The Dhammapada: Verses and Stories
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.
1. Right View
Right view is the beginning and the end of the path, it simply means to see and to understand things as they really are and to realise the Four Noble Truth. As such, right view is the cognitive aspect of wisdom. It means to see things through, to grasp the impermanent and imperfect nature of worldly objects and ideas, and to understand the law of karma and karmic conditioning. Right view is not necessarily an intellectual capacity, just as wisdom is not just a matter of
intelligence. Instead, right view is attained, sustained, and enhanced through all capacities of mind. It begins with the intuitive insight that all beings are subject to suffering and it ends with complete understanding of the true nature of all things. Since our view of the world forms our thoughts and our actions, right view yields right thoughts and right actions.