening lines of the Bible, which emphasize God's role as Creator and, by extension, our reliance on God's power. In contrast, the first two verses of the Dhammapada emphasize the power of the human mind in shaping our lives, and the importance and effectiveness of a person's own actions and choices... Ethical and mental purity [he goes on to say]...cannot be achieved through the intervention of others: `By oneself alone is one purified' (verse 165)." How different this is from Easwaran's constant-and fatuous-comparisons to Jesus and, even, Albert Einstein. The remainder of Fronsdal's introduction looks at its contrasting emotional moods-"energy and peace"-its themes, and the effects reading it have had on him. Fronsdal again demonstrates his penetration of basic Buddhist teachings when he writes on page xxix "[I]t is not the world that is negated in the Dhammapada, but rather attachment to the world (as in verse 171)." In the margin of my copy I scribbled YES! In other words, Fronsdal gets it-which is not so surprising when you consider the man has trained in both the Soto Zen and Theravadan traditions, has a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from Stanford, and is a teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. In other words, he has every qualification needed to interpret the Buddha's teaching, qualifications Easwaran seemed to have but in fact was sorely lacking. Anyway, on to the text proper. Despite my above praise, Fronsdal does make some interpretations I thought odd, though this is not to say I didn't understand his reasoning. For example, the title of the Dhammapada's first chapter, usually rendered as "Twin Verses" or "Paired Verses," Fronsdal names "Dichotomies." Fortunately, he explains this and other such choices-which he (much to his credit) acknowledges as controversial-in detailed endnotes signified by asterisks. (This was another problem I had with Easwaran's text-I could not tell which verses his endnotes pertained to unless I went to the back of the book.) This is much appreciated; one important characteristic of any good translator is candor and clarity as to what sort of interpretive choices s/he makes and why. Fronsdal maintains high standards in this regard; he explains his choices in detail in the endnotes, and having done so the reader can then appreciate that while some of his word choices are unorthodox, they are not without merit or insight. I realize not every reader will be interested in such linguistic and terminological details, but they need to be discussed somewhere if the translator is to maintain legitimacy. As for the reading experience of Fronsdal's Dhammapada: it has the spare, poetic feel I am familiar with from other translations of Pali Buddhist texts. Also, as previously noted, he does seem to fulfill the aspiration he stated in the preface-that of producing a relatively literal translation, one reflecting its original time and place as opposed to the layers of (mis)interpretation later commentators and cultures have often imposed on the text. As a result, Fronsdal's translation feels definitively like a Buddhist text, one that should be instructive to any newcomers to the Buddha's Dhamma. I hope they will leave it wanting more.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Barnaby Thieme

    This wonderful collection of versified sayings from the Pali record of Buddha's teaching is traditionally held to be close to the actual words of the historical teacher. Whether this is so or not, it is a beautiful, profound collection that is worth lingering over and contemplating. Juan Mascaró has done a superb job of rendering it into English that is vibrant and lyrical. Take for example the opening few verses: What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts b This wonderful collection of versified sayings from the Pali record of Buddha's teaching is traditionally held to be close to the actual words of the historical teacher. Whether this is so or not, it is a beautiful, profound collection that is worth lingering over and contemplating. Juan Mascaró has done a superb job of rendering it into English that is vibrant and lyrical. Take for example the opening few verses: What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow: our life is the creation of the mind. If a man speaks or acts with an impure mind, suffering will follow him as the wheel of the cart follows the beast that draws the cart. What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow: our life is the creation of the mind. If a man speaks or acts with a pure mind, joy follows him as his own shadow. "He insulted me, he hurt me, he defeated me, he robbed me." Those who think such thoughts will not be free from hate. "He insulted me, he hurt me, he defeated me, he robbed me." Those who think not such thoughts will be free from hate. For hate is not conquered by hate: hate is conquered by love. This is a law eternal. In my opinion, the entire essence of the Buddha's teachings can be found in these words.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Angie

    After some anonymous person on the internet tried to school me on what "karma" is, and ended up telling me "sorry for your ignorance, go read a book," I realized that I hadn't read The Dhammapada this year. I purposefully sought out a different translation than the one I own a copy of, and found a translation by "various Oriental scholars" edited by F. Max Muller. I still prefer the Byrom translation, although there are things in this translation that really came through for me. Favorite passages: After some anonymous person on the internet tried to school me on what "karma" is, and ended up telling me "sorry for your ignorance, go read a book," I realized that I hadn't read The Dhammapada this year. I purposefully sought out a different translation than the one I own a copy of, and found a translation by "various Oriental scholars" edited by F. Max Muller. I still prefer the Byrom translation, although there are things in this translation that really came through for me. Favorite passages: 166. Let no one forget his own duty for the sake of another's, however great; let a man, after he has discerned his own duty, be always attentive to his duty. 227. This is an old saying, O Atula, this is not only of to-day: `They blame him who sits silent, they blame him who speaks much, they also blame him who says little; there is no one on earth who is not blamed.' 249. The world gives according to their faith or according to their pleasure: if a man frets about the food and the drink given to others, he will find no rest either by day or by night. 285. Cut out the love of self, like an autumn lotus, with thy hand! Cherish the road of peace. Nirvana has been shown by Sugata (Buddha).

  19. 4 out of 5

    Marjolein

    Read all my reviews on http://urlphantomhive.booklikes.com Over the summer I've collected Penguin's Little Black Classics, a collection of 80 little booklets from all parts of world literature. Now, I'm reading them in a random order. This booklet contains 'Captivating aphorisms illustrating the Buddhist dhamma, or moral system. ' I must admit that I read and rated it purely based on reading it as a piece of literature, rather than spiritual. And, to be quite frank, it was not an easy read. It wa Read all my reviews on http://urlphantomhive.booklikes.com Over the summer I've collected Penguin's Little Black Classics, a collection of 80 little booklets from all parts of world literature. Now, I'm reading them in a random order. This booklet contains 'Captivating aphorisms illustrating the Buddhist dhamma, or moral system. ' I must admit that I read and rated it purely based on reading it as a piece of literature, rather than spiritual. And, to be quite frank, it was not an easy read. It was not even a nice read. The aphorisms (at least the ones collected) are often almost the same and just stated slightly different, or one is stating it positively and another one negatively. This made it so far my least favourite of the Little Black Classics even though I thought it was interesting to read something for a change that I perhaps wouldn't have picked up on my own.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sean

    Forget religion for a second, lets just focus on philosophy, because as a philosophy on how to live your life, this book is a pretty damn good one. This book speaks of peace, love, harmony, wisdom and self-improvement through realising you aren't always perfect, but you can always try to do better. It does not go in to what happens after death or any of that nonsense, just how a Buddhist goes about life in simple verse. I'm already too far down the rabbit hole of being an insensitive, sarcastic, Forget religion for a second, lets just focus on philosophy, because as a philosophy on how to live your life, this book is a pretty damn good one. This book speaks of peace, love, harmony, wisdom and self-improvement through realising you aren't always perfect, but you can always try to do better. It does not go in to what happens after death or any of that nonsense, just how a Buddhist goes about life in simple verse. I'm already too far down the rabbit hole of being an insensitive, sarcastic, cunt for it to become a way of life for me though, still, I agree with peace and harmony and I found this to be an enjoyable, optimistic and quick read... Surprisingly enjoyable in fact, like, it was fun to read in the same way the Art of War was, they just give you these infinitely quotable lines that make a whole damn heap of sense.

  21. 4 out of 5

    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.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Yasiru

    A wide-ranging and systematic sampling of Buddhist teachings, particularly in Theravada Buddhism, coming as it does from the Khuddaka Nikaya of the Pali Canon (see the external links section for valuable resources, including the Access to Insight collection of translated material). Highly economical and eminently accessible, these verses are indispensible in addressing the myriad misapprehensions and misrepresentations of concepts like karma, detachment, emptiness, et al. often made in casual la A wide-ranging and systematic sampling of Buddhist teachings, particularly in Theravada Buddhism, coming as it does from the Khuddaka Nikaya of the Pali Canon (see the external links section for valuable resources, including the Access to Insight collection of translated material). Highly economical and eminently accessible, these verses are indispensible in addressing the myriad misapprehensions and misrepresentations of concepts like karma, detachment, emptiness, et al. often made in casual lay discourse. From the beginning 'Twin Verses' (or 'Yamaka Vagga') the issues at hand are accorded an epistemic treatment in tandem with the traditional ontological and metaphysical concerns of similar religious sources. The text is not as strong at forwarding the ethical complexities in Buddhist thinking, but establishes the basic tenets very well. That said, not many religions, especially monolithic dogmas, speak of morality as an abstract, likely so as to make the empathy approach they often forward all the stronger, but adherence to general guidelines fashioned on what others take to and are repelled by so as to minimise their suffering doesn't require an emotional attachment at all, this in only one possible motivation- it might as well be accomplished through discipline and the ability to see beyond the trappings of self and its gratification (which is really what emotional attachment comes down to, be it even for 'good' ends; as Freud once put it: "Religion is an illusion and it derives its strength from the fact that it falls in with our instinctual desires."), thus achieving true compassion in worldly intent. Like the Tao Te Ching, the Dhammapada suggests this view of morality, but without setting up and speaking of it in terms of a divine absolute (the Tao in the former). A broader contemporary overview like the Ven. Walpola Rahula thera's What the Buddha Taught is a worthy follow-up for those who would have more detail and elaboration (freely available online). A series of lectures on the Buddha's teaching is found at http://bodhimonastery.org/the-buddhas... Also see- http://bodhimonastery.org/a-systemati... http://bodhimonastery.org/a-course-in... (a Pali course) The following essay on the teaching of Dependent Origination may be a good starting point if the reader wishes to delve deeper: www.metta.lk/english/cause-effect.htm While the Dhammapada is far more precise and clear compared to the Tao Te Ching (reviewed here) and can thus survive many of the turmoils of translation, of those I've encountered in English (being familiar with the original Pali and its Sinhala renderings) the careful effort of John Ross Carter and Mahinda Palihawadana (for Oxford World's Classics; they also have an expanded, commentary-laden version here), as well as those of the Ven. Narada Mahathera and the Ven. Balangoda Ananda Maitreya thera have much to commend them to the newcomer (who does well to keep in mind that Eastern teachings tend to be about degrees and measures rather than absolutes). Take care to avoid editions which offer commentary but are too free in their interpretations or attempt to restrict the work's purview to a context of other popular or extant philosophical (eg- Plato- (view spoiler)[ I think it's noteworthy that Plato might be considered an answers man, at times with too easy and (further) reason-numbing answers like those from religious figures from Christ (who tends to pop in when 'Western thought' is mentioned to take credit for modes of thought owed the Greeks) to Muhammad to whatever other 'One Path' prophet- well, that's not entirely fair, but I think he's only a rung or two better in reasoning, though not asking for submission to dogma and open to criticism. Socrates is the more cautious one, almost evasive on the points we desire answers the most, the man we need to find through the facade of Plato's generous offerings- like the Comedian must be found in Alan Moore's Watchmen, with apologies for the jarring, but still moral philosophy related reference, having just reread it (except Socrates doesn't deny agency- that might be Tolstoy). This same Socrates on the other hand has much in common with the Buddha I think, especially for his views on desire and its bleak ends. (hide spoiler)] , Kant (not an unreasonable case- see http://www.patheos.com/blogs/american...), phenomenology) or religious (eg- Hinduism and its Upanishads- which try before the Buddha to address (differently) some of the questions he does, but after him seems to have attempted to subsume into Hinduism proper the challenge to the status quo Buddhist thought presented; at least more subtle than Hinduism's portrayal of the Buddha as an avatar of Vishnu come to test the faithful by leading them astray) schools, or attempt to supply the text with fashionable mysticism (for instance, Easwaran's assimilative rendering), often thereby (unwittingly) expurgating the work's psychological depth and its invitation to a revolutionary and rational philosophy. And of course, the Dhammapada is only that- an invitation, a primer; to have the teaching elucidated on further one must attempt hereafter to tackle denser discourses in the Pali Canon. The aforementioned translation by the Ven. Narada Mahathera, though slightly aged, is freely available at http://www.metta.lk/english/Narada/in... and includes the framing stories often omitted elsewhere (though these are unfortunately only summarised, sometimes in a none too illuminating way) and excellent notes (files for offline reading may be found here). A few other online versions are linked here, of which the Acharya Buddharakkhita translation is perhaps the best balanced.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jake

    I am giving this book three stars because, if I have learned anything by reading it, it is that giving a rating of either 5 stars or 1 would be too extreme and passionate. Okay, had to get that tacky wisecrack out of the way. Now, previously I have read The Holy Bible , The Koran , and The Book of Mormon , among religious texts I would classify as major. For some time, I've wanted to read Buddhist scripture as well. My major response is that I felt healthier for having read The Dhammapa I am giving this book three stars because, if I have learned anything by reading it, it is that giving a rating of either 5 stars or 1 would be too extreme and passionate. Okay, had to get that tacky wisecrack out of the way. Now, previously I have read The Holy Bible , The Koran , and The Book of Mormon , among religious texts I would classify as major. For some time, I've wanted to read Buddhist scripture as well. My major response is that I felt healthier for having read The Dhammapada. So many of its passages steer me away from extremes. Yet, this book doesn't encourage lethargy or apathy, not as I understand them anyway. Here is an entire gospel built, as best I can tell, upon stopping to smell the roses--but also the dung that fertilizes them. What am I most inspired by? These teachings imply that the power to achieve a true healthiness and peace of mind is within me. If I become a student of myself, I can find the ability within me to scrub away those things I find unhealthy. I like that notion a lot. On the flip side, I'm not a 100% convert to what I read. I think these writings, geared toward a monastic lifestyle, have their limitations and are sometimes archaic. That is a small criticism though, given the wealth of wisdom contained in these writings. The real reason I give this particular edition 3 stars is that it lacks an index or glossary. There are many helpful endnotes; however, whenever I needed to review the meaning of a given term, I had trouble finding the endnote that included a definition. This detracted from my reading experience. Nevertheless, I recommend this book, or any other vetted translation of The Dhammapada. There is good fruit here.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Brett C

    I like how the author gave a thorough introduction to Buddha and the Buddhist thought before getting into the text itself. There are many "sayings of Buddha" in this discourse. Full of wisdom that can apply to anyone at anytime in their life.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tirtha Raj Joshi

    Buddha spoke and spoke all his life but he actually was what he didn't speak of. His actual teachings are the way to the Silence. Well, I expected this book to be the collection of his teachings to guide one to the Dhamma specially the technique of Vipassana. Though the book talks of 5 moral precepts(Silas), Purification of the mind(Samadhi) and wisdom and tranquility(Prajna), it merely mentions these threefold training. The book is just an intellectual play but the Dhamma is much more than that. Buddha spoke and spoke all his life but he actually was what he didn't speak of. His actual teachings are the way to the Silence. Well, I expected this book to be the collection of his teachings to guide one to the Dhamma specially the technique of Vipassana. Though the book talks of 5 moral precepts(Silas), Purification of the mind(Samadhi) and wisdom and tranquility(Prajna), it merely mentions these threefold training. The book is just an intellectual play but the Dhamma is much more than that.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Curie

    Fascinating how much of our understanding of what it means to be a good person in Western society stems from concepts deeply incorporated into Buddhism beliefs. The Dhammapada is a collection of aphorisms illustrating the Buddhist moral system. These aphorisms are considered Buddha's own teachings and they deal with endurance, self-control and perfect joy. Despite having been worded hundreds of years ago, most of them are extremely contemporary. "What we are today comes from our thought of ye Fascinating how much of our understanding of what it means to be a good person in Western society stems from concepts deeply incorporated into Buddhism beliefs. The Dhammapada is a collection of aphorisms illustrating the Buddhist moral system. These aphorisms are considered Buddha's own teachings and they deal with endurance, self-control and perfect joy. Despite having been worded hundreds of years ago, most of them are extremely contemporary. "What we are today comes from our thought of yesterday, and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow: our life is the creation of our mind." In that regard, we are what we think and our thinking should be positive: forgive others, be strong in your morals and surround yourself with good people. Most thoughts are expressed in a spiritual and philosophical way where it remains open to interpretation how to live your life according to them, but even if you aren't out to practice Buddhism, it's a nice way to familiarize yourself with the key themes of that belief system. In 2015 Penguin introduced the Little Black Classics series to celebrate Penguin's 80th birthday. Including little stories from "around the world and across many centuries" as the publisher describes, I have been intrigued to read those for a long time, before finally having started. I hope to sooner or later read and review all of them!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Konstantin

    So I was looking for a religion which I might actually like or even admire, but this book did nothing for me. Are all religions fundamentally the same, minus the cultural connotations and the syntax? Because that's what I took away from this, having been raised as an Orthodox Christian and now being an atheist. Disappointing.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Florencia

    Chapter 1 - Twins 1. Fore-run by mind are mental states, Ruled by mind, made of mind. If you speak or act With corrupt mind, Suffering follows you, As the wheel the foot of the ox. * Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox. Translator: Acharya Buddharakkhita Phenomena are preceded by the heart, ruled by the heart, made of the heart. If you speak or ac Chapter 1 - Twins 1. Fore-run by mind are mental states, Ruled by mind, made of mind. If you speak or act With corrupt mind, Suffering follows you, As the wheel the foot of the ox. * Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox. Translator: Acharya Buddharakkhita Phenomena are preceded by the heart, ruled by the heart, made of the heart. If you speak or act with a corrupted heart, then suffering follows you — as the wheel of the cart, the track of the ox that pulls it. Translator: Thanissaro Bhikkhu All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him, as the wheel follows the foot of the ox that draws the carriage. Translator: F. Max Müller Mind is the forerunner of all actions. All deeds are led by the mind, created by mind. If one speaks or acts with a corrupt mind, suffering follows, As the wheel follows the hoof of an ox pulling a cart. Translator: Ananda Maitreya Dec 01, 19

  29. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    I feel bad reviewing this because I feel like I am being asked to review a religion which is wrong. This is a review of the book only. However the book is essentially the teachings of Buddhism in a nutshell. It’s not exactly surprising stuff - be nice and kind and not a selfish, greedy, evil person. It seems obvious right? But maybe we do need to be reminded sometimes to be a good person. So what to say about it? … It’s a very long, very repetitive poem teaching the Buddhist way of life and a per I feel bad reviewing this because I feel like I am being asked to review a religion which is wrong. This is a review of the book only. However the book is essentially the teachings of Buddhism in a nutshell. It’s not exactly surprising stuff - be nice and kind and not a selfish, greedy, evil person. It seems obvious right? But maybe we do need to be reminded sometimes to be a good person. So what to say about it? … It’s a very long, very repetitive poem teaching the Buddhist way of life and a persons aims in life within Buddhism, it’s a guide. It isn’t something you would read in one sitting and even as poem it is only half there for me, the repetition takes some of the enjoyment out of it - why use a single sentence to explain your meaning when you can write that same sentence 5 times in slightly different ways - I suppose the idea is to drum it into you! It is also quite lecturey, but it is a lesson so it would be wouldn’t it. However having said all that if you take it slowly and think about what you are reading it does work - in small doses. To take any of its meaning in you need to take your time and mull it over. It was quite meditative. I liked to read it on the tube - it helped me feel a little zen when I wanted to kill someone for barging in front of me, my fellow commuters will have to watch themselves now I don’t have the calming power of this book in my hand! So overall not bad, take your time and it might be worth reading but don’t expect anything radical within these pages - just a gentle reminder to be nice and humble. I would suggest that if you are interested in learning more about Buddhism there are other more practical books out there which are more interesting and more helpful. I’m giving this a 4*/5, it was nice in its own way.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Knecht

    Small pieces of timeless wisdom. Here are my favourite... -Long is the night to him who is awake; long is a mile to him who is tired; long is life to the foolish who do not know the true law. -If a traveller does not meet with one who is his better, or his equal, let him firmly keep to his solitary journey; there is no companionship with a fool. -If one man conquer in battle a thousand times thousand men, and if another conquer himself, he is the greatest of conquerors. -Come, look at this glitterin Small pieces of timeless wisdom. Here are my favourite... -Long is the night to him who is awake; long is a mile to him who is tired; long is life to the foolish who do not know the true law. -If a traveller does not meet with one who is his better, or his equal, let him firmly keep to his solitary journey; there is no companionship with a fool. -If one man conquer in battle a thousand times thousand men, and if another conquer himself, he is the greatest of conquerors. -Come, look at this glittering world, like unto a royal chariot; the foolish are immersed in it, but the wise do not touch it. -Not to blame, not to strike, to live restrained under the law, to be moderate in eating, to sleep and sit alone, and to dwell on the highest thoughts,—this is the teaching of the Awakened. -He who possesses virtue and intelligence, who is just, speaks the truth, and does what is his own business, him the world will hold dear. -He who, by causing pain to others, wishes to obtain pleasure for himself, he, entangled in the bonds of hatred, will never be free from hatred.

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