The Dhammapada is one of the fifteen books grouped under the Khuddakanikaya, the fifth of the Nikayas, others being the Digha, the Majjhima, the Samyutta and the Anguttara. The 423 verses of this book have been grouped into 26 Vaggas or sections. All the verses are detached but they are grouped into Vaggas according to their subject matters. It is generally believed that the formation of these Vaggas or sections is the work of the compiler or editor.
Each verse of the Dhammapada has been taken from different texts of the Tipitaka, some traceable and some not. And so they embody the words of the Buddha, at least the actual spirit of his teachings. In order to understand as to when, to whom and under what circumstances Lord Buddha uttered these verses; it is expedient to look into the commentary or the Atthakatha written on this text.
In fact the Atthakathas or Commentaries written on the Pali Tipitaka are of paramount importance to have a clear comprehension of the scripture. It is generally believed that the Atthakathas came into being sometime in 4th and 5th centuries A. D. based on Sihala Atthakatha (Commentaries in Sinhalese) already in Ceylon. Besides their literary and religious significance, these Atthakath7s are very important and reliable sources of information so far as our political and cultural history is concerned.
Book's Contents and Sample Pages
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