Synopses & Reviews
"The Dhammapada, possibly the most popular and best-known of all Buddhist texts, sums up 'in the simplest language the core teachings of the Buddha,' as Jack Kornfield writes in the foreword. Translator Fronsdal, a Kornfield protégé who has a doctorate in Buddhist studies from Stanford and has practiced Buddhism for three decades, offers a rendition that is faithful to the original Pali text, but not slavishly so. For example, right in the opening verses he translates dhamma as 'experience' when it is often rendered as 'teaching' or 'truth,' and samsara as 'wandering' when it usually connotes the cycle of suffering. He also employs gender-neutral language throughout. Fronsdal provides a brief but illuminating introduction in which he describes the history of the Dhammapada and highlights two basic themes: how to obtain happiness in this and future lives, and how to achieve liberation from suffering. He discusses how some verses seem to be specifically addressed to the text's monastic audience, and suggests ways that lay Buddhists might apply those verses to themselves. " Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The Dhammapada is the most widely read Buddhist scripture in existence, enjoyed by both Buddhists and non-Buddhists. This classic text of teaching verses from the earliest period of Buddhism in India conveys the philosophical and practical foundations of the Buddhist tradition. The text presents two distinct goals for leading a spiritual life: the first is attaining happiness in this life (or in future lives); the second goal is the achievement of spiritual liberation, freedom, absolute peace. Many of the key themes of the verses are presented in dichotomies or pairs, for example, grief and suffering versus joy; developing the mind instead of being negligent about one's mental attitude and conduct; virtuous action versus misconduct; and being truthful versus being deceitful. The purpose of these contrasts is, very simply, to describe the difference between what leads to desirable outcomes and what does not.
For centuries, this text has been studied in its original Pali, the canonical language of Buddhism in Southeast Asia. This fresh new translation from Insight Mediation teacher and Pail translator Gil Fronsdal is both highly readable and scholarly authoritative. With extensive explanatory notes, this edition combines a rigorous attention to detail in bringing forth the original text with the translator's personal knowledge of the Buddhist path. It is the first truly accurate and highly readable translation of this text to be published in English.