Dhammapada Traditions and Translations

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    The Dhammapada is probably the most frequently translated Buddhist text in the world today. This article looks at the history of translations of the Dhammapada since it was first translated into English in the nineteenth century. I start by comparing the little known first English translation by Daniel Gogerly from 1840 with the influential 1870 translation by Max Müller. The paper then examines the main translations which have appeared since the mid-twentieth century. I show how they represent Buddhist, Hindu and other views on the Dhammapada and that they continue to be influenced by the pioneering nineteenth-century translations. I argue that translations of the Dhammapada are conditioned not only by the viewpoints of the translators but also by the existence of a tradition of translating the Dhammapada. Both factors I conclude have contributed to the importance placed on the Dhammapada as a representative Buddhist text.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)215-234
    JournalJournal of Religious History
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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