name of a book in the Pali Tipitaka meaning "Path"
or "Way of Dhamma". This small book consists
of a collection of 423 verses grouped into 26 chapters
roughly according to subject matter or common features
in the verses. Some of the verses are unique to the Dhammapada
but most have been culled from other parts of the Tipitaka. The Dhammapada may have originally been compiled
as a representative collection of the Buddha's sayings
to be learned by heart by young novices joining the Sangha.
Certainly it has long been and remains even today the
most popular and well known piece of Buddhist literature
and has been translated into most major languages. Several
versions of the Dhammapada in Sanskrit exist the most
important being Udanavarga (erroneously called
the Tibetan Dhammapada) which is nearly twice as long
as the Pali version.
Thera, Dhammapada. Colombo, 1978;
Sparham, The Tibetan Dhammapada. London, 1985.