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All indications show, however, that the Buddha as a teacher was especially sensitive to both aspects of oral communication, and that he trained his listeners to be sensitive to both as well. On the one hand, the repetitious style of many of his recorded teachings seems to have been aimed at hammering them into the listener's memory; also, at the end of many of his discourses, he would summarize the main points of the discussion in an easy-to-memorize verse.

On the other hand, there are many reports of instances in which his listeners gained immediate Awakening while listening to his words. This sensitivity to both present impact and future use is in line with two well-known Buddhist teachings: first, the basic Buddhist principle of causality, that an act has repercussions both in the present and on into the future; second, the Buddha's realization, early on in his teaching career, that some of his listeners would attain Awakening immediately on hearing his words, whereas others would be able to awaken only after taking his words, contemplating them, and putting them into prolonged practice.

A survey of the Buddha's prose discourses recorded in the Pali Canon gives an idea of how the Buddha met the double demands placed on him as a teacher. In some cases, to respond to a particular situation, he would formulate an entirely original teaching. In others, he would simply repeat a formulaic answer that he kept in store for general use: either teachings original with him, or more traditional teachings — sometimes lightly tailored, sometimes not — that fit in with his message.

In still others, he would take formulaic bits and pieces, and combine them in a new way for the needs at hand. A survey of his poetry reveals the same range of material: original works; set pieces — original or borrowed, occasionally altered in line with the occasion; and recyclings of old fragments in new juxtapositions. Thus, although the Buddha insisted that all his teachings had the same taste — that of release — he taught different variations on the theme of that taste to different people on different occasions, in line with his perception of their short- and long-term needs.

In reciting a verse to a particular audience, he might change a word, a line, or an image, to fit in with their backgrounds and individual needs. Adding to this potential for variety was the fact that the people of northern India in his time spoke a number of different dialects, each with its own traditions of poetry and prose. The Pali Cullavagga V.

There is no way of knowing whether he himself was multi-lingual enough to teach all of his students in their own dialects, or expected them to make the translations themselves. Still, it seems likely that, as a well-educated aristocrat of the time, he would have been fluent in at least two or three of the most prevalent dialects.

Some of the discourses — such as DN 21 — depict the Buddha as an articulate connoisseur of poetry and song, so we can expect that he would also have been sensitive to the special problems involved in the effective translation of poetry — alive, for instance, to the fact that skilled translation requires more than simply substituting equivalent words. The Mahavagga V. Although scholars have often raised questions about which language the Buddha spoke, it might be more appropriate to remain open to the possibility that he spoke — and could compose poetry in — several.

This possibility makes the question of "the" original language or "the" original text of the Dhp somewhat irrelevant.


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The texts suggest that even during the Buddha's lifetime his students made efforts to collect and memorize a standardized body of his teachings under a rubric of nine categories: dialogues, narratives of mixed prose and verse, explanations, verses, spontaneous exclamations, quotations, birth stories, amazing events, question and answer sessions. However, the act of collecting and memorizing was pursued by only a sub-group among his monks, while other monks, nuns, and lay people doubtlessly had their own individual memorized stores of teachings they had heard directly from the Buddha or indirectly through the reports of their friends and acquaintances.

The Buddha had the foresight to ensure that this less standardized fund of memories not be discounted by later generations; at the same time, he established norms so that mistaken reports, deviating from the principles of his teachings, would not be allowed to creep into the accepted body of doctrine. To discourage fabricated reports of his words, he warned that anyone who put words in his mouth was slandering him AN 2.

This, however, could in no way prevent mistaken reports based on honest misunderstandings. So, shortly before his death, he summarized the basic principles of his teachings: the 37 Wings to Awakening bodhi-pakkhiyadhamma — see the note to verse in the general framework of the development of virtue, concentration, and discernment, leading to release.

Then he announced the general norms by which reports of his teachings were to be judged. The Maha-parinibbana Suttanta DN 16 quotes him as saying:. Thus, a report of the Buddha's teachings was to be judged, not on the authority of the reporter or his sources, but on the principle of consistency: did it fit in with what was already known of the doctrine? This principle was designed to ensure that nothing at odds with the original would be accepted into the standard canon, but it did open the possibility that teachings in line with the Buddha's, yet not actually spoken by him, might find their way in.

The early redactors of the canon seem to have been alert to this possibility, but not overly worried by it. As the Buddha himself pointed out many times, he did not design or create the Dhamma. He simply found it in nature. Anyone who developed the pitch of mental strengths and abilities needed for Awakening could discover the same principles as well.

Thus the Dhamma was by no means exclusively his. This attitude was carried over into the passages of the Vinaya that cite four categories of Dhamma statements: spoken by the Buddha, spoken by his disciples, spoken by seers non-Buddhist sages , spoken by heavenly beings. As long as a statement was in accordance with the basic principles, the question of who first stated it did not matter. The recent discovery of evidence that a number of teachings associated with the Buddha may have pre- or post-dated his time would not have fazed the early Buddhists at all, as long as those teachings were in accordance with the original principles.

Shortly after the Buddha's passing away, the Cullavagga XI reports, his disciples met to agree on a standardized canon of his teachings, abandoning the earlier nine-fold classification and organizing the material into something approaching the canon we have today. There is clear evidence that some of the passages in the extant canon do not date to the first convocation, as they report incidents that took place afterwards.

The question naturally arises as to whether there are any other later additions not so obvious. This question is particularly relevant with regard to texts like the Dhp, whose organization differs considerably from redaction to redaction, and leads naturally to the further question of whether a later addition to the canon can be considered authentic. The Cullavagga XI. In other words, Ven. Purana maintained — and undoubtedly taught to his followers — a record of the Buddha's teachings that lay outside the standardized version, but was nevertheless authentic.

As we have already noted, there were monks, nuns, and lay people like him even while the Buddha was alive, and there were probably others like him who continued maintaining personal memories of the Buddha's teachings even after the latter's death. This story shows the official early Buddhist attitude toward such differing traditions: each accepted the trustworthiness of the others. As time passed, some of the early communities may have made an effort to include these "external" records in the standardized canon, resulting in various collections of prose and verse passages.

The range of these collections would have been determined by the material that was available in, or could be effectively translated into, each individual dialect. Their organization would have depended on the taste and skill of the individual collectors. Thus, for instance, we find verses in the Pali Dhp that do not exist in other Dhps, as well as verses in the Patna and Gandhari Dhps that the Pali tradition assigns to the Jataka or Sutta Nipata.

We also find verses in one redaction composed of lines scattered among several verses in another. In any event, the fact that a text was a later addition to the standardized canon does not necessarily mean that it was a later invention. Given the ad hoc way in which the Buddha sometimes taught, and the scattered nature of the communities who memorized his teachings, the later additions to the canons may simply represent earlier traditions that escaped standardization until relatively late.

When Buddhists began committing their canons to writing, approximately at the beginning of the common era, they brought a great change to the dynamic of how their traditions were maintained. The advantages of written over oral transmission are obvious: the texts are saved from the vagaries of human long-term memory and do not die out if those who have memorized them die before teaching others to memorize them as well. The disadvantages of written transmission, however, are less obvious but no less real. Not only is there the possibility of scribal error, but — because transmission is not face-to-face — there can also be the suspicion of scribal error.

If a reading seems strange to a student, he has no way of checking with the scribe, perhaps several generations distant, to see if the reading was indeed a mistake. When confronted with such problems, he may "correct" the reading to fit in with his ideas of what must be right, even in cases where the reading was correct, and its perceived strangeness was simply a result of changes in the spoken dialect or of his own limited knowledge and imagination.

The fact that manuscripts of other versions of the text were also available for comparison in such instances could have led scribes to homogenize the texts, removing unusual variants even when the variants themselves may have gone back to the earliest days of the tradition. These considerations of how the Dhp may have been handed down to the present — and especially the possibility that 1 variant recensions might all be authentic, and that 2 agreement among the recensions might be the result of later homogenization — have determined the way in which I have approached this translation of the Pali Dhp.

Unlike some other recent translators, I am treating the Pali Dhp as a text with its own integrity — just as each of the alternative traditions has its own integrity — and have not tried to homogenize the various traditions. Where the different Pali recensions are unanimous in their readings, even in cases where the reading seems strange e. Only in cases where the different Pali redactions are at variance with one another, and the variants seem equally plausible, have I checked the non-Pali texts to see which variant they support.

The pts edition gives the most extensive list of variant readings among the Pali recensions, but even it is not complete. The Royal Thai edition, for example, contains 49 preferred and 8 variant readings not given in the PTS version at all. Drawing selectively on various recensions in this way, I cannot guarantee that the resulting reading of the Dhp corresponds exactly to the Buddha's words, or to any one text that once existed in ancient India. However, as I mentioned at the beginning of this note, all the recensions agree in their basic principles, so the question is immaterial.

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The true test of the reading — and the resulting translation — is if the reader feels engaged enough by the verses to put their principles into practice and finds that they do indeed lead to the release that the Buddha taught. In the final analysis, nothing else really counts. The fact that the word mano is paired here with dhamma would seem to suggest that it is meant in its role as "intellect," the sense medium that conveys knowledge of ideas or mental objects two possible meanings for the word dhamma.

However, the illustrations in the second sentence of each verse show that it is actually meant in its role as the mental factor responsible for the quality of one's actions as in mano-kamma , the factor of will and intention, shaping not only mental events, but also physical reality on this point, see SN Thus, following a Thai tradition, I have rendered it here as "heart. The images in these verses are carefully chosen.

The cart, representing suffering, is a burden on the ox pulling it, and the weight of its wheels obliterates the ox's track. The shadow, representing happiness, is no weight on the body at all. The question raised in this verse is answered in SN 1. The word anibbisam in can be read either as the negative gerund of nibbisati "earning, gaining a reward" or as the negative gerund of nivisati, altered to fit the meter, meaning "coming to a rest, settled, situated.

Other teachings are empty of knowledgeable contemplatives. And if the monks dwell rightly, this world will not be empty of arahants. On the extraction of arrows as a metaphor for the practice, see MN 63 and MN This talent in particular must have been of interest to the anthologist s who put together the Dhp. DhpA: This verse refers to a person who has no sense of "I" or "mine," either for the senses "not-beyond" or their objects "beyond". The passage may also refer to the sense of total limitlessness that makes the experience of Unbinding totally ineffable, as reflected in the following conversation Sn 5.

Carter, John Ross and Mahinda Palihawadana, trans. Cone, Margaret. Dhammajoti, Bhikkhu Kuala Lumpur, trans. Norman, eds. Warder, A. Indian Kavya Literature, vols. I and II, 2nd rev. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, and In addition to the above works, I have also consulted many previous English translations and renderings of the Dhammapada, complete and incomplete, including those by Ven.

Ananda Maitreya, Babbitt, Beyer, Ven. Narada, Ven. In addition, I have consulted translations of the Udanavarga — again, complete and incomplete — by Sparham and Strong. Pairs vv. Heedfulness III. The Mind IV. Blossoms V. Fools VI. The Wise VII. Arahants VIII. Thousands IX. Evil X. The Rod XI. Aging XII. Self XIII. Worlds XIV. Awakened XV. Happy XVI. Impurities XIX. The Judge XX. The Path XXI. Miscellany XXII. Elephants XXIV. Craving XXV. Monks XXVI.

An example from the translation is in verse 7 — Mara overcomes him as the wind, a weak tree. Just like a blossom, bright colored but scentless: a well-spoken word is fruitless when not carried out. This textual trigonometry tends to rely on assumptions from among the following three types: 1 Assumptions concerning what is inherently an earlier or later form of a verse. In the presence of a community with well-known leading elders In a monastery with many learned elders who know the tradition In the presence of a single elder who knows the tradition have I heard this, in his presence have I received this: This is the Dhamma, this is the Vinaya, this is the Teacher's instruction.

Without approval or scorn, take careful note of his words and make them stand against the discourses and tally them against the Vinaya. If, on making them stand against the discourses and tallying them against the Vinaya, you find that they don't stand with the discourses or tally with the Vinaya, you may conclude: 'This is not the word of the Blessed One; this monk has misunderstood it' — and you should reject it.

But if Now at that time, Ven. Purana was wandering on a tour of the Southern Hills with a large community of monks, approximately in all.

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Then, having stayed as long as he liked in the Southern Hills while the elder monks were standardizing the Dhamma and Vinaya, he went to the Bamboo Park, the Squirrels' Sanctuary, in Rajagaha. On arrival, he went to the elder monks and, after exchanging pleasantries, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, they said to him, "Friend Purana, the Dhamma and Vinaya have been standardized by the elders.

Switch over to their standardization. Still, I will hold simply to what I have heard and received in the Blessed One's presence. There is the case where a monk, on seeing a form with the eye, does not grasp at any theme or particulars by which — if he were to dwell without restraint over the faculty of the eye — evil, unskillful qualities such as greed or distress might assail him.

He practices with restraint. He guards the faculty of the eye. He achieves restraint with regard to the faculty of the eye. This is how a monk guards the doors to his sense faculties. The four stages are: 1 stream-entry, at which one abandons the first three mental fetters tying one to the round of rebirth: self-identity views, uncertainty, and grasping at habits and practices; 2 once-returning, at which passion, aversion, and delusion are further weakened; 3 non-returning, at which sensual passion and irritation are abandoned; and 4 arahantship, at which the final five fetters are abandoned: passion for form, passion for formless phenomena, conceit, restlessness, and ignorance.

For other references to the "range of the noble ones," see and To gain rest from the first three yokes, one must discern, as it actually is present, the origination, the passing away, the allure, the drawbacks, and the escape from that yoke. One will then not be obsessed with passion, delight, attraction, infatuation, thirst, fever, fascination, craving with regard to that yoke. To gain rest from the yoke of ignorance, one must discern, as it actually is present, the origination, the passing away, the allure, the drawbacks, and the escape from the six sense media.

Dhammapada - Wikipedia

One will then not be obsessed with not-knowing. To ferret out the well-taught Dhamma-saying means to select the appropriate maxim to apply to a particular situation, in the same way that a flower-arranger chooses the right flower, from a heap of available flowers see 53 , to fit into a particular spot in the arrangement. According to another ancient commentary, the End-maker is Mara. The second takes it as analogous to the heap of flowers explicitly mentioned. The Chinese translation of Dhp supports this reading, as do two of three scholarly editions of the Patna Dhp.

As SN Which four? Physical nutriment, gross or refined; contact as the second, consciousness the third, and intellectual intention the fourth. Such a person cannot be comprehended by any of the forms of understanding that operate within the causal realm. According to DhpA, there was an ancient custom of worshipping this post with flowers and offerings, although those who wanted to show their disrespect for this custom would urinate and defecate on the post. In either case, the post did not react.

The negative meanings of the puns are on the left side of the slashes; the positive meanings, on the right. The negative meanings are so extremely negative that they were probably intended to shock their listeners. One scholar has suggested that the last word — uttamaporiso, the ultimate person — should also be read as a pun, with the negative meaning, "the extreme of audacity," but that would weaken the shock value of the verse.

Other editions read, na mantam agamissati, "It won't come to me. One may be reborn on one of the various levels of heaven or hell as the result of one's kamma on the human plane, and then leave that level when that particular store of kamma wears out. See, for example, A 4. Mogharaja: In what way does one view the world so as not to be seen by Death's king? The Buddha: View the world, Mogharaja, as empty — always mindful to have removed any view about self.

This is the way one views the world so as not to be seen by Death's king. Upasiva: He who has reached the end: Does he not exist, or is he for eternity free from dis-ease? Please, sage, declare this to me as this phenomenon has been known by you. The Buddha: One who has reached the end has no criterion by which anyone would say that — it doesn't exist for him. When all phenomena are done away with, all means of speaking are done away with as well. Sanskrit form: Skandha. Arahant: A "worthy one" or "pure one"; a person whose mind is free of defilement and thus is not destined for further rebirth.

A title for the Buddha and the highest level of his noble disciples.

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Becoming bhava : States of being that develop first in the mind and allow for birth on any of three levels: the level of sensuality, the level of form, and the level of formlessness. Brahma: An inhabitant of the highest, non-sensual levels of heaven. Brahman: The Brahmans of India have long maintained that they, by their birth, are worthy of the highest respect. Buddhists borrowed the term "brahman" to apply to arahants to show that respect is earned not by birth, race, or caste, but by spiritual attainment through following the right path of practice.

Most of the verses in the Dhammapada use the word brahman in this special sense; those using the word in its ordinary sense are indicated in the notes. Deva: Literally, "shining one. Dhamma: 1 Event; a phenomenon in and of itself; 2 mental quality; 3 doctrine, teaching; 4 nibbana. Sanskrit form: Dharma. Effluent asava : One of four qualities — sensuality, views, becoming, and ignorance — that "flow out" of the mind and create the flood of the round of death and rebirth. Enlightened one dhira : Throughout this translation I have rendered buddha as "Awakened," and dhira as "enlightened.

A person enlightened in this sense may also be awakened, but is not necessarily so. Fabrication sankhara : Sankhara literally means "putting together," and carries connotations of jerry-rigged artificiality. It is applied to physical and to mental processes, as well as to the products of those processes. In some contexts it functions as the fourth of the five aggregates — thought-fabrications; in others, it covers all five. Gandhabba: Celestial musician, a member of one of the lower deva realms. Heart manas : The mind in its role as will and intention.

Indra: King of the devas in the Heaven of the Thirty-three. Jhana: Meditative absorption. Read more Read less. Chance to win daily prizes. Get ready for Prime Day with the Amazon App. No purchase necessary. Get started. Kindle Cloud Reader Read instantly in your browser. Customers who bought this item also bought. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. Quotes of Wisdom - 99 Buddha's quotes. The Sayings of Lao Tzu.

Lao Tzu. Editorial Reviews From the Inside Flap This is a spiritual guidebook for resolving the many problems of everyday life as it points to a true way of freedom from suffering. Not Enabled. Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Customer images. See all customer images. Showing of 37 reviews. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews.

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Format: Paperback Verified Purchase. This is a good arrangement of a few important passages from the Original, longer Dhammapada. The book itself was well made as well. The holy book which is larger captures the imagination and I cannot wait to read it thorough. There is no discussion of origins, who came first nor any muddled and conflicting history.

This is a must for the study of Mahayana Buddhism before reading and learning, learning every day often has the effect of placing a blueprint over the original and reading how it is to be read allowed very soon. Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. I really enjoyed this. You can read a few of these at a time and ruminate on these sayings in sections. I'm no scholar, but these are as important to think about as Proverbs in the Bible.

Words to strive for, words to live by, the highest attainment. Turn to any page and gain greater understanding of Buddhism. Can't stop reading this book, food of deep spiritual nourishment. To be read daily. Words of wisdom from the Budda. One person found this helpful. This is a good book, translation is good too. These are the actual teachings of Buddha. This will help anyone from any religion. Very deep and profound. Full of thinking subjects that we don't consider in the daily basis but we should.