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The Dhammapada: The Sayings of the Buddha (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – November 23, 2000

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Editorial Reviews


Far surpasses any previous translation of the Dhammapada in terms of its scope and contextual accuracy. Carter and Palihawadana have not only proivde a fresh English translation of the Pali but a transliteration of the Dhammapada (which makes it eminently useful for students of Pali) and, most impressively, a translation of the exhaustive and extremely commentarial Pali Dhammapadatthakatha...This, then, is a work of wide scholarly magnitude and great philological erudition. Religious Studies Review --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)

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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (November 23, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192836137
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192836137
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.3 x 4.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,627,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Robin Friedman HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
The Dhammapada is a deeply-inspiring religious text and the best-known work of the Theravada Buddhist canon. It consists of 423 short verses arranged in 26 chapters which cover, in brief form, the major aspects of the Buddha's teachings from the most mundane to the deepest. About 25 percent of the verses appear elsewhere in the Theravada Buddhist canon. In many Buddhist countries, children memorize this text which has much to teach both the learned and the simple. In its combination of simplicity and depth, the closest analogue to the Dhammapada in the Jewish-Christian Scriptures is the book of Psalms.

The Dhammapada has been well-served by many excellent translations. The translation under review here, by John Ross Carter, Professor of Philosophy at Colgate University, and Mahinda Palhawandana, Professer of Sanskrit Emeritus in Sri Lanka, is unique in its care and in the scope of its learning. In addition to the text, this translation includes line-by-line translations of the earliest Sri Lankan commentaries on the Dhammapada. These commentaries were written over the course of many centuries and systematized in about 1000 A.D. There is a separate and later series of commentaries on the text in which stories were written to illustrate the events that gave rise to the Buddha's utterance of each verse. These stories are not included here, but they are summarized in another well-known translation of the Dhammapada by the monk Narada, which I shall mention below.

This edition begins with a scholarly introduction to the text and the commentaries followed by an English rendition of the text of the Dhammapada without commentary. The next section of the book repeats the English translation together with the Pali text with the addition of the extensive commentary.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Brad4d VINE VOICE on February 28, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
FAIR WARNING: This book of 112 pages is NOT the same as the book that has received praise for its scholarly and careful commentary!

This abbreviated version does not have the footnotes and the explanation of Pali terms which the expanded, 500+ page version has.

Please do NOT purchase this abbreviated version if you expect to use it as a reference version to help you understand the Pali text. Someone should feel ashamed of themselves in selling this abbreviated version to those expecting the original, without noting the helpful scholarly commentaries are gone. It was like being very disappointed in an old friend.
I know one person who ordered this text assuming it was the expanded version after I had recommended this translation -- she was very disappointed and so was I. Unfortunately, if you want to purchase the old expanded version, you may have to pay top dollar for a used copy.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Riku Simonen on April 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
I have previously read classic Max Muller's version and some translations foud at numerous web-pages. I think this is clearly
the best of them. Carter and Palihawadana have retained texts lyric style but still their ambition is to bring autentic text as such to us. Hence reader have to use glossary where most importánt words and referensees are. I may be a bit annoying but
If you really want know exactly what what is in original dhammapada you has to use such method. Some at web "intreprete"
too much, then the text may look easier but It may go also wrong.
Only negative comment is that people to which english is not native language, text may have too mamy many fine but unfamiliar words. I recommend this book. It is one of the classics of Worlds religious teachings.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This short English edition of the Dhammapada, written by two distinguished scholars in the field, and published under Oxford World's Classics series, contains a short introduction and explanatory notes aside from the main text. As such, it forms a handy English version of this very important Buddhist text, useful both as an introduction to it as well as a source of reference. Some previous acquaintance with the tenets of Buddhism is recommended, as this is not an introduction to the Buddha's teachings, and the short length of the text does not allow for thorough discussion of some important concepts. Brevity and succinctness are the name of the game here.

The one major deficiency of this text which struck me as a Vipassana meditation practitioner, however, was that the explanations offered to quite a number of verses by the authors attest to a significant lack of understanding which can only be gained through the practice of insight meditation. I will mention a few examples. First, in their explanation of the very famous v. 113, the authors interpret "seeing the rise and demise" of phenomena as an intellectual understanding of the concept, while this verse is commonly known among Vipassana practitioners to refer to an advanced and defining stage of the practice where one sees clearly (and not conceptually) into the moment-to-moment rising and passing away of phenomena (the authors make no mention of this). A similar misinterpretation is given to v. 374, which alludes to the positive mental states which emerge in connection with witnessing the rising and passing away of phenomena during advanced meditation practice. In their explanation to v.
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