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The Dhammapada: A New Translation of the Buddhist Classic with Annotations (Book and Audio-CD Set)

4.46  ·  Rating Details ·  749 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
The Dhammapada is the most widely studied Buddhist scripture, enjoyed for centuries by Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike. This classic text of teaching verses conveys the philosophical and practical foundations of the Buddhist tradition. The text presents two distinct goals: the first is attaining happiness in this life (or in future lives); the second is the achievement o ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published November 25th 2008 by Shambhala
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(showing 1-30)
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Betsy Ferhey
Apr 08, 2013 Betsy Ferhey rated it really liked it
pulled this off the shelf and re-read it a couple of weekends ago. Gil Fronsdal is so inspirational anyway-- his podcasts from the IMC have helped me find the path back to sanity on many occasions over the years. This classic is an important touchstone for me. There are so many lessons here and the prose is soothing.
Jan 15, 2016 Renee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I used this book of The Dhammpada to follow along with teaching online of the Dhammpada (which are the stories & explanation in more detail). I found the book very helpful, insightful, inspiring, and well translated compared. I continue to refer back to this with each teaching I continue to learn.
Dan Vale
An excellent translation of one of the most famous Buddhist books. The book is littered with notes that really make you understand not just each verse in more detail, but also Fronsdal's translation choices.
Jan 29, 2014 Steve rated it it was amazing
A very fine translation of one of the most important and accessible Buddhist texts. Everyone should have at least one.
Oct 08, 2014 cesar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddhism
Engage in the Buddha's teachings,
Even a young bhikkhu
Lights up this world
Like the moon
Set free from a cloud. — (v.382)
Jan 11, 2017 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read 10+ translations of this Buddhist classic, and Fronsdal's is (imho) the best. A little book to treasure and read again (and again).
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 ...more
Chad Kohalyk
Dec 22, 2016 Chad Kohalyk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, buddhism
Eminently readable. The intro and the preface do a good job of providing context. I have not read any other translations of the Dhammapada so I cannot judge it on those terms, but I appreciate the detailed annotations on his word selection.
Jan 11, 2010 Jake rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
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
Dylan Grant
This is a great scripture, one that is good at rousing one to live a virtuous life, but by God this translation is abominably awful. In the Translator's introduction Gil Fronsdal says that he was concerned that many of the passages strike readers as "life-denying", so he changed them to sound "softer", and then he says that in the name of "inclusivity" (bleck!) he has changed some of the pronouns to female, since in the original all of the pronouns are male as all the people the Buddha is speaki ...more
Ryan Melsom
Oct 23, 2013 Ryan Melsom rated it really liked it
When you rate the Buddha, you rate yourself in a funny way. Still, this was a readable and enjoyable, and packed with all kinds of insight. One thing I noticed was that it really seemed like it was created for monks. Many of the lessons assume a life of seclusion, though it does reach beyond at points, such as with its discussions of wealth and desire.

The book spent a great deal of time emphasizing the value of restraint in terms of thought, action, and sensory pursuits. While it talked about th
Scott Cox
Dhammapada is a compound word consisting of "dhamma" (religious teachings) and "pada" (a path or mental state) and so the title could be translated as "The Path of the Dharma" (p.xiv). This version is a translation from the ancient Indian language of Pali, pertinent since the Buddha (Siddhartha) was originally from northern India, which is now part of Nepal. As noted in the Introduction, the "Dhammapada is often built around dichotomies . . . paired to present the two sides of a distinction" (p. ...more
Jessica Evans
I don't know why, but it didn't resonate with me the way The Enchiridion or the Tao Te Ching did, despite having many of the same themes and lessons. As usual for a religious text, there is the mandatory "everyone who disagrees with this or disbelieves is hellbound", which is always annoying, but that's not the main reason. It's also highly aphoristic with nothing like an argument for any of its positions, much like The Analects; but unlike The Analects, this text is at least on point when it co ...more
Mary-Jean Harris
This was a wonderful book, and so easy to read. It contains small chapters of verses that were said to be from the Buddha. I found it very peaceful, and there are many beautiful verses. It captures Buddhist ideas in a poetic and insightful way. Here is some nice quotes from it:

"Greater in combat
Than a person who conquers
A thousand times a thousand people
Is the person who conquers herself."
(the translator purposely jumbled up using "himself" and "herself", which I found distracting at first, but
Gudrun Mouw
Oct 06, 2015 Gudrun Mouw rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am deeply appreciative of Gil Fronsdal's translation of the Dhammapada, an anthology of verses on the teachings of the Buddha from the early period in India. There is a wonderful pragmatism, wisdom and simplicity in how the path of liberation is presented in the short space of 107 pages.

The power of the mind in shaping experience and the importance of skillful choices are concepts I find particularly confirming. Also, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the music of this ancient poetry, or s
Nov 24, 2012 Nancy rated it liked it
I read half of this book in July 2012 and then it sat at my bedside until I finished it in November 2012. Not sure what the space between reads was about.

Reading this ties in with my meditation practice. It is 26 short chapters of poetry conveying core teachings of the Buddha.

Not the easiest of reads because I am fairly new in reading text of this kind.

A keeper for me and a book I will re-visit often.

Kevin K
It wouldn't be right to express too much like/dislike of the Dhammapada. That would be contrary to the spirit of the book itself:

"Whoever, having given up liking and disliking,
Has become cooled, without attachments,
A hero overcoming the entire world,
I call a brahmin."

Another favorite verse:

"The mindful apply themselves;
They don't amuse themselves in any abode.
Like swans flying from a lake,
They abandon home after home."
Jun 11, 2016 AliceinWonderland rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
- I haven't read any other translations, so I cannot compare it to this one, but I enjoyed it - Found the language to be brisk & effective; I feel it gets its message across.
- Nice for daily reading or daily practice, especially to those, who say, are accustomed to reading a Bible, but don't have any Buddhist texts to supplement with, this is a nice addition.
Dec 06, 2014 Emorgan05 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Story:
The Dhammapada is the earliest Buddhist scripture.

The Review:
I expected this to be really dense like The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching. It's not. It was really readable and accessible. It does help to have some basic knowledge of Buddhism before reading this so that it makes sense, but I recommend it.
Phillip Moffitt
The Dhammapada is the most widely read Buddhist scripture. It is a collection of short teachings on a wide range of subjects from old age to the meaning of path. It emphasizes both the practical aspects of Buddhism, such as happiness in this life, and the liberation aspect (i.e., absolute freedom). Fronsdal’s language is clear and reflects his background as a Buddhist scholar.
Dec 01, 2015 Thaddeus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Individuals interested in the teaching of the Buddha.
I was excited to read this book, yet it took me 9 months to finish it. I found the teachings of the book to be simply written but dense in meaning and information. This lead me to only reading when I was ready to contemplate, reflect upon, and absorb the text. This is no doubt a quality book that I will read again in the future.
Mar 28, 2015 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This isn't the sort of book you can mark as 'read'.
You can sit and read it, as an intellectual exercise, but you need to go back to it again and again to achieve understanding or insight.
However, having said that, I sat and read it cover to cover. I will read it, and dip into it in future.
Nick Arkesteyn
Very interesting to see how something that was written so long ago still applies today. I don't believe in any of their gods but this is a great read full of insight. I have a feeling that you could pull this out any time, turn to any page, read a couple of verses and learn something new.
Joshua Galloway
Nov 13, 2008 Joshua Galloway rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
An excellent "Baby's First of fifteen Khuddaka Nikāya or "collections of short sayings," that being one of five collections or Nikāyas of the Sutta Piṭaka (Basket of Teachings) attributed to the Gautama Buddha."
May 27, 2008 k8beeZ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gil is the man! Check out his talks on audiodharma. This is a really great translation. It's not very long, but very deep. Very amazing! I did learn from the translations and found it very interesting. I'd like to now compare Gil's translation with others.
Sep 16, 2009 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Susan
Beautiful Theravada verses, it was nice to finally read some Buddhism source material after my other survey books. The translation notes of this version are very enriching and I'm sure I'll read this over and over, just like the Tao Te Ching.
Dec 29, 2013 Juergen rated it it was amazing
Good translation of a classic book from the Pali Canon. This is annotated with the author's notes, which I found quite insightful and helpful.
A nice translation. When you read the text notes you can tell just how hard Fronsdal worked on making this version legible to a western reader while remaining loyal to the original.
Robert Rowe
Jul 27, 2007 Robert Rowe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in Eastern Philosophy
This is a beautiful book. I think that if we all were to observe some of the things this book teaches our world would improve tremendously.
Jun 09, 2014 Lothar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A spiritual classic as well as positive reinforcement for one's own journey into the realm of the sage.
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Share This Book

“The gift of Dharma surpasses all gifts. The taste of Dharma surpasses all tastes. The delight in Dharma surpasses all delights. The destruction of craving conquers all suffering.” 1 likes
“Greater in combat Than a person who conquers A thousand times a thousand people Is the person who conquers herself.” 1 likes
More quotes…