This is a complete translation of the Dhammapada into simple, modern English.
The Great Teacher, Supreme Buddha, has taught the beautiful Dhamma out of limitless compassion for all the beings. All the teachings taught by the Buddha are known as the message of the Great Teacher. The Buddha’s message contains nine categories of teachings. They are as follows:
- Discourses (Sutta)
- Discourses mixed with verses (Geyya)
- Discourses from the higher teachings without the verses (Veyyākarana)
- Verses (Gathā)
- Verses of inspired utterances (Udāna)
- The 112 discourses which begins with the phrase “Thus the Blessed One has said” (Itivuttaka)
- The 547 birth stories related by the Buddha in connection with his previous births (Jātaka)
- The discourses that deal with the wonderful and the marvelous (Abbhūtadhamma)
- Discourses of questions and answers (Vedalla).
The collection called the Dhammpada contains the verses (Gathā) uttered by the Buddha. These verses are called “The Message of Buddha” since they have an incredible quality. Whoever understands the meaning of these verses and follows accordingly will have an amazing opportunity to achieve freedom from suffering, Nibbāna, and to experience true happiness.
One day, great Brahma Sahampati approached the Buddha and uttered a few verses about the noble qualities of the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the community of monks. In one of those verses, there is a remarkable statement: “Ekasmiṁ brahmacariyasmiṁ- sahassaṁ maccu hāyinaṁ” (SN:01)
“A thousand enlightened monks who have defeated the evil-one dwell in a single word of the Dhamma.”
You will witness the truth of this statement when you attentively study the verses in this book. “Dhammapada” is a mirror of that noble quality.
Dhammapada consists of twenty six chapters. These were categorized by specific topics by the great Arahants headed by the Great Arahant Mahā Kassapa Thero in the first Dhamma council. The skill of these Arahants of categorizing the incredible words of the Buddha into different topics is amazing.