Dhammapada an immortal classic
Dhammapada, is a book of
Wisdom. Its text which sums up the essence of TRIPITAKA
or Basket of Religious Texts Dhammapada is sacred to the
Buddhists, as the BHAGAVATHGITA to Hindus; as the Holy
Bible to Christians, and KORAN to Muslims. Therefore,
Dhammapada can be considered as the most important hand
book for all Buddhists in the world. Many believe the
essence of Buddhism is embodied in the Dhammapada.
The Dhammapada is an anthology, or a collection of poems
or pieces of prose on the same subject or by the same
writer, editing verses called from Discourses, mainly in
the SAMYUTTA and ANGUTTARA Nikayas.
The exact date of compilation of the Dhammapada is not
known. We presume, Dhammapada gained its present shape
at the Third Buddhist Council held during the 3rd
century B.C. Its origin has to be traced back to a
period prior to the First Buddhist Council.
The DHAMMAPADA, the “Treasury of Truth”, is the most
widely read Buddhist Text throughout the world. Its
translations are available in many languages.
The Chinese Translations are based on Pali-Dhammapada
They are not form of parts that are all of the same type
as known as homogeneous, in character. In some
translations, there are more verses that what is found
in Pali-Dhammapada or Udanavarga.
The first Buddhist Canonical Text published by a Danish
scholar - Victor Fausball in 1855 was Dhammapada. It was
translated to many languages and helped many Independent
Thinkers in the world to appreciate the value of the
Buddha. Dhammapada was translated to Latin in 1855. The
world renowned Great Buddhist scholar par-excellence was
responsible in Translating Dhammapada into Latin. In
1940, internationally reputed Ven. Narada Thera of
Vajiraramya, Bambalapitiya, translated Dhammapada to
The Dhammapada and its commentary DHAMMAPADATTA-KATHA,
have been a source of influence for the Buddhists in Sri
Lanka. A verse or two in Dhammapada is taken as its
theme in Germany.
A very common stanze is:
ETAM BUDDHANU SASANAM
Dhammapada 183 Verse
Refrain from all evil. Cleanse the Mint. This is the
teachings of the Buddha’s
They are (1) Yamaka Vagga (Pain), (2) Appamada Vagga
(Heedfulness), (3) Chitta Vagga (Mind), (4) Puppha Vagg
(The flowers), (5) Bala Vagga (The foot), (6) Panditha
Vagga (The wise), (7) Arahanta Vagga (The Archant), (8)
Sahassa Vagga (The Thousands), (9) Papa Vagga (Evil),
(10) Danda Vagga (Punishment), (11) Jara Vagga (the old
age), (12) Atta Vagga (self), (13) Loka Vagga (world),
(14) Buddha Vagga (The Enlightened one), (15) Sukha
Vagga (Happiness), (16) Piya Vagga (Affection), (17)
Kodha Vagga (Anger), (18) Mela Vagga (Impurities), (19)
Dhammatta Vagga (Righteousness), (20) Magga Vagga
(Path), (21) Pakkinnaka Vagga (Miscellanous), (22)
Niraya Vagga (Woeful State), (23) Naga Vagga (Elephant),
(24) Tanha Vagga (craving), (25) Bhikku Vagga (The
Mendicant), (26) Brahmana Vagga (Brahmana).
Out of these Vaggas Arahanta Vagga and Atta Vagga
consists of 10 stanzas respectively, where as in the
Brahmana Vagga, there are 41 verses or stanzas.
The sacred contents in Dhammapada have immensely
influenced human thought. In short, Dhammapada is among
the handful of gems of sacred literature esteemed by all
people, irrespective of creed and faith. By reading
Dhammapada, one could learn the fundamentals of
Buddhism. It help its reader to lead a happy life here
It enables to achieve life’s purpose “SUMMUM BONUM”- the
goal supreme. The famous author Albert J. Edmonds, who
translated Dhammapada to English states “IF EVER AN
IMMORTAL CLASSIC was produced upon the continent of Asia
- It is Dhammapada. The first English Translation was by
Prof. Max Muller.
There is not a single stanza or verse in Dhammapada that
is not useful to a lay reader. By reciting Dhammapada,
your life will be mentally enhanced. There are many
valuable sayings in it that are be useful to our daily
A stanzas in Panditha Vagga (stanza 81) is a story woven
round an Arahat, who was short in height. Some novice
monks used to cast remarks and harass this monk.
And the monk never showns any resentment. Even in our
lives we experience similar situations. Sometimes we are
praised. At times we are heavily criticised and blamed.
As a wise man what should be your attitude?
SELO YATHA EKAGANO-VATENA NA SAMIRATHI
EVAM NINDAPASANSASU-NA SAMIJJANTU PANDITHA
(As a solid rock that cannot be shaken by the wind, the
Wise, are not moved by BLAME or PRAISE.)
In the opening stanza of BALA VAGGA (Fools), how
effectively samsara is depicted. The witless who knows
not the sublime Teachings of Dhammapada gives a fine
DIGHA JACARATO RATTI -DIGAM SANTASSA YOJANA
DIGHA BALANAM SAMSARA-SADDHAMMO AV, JANA
(Long is the night to the sleepless; long is the mile to
the tired; long is the Samsara to the witless who knows
not the sublime)
Dhammapada is a gold mine of information.
NA BHAJE PAPAKE MITTE
NA BHAJE PURISADHAME
BHAJETHA MITTE KALYANE-
(Pandita Vagga - 78 verse 7)
This stanza provides food for thought. It is a worthy
advise given to all. If you associates less men and
women and friends, your future is very bleak. Therefore,
associate good, honest, time friends, who will always
stand by you in difficulties.
The metaphor is the use of a word or phrase to indicate
the literal meaning. Many believe that the essence of
Buddhism is embodied in the Dhammapada.