Andrew's Reviews > The Dhammapada

The Dhammapada by Anonymous
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Jan 19, 2010

bookshelves: religious-text-folklore-mythology
Read in January, 2010

So I'd never read any Buddhist texts before, and within the 40 or however many volumes of the standard Pali Canon (Thai edition), the Dhammapada seems to be the most popular starting point. It's attributed to the Buddha himself, which makes it more interesting as a (supposedly) primary text. And there are some really thoughtful metaphors in here. But on the whole, it just seems like a rather wishy-washy set of moral aphorisms along the lnes of "be good. Come on now, be good." Nothing specifically Buddhist about it. And I get the feeling that most people read it because they want some kind of exoticized Eastern mysticism rather than because they're interested in Buddhist practice or philosophy. Lame!
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Erin (new) - added it

Erin Hmm, it sounds like you missed the point. It might help you to read about the Dhammapada instead of just reading it. You may get a better understanding of what is being expressed. It might also help you to realize that to fully understand Buddhism is to practice it and experience that which the Buddha attempted to teach. He was the first to point out that one can read and study buddhism without understanding it. Your comment reinforces that truth.


message 2: by Andrew (new) - added it

Andrew Erin wrote: "Hmm, it sounds like you missed the point. It might help you to read about the Dhammapada instead of just reading it. You may get a better understanding of what is being expressed. It might also hel..."

Hi stranger! I've read a fair amount about Buddhism in the past, and experienced it through a significant amount of time living and working in an extremely non-Westernized region of Southern Thailand, including a stint volunteer teaching at a country temple. I can't say I have a full understanding of Buddhism, but what I believe is that Buddhism, like all religions, consists of how it is used in day-to-day life, and can be used for good (monastic protests in Burma and Tibet, monk-led health and education initiatives in Cambodia) or tremendous evil (Vicious attacks on leftists and intellectuals in Burma and Thailand sanctioned by clergy and enacted by pious laypeople, burning of Muslim villages in Sri Lanka). So while there are definitely linkages between specifically Buddhist texts and contemporary Buddhist practice, they exist as separate entities. My criticism of the Dhammapada is merely literary.


message 3: by Erin (new) - added it

Erin Great reply; much has been clarified.


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