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FOREWORD

If I were to name any book from the whole Tipitaka as having been of most service to me, I should without hesitation choose the DhammaPada. And it goes without saying that, to me, it is the best single book in all the wide world of literature. For forty years and more it has been my constant companion and never-failing solace in every kind of misfortune and grief.

There is not a trouble that man is heir to, for which the Lord over sorrow cannot point out cause and prescribe sure remedy. One never turns in vain to these stanzas of incomparable beauty for advice, for alleviation of life's manifold pains, or for message of cheer and penetrating insight. This is natural, since in the Arahat's words:

Lo ! now to us there cometh Gotma
In great compassion for us (all distressed) ;
Through word of him, who is beyond the gods ;
Nigh have we drawn to One who seeth, knoweth


It is impossible to reproduce the terse elegance and glorious beauty of the original Păli stanzas in a prose translation. The present work seeks mainly to offer a correct rendering of the Teacher's words as passed on to us through the Theras of yore. Each stanza was a "prescription" or part of one, designed to meet the complex needs of some person or event.

May this work bring to others the peace and the encouragement that the DhammaPada has so often given in many lands to generation after generation of its devotees, ever since its verses of crystallized wisdom flowed from the lips of the Lord of Boundless Compassion.

The present translation is by the esteemed Thera Nărada, a Sinhala, and a revered member of the ancient Holy Order of the Blessed One.


BHIKKHU KASSAPA