The Dhammapada: The Sayings of the Buddha

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Bell Tower, 1976 - Religion - 132 pages
2 Reviews
The Dhammapada is one of the most popular and accessible books of Buddhist scripture. Undoubtedly one of the greatest teachers in history, the Buddha has had an immeasurable influence on the human race. He taught that our suffering stems from desire and that the only way to remove desire is to purify the heart. Dhamma means law, discipline, justice, virtue, truth -- that which holds things together. Pada means way, path, step, foot. So, The Dhammapada is the path of virtue, or the way of truth. Thomas Byrom’s lyrical and aphoristic rendering of the Buddha’s teaching reveals its practical and timeless simplicity.

Bell Tower’s Sacred Teachings series offers essential spiritual classics from all traditions. May each book become a trusted companion on the way of truth, encouraging readers to study the wisdom of
the ages and put it into practice each day.

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For those who found this "little (teeny) book" to be somewhat "trite" and nonsensical, I propose that you might consider studying a little bit about the history and times in which the original author (Buddha) wrote the words (about 500 years before Christ), and then give it another read. Prince Siddhartha Gautama (The Buddha) was the son of a king. From his opulent life, wherein his father protected him from the realities of the world outside of the walls of the kingdom, the prince eventually discovered the real suffering in the world, abandoned the kingdom, and lived as a mendicant. Eventually, he came to see this as no way to live, either. So, after a few years of living a thoughtful and contemplative life, he began teaching. Over the next several decades he taught and wrote about what he called The Middle Way. Many and various texts and teachings are available from various stages in the development of his ideas, but the core elements are reflected in The Dhammapada (the path to truth). It is important to understand that, because of when and where he lived, the literary style, religious overtones, and various notions and ideas of the day are reflected in the text. His writings and teaching were original. They offered an alternative, an extension, and in many ways a reformation to modern day Hinduism, while they informed Jesus Christ and other travellers to the East in years to come.
This particular translation of The Dhammapada, by Thomas Byrom, is one of my favourites! Raised as a liberal Christian, I struggled with inconsistencies in what I thought Christ had taught and the behaviours of many Christians I knew, so my interest and understanding of Buddhism arose from a broader search. When I came across the Dhammapada (an excellent translation by Juan Mascaro) in a used bookstore, I could not put it down. I was so moved by how it matched my point of view so precisely. Incidentally, Mascaro’s version offered a helpful introduction for the lay person, which I found very helpful. I then read various other books about Buddhism before happening across this Byrom’s translation, which I also bought with an audio book, read by Jacob Needleman. The directness and beauty in Byrom's version impressed me, as it so effectively and eloquently bridged the 2500 year gap in language. It is brilliant!
So beautiful:
"Few cross over the river. Most are stranded on this side on the riverbank; they run up and down.
But the wise man following the way crosses over beyond the reach of death. He leaves the dark way for the way of light. He leaves his home seeking happiness on the hard road. Free from desire, free from possessions, free from the dark places of the heart, free from attachment and appetite, following the seven lights of awakening and rejoicing greatly in his freedom. In this world the wise man becomes himself a light, pure, shining free."
"At the end of the way, the Master finds freedom from desire and sorrow; freedom without bounds. ... Their food is knowledge, they live upon emptiness; they have seen how to break free. Who can follow them? Only the Master, such is his purity. Like a bird, he rises on the limitless air and flies an invisible course. He wishes for nothing. His food is knowledge. He lives upon emptiness. He has broken free. He is the charioteer. He has tamed his horses."
 

Good book

User Review  - jason901519 - Overstock.com

Even though I am christian, I like these kins of books Read full review

Contents

CHOICES
21
3g WAKEFULNESS
26
MIND
30
FLOWERS
33
THE FOOL
37
THE WISE MAN
41
THE MASTER
45
THE THOUSANDS f
49
THE MAN WHO IS AWAKE
69
JOY
74
PLEASURE
77
ANGER
79
IMPURITY ift
83
THE JUST
89
THE WAY
93
OUT OF THE FOREST
98

MISCHIEF
52
f VIOLENCE
55
OLD AGE
60
s? YOURSELF
63
THE WORLD
66
THE ELEPHANT
105
DESIRE ?
109
THE SEEKER
117
THE TRUE MASTER
129
Copyright

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About the author (1976)

\Thomas (Billy) Byrom, Ph.D., was born in England and educated at Balliol College, Oxford, and Harvard. He taught history and literature at Harvard and Old and Middle English language and Victorian and modern literature at Oxford, where he was first a fellow of Exeter College and then a fellow in American studies of St. Catherine’s College. His translation of The Ashtavakra Gita was published under the title The Heart of Awareness. In 1976 he moved to Kashi Ashram in Sebastian, Florida, where he served as president of the Kashi Foundation and as a spiritual elder and counselor for the whole community. There he cofounded the Ma Jaya River School, which he directed until his death in 1991.

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