The Dhammapada: A New Translation of the Buddhist Classic with Annotations

The Dhammapada: A New Translation of the Buddhist Classic with Annotations

by Jack Kornfield
     
 

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The
Dhammapada
is the most widely read Buddhist scripture in existence, enjoyed by both
Buddhists and non-Buddhists. This classic text of teaching verses from the earliest period of Buddhism in India conveys the philosophical and practical foundations of the Buddhist tradition. The text presents two distinct goals for leading a spiritual

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Overview


The
Dhammapada
is the most widely read Buddhist scripture in existence, enjoyed by both
Buddhists and non-Buddhists. This classic text of teaching verses from the earliest period of Buddhism in India conveys the philosophical and practical foundations of the Buddhist tradition. The text presents two distinct goals for leading a spiritual life: the first is attaining happiness in this life (or in future lives); the second goal is the achievement of spiritual liberation,
freedom, absolute peace. Many of the key themes of the verses are presented in dichotomies or pairs, for example, grief and suffering versus joy; developing the mind instead of being negligent about one's mental attitude and conduct;
virtuous action versus misconduct; and being truthful versus being deceitful.
The purpose of these contrasts is, very simply, to describe the difference between what leads to desirable outcomes and what does not.

For centuries, this text has been studied in its original Pali, the canonical language of Buddhism in Southeast Asia. This fresh new translation from Insight
Mediation teacher and Pail translator Gil Fronsdal is both highly readable and scholarly authoritative. With extensive explanatory notes, this edition combines a rigorous attention to detail in bringing forth the original text with the translator's personal knowledge of the Buddhist path. It is the first truly accurate and highly readable translation of this text to be published in
English.


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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780834823808
Publisher:
Shambhala Publications, Inc.
Publication date:
02/03/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
459,047
File size:
1 MB

Read an Excerpt

From
the
Foreword, by Jack Kornfield

You hold in your hands the most beloved of all Buddhist texts, both poetic and profound. These verses of the
Dhammapada
sum up in the simplest language the core teachings of the Buddha. Memorized and chanted by devoted followers for thousands of years, these words remind all who hear them of the universal truths expounded by the Buddha: Hatred never ends by hatred. Virtue and wise action are the foundation for happiness. And the
Buddha's teachings offer the possibility of a thoroughly unshakable peace and liberation of heart for those who follow the way of the Dharma and free themselves from clinging.

This new translation is both clearly and honorably literal and beautifully modern.
Through it, Gil Fronsdal, a deeply respected Western meditation teacher and
Buddhist scholar, conveys in English the life of these timeless words. The
Dhammapada's elegant verses, many spoken by the Buddha over the long years of his teaching,
were assembled by his senior monks and nuns to express his essential wisdom.
Indeed, had you been there, seated under the canopy of a banyan tree, listening closely to the Buddha as he directly pointed the way for you to live a compassionate, wise, and totally free life, you might have realized enlightenment then and there.

But it is not too late. These teachings in the
Dhammapada
are as true now as the moment they were offered from the Buddha's own lips. One page, one verse alone, has the power to change your life. Do not merely read these words but take them in slowly, savor them. Let them touch your heart's deepest wisdom. Let your understanding grow. Seeing what is true, put these words into practice. Then, as the text says, let the fragrance of your virtue spread farther than the smell of rosebay and jasmine, farther than even the winds can blow. Let the practice release your heart from fear. Let the quieting of your mind and the clear seeing of the truth release you from confusion and clinging.

May these verses and the liberated and compassionate heart to which they point awaken you. May they bring you peace, wisdom, joy, and the gift of unshakable inner freedom.

May all who open this book be blessed.

From
the Introduction

Over the years I have read the
Dhammapada
in a variety of ways, sometimes casually and sometimes with great care. I have calmed my mind in meditation so that I could encounter the text in creative and intuitive ways. I have read it out loud. I have memorized verses. Some passages
I have reread many times until they revealed new understandings or insights. I
have read it for my own inspiration as well as to discover what inspired ancient Buddhists in their religious life. At times I have approached the text with an inquiring attitude, sometimes to see how the text might address a particular question I've had and sometimes to allow the text to question my own views and biases.

Each way of reading the text gives me a different impression of the
Dhammapada.
Using a variety of approaches has enriched my experience of the text. My hope is that my translation will enable other readers to be enriched by it as well,
perhaps showing them something of the happiness toward which this religious classic is a guide.


The
Mind

The restless, agitated mind,

Hard to protect, hard to control,

The sage makes straight,

As a fletcher the shaft of an arrow.

Like a fish out of water,

Thrown on dry ground,

This mind thrashes about,

Trying to escape Mara's command.

The mind, hard to control,

Flighty—alighting where it wishes—

One does well to tame.

The disciplined mind brings happiness.

The mind, hard to see,

Subtle—alighting where it wishes—

The sage protects.

The watched mind brings happiness.

Far ranging, solitary,

Incorporeal and hidden

Is the mind.

Those who restrain it

Will be freed from Mara's bonds.

For those who are unsteady of mind,

Who do not know true Dharma,

And whose serenity wavers,

Wisdom does not mature.

For one who is awake,

Whose mind isn't overflowing,

Whose heart isn't afflicted

And who has abandoned both merit and demerit,

Fear does not exist.

Knowing this body to be like a clay pot,

Establishing this mind like a fortress,

One should battle Mara with the sword of insight,

Protecting what has been won,

Clinging to nothing.

All too soon this body

Will lie on the ground,

Cast aside, deprived of consciousness,

Like a useless scrap of wood.

Whatever an enemy may do to an enemy,

Or haters, one to another,

Far worse is the harm

From one's own wrongly directed mind.

Neither mother nor father,

Nor any other relative can do

One as much good

As one's own well-directed mind.


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Meet the Author

Jack Kornfield trained as a Buddhist monk in the monasteries of Thailand, India, and Burma. He is a founding teacher of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California, and has taught meditation internationally since 1974. His books include After the Ecstasy, the Laundry; The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness, and Peace; Meditation for Beginners; and The Wise Heart.

Gil Fronsdal has practiced Zen and Insight Meditation since 1975 and has a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from Stanford University. He has trained in both the Japanese Soto Zen tradition (San Francisco Zen Center with Suzuki Roshi) and the Insight Meditation school of Theravada Buddhism from Southeast Asia. Gil was trained as a Vipassana teacher by Jack Kornfield and is part of the Vipassana teachers' collective at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. He was ordained as a Soto Zen priest at the San Francisco Zen Center, and in 1995 received Dharma Transmission from Mel Weitsman, the abbot of the Berkeley Zen Center. He has been the primary teacher for the Insight Meditation Center, in Redwood City, California, since 1990. He is a husband and father of two boys.

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