Dhammapada; 5 Definition(s)


Dhammapada means something in Buddhism, Pali. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

The second book of the Khuddaka Nikaya of the Sutta Pitaka.

It is probably a later anthology than the Thera Theri Gatha, and its earliest mention by name is in the Milinda panha (p.408).

It includes gathas collected together from various books in the Canon, but contains hardly any from the Jataka collection, or directly derived from the Sutta Nipata.

The present text of the Dhammapada contains four hundred and twenty three verses divided into twenty six vaggas.

So far, five recensions of the Dhammapada have been discovered. (For details see Law: Pali Lit., pp.215f).

A commentary on it exists called the Dhammapadatthakatha.

(Source): Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names
context information

Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).

General definition (in Buddhism)

Dhammapada in Pali, Dharmapada in Sanskrit. A sutra consisting of two sections and 39 chapters, with 423 short verses of the Buddha, teachings given at various times and places. It is regarded as the "original" teaching of the Buddha, which can be used for reference, moral instruction and inspiration. It was composed by Dharmatrata in 400-300 B.C.(Source): Buddhist Door: Glossary

The Dhammapada (Pali; Prakrit: Dhamapada; Sanskrit Dharmapada) is a versified Buddhist scripture traditionally ascribed to the Buddha himself. It is one of the best known texts from the Theravada canon.

According to tradition, the Dhammapadas verses were spoken by the Buddha on various occasions. Most verses deal with ethics. The text is part of the Khuddaka Nikaya of the Sutta Pitaka, although over half of the verses exist in other parts of the Pali Canon. A 4th or 5th century CE commentary attributed to Buddhaghosa includes 305 stories which give context to the verses.

Although the Pali edition is the best known, a number of other versions are known:

  • Gandhari Dharmapada - a version possibly of Dharmaguptaka or Kasyapiya origin in Gandhari written in Kharosthi script
  • Patna Dharmapada - a version in Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit, most likely Sammatiya
  • Udanavarga - a seemingly related Mula Sarvastivada or Sarvastivada text in
    • 3 Sanskrit versions
    • a Tibetan translation, which is popular in traditional Tibetan Buddhism
  • Mahavastu - a Lokottaravada text with parallels to verses in the Pali Dhammapadas Sahassa Vagga and Bhikkhu Vagga.
  • Fajiu jing - 4 Chinese works; one of these appears to be an expanded translation of the Pali version; this has not traditionally been very popular.

The Dhammapada is considered one of the most popular pieces of Theravada literature. A critical edition of the Dhammapada was produced by Danish scholar Viggo Fausboll in 1855, becoming the first Pali text to receive this kind of examination by the European academic community.

(Source): WikiPedia: Buddhism

Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

dhammapada : (nt.) a line or stanza of the Norm.

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary
Pali book cover
context information

Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

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