Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think.
Suffering follows an evil thought as the wheels of a cart follow the oxen that draw it
… Joy follows a pure thought like a shadow that never leaves.
— The Dhammapada
According to tradition, the Dhammapada’s verses were spoken by the Buddha on various occasions.
By distilling the complex models, theories, rhetorical style and sheer volume of the Buddha’s teachings into concise, crystalline verses, the Dhammapada makes the Buddhist way of life available to anyone.
In fact, it is possible that the very source of the Dhammapada in the third century B.C.E. is traceable to the need of the early Buddhist communities in India to laicize the ascetic impetus of the Buddha’s original words.
The text is part of the Khuddaka Nikaya of the Sutta Pitaka, although over half of the verses exist in other parts of the Pali Canon. A 4th or 5th century CE commentary attributed to Buddhaghosa includes 305 stories which give context to the verses.