Parallels to the Dhammapada Verses
in the Pāḷi Canon and in other MIA Languages

Part One: A Study of the Parallels

In 2004 I published A Comparative Edition of the Dhammapada, NPC, Colombo, 2004.01 there presenting an edition of the text, along with all the parallels I could find in Middle Indo-Aryan (MIA) languages, together with some studies of the text, and detailed indexes.

One thing I didn’t study at that time was the internal Pāḷi Canonical parallels, but recently being at work on the text again, this time working towards making a translation of the Patna Dhammapada, I have also studied the parallels within the Canon, and this has blossomed into the present work.

The text I have used is my own edition of the Dhammapada, which was published in 2007;4th edition, 2020: https://bit.ly/1Tdg2mY and for the MIA parallels I have relied on the revised edition of the Comparative Edition as published on my website.

This is an outline of the criterion I had in mind when making this compilation.

I accepted a verse as a parallel only if two lines or more match the Pāḷi. This proved necessary because a quarter-verse line like Sabbesu bhūtesu nidhāya daṇḍaṁ (Dhp 142c), for instance, occurs around a dozen times in the Canon, but none of them in a true parallel to verse 142. Many other similar instances could be cited.

Where I have found only a partial match consisting of two lines (a half-verse), I marked it as (partial:) and (partial quotation:).

Some works in the Pāḷi Canon as it now stands are clearly quoting earlier texts. This mainly applies to late, commentarial-type works like the Niddesa-s, Kathāvatthu, Nettipakaraṇa, Peṭakopadesa, and Milindapañhā. The Niddesa-s and the Kathāvatthu were long considered part of the Canon, but the Nettipakaraṇa, Peṭakopadesa, and Milindapañhā were already added to the Tipiṭaka at the 1871, so-called 5th council (a Burmese-only affair); they were then included in the 6th Council, held in Rangoon, Burma (now Myanmar) in 1956. They are included amongst the printed texts of the Burmese letter edition of the Tipiṭaka, and also in the Sinhalese Buddha Jayantī Tripiṭaka Granthamālā edition, but are still excluded from the Thai Syāmaraṭṭhassa Tepiṭaka.03 These are then marked as (quoted:).

Very rarely I have found verses that have similar lines, but perhaps in a different position, or with word variations, etc. There I have just indicated to compare the text with cf.

Sometimes verses have been divided differently in these texts, and it was necessary to take parts of two verses together to obtain the parallel, in this case I have joined the references with the ampersand &.

For the MIA languages, because of loss of textual materials, the verses in question sometimes lack even two lines that are parallel, but other criteria, such as being in sequence, etc. determined the inclusion, even when we cannot be sure of the text. I am thinking here mainly of the fragmentary Gāndhārī Dharmapada. 04

In the case of the Pāḷi parallels I searched the Chaṭṭha Saṅgāyana Tipiṭaka texts as contained on Cst4, which are very consistent in presentation and harmonisation of text, Note however that the text I use for the Dhammapada is my own edition, which varies somewhat from the Cst4 text. 06 and I have taken sutta, gāthā and apadāna names etc. from that edition, but I have also given page references to the Pali Text Society editions, which are still standard texts in scholarly fields. Sometimes the names vary in this edition from the names given here. 07

Ideally it would be best to link to all the texts, but this is still not possible at the moment. However, I hope this will still allow students to gain an overview of the parallels in MIA languages, both inside and outside the Pāḷi tradition.

It may appear to some that the Dhammapada is simply a collection of verses found elsewhere in the Canon, as we do quite regularly come across verses we know from the collection.

However, of the 423 verses of the Dhammapada 286 (68%), roughly two-thirds, have no parallel in the Canon, whereas when comparing the other MIA languages only 24 (5%) are without parallels. 22 of these 24 verses also do not find parallels in the Canon, so that we may be correct in inferring that they were added by the Dhammapada bhāṇaka(-s) themselves. 08 This clearly shows, I believe, that the Dharmapadāni were an independent floating stock of verses that were available to reciters (bhāṇaka-s) who were making collections of such verses.

The following are the verses that have no parallel inside the Canon: 1, 2, 7, 8, 11, 12, 15-20, 22-25, 28-31, 33-41, 43-48, 50, 53, 55-65, 69-75, 78, 79, 81-84, 90-92, 94-97, 100, 102-111, 114-124, 126-130, 133-140, 142, 143, 146, 148-150, 153-168, 170, 171, 174, 175, 177-182, 188-190, 192-194, 197-199, 202, 203, 206-218, 222, 224-229, 231, 232, 234-240, 243-245, 247-265, 268-276, 280-287, 289-291, 294-305, 309, 310, 316-324, 327, 331-333, 338-344, 348-352, 354-360, 362, 363, 365, 366, 369, 371-375, 377-380, 384-386, 388-390, 392, 393, 395.

The following are the verses that have no parallel in the other MIA languages: 17, 18, 42, 95, 195, 196, 202, 213, 216, 237, 246, 247, 248, 256-258, 268-270, 319, 324, 340, 350, 381.

The following are the verses that have no parallel inside the Canon, or in the other MIA languages: 17, 18, 95, 202, 213, 216, 237, 247, 248, 256-258, 268-270, 319, 324, 340, 350.

Below is a synoptic table of where the parallels are found in the Canon.

Direct Parallels

Book

Total

Dhammapada Verse

DN

3

183, 184, 185

MN

46

3, 4, 5, 6, 26, 27, 80, 145, 147, 172, 173, 204, 327, 329, 330, 353 (2x), 382, 396-423

SN

30

26, 27, 66, 67, 68, 85-89, 98, 125, 143, 151, 191, 201, 221 (2x), 266, 267, 311-314, 345, 346, 361, 370, 376, 383, 387

AN

31

32, 54, 85-89 (4x), 230 (x3), 241, 242, 246, 277-279

Ud

6

42, 131, 132, 185, 230, 306

Iti

6

176, 191, 306, 307, 308, 364

Sn

35

125, 205, 306, 327-329, 367, 396-423

Vv

2

219, 220

Thag

43

6 (2x), 9, 10, 13, 14, 26, 27, 51, 52, 76, 77, 80 (2x), 93, 98, 99, 145, 147, 152, 172, 173, 191, 277-279, 292, 293, 312, 315 (2x), 325, 326 (2x), 334-337, 364, 368, 370, 381, 382

Thig

1

191

Ap

6

195, 196, 228, 328, 329, 347

Ja

26

3-5 (2x), 6, 9 (2x), 10 (2x), 21, 125, 151, 186, 187, 200, 205, 223, 328, 329, 330, 345, 346, 394 (2x)

Vin Sv

2

307, 308

Vin Mv

8

3-6, 328-330, 353

When collated this shows that 137 of the verses are known in other parts of the Canon: 3-6, 9, 10, 13, 14, 21, 26, 27, 32, 42, 51, 52, 54, 66, 67, 68, 76, 77, 80, 85-89, 93, 98, 99, 125, 131, 132, 143, 145, 147, 151, 152, 172, 173, 176, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 191, 195, 196, 200, 201, 204, 205, 219, 220, 221, 223, 228, 230, 241, 242, 246, 266, 267, 277-279, 292, 293, 306, 307, 308, 311-314, 312, 315, 325, 326, 327, 327-329, 328, 328-330, 329, 330, 334-337, 345, 346, 347, 353, 361, 364, 367, 368, 370, 376, 381, 382, 383, 387, 394, 396-423.

Partial Parallels

Book

Total

Dhammapada Verse

DN

-

MN

2

386, 423

SN

5

69, 96, 180, 387 (2x)

AN

10

32 (x5), 140, 243, 247, 315, 423

Ud

2

228, 393

Iti

3

140, 391, 423

Sn

6

129, 130, 170, 315, 386 (2x)

Thag

13

81, 94, 96, 136, 153 (2x), 154, 172, 173, 339, 340, 346, 382

Thig

1

315

Ap

-

Ja

11

98, 168, 169, 252, 261, 337 (3x), 363, 391 (2x)

Of those that do occur with full parallels within the Canon it is interesting to see that the same texts would show up again and again, but not necessarily in the same sequence as in the Dhammapada.

We may note the following as examples: Aṅgulimāla’s verses, which occur both in MN 86 and in his Theragāthā, contains seven verses that occur in the Dhammapada, in various positions (26, 27, 80, 145, 172, 173 & 382); the Upakkilesasutta (MN 128) has seven verses also found in Dhp (3, 4, 5, 6, 328, 329 & 330); the Kosambiyajātaka (Ja 428) also has seven (3-6, 328-330).

Below is a reverse reference showing where the verses are found in the canon. Partial verses and quotations are omitted from this table. 09

Direct Parallels

Book

Total

Sutta

DN

3

14 Mahāpadānasuttaṁ (3)

MN

43

26 Pāsarāsisuttaṁ (1)
75 Māgaṇḍiyasuttaṁ (1)
82 Raṭṭhapālasuttaṁ (1)
85 Bodhirājakumārasuttaṁ (1)
86 Aṅgulimālasuttaṁ (7)
98 Vāseṭṭhasuttaṁ (29)
128 Upakkilesasuttaṁ (3)

SN

31

1.5 Katichindasuttaṁ (1)
1.18 Hirīsuttaṁ (1)
1.22 Phusatisuttaṁ (1)
1.34 Nasantisuttaṁ (1)
1.36 Saddhāsuttaṁ (3)
2.89 Tāyanasuttaṁ (5)
2.103 Khemasuttaṁ (3)
3.114 Jarāmaraṇasuttaṁ (1)
3.116 Attarakkhitasuttaṁ (1)
3.121 Bandhanasuttaṁ (2)
3.125 Paṭhamasaṅgāmasuttaṁ (1)
3.126 Dutiyasaṅgāmasuttaṁ (1)
4.143 Supatisuttaṁ (1)
7.188 Akkosasuttaṁ (1)
7.206 Bhikkhakasuttaṁ (2)
8.15 Malasuttaṁ (2)
9.231 Akusalavitakkasuttaṁ (1)
10.245 Mahākappinasuttaṁ (1)
11.261 Rāmaṇeyyakasuttaṁ (1)
14.133 Puggalasuttaṁ (1)
45.34 Pāraṅgamasuttaṁ (5)

AN

18

AN 3.58 Tikaṇṇasuttaṁ (1)
3.80 Gandhajātasuttaṁ (1)
3.137 Uppādāsuttaṁ (3)
4.6 Appassutasuttaṁ (1)
4.28 Ariyavaṁsasuttaṁ (1)
4.37 Aparihāniyasuttaṁ (1)
5.42 Sappurisasuttaṁ (1)
5.174. Verasuttaṁ (1)
10.117 Saṅgāravasuttaṁ (2)
10.118 Orimatīrasuttaṁ (2)
10.169 Saṅgāravasuttaṁ (2)
10.170 Orimatīrasuttaṁ (2)

Ud

6

9 Jaṭilasuttaṁ (1)
13 Daṇḍasuttaṁ (2)
33 Gopālakasuttaṁ (1)
36 Meghiyasuttaṁ (1)
38 Sundarī(1)
66 Taṇhāsaṅkhayasuttaṁ (1)

Iti

7

24 Aṭṭhipuñjasuttaṁ (1)
25 Musāvādasuttaṁ (1)
48 Āpāyikasuttaṁ (3)
86 Dhammānudhammapaṭipannasuttaṁ (1)
I91 Jīvikasuttaṃ (1)

Sn

34

1.3 Khaggavisāṇasuttaṁ (2)
2.3 Hirisuttaṁ (1)
3.10 Kokālikasuttaṁ (2)
4.15 Attadaṇḍasuttaṁ (1)
3.9 Vāseṭṭhasuttaṁ (28)

Vv

2

Revatīvimānavatthu (2)

Thag

45

Kulattheragāthā (2)
Sabhiyattheragāthā (2)
Mahākaccāyanattheragāthā (1)
Phussattheragāthā (2)
Rādhattheragāthā (2)
Aṅgulimālattheragāthā (7)
Subhūtattheragāthā (2)
Sāriputtattheragāthā (5)
Vijayattheragāthā (1)
Raṭṭhapālattheragāthā (1)
Ānandattheragāthā (2)
Vaṅgīsattheragāthā (1)
Aññāsikoṇḍaññattheragāthā (3)
Soṇakoḷivisattheragāthā (2)
Sabhiyattheragāthā (1)
Khadiravaniyarevatattheragāthā (1)
Dāsakattheragāthā (1)
Hatthārohaputtattheragāthā (1)
Tālapuṭattheragāthā (1)
Mālukyaputtattheragāthā (4)
Cūḷavacchattheragāthā (2)
Kuṇḍadhānattheragāthā (1)

Thig

1

Cālātherīgāthā (1)

Ap

6

Sudhāpiṇḍiya tthera-apadānaṁ (2)
Paṭācārātherī-apadānaṁ (1)
Paccekabuddha-apadānaṁ (2)
Khemātherī-apadānaṁ (1)

Ja

26

138. Godhajātakaṁ (1)
151. Rājovādajātakaṁ (1)
201. Bandhanāgārajātakaṁ (2)
221. Kāsāvajātakaṁ (2)
258. Mandhātujātakaṁ (2)
325. Godharājajātakaṁ (1)
363. Hirijātakaṁ (1)
367. Sāḷiyajātakaṁ (1)
371. Dīghītikosalajātakaṁ (3)
428. Kosambiyajātakaṁ (7)
514. Chaddantajātakaṁ (2)
520. Gandhatindukajātakaṁ (1)
537. Mahāsutasomajātakaṁ (1)
539. Mahājanakajātakaṁ (1)

In most of these it is impossible to know which came first: the Dhammapada verse, or the verse as it occurs elsewhere in the Canon. With many of the verses it may not even be a legitimate question, as there appears, as I mentioned above, to have been a floating stock of verses anyway.

However, in one case it does appear that we can define anteriority. The last twenty-eight verses (396-423) of the Dhammapada also occur in exactly the same sequence in the Vāseṭṭhasutta, which is found at both Majjhimanikāya 98, and Suttanipāta 3.9.

As to which came first it is noticeable that the Brāhmaṇavagga of Dhp is much longer by far than any other chapter in the book (see the table below). Perhaps this is because of the abundance of verses spoken about the true brahmin, but it is also possible that Dhp is quoting the Vāseṭṭhasutta. The last of these verses is somewhat different in the discourses, having two less lines, and the fourth pāda being different also. It is curious that the commentary, which has 28 stories to accompany these verses and must have known about the connection, does not once mention Vāseṭṭha as a basis for the verses.10

If these verses were removed from the chapter as it now stands, then the chapter would have 13 verses remaining. There are in fact nine chapters with 13 or less verses, so this is quite possible. The last verse would then be 395, which is about how the meditator is the true brahmin, which would seem a fitting end to the chapter.

It is noticeable that Patna knows only four of these 28 verses, and its Brāhmaṇavagga (ch. 3 in Patna) only contains 15 verses, its recension not having been expanded in the same way as the Pāḷi text. The Gāndhārī Dharmapada knows 21 of the verses, though some only partially; and the Udānavarga, as we might expect, from a much later and greatly expanded collection of the verses, knows all but one.11

Numbers of Verses in the Dhammapada Chapters

chapter

title

verses

26.

Brāhmaṇavagga

41

24.

Taṇhāvagga

26

25.

Bhikkhuvagga

23

18.

Malavagga

21

1.

Yamakavagga

20

14.

Buddhavagga

18

10.

Daṇḍavagga

17

19.

Dhammaṭṭhavagga

17

20.

Maggavagga

17

4.

Pupphavagga

16

5.

Bālavagga

16

8.

Sahassavagga

16

21.

Pakiṇṇakavagga

16

6.

Paṇḍitavagga

14

17.

Kodhavagga

14

22.

Nirayavagga

14

23.

Nāgavagga

14

9.

Pāpavagga

13

2.

Appamādavagga

12

13.

Lokavagga

12

15.

Sukhavagga

12

16.

Piyavagga

12

3.

Cittavagga

11

11.

Jarāvagga

11

7.

Arahantavagga

10

12.

Attavagga

10

Quotations

Numbers in brackets are partial quotations.

MNidd

15

76, 77, 97, 165, 170, 268, 269, 277-279, 304, 321-323, 367

CNidd

13

165, 268, 269, 277-279, 321-323, 328, 329, 367, 386

Netti

29 (32)

1, 2, 21, 66, 67, 71, 94, 131 (3x), 161, 162, 183, 240, 273, 277-279, 281, 285, 293, 294, 301, 304, 325 (2x), 338, 345, 346, 370, 391, 393

Peṭak

24 (26)

1, 2, 8, 15, 21, 22, 24, 40, 71, 94, 155, 183, 233, 240, 246 (2x), (247), 273, 274, 279 (2x), 281 (292), (293), 345, 346, 349

Mil

12

28, 32, 54, 55, 56, 81, 128, 129, 327, 351, 361, 404

Kv

7

165, 170, 239, 273, 277-279

We can see from this that 65 of the Dhammapada verses are quoted in these works (15%), some in multiple places:

1, 2, 8, 15, 21, 22, 28, 32, 40, 54, 55, 56, 66, 67, 71, 76, 77, 81, 94, 97, 128, 129, 131, 155, 161, 162, 165, 170, 183, 233, 239, 240, 246, 247, 268, 269, 273, 274, 277-279, 281, 285, 292, 293, 294, 301, 304, 321-323, 325, 327, 328, 329, 338, 345, 346, 349, 361, 367, 370, 386, 391, 393.

I am very grateful to Ven Ñāṇatusita for suggesting this was a work worth undertaking, and for giving some valuable feedback on it; and particularly to Ayyā Sudhammā, who has the rare quality of seeing what is there, rather than what should be there, which helped me make numerous corrections. Later, while preparing these entries for the Sutta Central database, Ayyā Vimalā sent me a number of corrections and additions; and while preparing the Vietnamese translation Nguyễn Quốc Bình send me some further corrections. for which I am very grateful.

Despite this help the compilation of this work was a very complex undertaking, involving many decisions, and it is quite possible that errors of judgement, fact or consistency have crept in. I would very much appreciate it if any mistakes I have made were pointed out, or offered for consideration, so I can make the necessary improvements.

Anandajoti Bhikkhu
January 2016

Recently I published the 3rd and then very soon after the 4th edition of my Comparative Dhammapada, and I have now updated this document to reflect the greatly increased number of verses from Jaina and other MIA sources which are parellel to the Dhammapada verses.

Also in line with those new editions, I have shown when a verse is absent from the three main parallel sources (Patna, Gāndhārī, Udānavarga) by including the name, but greying it out, so that its absence in these cases is more clearly seen.

Ānandajoti Bhikkhu
May 2020