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The Dhammapada is a well known book in the Tipitaka. It is a collection of the teachings of the Buddha expressed in clear, pithy verses. These verses were culled from various discourses given by the Buddha in the course of forty-five years of his teaching, as he travelled in the valley of the Ganges (Ganga) and the sub-mountain tract of the Himalayas. They are often terse, witty and convincing. Through them the Buddha exhorts one to achieve that greatest of all conquests, the conquest of self; to escape from the evils of craving, aversion and ignorance; and to strive hard to attain freedom from the round of rebirths. Each verse contains a truth (dhamma), an exhortation, a piece of advice.
Summaries of the Dhammapada stories are given in the second part of the book as it is generally believed that the Dhammapada Commentary written by Buddhaghosa (5th century AD) is helpful in understanding the Dhammapada. Three hundred and five stories are included in the Commentary. Most of the incidents mentioned in the stories took place during the life-time of the Buddha. In writing summaries of stories we have not tried to translate the Commentary. We have simply culled the facts of the stories and have rewritten them briefly: A translation of the verses is given at the end of each story.