Which Translation of the Dhammapada is Best?

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Which Translation of the Dhammapada is Best?

Postby Parsnips&Skirrets » Mon Aug 01, 2011 5:01 pm

Hi All,

I am kind of new to all of this and so obviously don't know Pali or much about the strengths of different translations of various texts. I am especially confused whenever I look at all the different editions and translations of the Dhammapada, it is a bit overwhelming to me! I have in a couple of places noticed that some editions translate various Pali terms into English/Western ones (e.g. translating Sangha as Church) and don't want to buy something that would lead to 'wrong understanding'. Could those of you who are more knowledgable about Pali/Text Translations tell me which Dhammapada translations are the better ones?


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Re: Which Translation of the Dhammapada is Best?

Postby Will » Mon Aug 01, 2011 6:33 pm

Not sure if this one is in print form, but it has a traditional commentary and Bhikkhu Pesala based his version on Narada Mahathera's:


A more scholarly book from Oxford U. Press, translated by John Ross Carter, The Dhammapada (500pp.), has the root text alone and then verse by verse with commentary & notes based on traditional commentaries.
A bodhisattva does not become weary of evil beings nor does he commit the error of bringing forth thoughts inclined to reject them and cast them aside. Avatamsaka Sutra, ch. 25

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Re: Which Translation of the Dhammapada is Best?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Aug 01, 2011 6:59 pm

There is no simple answer to this question. Ven Pesala's update of Ven Narada's translation (and Ven Narada's original) give reliable translations of the meaning, and include the associated stories. It's also nice to have the Pali, so you can check on some of the terms yourself.

Some prefer some more "poetic" renderings, but some of the translations out there are truly horrendous.

There have been several discussions summarising the pros and cons of various versions:

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 75&start=0


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Re: Which Translation of the Dhammapada is Best?

Postby alan » Tue Aug 02, 2011 5:35 am

The one you read every morning.

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Re: Which Translation of the Dhammapada is Best?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Aug 02, 2011 5:55 am


mikenz66 wrote:There have been several discussions summarising the pros and cons of various versions:


And on that note, I think we might close this topic.

If anyone has any further comments to make, please do so in one of the aforementioned pre-existing topics.

Retro. :)
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