One of the best-known and best-loved works of Buddhist literature, the Dhammapada forms part of the oldest surviving body of Buddhist writings, and is traditionally regarded as the authentic teachings of the Buddha himself, spoken by him in his lifetime, and memorized and handed on by his followers after his death. A collection of simple verses gathered in themes such as 'awareness', 'fools' and 'old age', the Dhammapada is accessible, instructional and mind-clearing, with lessons in each verse to give ethical advice and to remind the listener of the transience of life.
Valerie Roebuck was born in Hertfordshire in 1950. She studied at the University of Cambridge, where she was awarded a BA (Hons) in Oriental Studies, specializing in Sanskrit and other Indian languages, and a Ph.D. for a thesis on South Indian Bronzes. A freelance scholar and lecturer, she is an Honorary Research Fellow of the University of Manchester. Dr Roebuck has a broad interest in Indian language, culture and religion. She is a Buddhist, practising and teaching meditation in the Samatha tradition and is involved in interfaith work in Manchester. Her previous publications include The Circle of Stars: An Introduction to Indian Astrology, and she has translated The Upanishads for Penguin Classics.