Hymns of the Faith (Dhammapada): Being an Ancient Anthology Preserved in the Short Collection of the Sacred Scriptures of the Buddhists

Hymns of the Faith (Dhammapada): Being an Ancient Anthology Preserved in the Short Collection of the Sacred Scriptures of the Buddhists

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Hymns of the Faith (Dhammapada): Being an Ancient Anthology Preserved in the Short Collection of the Sacred Scriptures of the Buddhists

Hymns of the Faith (Dhammapada): Being an Ancient Anthology Preserved in the Short Collection of the Sacred Scriptures of the Buddhists

Read FREE!

Excerpt

This ancient anthology of Buddhist devotional poetry was compiled from the utterances of Gotamo and his disciples; from early hymns by monks; and from the popular poetic proverbs of India. Several of the Dhammapada verses are found in the Hymns by Monks, a book of the sacred Pâli Canon. Others are found scattered throughout that Canon, in all its main collections of Discourses, and four even in the Books of Discipline; while we encounter yet others in the national Epic of India and in the Law-Book of Manu, which is the Hindû Deuteronomy. These last are written in classical Sanskrit; but as Pâli is a popular idiom thereof, but little change is needed to turn a stanza from one tongue to the other—no more than to Anglicise the Hallowe’en of Burns. Not only in the pure Sanskrit of the Brahmin classics do we find stray lines of our Hymns, but in the corrupt Sanskrit of later Buddhist literature, which arose in the valley of the Ganges during the two centuries preceding the Christian era. Moreover, some fragments of Buddhist verse found in Chinese Turkestan, and dating from very early times, contain stanzas known to the Dhammapada, but written in a debased Prâkrit or provincial dialect.

In these various forms—Pâli, Sanskrit and Prâkrit,

the Tibetans relate that the Buddhist Scriptures were handed down in Sanskrit and three dialects.

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