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.
“In his highly praised new translation, Fronsdal brings to bear his considerable experience both as a scholar and a practitioner. His intimacy with the text is obvious: the verses ring out clearly on the first read, communicating their meaning with precision and poetic sensitivity.”—Tricycle
“It’s always valuable to go back to the Dhammapada, that most-beloved and oft-translated of Buddhist texts. The publication of Gil Fronsdal’s new translation gives us an excellent opportunity to do so. Fronsdal takes care in his choice of words and draws out subtleties of meaning with important significance for people who practice meditation.”—Shambhala Sun
“What sets this particular version apart is that its verses remain true to the original Pali, the canonical language of Buddhism in Southeast Asia. . . . With its easily readable blend of literary sensitivity and clarity of text, this new edition of the Dhammapada is a highly recommended addition to the practitioner’s library of classical spiritual texts.”—The Beacon
"A fine new translation of an ancient classic. Fronsdal’s balance of fidelity to the text and sensitivity to its spirit is perfect. A book to be treasured."—Carl Bielefeldt, Stanford University
“The language is clear, precise, and inspiring, the phrasing spare and elegant—highly recommended.”—Joseph Goldstein, author of One Dharma
“I have read many Dhammapada translations in several languages, but never have I come across such a crisp, precise, and lucid translation as this.”—Bhante Gunaratana, Bhavana Society