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The Dhammapada

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  22,770 ratings  ·  911 reviews
The Dhammapada (Pāli; Prakrit: धम्मपद Dhammapada; Sanskrit: धर्मपद Dharmapada) is a collection of sayings of the Buddha in verse form and one of the most widely read and best known Buddhist scriptures. The original version of the Dhammapada is in the Khuddaka Nikaya, a division of the Pali Canon of Theravada Buddhism.
The Buddhist scholar and commentator Buddhaghosa explain
Paperback, 114 pages
Published August 1st 1995 by Parallax Press (first published January 30th -400)
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Frrazz The Byrom rendering has some beautiful lines (it's my favorite), but has been criticized for bending some original meanings. The edition by Acharya Bu…moreThe Byrom rendering has some beautiful lines (it's my favorite), but has been criticized for bending some original meanings. The edition by Acharya Buddharakkhita strikes more of a balance between being free but inacurate, and being literal but dry and pedantic. Free dowloads are available at Reading Faithfully (

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Sean Barrs
This really is the ultimate guide to optimism, positive thinking and, in a sense, idealistic happiness. Some of the ideas in here speak with clarity and wisdom, the logic behind them is clear and strong; however, I know that practising them is not an easy thing. I tried some of them for a time, a few were easy. Simple things like forgiveness and proactive thinking aren’t too complex or difficult to put into practice, but others require a great deal of willpower and perhaps a deep understanding o ...more
Steven Walle
Jun 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Dhammapada is a collection of Budist writings. These explain their chor beliefs. I found this a very intreaguing read. I am a Christian but I find it very informative to study other people's belief system. The Budist's beliefs are based primarily on love but it has a very practical side of how to conduct one's life here on earth. It does not speak to much of the life her-after. I plan to study further into the Budist religion to gain a more informative opinion. I would recommend every one st ...more
Roxana Saberi
Jul 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just reread this. Little and big gems of wisdom throughout.
Sep 23, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tradition, religion
It's mostly just an assortment of platitudes.


Ch. VI, 78.

>>"Let one not associate
With low persons, bad friends.
But let one associate
With noble persons, worthy friends."

Ch. VIII, stanza 100.

>>"Though a thousand the the statements,
With words of no avail,
Better is a single word of welfare,
Having heard which, one is pacified."

Ch. XXI, stanza 290.

>>"If by sacrificing a limited pleasure
An extensive pleasure one would see,
Let the wise one beholding extensive pleasure,
A limited pleasure
So this happened to be the just-in-case-I-get-stuck-waiting-somewhere book I had thrown in my purse on the day my car, later, wouldn’t start as the temperature marched toward 100 degrees (F). I had plenty of time standing in the parking lot to consider Buddha’s message since the tow truck got stuck in Senior Open golf tournament traffic and took three hours to arrive. Did the advice to let go of sensory impressions, perceptions, anger and conditioned reactions help? Yes, I think it did, although ...more
Mar 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion-other
A re-read, this time in English translation. I got the Oxford version, because its form looked good in Amazon review (also its introduction is very clear and interesting; its explanatory notes are very useful too, very clear).

I think I got more out of this this time, maybe a few years really changed things. I'm not a Buddhist, not believing in reincarnation for example, but even so I got a lot of enjoyment and inspiration out of this. It's a slim volume, so it can be read quickly, but it can als
Karan Bajaj
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant. The Buddha is the closest figure I've had as a role model in my life and this elegantly translated compendium of his teachings rings very true to his word. Excellent work.
Jon Nakapalau
The sayings of Buddha as taken down by his followers. A beautiful and uplifting book.
Arun Divakar
Sep 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
There are books to be read and books to be comprehended. The second class is like learning to ride a bike : you climb on it to fall down & you keep repeating the gesture until at least shakily you can move forth a few feet unaided. What is contained in this book while at a first read is absurdly simple in its spartan-ness is a very difficult set of guidelines to live with.

The inspiration to know more about the Buddha was an unlikely source, a little trinket I bought. It was a resemblance of the
Dec 01, 2019 is currently reading it
Notes on translations
#13. Desire, passion. Interesting distinction.

Chapter 1 - Twins
1. Mind is the forerunner of all actions.
All deeds are led by the mind, created by mind.
If one speaks or acts with a corrupt mind,
suffering follows,
As the wheel follows the hoof of an ox pulling a cart.


Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox.
Translator: Ach
Jun 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
Thou shalt not live combined with no soup for you. I feel compelled to say more inane things, but restraint is foremost in my mind after reading the Dhammapada. It gets a low rating because I didn't learn anything new.

My favourite verses:

#50: One should not have regard for the bad deeds of others, nor the things done and left undone by others, but only for the things done and left undone by oneself.

#204: He who does not exert himself at the time of exertion, who though young and strong has com
Mar 29, 2007 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Very reflective and wholesome moral truths for living, quite a fresh read in the world of inconsequential candy reads. While one might not agree with every Buddhist principle for living, as I myself don't, the general truths that you pick up and contemplate throughout the day are hard to escape. Easy and quick, yet full of substance and worthy of review time and again.
Himanshu Karmacharya
Mar 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
“The one who has conquered himself is a far greater hero than he who has defeated a thousand times a thousand men.”

The Dhammapada is a collection of sayings by Gautam Buddha and one of the most popular Buddhist scriptures.

The sayings are, obviously, easier said than done. But even following just a fraction of them can bring a drastic change in one's life and perspective.
Katie Bayford
I'm attempting to read a few non-Western classics of philosophy, and this was my first real brush with Buddhism. I didn't find the Dhammapada quite as interesting as the Tao Te Ching, but (perhaps through naivete) I was surprised how Christian the path to perfection was, how deeply Franciscan.

"This world is indeed in darkness, and how few can see the light! Just as few birds escape from a net, few souls can fly into the freedom of heaven."

"But he who lives not for pleasures, and whose soul is i
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
Barnaby Thieme
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, buddhism
This wonderful collection of versified sayings from the Pali record of Buddha's teaching is traditionally held to be close to the actual words of the historical teacher. Whether this is so or not, it is a beautiful, profound collection that is worth lingering over and contemplating.

Juan Mascaró has done a superb job of rendering it into English that is vibrant and lyrical. Take for example the opening few verses:

What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts b
Oct 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, buddhism
After some anonymous person on the internet tried to school me on what "karma" is, and ended up telling me "sorry for your ignorance, go read a book," I realized that I hadn't read The Dhammapada this year.

I purposefully sought out a different translation than the one I own a copy of, and found a translation by "various Oriental scholars" edited by F. Max Muller. I still prefer the Byrom translation, although there are things in this translation that really came through for me.

Favorite passages:
Read all my reviews on

Over the summer I've collected Penguin's Little Black Classics, a collection of 80 little booklets from all parts of world literature. Now, I'm reading them in a random order.

This booklet contains 'Captivating aphorisms illustrating the Buddhist dhamma, or moral system. '

I must admit that I read and rated it purely based on reading it as a piece of literature, rather than spiritual. And, to be quite frank, it was not an easy read. It wa
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Forget religion for a second, lets just focus on philosophy, because as a philosophy on how to live your life, this book is a pretty damn good one.

This book speaks of peace, love, harmony, wisdom and self-improvement through realising you aren't always perfect, but you can always try to do better. It does not go in to what happens after death or any of that nonsense, just how a Buddhist goes about life in simple verse.

I'm already too far down the rabbit hole of being an insensitive, sarcastic,
Cassandra Kay Silva
Sep 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion
Very good edition. The text is beautiful. The message is good. This is the kind of thing that can be read and reread throughout your lifetime and will bring different meanings at different places in your life. I got a copy at the library. I will be looking for a personal copy to keep for my own. So beautiful. I really appreciated the accompanying notes.
Jan 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A wide-ranging and systematic sampling of Buddhist teachings, particularly in Theravada Buddhism, coming as it does from the Khuddaka Nikaya of the Pali Canon (see the external links section for valuable resources, including the Access to Insight collection of translated material). Highly economical and eminently accessible, these verses are indispensible in addressing the myriad misapprehensions and misrepresentations of concepts like karma, detachment, emptiness, et al. often made in casual la ...more
Aug 17, 2009 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 Dhammapa
Brett C
Apr 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddhism
I like how the author gave a thorough introduction to Buddha and the Buddhist thought before getting into the text itself. There are many "sayings of Buddha" in this discourse. Full of wisdom that can apply to anyone at anytime in their life.
Tirtha Joshi
Sep 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Buddha spoke and spoke all his life but he actually was what he didn't speak of. His actual teachings are the way to the Silence.

Well, I expected this book to be the collection of his teachings to guide one to the Dhamma specially the technique of Vipassana. Though the book talks of 5 moral precepts(Silas), Purification of the mind(Samadhi) and wisdom and tranquility(Prajna), it merely mentions these threefold training. The book is just an intellectual play but the Dhamma is much more than that.
Michelle Curie
Fascinating how much of our understanding of what it means to be a good person in Western society stems from concepts deeply incorporated into Buddhism beliefs. The Dhammapada is a collection of aphorisms illustrating the Buddhist moral system.

These aphorisms are considered Buddha's own teachings and they deal with endurance, self-control and perfect joy. Despite having been worded hundreds of years ago, most of them are extremely contemporary.

"What we are today comes from our thought of ye
Mar 17, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
So I was looking for a religion which I might actually like or even admire, but this book did nothing for me.

Are all religions fundamentally the same, minus the cultural connotations and the syntax? Because that's what I took away from this, having been raised as an Orthodox Christian and now being an atheist.

Dec 02, 2019 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Chapter 1 - Twins
1. Fore-run by mind are mental states,
Ruled by mind, made of mind.
If you speak or act
With corrupt mind,
Suffering follows you,
As the wheel the foot of the ox.


Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox.
Translator: Acharya Buddharakkhita

Phenomena are preceded by the heart, ruled by the heart, made of the heart. If you speak or ac
Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel bad reviewing this because I feel like I am being asked to review a religion which is wrong. This is a review of the book only. However the book is essentially the teachings of Buddhism in a nutshell. It’s not exactly surprising stuff - be nice and kind and not a selfish, greedy, evil person. It seems obvious right? But maybe we do need to be reminded sometimes to be a good person.

So what to say about it? … It’s a very long, very repetitive poem teaching the Buddhist way of life and a per
Joseph Knecht
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Small pieces of timeless wisdom. Here are my favourite...

-Long is the night to him who is awake; long is a mile to him who is tired; long is life to the foolish who do not know the true law.

-If a traveller does not meet with one who is his better, or his equal, let him firmly keep to his solitary journey; there is no companionship with a fool.

-If one man conquer in battle a thousand times thousand men, and if another conquer himself, he is the greatest of conquerors.

-Come, look at this glitterin
Mack Hayden
Sep 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion, philosophy
There's something innately funny and ridiculous to me about reviewing a sacred text, but here we are. I've been doing a lot of reading *about* Buddhism for a while now and I figured I was about due to read one of its primary texts. This came across as the Buddha's Sermon on the Mount to me—pithy, paradoxical, and poetic. The wisdom here is pretty accessible from any given angle, I can't imagine anyone approaching this and not gleaning *anything* from it. It lays out a very specific path of life ...more
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