Key texts from the Khuddaka Nikaya
The Dhammapada, a collection of 423 verses in 26 chapters, is perhaps the most famous of all Buddhist texts. It presents the Buddha’s teachings in a clear and highly accessible form and has been used for personal instruction and teaching for centuries throughout the Buddhist world. It comes from the Khuddaka Nikaya section of the Pali Canon and is here collected with two other key texts from the same source.
The Udana (‘inspired utterance’) contains stories from the Buddha’s life, each of which conclude with a verse. Among these are Bahiya of the bark-cloth and Meghiya, who wanted to meditate but had, perhaps, chosen an inappropriate time.
The Itivuttaka (‘it was said’) was reputedly recited to a queen at court by a lay female disciple of the Buddha who had listened to him teach. It is a collection of 112 short discourses and is, again, very clear in form.
They are presented in modern translations by Buddharakkita (The Dhammapada), and John D. Ireland (The Udana and The Itivuttaka).
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Acharya Buddharakkhita (1922- 2013) was a Buddhist monk and a prolific writer who established the Maha Bodhi Society of Bangalore and its sister bodies. He was born in Imphal, Manipur in 1922. In 1942, he took part in Quit India Movement. He joined Indian defence services after his graduation from Institute of Engineering Technology, Calcutta. He participated in the World War II after which he resigned to find truth and freedom. He became a monk in 1948. He travelled all over India and also taught in Sri Lanka and Burma and finally he established Maha Bodhi Society in Bangalore to propagate Buddhism. In 1952, Moonasinghe, niece of the Venerable Anagarika Dhammapala Maha Upasika (a well-known Buddhist in Bangalore, known to the Maharaja) donated him a land for Maha Bodhi Society. He also established schools, hostels, hospitals and an artificial limb centre for the society. He wrote 150 books, many published by the Buddhist Publication Society, Kandy, including Metta: The Philosophy and Practice of Universal Love, and published two periodicals. He was honoured with Abhidhaja Aggamaha Saddhammajotika award by the Myanmar government. He died at Maha Bodhi Society, Banglore, on 23 September 2013.
John D. Ireland (1932-1998) was born in North London, England. He became a Buddhist at age eighteen and soon began studying Pāli. From the 1960s onward he was a frequent contributor to the Buddhist Publication Society’s Wheel and Bodhi Leaves series of booklets. But he is perhaps best known for his combined translation, The Udāna & the Itivuttaka (Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1997), in reference to which he wrote to a friend shortly before his death: “I feel I could die contented in the knowledge that I have done something to repay the great happiness the Buddha-Dhamma has brought me in this life.”