The Dhammapada by Glenn Wallis
Verses on the Way (Modern Library)

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Synopsis

Trembling and quivering is the mind,
Difficult to guard and hard to restrain.
The person of wisdom sets it straight,
As a fletcher does an arrow.

The Dhammapada introduced the actual utterances of the Buddha nearly twenty-five hundred years ago, when the master teacher emerged from his long silence to illuminate for his followers the substance of humankind’s deepest and most abiding concerns. The nature of the self, the value of relationships, the importance of moment-to-moment awareness, the destructiveness of anger, the suffering that attends attachment, the ambiguity of the earth’s beauty, the inevitability of aging, the certainty of death–these dilemmas preoccupy us today as they did centuries ago. No other spiritual texts speak about them more clearly and profoundly than does the Dhammapada.

In this elegant new translation, Sanskrit scholar Glenn Wallis has exclusively referred to and quoted from the canonical suttas–the presumed earliest discourses of the Buddha–to bring us the heartwood of Buddhism, words as compelling today as when the Buddha first spoke them. On violence: All tremble before violence./ All fear death./ Having done the same yourself,/ you should neither harm nor kill. On ignorance: An uninstructed person/ ages like an ox,/ his bulk increases,/ his insight does not. On skillfulness: A person is not skilled/ just because he talks a lot./ Peaceful, friendly, secure–/ that one is called “skilled.”

In 423 verses gathered by subject into chapters, the editor offers us a distillation of core Buddhist teachings that constitutes a prescription for enlightened living, even in the twenty-first century. He also includes a brilliantly informative guide to the verses–a chapter-by-chapter explication that greatly enhances our understanding of them. The text, at every turn, points to practical applications that lead to freedom from fear and suffering, toward the human state of spiritual virtuosity known as awakening.

Glenn Wallis’s translation is an inspired successor to earlier versions of the suttas. Even those readers who are well acquainted with the Dhammapada will be enriched by this fresh encounter with a classic text


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Glenn Wallis

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GLENN WALLIS has a Ph.D. in Sanskrit and Indian Studies from Harvard. He is assistant professor of religion at the University of Georgia and the author of Mediating the Power of Buddhas and numerous articles.From the Hardcover edition.
 
Published December 18, 2007 by Modern Library. 224 pages
Genres: Religion & Spirituality. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Dhammapada

Publishers Weekly

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""Organized in a way that is meant to encourage a fresh encounter with the Dhammapada,"" according to its introduction, this guide jumps right in with Wallis's careful translation of the 2,400-year-old Buddhist text.

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Spirituality & Practice

/ Like nothing lest you lose it, / Lest it bring you grief and fear.

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Elephant Journal

The irony of the book is that while the book is filled with illustrations and photographic reproductions of primarily Tibetan art, the book itself was printed and bound in China.

Sep 29 2008 | Read Full Review of The Dhammapada: Verses on the...

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