The Dhammapada (Pāli; Prakrit: धममपद Dhammapada; Sanskrit: धरमपद Dharmapada) is a collection of sayings of the Buddha in verse form and one of the most widely read and best known Buddhist scriptures. The original version of the Dhammapada is in the Khuddaka Nikaya, a division of the Pali Canon of Theravada Buddhism.
The Buddhist scholar and commentator Buddhaghosa explains
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This really is the ultimate guide to optimism, positive thinking and, in a sense, idealistic happiness. Some of the ideas in here speak with clarity and wisdom, the logic behind them is clear and strong; however, I know that practising them is not an easy thing. I tried some of them for a time, a few were easy. Simple things like forgiveness and proactive thinking aren’t too complex or difficult to put into practice, but others require a great deal of willpower and perhaps a deep understanding o
I have to be careful what I say here, these are religious matters after all. I don’t wish to offend in my ramblings. Some of the teachings in here feel vague and a little unobtainable. The section on transient pleasure was particularly so. It suggests that being free of things such as passion, pleasure and lust will subsequently prevent fear and sorrow. Isn’t passion a good thing? Can one not be passionate about something and use it to do kindness? Can pleasure then not be derived from such an act? Could this not create lust, a drive of further perusal, in such a passionate thing? Would this not make one happy as well as kind? I don’t understand the logic behind the offered argument. It doesn’t make a great deal of sense to me, so I need to read more about this subject.
This wasn’t all negative for me, far from it. There are a lot of inspirational passages in here; there are a lot of inspirational things in the Buddhist ethos. Such as these:
“The one who has conquered himself is a far greater hero than he who has defeated a thousand times a thousand men.”
“You are what you think. All that you are arises from your thoughts. With your thoughts you make your world.”
These words are very powerful, indeed.
I find many of the ideas attractive and convincing, those on the treatment of animals especially so. But, there were several I found hard to grasp. Perhaps this isn’t the best introductory text; perhaps I should try something else. I’m thinking of reading a book on modern Buddhism because I may find that more directly accessible. This may help clear up some of the issues I had with this it; it may allow me to understand the way of thought more clearly. It may also be the way this has been edited down. I’ve had problems with a few of these issues in the past; it may be that some vital information has been taken out so, along with a contemporary guide, I’m going to buy a full version of this which may make me reconsider some of my thoughts.
Penguin Little Black Classic- 80
The Little Black Classic Collection by penguin looks like it contains lots of hidden gems. I couldn’t help it; they looked so good that I went and bought them all. I shall post a short review after reading each one. No doubt it will take me several months to get through all of them! Hopefully I will find some classic authors, from across the ages, that I may not have come across had I not bought this collection.