The Dhammapada: The Buddha's Path of Wisdom
Dhammapada is one of the best known books of the Pitaka. It is a collection of the teachings of the Buddha expressed in clear, pithy verses. These verses were culled from various discourses given by the Buddha in the course of forty-five years of his teaching, as he travelled in the valley of the Ganges (Ganga) and the sub-mountain tract of the Himalayas. These verses are often terse, witty and convincing. Whenever similes are used, they are those that are easily understood even by a child, e.g., the cart's wheel, a man's shadow, a deep pool, flowers. Through these verses, the Buddha exhorts one to achieve that greatest of all conquests, the conquest of self; to escape from the evils of passion, hatred and ignorance; and to strive hard to attain freedom from craving and freedom from the round of rebirths. Each verse contains a truth (dhamma), an exhortation, a piece of advice.