Essence of the Dhammapada
The Buddha’s call to Nirvana
Eknath Easwaran, translator of the best-selling edition of the Dhammapada, sees this powerful scripture as a perfect map for the spiritual journey. Said to be the text closest to the Buddha’s actual words, it is a collection of short teachings memorized during his lifetime by his disciples. Easwaran presents the Dhammapada as a guide to spiritual perseverance, progress, and ultimately enlightenment – a heroic confrontation with life as it really is, with straight answers to our deepest questions. We witness the heartbreak of death, for instance – what does that mean for us? What is love? How does karma work? How do we follow the spiritual life in the midst of work and family? Does nirvana really exist, and if so, what is it like to be illumined?
In his interpretation of Buddhist themes, illustrated with stories from the Buddha’s life, Easwaran offers a view of the concept of Right Understanding that is both exhilarating and instructive. He shares his experiences on the spiritual path, giving the advice that only an experienced teacher and practitioner can offer, and urges us to answer for ourselves the Buddha’s call to nirvana – that mysterious, enduring state of wisdom, joy, and peace.
EKNATH EASWARAN was Professor of English Literature at the University of Nagpur, India, and an established writer, when he came to the United States on the Fulbright exchange program in 1959. As Founder and Director of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation and the Nilgiri Press, he taught the classics of world mysticism and the practice of meditation from 1960 till his death in 1999.