In this companion to his best-selling translation of The Dhammapada, Eknath Easwaran explains how The Dhammapada is a perfect map for the spiritual journey.
Said to be the text closest to the Buddha’s actual words, The Dhammapada is a collection of short teachings that his disciples memorized during his lifetime. 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.