The Dhammapada & Dhammapada-style EBTs

I have been told that the Dhammapada is included in the Khuddakanikāya. I have no idea whether this is disputed or not, but I just noticed that the SC directory is hedging its bets and wants to have it both ways:

Also, it seems unclear as to how many Dhammapadas there are. :rofl:


Attempting to be brief as it’s off-topic (I just didn’t want to let the above go completely unanswered): Of the many, many things disputed in the world, the Dhammapada being in the Khuddhaka Nikāya is not one of them. However, only the Pali Dhammapada belongs to the Khuddhaka Nikāya and when you click on “Dhammapadas” you can see several more parallel texts exist (in Sanskrit, Gandhari, Ancient Chinese and so on) which, naturally, do not belong to the Pali Canon.

I don’t know what the reasoning was behind the “Dhammapadas” grouping in the sidemenu (maybe ask the powers that be in a split off thread if you want to follow-up on it), but I might guess that it was something like “well, they’ve got to go somewhere and this is an important and popular texts for which there are many parallels so it would be nice to group them together.” What I can certainly say is that, trying to get a grip on all this sprawl of texts confused and continues to confuse me; it’s part of the fun, right? :wink:


As I understood it, the Dhammapada is the text with the single most different versions and parallels, and as such got its own chapter in the SC menu. I guess it deserves it? :wink: :grin:


May well do! Just going by the Pali Dhp, it is an awesome text that deserves to be hailed as awesome!

All the same I can sympathize with the confusion here, as to the best of my understanding it is a grouping invented by SC, whereas up until that point (following the menu from top to bottom) the sidebar reflects textual groupings preserved in various traditional collections. It’s great to have made the grouping and everything, I’m just saying I can understand being flummoxed (mostly because I was, too).


Oh yes, I too was. I didn’t want to contradict you, if that was the impression.


Nope! Just sayin’ :grin:


This is a byproduct of unstructured learning. If there was was a unit called Suttas101 this sort of stuff would be laid out by a junior teacher. It wastes time for learners and knowers alike, but it definitely adds to the fun of learning. It’s less likely to be fun for those that do the mopping up tho, :wink: Thank you. :slight_smile:

I’d probably ask fewer naïve questions if I wasn’t after some sort of quid pro quo for moderating. :rofl:

Short by-lines under the title of such groupings might be a useful longterm aspiration; or longer titles like “Dhammapadas from non-EBT traditions”. :wink:


But they are EBTs, just as the Chinese Agamas are as much EBT as the texts of the Pali Canon. “EBT” is not a synonym for “Pali Canon”, the Pali Canon is just one (albeit major, and the only “full collection”) carrier of EBTs.

Ajahn Brahmali and Bhante Sujato’s The Authenticity of the Early Buddhist Texts and likewise the Early Buddhism workshop they led together aren’t bad places to start.


Absolutely. I was just thinking it would help readers not familiar with SC if this departure from logical structuring of files were more clearly signalled. :slight_smile:

This was a very badly worded suggestion: Sorry Aminah, I didn’t read your response carefully enough.

I can be happy with there being versions of the Dhammapada outside of the Khuddakanikāya. However the name of the ‘special’ category continues to bother me.

Speaking as a grammarian of English there is one Dhammapada, various versionS of it, and heaps of different translationS. So , sorry: I still think that the heading “DhammapadaS” could be improved. I probably don’t know enough to suggest how. [?? Non-Pali]

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I don’t know about how to structure the site, but probably more than any other collection the Dhammapada seems to have been more a genre than just a text. So maybe there is some justification for singling out the special position of Dharmapadas for the transmission of Buddhism:

Broadly speaking, the several versions of the Dharmapada and cognate texts such as the Udānavarga all show a familial relationship but vary greatly in terms of their contents, arrangement, and extent, and their interrelationships are complex, often involving not only different versions of the Dharmapada genre but also overlapping with other texts of related genres. For example, out of the 344 verses in the surviving portions of the Gāndhārī scroll from Khotan, only about 225 have direct correspondents in the Pali Dhammapada, and many of them are placed under different section headings there. But many of the Gāndhārī verses absent from the Pali Dhammapada do have parallels in other Pali texts. (Salomon, The Buddhist Literature of Ancient Gandhāra, 2018).


It’s not the special position that’s worrying me; it’s the name of the section. Can you think of a heading that would be more explanatory than ‘Dharmapadas’?

Hm, I’m really not sure as the architecture now seems to be a compromise between a few criteria. I would have made the Dhammapada a dropdown-menu, but at the same time I hardly use the menu to find texts, so inconsistencies haven’t bothered me so far.

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There are, according to a hallowed tradition, two hard problems in computer science:

  1. Cache invalidation.
  2. Naming things.

I know nothing about cache invalidation, but I can confirm, naming things is hard!


And names come back to nip their owners. :wink: