Item Details

Dhammapada and Dhammapada Commentary: The Story of the Verses

Issue: Vol 6 No. 2 (2012) Special Issue: “Tradition and the Reuse of Indic Texts”

Journal: Religions of South Asia

Subject Areas: Religious Studies Buddhist Studies Islamic Studies

DOI: 10.1558/rosa.v6i2.245


The Dhammapada has been translated many times into Western languages and is widely appreciated for its concise presentation of Buddhist teachings. However, the prose commentary that accompanies it, and which explains when, why and to whom the Buddha spoke the verses in the Dhammapada, is less well-known. In this article, I examine the relationship between the verses of the Dhammapada and the narratives of the commentary, and ask what value is added by reading this popular text in its commentarial context.

Author: Naomi Appleton

View Original Web Page

References :

Alsdorf, L. 1963/64. ‘The Ākhyāna Theory Reconsidered.’ Journal of the Oriental Institute 13: 195–207.
Appleton, Naomi. 2010. Jātaka Stories in Theravāda Buddhism: Narrating the Bodhisatta Path. Farnham: Ashgate.
Burlingame, E. W. (trans.). 1921. Buddhist Legends Translated from the Original Pali Text of the Dhammapada Commentary, 3 vols. Harvard Oriental Series, 28-30. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Fausbøll, V. (ed.). 1877–96. The Jātaka Together with its Commentary Being Tales of the Anterior Births of Gotama Buddha, 6 vols. London: Trübner.
Harris, Elizabeth J. 2010. ‘Manipulating Meaning: Daniel John Gogerly’s Nineteenth Century Translations of Theravāda Texts.’ Buddhist Studies Review 27(2): 177–95.
Hinüber, Oskar von. 1996. A Handbook of Pāli Literature. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.
Hinüber, O. von, and K. R. Norman (eds). 2003. Dhammapada. Oxford: Pali Text Society.
Malalasekera, G. P. 1994. The Pāli Literature of Ceylon. Kandy, Sri Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society. (Originally London: Royal Asiatic Society, 1928.)
McDaniel, Justin Thomas. 2005. ‘The Art of Reading and Teaching Dhammapadas: Reform, Texts, Contexts in Thai Buddhist History.’ Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 28(2): 299–337.
Norman, H. C. (ed.). 1906–15. Dhammapadatthakathā: The Commentary on the Dhammapada, 5 vols. Oxford: Pali Text Society.
Roebuck, Valerie J. (trans.). 2010. The Dhammapada. London: Penguin Classics.
Walters, Jonathan S. 1997. ‘Stūpa, Story, and Empire: Constructions of the Buddha Biography in Early Post-Aśokan India.’ In Juliane Schober (ed.), Sacred Biography in the Buddhist Traditions of South and Southeast Asia: 160–92. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.